15 Child Stars Who Made It And Are Killing It In Hollywood

June 12, 2015  |  
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We’ve all seen the stories about child stars gone wild. From Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges to Miley Cyrus and Amanda Bynes, making the transition from child star to an adult actor (or musician) can sometimes be rocky and filled with drama. Still, it is possible to make it out unscathed. Let’s look at 15 child stars who successfully transitioned and thrived!

Tyler James Williams

The former star of Everybody Hates Chris not only made it out of child stardom in one piece, but he has had a great deal of success. He recently had a recurring role on The Walking Dead and is preparing to star in the new Criminal Minds spinoff, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.

Keke Palmer

It seems like only yesterday that Keke Palmer was entertaining the kiddies on True Jackson, VP, but her Nickelodeon days are long behind her. Palmer has taken every corner of Hollywood by storm. She has her own talk show. She dropped an album. She has starred in quite a few movies, and will star in the upcoming Fox series Scream Queens. And Palmer was even the first Black woman to star as Cinderella on Broadway. Go Keke!

Tahj Mowry

“He’s a smart guuuuuuyy!!!” You may remember Tahj Mowry from the hit sitcom, Smart Guy, but the former child star is all grown up and doing his thing. You can catch Mowry on the hit ABC Family comedy, Baby Daddy, which kicks off its fourth season on June 24.

Tatyana Ali

After her breakout role as Ashley Banks on the mega-hit show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Tatyana Ali pursued a singing career and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in African-American studies as well as government at Harvard. In between making movies, Ali found time to travel the U.S. as a spokesperson for President Barack Obama’s election campaign in 2008. Ali recently finished production on three films slated for release this year.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell

Smollett-Bell has been working in Hollywood since she was five, but you won’t catch any meltdowns here. She’s worked with everyone from director Francis Ford Coppola to Denzel Washington, and her career is still blazing hot. She also does charity work. Smollett is on the board of directors of the Children’s Defense Fund, and Artists for a New South Africa.

Michael B. Jordan

Did you know that besides being fine, Michael B. Jordan also used to be a child star? His role on The Wire as Wallace may just be his most memorable from his years acting as a teen. But his star is shining brighter than ever. In August, you can check out Jordan as Johnny Storm, aka, The Human Torch, in Fantastic Four.


Reagan Gomez-Preston

We all came to know Gomez-Preston as sassy teenager Zaria on the WB sitcom The Parent ‘Hood. Since then, she has successfully moved on to become a writer, voice actor, wife, and mother of two.

Tristan Wilds

Another The Wire alumnus, Wilds went from playing a troubled middle school student in Baltimore to playing an adopted teenager in Beverly Hills on the CW’s 90210 rebootNowadays, you can catch the Grammy-nominated singer on the radio and the big screen.

Jussie Smollett

Back before he was Jamal Lyon on Empire, Jussie Smollett was a child star on the silver screen. When he was a youngin’ he shared the screen with Elijah Wood in North, he was in the film Mighty Ducks, and he had a show with his siblings called On Our Own. Smollett transitioned out of child stardom seamlessly.

Bryton James

You may be thinking, “Who is Bryton James?” Chances are, you know him very well. He played Little Richie on the hit ’90s sitcom Family Matters. Unlike some of his peers, he managed to grow up without the usual child star drama. You can catch his good lookin’ self every weekday on The Young and the Restless.

Kyla Pratt

Movies, TV, singing, commercials, voice-over work–Kyla Pratt did it all. The One on One star made the transition from kiddie star to adult star with ease. VH1 even voted her one of the 100 greatest child stars. Recently, Pratt guest starred on Soul Man with Cedric the Entertainer.

Alfred Enoch

Did you know the cutie from How To Get Away With Murder was a child star? Back when Enoch was a young lad, he could be found on the Hogwarts Express in seven of the eight Harry Potter films. While some of the cast did not do so well post-Potter, Enoch is doing just fine.

Camille Winbush

Winbush has been working in Hollywood since she was four, but she received the role of a lifetime when she was cast as the sassy and snarky Vanessa on The Bernie Mac Show. After the show had ended, Winbush moved on to The Secret Life of an American Teenager and was recently seen on the web series, The Choir.


Bobb’e J. Thompson

“You white? Then you’re Ben Affleck.” You may remember him as the foul-mouthed kid who mistook Paul Rudd for Ben Affleck in the 2008 hit movie Role Models. But Thompson is nothing like the troubled kid he portrayed. This month, Thompson can be seen in the critically acclaimed film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.


Tia Mowry-Housley and Tamera Mowry-Hardrict

Tia and Tamera are the poster women for child stars who made it out and thrived. Since the end of Sister, Sister, the talented ladies have done it all: TV, movies, talk shows, and, of course, marriage and motherhood.

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