13 Celebs Who Prove Childhood Stardom Doesn't Have to Mean a Crazy Future
The be all, end all of child stars who turned out okay, Wilson, of Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire fame, penned an essay two years ago about why child stardom can be so challenging. Unlike many of her fellow child stars, Wilson has left the business and currently splits her time between writing and working at a non-profit.
As a teen, he made audiences laugh on Good Burger, All That and Kenan & Kel. And really, he never stopped: Thompson's comedic chops have been put to good use as a cast member on Saturday Night Live for the past 13 years.
Barrymore will be the first to tell you that child stardom didn't leave her unscathed: She was going to nightclubs and drinking alcohol before her 13th birthday. But now, as an actress, producer and mom to daughters Olive and Frankie, she's healthy and content. "Someone once said to me, 'But your life … it's so sad,' " she told PEOPLE. "And I was like, 'Well, no, it's not to me, but I could see how you would think that.' My life is amazing."
In the early '90s, a teen Leo charmed audiences on shows like Parenthood and Growing Pains. Soon after, he was making us swoon in films including Romeo + Juliet and of course, Titanic. Now, he's one of Hollywood's most respected actors and might possibly take home his first Academy Award for The Revenant. From teen actor to one of the industry's most respected, it's been a pretty flawless transition.
She was an awkward middle-schooler on Lizzie McGuire, but IRL, Duff was a teen queen – a status she successfully and seamlessly transitioned from while becoming the cool, TV-starring, Tinder-swiping mom she is today.
THE HARRY POTTER TRIO
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint grew up in front of the camera – and in the public eye – with a new Harry Potter film coming out nearly every year for almost a decade. And yet, all three have managed to keep things together post-Potter: Watson spoke at the United Nations and both Radcliffe and Grint have starred in Broadway shows.
First, he was a Mickey Mouse Club star. Then, he was a boy band heartthrob in 'NSYNC. Now, he's a charming leading man, a successful solo artist and the cutest dad ever.
Foster was a child star with some serious street cred: She earned an Oscar nomination for her role in Taxi Driver when she was just 14 years old. She didn't let that fame go to her head, however: She enrolled at Yale at 18, spent her summers on set and then went on to win an Academy Award for The Accused in 1989 before earning a second for 1992's Silence of the Lambs.
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
As a teenager, he became a fan favorite as a child prodigy M.D. on Doogie Howser, M.D.. And as he's aged, NPH has only gotten more lovable, whether he's hosting the Oscars, suiting up on How I Met Your Mother or being one-quarter of the most adorable family of all time.
Portman just may take the cake for child stars who went on to do big things: After starring in the first of the Star Wars prequels, she went on to get a degree from Harvard, win an Oscar for Black Swan and become a mom.
Remember when? Before he was an Oscar-winning director, Howard was a child star on The Andy Griffith Show, playing Opie Taylor, Griffith's son, for the show's eight-season run. Later on, he snagged a lead role on Happy Days. But the end of the show didn't mean the end of his own happy days: He's since directed a bunch of big-name films like Apollo 13, Cinderella Man and Frost/Nixon.