Growing up in the limelight can be tough. We constantly hear horror stories about childhood actors who fall on hard times, either because they can’t get more work or they’ve become addicted to drugs and alcohol. But what about kid stars who experience success after they’ve grown up?
We’ve compiled a list of childhood stars who have gone on to have amazing success in their professional lives. From an actor who has earned nearly $250 million by honing his craft for decades to a pair of twins with a $400 million fashion empire, these childhood stars are all grown up and incredibly wealthy.
Two Of A Kind Is Better Than One
Dylan and Cole Sprouse are the epitome of Disney Channel success. After appearing in Big Daddy with Adam Sandler, the brothers transitioned from being cute little guys to teen heartthrobs. They scored the leading roles in the Disney sitcom The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and a year later they branded themselves (sound familiar?) and put out a clothing line, book series, and magazine.
Two of the wealthiest self-made kids alive in 2007 and the highest-paid Disney teen actors in 2010, the brother are now worth $16 million. Dylan left fame for a normal life in New York in 2013.
Acting Is In Her DNA
The Barrymore acting family dates back to the 1800s, which makes it no surprise that Drew Barrymore was collecting awards at the age of seven. While her family may have helped her break into the industry, Drew was adamant about her independence and was emancipated at only 14-years-old. Through her notorious struggle with drugs and partying, she made it to the other side with a $125 million net worth.
Drew started her production company, Flower Films, at just 20-years-old. The studio went on to produce some of Drew’s most notable films and shows, like Charlie’s Angels and The Santa Clarita Diet.
This Home Alone Star Now Works Behind The Screen
Macaulay Culkin earned his place in all of our hearts with his witty character in Home Alone. Before the Christmas classic, Culkin scored his breakout role in the ’80s comedy Uncle Buck starring John Candy. The movies My Girl, The Good Son, and Richie Rich kept the young man busy until his break from acting in 1994.
While Culkin has appeared in some roles since the early 2000s, he shifted his attention towards his band The Pizza Underground, until they split in 2016. The star is sitting tall as the CEO of Bunny Ears, a satirical website, and podcast, and he’s worth about 15 million.
These Girls Branded Themselves Way Before Social Media Influencers Did
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were practically born business owners. After garnering massive earnings from their instant sitcom success in Full House, they didn’t waste time trying to land another role. Instead of waiting around for offers, the twins became the youngest producers ever and started their company Dualstar.
By starring in their own productions, the girls earned a massive check while perpetuating their image throughout America. After building out their film career, the women turned their attention towards another highly lucrative industry: fashion. Between their childhood acting success and adulthood fashion notoriety, these wealthy ladies have earned a net worth of, wait for it, $400 million.
The Talent Agent’s Son
Freddie Highmore skipped all of the fluffy children’s movies and leaped headfirst into the world of serious acting. In five years he performed in Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, August Rush, and The Spiderwick Chronicles. During that time he won two Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Young Performer.
His genius instinct for picking amazing roles probably comes from the fact his mother is a talent agent, and one of her clients was Daniel Radcliffe. Highmore still deserves full credit for his own amazing performances, which have landed him a net worth of $4 million.
This Talented Girl Never Slowed Down
Dakota Fanning blew America away with her impeccable acting talent from a young age. Her first experience in front of the screen was in commercials at age five, but by age seven she had been honored with a Screen Actor’s Guild award for her performance in I Am Sam.
The young actress went on to play dramatic roles through her adolescence, co-starring with Britney Murphy in Uptown Girls andTom Cruise in War of the Worlds. She’s even done voiceover work and scored the lead in Tim Burton’s Coraline. With so many acting credits, it’s no surprise her net worth is about $16 million.
This Southern Wrecking Ball Smashed Into Stardom
Though Miley Cyrus comes from a family of musical talent, when it came to acting she was the trendsetter of the Cyrus clan. She appeared in the film Big Fish and soon after scored the lead in the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana. Her father Billy Rae Cyrus followed, playing the part of Hannah’s father.
Like many Disney stars, Miley’s transition into a provocative young woman can best be described by her own song, “Can’t Be Tamed.” Eventually, she made her way back to a sweeter, less overtly daring public figure. Her movie and television careers have landed her a mighty net worth of $200 million.
First She Was Sweet, Then She Was Sour
AnnaSophia Robb became a filmstar through her heartwarming role in Because of Winn-Dixie and her sassy part as Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. For the decade she would go on to star in a string of popular films like Bridge to Terabithia, which earned her two Young Artist Awards, and Soul Surfer.
Her career as a model took reign around the same time, and together they brought this young talent to a net worth of $8 million. After her film successes, Robb starred in the Sex and the City spinoff The Carrie Diaries, earning her critical acclaim.
The Small Town Boy Who Headed To The City Lights
Born in Kentucky, Josh Hutcherson knew from a young age that he would need to head to L.A. in order to seriously pursue acting. Fortunately for him, his parents were incredibly supportive and moved there when he was nine-years-old. A few years and a handful of roles later, Hutcherson hit it big with his 2005 roles in Kicking and Screaming and Little Manhattan.
Over the course of his high school years, Josh climbed up to bigger and higher grossing films. Landing a lead role in The Hunger Games series has helped secure this star’s net worth of $20 million.
She Was In Front Of The Camera From Birth
Brook Sheilds was still in diapers when she began doing advertisements. She rapidly earned acclaim for playing a child prostitute in New Orleans at only twelve years old. After appearing in dramas through her teen years, she took a break from her career to obtain a college degree at Princeton University.
Today, Sheilds sits comfortably atop her $25 million net worth. She has played minor roles since the ’90s and starred in sitcoms like Suddenly Susan, for which she won two Golden Globes. A lifetime of earnings has afforded her to try new things, like being the voice of Beverly Goodman in Mr. Pickles.
The Most Beautiful, And The Most Powerful
Angelina Jolie was one of the seriously striking teenager girls of the 1980s and ’90s. A true actor’s kid, her first role was alongside her absentee father Jon Voight in Lookin’ to Get Out. Sadly, her humble beginnings with a single mother led to emotional health issues and drug abuse.
Nevertheless, she went on to win several awards, beginning in 1999 with her psychologically ill character in Girl, Interrupted. Jolie has also won awards for her humanitarian efforts and has been cited as being one of the most beautiful and influential people in her industry. Her net worth is estimated to be around $100 million.
The Kid Who Threw Away His Golden Ticket
Peter Ostrum recieved the opportunity of a lifetime when talent agents chose him to star in one of the most populat children’s films to hit the big screen. At 12-years-old, Ostrum wrapped up the film with an impressive awareness that this was not the life for him.
He turned down a three-film contract and returned to school, attempting to keep his gigantic success underrated. A horse lover, he received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. Though he traded in fame for brains, his net worth is believed to be roughly $500,000.
This Actor Needs A Chamber Of Secrets Just To Stash His Cash
Unlike Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe had some professional acting experience before the huge liftoff of the Harry Potter series. After appearing on David Copperfield and The Tailor of Panama, the young manspent the latter half of his childhood growing up on the Harry Potter set.
The sacrifice paid off, leaving this child star with a net worth estimated around $100 million and making him one of the highest-paid actors in the world. Having achieved a stronghold in his acting career, Radcliffe has been able to fly under the radar and experiment with independent and horror films of his own choosing
This Book Worm Still Clings To The Hollywood Ladder
Emma Watson went an unusual route into acting, going straight from school theater plays to the gigantic blockbuster, Harry Potter. While her role as Hermoine Granger risked possessing her acting career, Watson has managed to maintain her acting career still, earning herself a massive net worth of $70 million.
Watson got her degree from Brown University in English Literature and went on to star in the musical Beauty and the Beast, solidifying our belief that she truly is the book worm she portrayed as Hermoine. Her most recent role is in Little Women, based on a classic book that she’s undoubtedly read.
The Unnatural Childhood Of An Acting Prodigy
At twelve-years-old, Kirsten Dunst was pegged to play the complex role of Claudia in Interview with the Vampire. Right out of the gates, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Her acting career took off, but fame caused the teenage Kirsten to become overwhelmed.
She made it through high school and proceeded to gain popularity through her part as Mary Jane in Spider-Man. Though she likely doesn’t regret her $25 million net worth, when asked about her childhood she says, “Well, it’s not a natural way to grow up, but it’s the way I grew up and I wouldn’t change it.”
This Teen Idol Stepped Out Of The Spotlight
Alicia Silverstone was barely seventeen when she debuted in The Crush, which won her the 1994 MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance. Her role in the movie may have had something to do with her previously established appeal in the Aerosmith music video for “Cryin,” which she performed in at just 16.
Established as a teen idol of the 1990s, Alicia was a shoo-in for the lead role in Clueless. Throughout the 2000s, she stepped away from the limelight and focused on smaller-scale productions and theater. The vegan has still managed to secure herself a net worth of $20 million.
Acting Was Too Easy For This Movie Natural
Jodi Foster was Oscar-nominated at twelve-years-old, achieving what many of her older fellow actors only dream of right off the bat. She went on to win two Academy Awards, three British Academy Film Awards, two Golden Globes, and a Cecil B DeMille Award.
After so much success, it’s no surprise that this child prodigy is now worth about $100 million, and has redirected her attention to working behind the scenes. As a director and producer, Foster finally gets to take charge of big names like George Clooney and Julia Roberts.
This Guy Grew Out Of Acting But Still Became A Hollywood Heavyweight
Ron Howard first won over American families as the cute little guy in The Andy Griffith Show. Once that smash ended, he moved on to Happy Days as a teenager. When Howard was grown, he left the world of acting in exchange for directing. By the 1980s his films were a force to be reckoned with; he was working with some of the top actors in movies like Apollo 13 and Cacoon.
In 2001 he earned the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture for the drama A Beautiful Mind. He currently is worth about $140 million.
I See Famous People
Haley Joel Osment is almost unrecognizable these days with a thick beard and stout stature that contrasts the narrow, smooth-faced kid we used to know. Even Osment’s small first role was kind of a big deal, playing the son of Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. But his second role really put him on the mark, earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in the movie The Sixth Sense.
After a string of Walt Disney films, he handed over the limelight to younger sister Emily Osment, who co-starred in Hannah Montana with Miley Cyrus. His next worth is estimated to be around $12 million.
This Oscar Winner Just Keeps Getting Better
Leonardo DiCaprio began his career by popping into popular sitcoms like Roseanne and Growing Pains. His opportunity to prove himself as a serious actor came when he was offered to play opposite Robert De Niro in This Boy’s Life. Then the passionate actor left our jaws dropped in his incredible performance on What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
From his teen years on, this A-list actor contributed to some of the highest-grossing films of all time, so it isn’t too much of a shock that he’s pulled in a whopping estimated fortune of $235 million.