15 Child Stars We All Thought Would Grow Up Ugly But Didn’t

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How many stars did we expect to age gracefully? More than enough to compile an entire list, as we previously did. The opposite is also true, there are many names whom most didn’t expect to grow up to be attractive. When it comes to aging, it’s as unpredictable as it gets and we never really know what to expect. Some have undergone incredible transformations since their younger years to a point where you wouldn’t be able to recognize them.

Many have clearly been hitting the gym for the past few years and it shows in their progress, making them motivational figures if you ever need one. You also have some who simply developed more attractive features with age; their faces maturing in ways beyond imagination. Whether we like it or not, talent isn’t enough to make it in Hollywood, you’re required to have a certain look to become a star, or else you may find yourself watching from the sidelines.

There are some exceptions to every rule, many characters may need a not so appealing look, but the vast majority emphasize shallow standards that have been in place for decades. Unfortunately for child stars, things can go wrong once they get older, as not all of them retain their charm and many do not have the look of a star. You also have names who will always be associated with one role regardless of their other work, and that can be difficult to overcome for most.

15. Jerry O’Connell

You may be shocked to learn that one of the stars of the 1986 film Stand By Me grew up to be better looking than most would have expected. Some kids are charming during their younger years but completely lose it as they age, that wasn’t the case for Jerry O’Connell.

Ageing has done wonders for him as he has that Hollywood look now with his attractive features standing out. It’s probably the reason why O’Connell has gone on to star and feature in numerous movies and TV series, since it’s well-known that Hollywood is a shallow industry. With the exception of kids and some specific roles, there is still an idea look for actors which certainly helps in advancing their careers.

As a kid, his looks suited the roles he played but did anyone really expect him to grow up to look as attractive as he does today?

14. Josh Peck

Famous for his role in Drake and Josh, Josh Peck has grown up to be as fine as it gets. Throughout his time on the show, he did look different from one season to another but he didn’t look too good at times. Since then, he has taken care of himself from styling his hair to growing a beard.

It’s clear that he has been hitting the gym as he looks in better shape compared to his younger years. As for his style taste, he stepped up his fashion sense opting to go for a new look that perfectly suits him.

A few years ago, not many would have expected Josh Peck to grow up to be a sex symbol but his transformation will surely inspire plenty of people and give hope to everyone. Peck continues to enjoy success from films to TV series, and he remains a big name with 4.9 million followers on Instagram.

13. Christina Ricci

Not many people would be able to recognize Christina Ricci if they only recognized her from her role as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family. During her stay with the show, she looked a bit creepy and somewhat scary to an extent.

The makeup and haircut certainly helped in doing so, but you wouldn’t have predicted the actress to grow up to look as she does now. She has turned into one of the finest actresses while maintaining a natural look, most men would be instantly turned on by her sight.

In the 90s, Ricci achieved plenty of success and made a name for herself in Hollywood, but as the years have gone by, her stardom has diminished and she isn’t nearly as in demand as she used to be. She has continuously changed her look to refresh her image with her most recent being short blonde hair, which she debuted on her official Instagram page.

12. Jonathan Lipnicki

You may not have heard of the name Jonathan Lipnicki in a while, as he hasn’t appeared in a major film in years. His career peaked during his younger years when he gained fame for roles in Like Mike, Stuart Little, and Jerry Maguire, but that level of success hasn’t carried on into his adult years.

Since 2002, Lipnicki has been mostly missing in action, and only made a few appearances that aren’t worth mentioning. Surprisingly, there haven’t been many calls for his services although the actor has aged very well, losing the nerdy look to adopt a different image.

He’s another celebrity who has been dedicating his time to the gym with significant progress made since we last saw him on screen. If you’re interested in seeing what he’s been up to these days, Lipnicki has an Instagram account that you can follow although it isn’t as interesting as one would hope.

11. Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf looks significantly different today than he did back when he portrayed Louis Stevens on Even Stevens, dropping the long hair for a more mature look. His face structures have also changed with age, much to his benefit as far as looks, and the man who once looked very goofy looks almost unrecognizable at 31 years old.

One of the few actors to find great success throughout different periods of his life, LaBeouf is an inspiration to child stars as many of them fail to make an impact once they grow older. Many of his fans today aren’t even familiar with his early beginnings on Disney, which speaks volumes about his success in recent years.

Most fans have forgotten about LaBeouf’s old image by now, only remembering what we have seen of him as a mature man. He should serve as an example that puberty can do wonders for some.

10. Jaleel White

Jaleel White has featured in plenty of works throughout his career, but he is always associated with his character Steve Urkel from Family Matters. The character was intended to only make one appearance on the show, but managed to become its star and has remained popular to this day.

Just as his character did, White had a nerdy look and most of us pictured him being a grown-up Steve Urkel once time passed by. As it turned out, he wasn’t as nerdy as an adult as he once was on the hit show, and aged to look much better than most people had anticipated. Even if he were to add the glasses and vintage clothes, he still wouldn’t strike you as a nerd today. He’s probably more than thankful for that since we can’t picture someone wanting to be Urkel for the rest of their life.

9. Anna Paquin

Anna Paquin‘s role in The Piano as Flora McGrath launched her to newfound fame at the age of 11 years old. The film would turn out to be a huge box office hit making $140 million, while also being lauded by critics. Paquin’s impressive performance was awarded an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

The rest of the decade proved to be successful with multiple hit movies to her name, and things continued to roll her way in the 2000s. She has successfully transitioned into maintaining her fame as an adult by taking her talent to television with True Blood. Paquin grew up to be more attractive than we could have possibly imagined upon seeing her the first time in The Piano, and she’s one of the few names on this list who was able to achieve the same level of success throughout different ages.

8. Tahj Mowry

Tahj Mowry had a great run in the 90s when he portrayed almost the same character on several shows, but as he got older and the cuteness wore off, his career never took off. As a kid, Mowry’s ears stood out and he wasn’t exactly someone you thought would grow up to be good looking.

Some kids find fame due to their attractive features, Mowry was simply a cute and funny child. As an adult, he aged much better than we expected, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering he’s the brother of Tia and Tamera Mowry.

Long gone are the days of TJ Henderson on Smart Guy, Tahj Mowry may not be the genius he portrayed on the show, nor did his success carry on to his adult years, but his face and body have undergone an impressive transformation.

7. Abigail Breslin 

In 2002, Abigail Breslin broke into the Hollywood scene at the age of five years old through her appearance in Signs alongside the likes of Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. The movie achieved tremendous success with $408.2 million in the box office, and Breslin was lauded by critics for an impressive performance.

Since then, she has appeared in several hit movies that made her a well-known name in the industry. As a kid, Breslin was stealing hearts due to her talent but things have changed since then, aging much better than everyone had anticipated.

At only 21 years old, the future is bright for the actress as long as she knows how to pick roles that suit her. With talent and looks on her side, there is no reason why she can’t continue to gain even more success in the coming years.

6. Ryan Gosling

Many might not be aware that Ryan Gosling was a child star before he became one of the top actors in Hollywood as an adult. He was apart of Disney’s The Mickey Mouse Club for two years and worked alongside his roommate Justin Timberlake. He also appeared in several Canadian shows, but his true success didn’t come until years later.

Although Gosling has been charming since a young age, his attractive features didn’t really pop up until he got older. I guess one could say that he was a late bloomer since he continues to get better looking with every passing year, becoming one of the top sex icons in the world today. His haircuts have also significantly improved while the facial hair is the cherry on top. As far as style, he definitely stepped up his game to become an inspiration for men with his outfits.

5. Georgie Henley

If you aren’t familiar with her real name, you might know her as Lucy Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia series for years. Her three appearances in the films probably made her set for life, as the movies were major hits in the box office. She probably doesn’t need to work another day in her life, and it seems like she realizes that due to her lack of appearances outside of the series.

We can’t really blame her as plenty of us would have done the same thing. If she’s been smart with her earnings, then she won’t sleep any sleep over missing a paycheck. Since her last appearance in the series in 2010, she has only featured in two other films. If you have seen the three movies, you probably didn’t expect Henley to grow up to be so attractive. But thankfully for her, times have been more than kind to her as seen in the photo above.

4. Noah Gray Cabey

Noah Gray-Cabey is one of those actors who will always be associated with specific characters, and it will be quite difficult for him to escape that shadow. In his case, most people will always know him as Franklin from My Wife and Kids. Regardless of which role you know him for, most will agree that he didn’t strike people as someone who would grow up to be hot.

But as it turned out, we were all wrong and he’s aged as fine as one would hope. Sadly, his career hasn’t been the same since becoming an adult, but time is still on his side as long as he picks better roles than he has in recent times. He’s been laying low since 2016 with very little activity on his Instagram, but it seems like his focus has shifted to putting in work in the gym.

3. Matthew Lewis

For as long as he’s alive, Matthew Lewis will always be known as Neville Longbottom. If you’re unfamiliar with that name, we’re referring to a character from Harry Potter who appeared in 8 films since his on-screen debut in 2001. Anybody who claims that they had expected Lewis to grow up to be good looking is most likely lying to you, but thankfully for him, he has outgrown his Neville look to become somewhat of a sex icon.

Outside of the Harry Potter series, Lewis has only made a few appearances throughout some films and TV series, but it doesn’t seem like a priority for the actor whose works have been very few when considering how long he has been around. After eight instalments, Lewis never has to step out of his couch to work again.

2. Mackenzie Rosman

Mackenzie Rosman could be considered a one-hit wonder, considering that her only major role came as Ruthie Camden on 7th Heaven. The show ran for 11 seasons and probably has Rosman set for life, although the star hasn’t done anything worth mentioning since the end of the show. It could be a personal decision to not pursue bigger roles, but it’s more likely that she wasn’t in so much demand.

Rosman was a cute kid from the way she talked to her attitude, but not exactly someone that would be expected to grow up to be good looking. In 2013, she put those days behind when she posed for Maxim in a steamy photo shoot, erasing any memories of the sweet innocent child that some may have remembered her as during the show. Unlike her co-stars, she has mostly stayed away from the spotlight, preferring to spend her time in nature as seen on her official Instagram.

1. Dustin Diamond

Dustin Diamond has come a long way since his days as Screech in Saved by the Bell, transitioning from a nerd until his modern look. On the show, Diamond was as much of a geek as appeared to be, his looks perfectly captured the character.

Since then, his career hasn’t taken off as much as he would have hoped despite featuring in several films, but at least he grew out of his nerdy style. Even in his early days as an adult, he basically still looked like a grown-up version of Screech but that’s nothing that some facial hair and a nice haircut can’t fix, as evident by his impressive transformation in the past couple years. Long gone are the days of Screech, as he has distanced himself from that image by releasing a sex tape. He has also been in trouble with the law, which surely changed his image in the eyes of those who hadn’t adjusted yet.



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