10 Child Stars Who Did Surprising Things After Leaving Hollywood

Having a long and successful career in Hollywood isn’t unheard of, but it is especially rare for child stars to continue on in the business. While many see the big roles fade away as they grow older but cling to fame, others choose to just get out of the business all together and go on to take on new jobs and lead completely different lives. The fall from the spotlight is sometimes not graceful, but these former child stars had no problem readjusting even if met doing something unique and very unexpected! Here are 10 child stars who did surprising things after leaving Hollywood:

10. Danica McKellar

Danica McKellar is still very popular, but her fame has never risen to the same heights that it reached when she starred as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years from 1988-1993. The young, talented actress endeared audiences with ease, and while she didn’t completely cut herself off from Hollywood, she definitely slowed down her career after the iconic role to focus on her personal life and education, leading to some interesting new avenues for the star. Following the show, McKellar attended UCLA where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and graduated summa cum laude in 1998. As an undergrad she co-authored a scientific paper and has gone on to write four of her own books designed to get children interested in math and to help them understand the concepts.

Everett Collection/SilverHub/REX/Shutterstock

9. Daryl Sabara

These days, many don’t recognize the name Daryl Sabara, but back in 2001 he was one of the most popular child stars after starring in the hit film Spy Kids as Juni Cortez. Sabara went on to reprise the role in the Spy Kids sequels and while he also didn’t exactly leave Hollywood, he was quickly forgotten after the popularity of the films faded. While he has stuck to voice acting in animated series such as Ultimate Spider-Man and Ben 10, many were surprised when he started making headlines again, but not for his work. Now, Daryl Sabara is 25 years old and is best known as the boyfriend to popular singer Meghan Trainor!


8. Rupert Grint

Like many of the other Harry Potter actors, Rupert Grint took some time away from the glaring fame that came with growing up as Ron Weasley in the iconic franchise from 2001 to 2011. Since wrapping up the role, Grint has picked smaller, more personal roles, but also used the money to follow one of his own childhood dreams — owning an ice cream truck! “My first ambition was to become an ice-cream man, which is why I bought the Bedford van. Not long after I first got it, I pulled into a pub to do a U-turn and there were eight kids with their pocket money out, hoping to but a 99 or whatever. But I had nothing to give them. I’ve learnt my lesson since then. I keep my van well stocked. It’s got a proper machine that dispenses Mr Whippy ice cream and I buy my lollies wholesale – 50 for a tenner – so I never run short.” Of course, without a proper licence for selling goods the actor can’t actually sell his merchandise, so he just gives it away to kids for free! “I tend to avoid July and August, but the rest of the year I’ll drive around the local villages and if I see some kids looking like they’re in need of ice creams, I’ll pull over and dish them out for free. They’ll say, ‘Ain’t you Ron Weasley?’ And I’ll say, ‘It’s strange, I get asked that a lot.'”

Source: Fanpop

7. Josh Herdman

Quite a few Harry Potter stars have done some interesting things after exiting the franchise, including Josh Herdman. In 2001, Herdman was only 14 years old when he landed his first ever acting role as Gregory Goyle in the first Harry Potter movie, and he held the role through the whole franchise. Like many of the other supporting stars, Herdman fell off the radar after the final movie, but re-emerged in 2016 and shocked many with his new image. With a few more tattoos and a lot more muscles, Herdman is now an amateur MMA fighter. “I chose MMA because I love the sport. It’s raw, exciting and unpredictable. I find it more interesting than boxing although I appreciate the beauty and art in boxing. It also made sense to move onto MMA because of my jiu jitsu training.”

Source: E! Online

6. Steven Anthony Lawrence

Fans of the Disney Channel’s Even Stevens can’t forget Steven Anthony Lawrence in the memorable role of Beans. Lawrence was only 6 years old when he began acting with a role on Married with Children, and went on to child stardom with roles on TV and films, becoming best known for his roles in Even Stevens, The Cat in the Hat and Cheaper by the Dozen. As he grew older, however, the roles were harder to come by, and now things are quite different for the actor. In 2015, Lawrence was spotting working at the Sunvalley Shopping Center in California as one of Santa’s helpers.

Source: Fandango/Twitter

5. Jeff Cohen

Back in 1985, Jeff Cohen was one of the most recognizable child stars in Hollywood thanks to his role as Chunk in The Goonies. Despite the popularity of the film and his role, Cohen only had small roles afterwards and quit acting all together in 1991 at 17 years old. After leaving Hollywood Cohen went to the University of California, Berkeley and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1996. He then went on to earn a Juris Doctor degree from the UCLA School of Law in 2000, and returned to Hollywood…but not as an actor. Cohen is now an entertainment lawyer where he represents everyone in all facets of the business from writers to directors, producers and actors.

Source: Daily Express

4. Taran Noah Smith

Those who grew up in the ’90s knew and loved Taran Noah Smith who starred on Home Improvement as Mark Taylor from 1991-1999. Like many child stars, Smith struggled with growing up in the public eye and when the show came to an end, he decided he had had enough of Hollywood and regretted missing out on his childhood. Following his decision to leave Hollywood, the drama didn’t stop for Smith. In 2001, At only 17 years old he married Heidi VanPelt who happened to be 16 years older than him and together they opened their own vegan business called PlayFood all while Smith took his parents to court over control of his $1.5 million trust fund, which he won. Unfortunately his business was shut down because Smith and his wife were running it illegally out of their house and in 2007 the pair split. That same year his house was foreclosed and the former child star went on to work as a charter boat captain, reconciled with his parents and released a book with his mother about the hardships of being a child celebrity.

Source: Zimbio/Playbuzz

3. Scarlett Byrne

Child actress Scarlett Byrne got her career off the ground when she was cast as Pansy Parkinson in Harry Potter and made her debut in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. While she went on to appear in Falling Skies and The Vampire Diaries, her career didn’t necessarily take off, but she definitely had all the attention on her with her most recent career move. In early 2017, the actress bared all for an issue of Playboy which was the first to feature nudity again after the magazine banned it in 2016. She also furthered her ties to the iconic magazine when she became engaged to none other than Cooper Hefner, Hugh Hefner’s son.

Source: Warner Bros./Instagram

2. Charlie Korsmo

Charlie Korsmo was one of the most promising young actors in the early ’90s after he starred in films such as What About Bob? and Hook, but in 1998, following his role in Can’t Hardly Wait, he walked away from acting in Hollywood. Instead, Korsmo went to MIT where he earned a degree in physics in 2000 and then went to Yale Law School which he graduated from in 2006. After working at a law firm, he turned to government affairs and worked for the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. House of Representatives and he now works as a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Ohio. As well, in 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Korsmo as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Source: Cleveland.com

1. Frankie Muniz

In the late ’90s and 2000s Frankie Muniz was one of Hollywood’s top child stars. Not only did he star in Malcolm in the Middle from 2000-2006, he starred in many films including My Dog Skip, Big Fat Liar and Agent Cody Banks. After Malcolm in the Middle came to an end, Muniz went into semi-retirement from acting and, while he made some cameos, he preferred to spend his time becoming a professional race car driver! If that wasn’t surprising enough, he also moved into music where he joined the band You Hang Up as the drummer and then in 2012 joined the band Kingsfoil before leaving in 2014. Most recently he announced that he has become the manager for the band Astro Lasso.

Source: Cloudpix/Zimbio
Telisa Carter

Telisa Carter

Telisa enjoys learning and writing about all things entertainment in the world of Hollywood. When she isn't catching up on her favorite TV shows, she likes to read, and obsess over all things football.