Stars Who Were on 'Barney & Friends' as Kids

Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and more stars who got their start on the popular kids' series

01 of 10

Barney & Friends Debuts


Thirty years ago today, a theme song lodged itself in the heads of children and parents for life — but a sweet show about friendship and caring also debuted on PBS, introducing some child stars who went on to accomplish great things. Catch up with the young stars of Barney & Friends (pictured here in 2004) on the 30th anniversary of the show's PBS premiere.

02 of 10

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

What would the big purple dinosaur think of Gomez — who starred on 13 episodes from 2002 to 2004 — moving on to Only Murders in the Building? He'd probably be happy her character made such good friends.

03 of 10

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato
Rich Fury/Getty

Barney would likely be glad to see Grammy nominee Lovato — who also did a handful of episodes in the early 2000s with fellow Disney Channel star Gomez — go on to receive GLAAD's Vanguard Award.

04 of 10

Jaren Lewison

Jaren Lewison at the Los Angeles premiere of "Never Have I Ever" Season 3 held at Regency Village Theatre on August 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California
Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty

Years before he joined the cast of the hit Never Have I Ever, the actor got his start on Barney & Friends at 8 years old.

"I'm from Dallas and Barney actually filmed in a city near us," he recalled on a 2021 episode of A Little Late with Lilly Singh. "I can still right now at 20 years old phyiscally picture the set, exactly what everything looked like."

He even tried on the famous purple suit! "You have to be so tall," he shared. "And it was so sweaty — there were fans in there."

05 of 10


Malese Jow
Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

Credited as Malese Jow in her one episode on the show, the actress hasn't stopped working since her late '90s spot, appearing on everything from The Young and the Restless and Hannah Montana to Vampire Diaries and The Flash.

06 of 10

Madison Pettis

Madison Pettis
Donato Sardella/Getty

Many young stars, like Pettis, just passed through in the mid-2000s; she went on to do voice work on hits like Phineas and Ferb and Captin Jake and the Never Land Pirates before joining the 2021 She's All That remake, He's All That.

07 of 10

Jackson Pace

Jackson Pace
Monica Schipper/Getty

Barney & Friends was the first in a long series of guest roles for Pace before he hit it big on Homeland and The Walking Dead.

08 of 10

Brighton Sharbino

Brighton Sharbino
Stefanie Keenan/Getty

Like Pace, Sharbino moved on to The Walking Dead years after Barney & Friends, with stops on True Detective and NCIS along the way. She most recently starred on the TV series Players.

09 of 10

Kyla Pratt

Kyla Pratt
Jonathan Leibson/Getty

Pratt actually appeared in Barney's Great Adventure, moving on to a voice role on The Proud Family and more recently, a part on Call Me Kat.

10 of 10

Debby Ryan

Debby Ryan
Michael Loccisano/Getty

Like Pratt, the Disney darling was in a Barney movie, her first credit before jumping into TV with The Suite Life on Deck, Jessie, Sing It and Insatiable.

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