The early 2000s were seriously some of the best years for entertainment. We had the classic Disney channel shows, the Nickelodeon greats, sweet rom-com, sitcom dramas and so much more. Besides awesome entertainment, these amazing movies and television shows also gave us some of the greatest celebrities of Hollywood.
While we’re sure it was great to be a star in the early 2000s, it became difficult for several of these young celebs to cross that barrier from “child” star into a functioning adult. Some chose to leave the fame behind in exchange for a chance at normalcy, while others struggled to make it big as an adult.
From movies to mommies, where did our favorite stars from the early 2000s end up years later? Some of these were a surprise!
20 Chad Michael Murray Is Still Charming His Way Around A Small Town
Chad Michael Murray was legit the Prince Charming of the early 2000s. He won our hearts in literally everything he starred in, from Gilmore Girls to A Cinderella Story and One Tree Hill.
Years after he was Lucas Scott, Chad Michael Murray continues to get those big roles in television series. These days he’s traded in his Tree Hill roots for a place in Riverdale.
19 Amanda Bynes Is Finding Herself Again
Amanda Bynes broke into major stardom as a 10-year-old on Nickelodeon’s "All That." She continued to get the lead role in some of the great teen comedies… until 2010 and Easy A happened, the role she claims made her quit acting.
After that, Amanda fell on some seriously hard times. However, in recent months, Amanda is trying to turn things around for the better.
18 Jamie Lynn Spears Is The Momma To Two Beautiful Girls
Jamie Lynn Spears is another young star who got her start on Nickelodeon’s "All That." Her popularity paid off because from their Jamie Lynn got her own television series on the network called, Zoey 101.
Aside from being Britney Spears’ little sister, she became known for getting pregnant at 16-years-old. After becoming a teen mom, she left behind her career to focus on her family.
17 Josh Peck Shed The Weight But Kept His Humor
Josh Peck is the definition of “glow up.” He was always the chubby, funny man from our fav Nickelodeon shows, The Amanda Show and Drake & Josh.
As a young adult, Josh decided to completely transform his physical appearance and drop the pounds. We love this new, healthy Josh who is still equal parts hilarious and pulling in great acting roles on TV.
16 Aly Michalka Is Still Rockin’ And Rollin’
Back when she was known by her full name, Alyson Michalka, Aly was one of the O.G. Disney channel starlets. Aly escaped the Disney child star "curse" and made an easy transition into actress/musician.
When she isn’t spending her time acting on iZombie, Aly is still performing and making new music with her sister, AJ in the pop duo Aly & AJ.
15 Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Stick To Behind The Camera Work Now
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were the teen queens of the early 2000s. After literally growing up in front of a camera, the twins made the transition into popular teen flick stars.
The pressures of Hollywood quickly started to affect both Mary-Kate and Ashley in different ways. Nowadays, the duo runs their fashion empire and choose to stay out of the spotlight and off social media.
14 Angus T. Jones Got Stuck In One Role
Angus T. Jones is best known for playing Jake Harper, that cute kid on the comedy sitcom Two and a Half Men. All his awkward stages growing up were documented for the world to see.
Angus spent more than 10 years of his life on that television show before deciding to quit it all. You can find Angus working low-key in managerial positions.
13 Hilary Duff Found New Fame As An Adult
Hilary Duff as Lizzie McGuire is basically the epitome of classic Disney channel tv. She is the face of early 2000s Disney and didn’t let her child star status affect her in the negative ways.
After Lizzie McGuire, Hilary continued pulling in acting roles. She’s now a mother of two and starring on TV Land’s “Younger Now.”
12 Lindsay Lohan Is More Than The Teenage Drama Queen She Used To Be
Lindsay Lohan doesn’t have as great a Hollywood story as some of her companions from the early 2000s. Although the early 2000s were profitable for Lindsay, as she entered into adulthood, she began struggling with substance abuse and finding her way in life.
Our favorite redhead is now working really hard and looking for that career comeback as a successful entrepreneur.
11 Dylan and Cole Sprouse Don’t Share The Same Role Anymore
Identical twins Dylan and Cole Sprouse began their acting career sharing the same role. When Disney gave them their own television show, they got to branch out a little.
As young adults, they both chose to pause their acting careers to pursue higher education. Once they received their degrees, they jumped right back into the game but as separate stars on their own shows.
10 Mandy Moore Is Still Everyone’s Favorite Sweetheart
Mandy Moore starred in so many of our favorite teenage rom-coms in the early 2000s. She was one of the more versatile young stars of the decade.
From there, she became a Disney princess and continues to show us she can play any role she wants. From A Walk to Remember to This Is Us, Mandy Moore has always been destined for greatness.
9 Hayden Panettiere Went From Cute Kid To Beautiful Woman
Hayden Panettiere has been in the spotlight since she was a young girl. Things started affecting her differently, though, when she was 16-years-old starring on Heroes. She became insecure about her body and the way she looked.
Hayden continued to stay in the spotlight though and joined Nashville for six years. Now, the mother-of-one is trying to work out her next move.
8 Brenda Song Went From London Tipton To The Tip Top Of Television
Brenda Song is most known for her role as London Tipton on Disney’s “Suite Life of Zach & Cody,” but she had actually made a name for herself before becoming the hotel heiress.
Brenda had a little bit of a hard time shedding her Disney image, but she’s making a new name for herself as a well-established adult television star.
7 Alyson Stoner Blossomed Out And Became A Voiceover Star
If you remember Alyson Stoner from the early 2000s, you’d remember that she has almost always been typecast as the stereotypical tomboy.
As she got older, Alyson took on more and more voiceover roles for animated series. She is also a great YouTuber with tons of videos singing and dancing
6 Miranda Cosgrove Still Has That Beaming Smile
Miranda Cosgrove won us all over with that bright smile and quickly became everyone’s favorite annoying little sister as Megan Parker on Drake & Josh. After Nickelodeon ended that series, Miranda got her own hit show on the network, iCarly.
As an adult, Miranda decided to enroll in college at USC, but continues to keep up with her acting career, too.
5 Frankie Muniz Is Still Flexin' His Genius
Frankie Muniz spent his childhood starring on the hit family sitcom, Malcolm in the Middle.
After Malcolm in the Middle came to an end in 2006, Frankie struggled to land any significant acting roles, but he has appeared on Dancing with the Stars. Sadly, after suffering nine concussions and several mini strokes over the years, Frankie doesn’t remember his Malcom days anymore.
4 Freddie Highmore Became A Popular ‘Doctor’
If Freddie Highmore didn’t completely melt your heart in 2004’s Finding Neverland or 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we would be shocked. The English actor on big roles for much of his young years.
He completely transformed his image when he became Norman Bates on Bates Motel and again has shown his total diversity by playing Dr. Shaun Murphy on The Good Doctor.
3 Haley Joel Osment Got His Feet Wet With 'Teaching'
Haley Joel Osment was undoubtedly one of the best young actors of his generation. After starring in The Sixth Sense, it was clear that Haley had greatness. As a child star, he conquered more huge roles with Pay it Forward, Artificial Intelligence and Secondhand Lions.
Haley Joel Osment continues acting to this day, but he’s not exactly as recognizable as he used to be.
2 Jessica Biel Is A Mature Mother Still Living In 7th Heaven
Jessica Biel spent her teenage and young adult years starring on 7th Heaven as the oldest daughter in a big family. After the series closed, Jessica needed to shed that good girl persona.
She quickly began to take on several movie roles until she was no longer known for being Mary. Now, Jessica continues acting in edgier roles and is actually married to Justin Timberlake.
1 Josh Hartnett Was Once A Heartthrob But Now Lives Life On The DL
Josh Hartnett was the heartthrob of movies in the early 2000s. He had big roles in several huge movies, like Pearl Harbor and 40 Days and 40 Nights. If Josh Hartnett was cast in a movie, it was almost a guaranteed hit in the early 2000s.
Josh is still active with his career, but he works hard on keeping his personal life on the down-low.
References: IMDB, Today, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan