15 Movie Stars When They Were Young

From cute kid...

She was born in 1972 to to a Cuban-American father and an Anglo-German mother and spent a lot more time around lads than ladies. " I grew up with a lot of boys. I probably have a lot of testosterone for a woman."

A stoner as a teenager, this all-blonde beauty spent her days as a beach bum, though the life wasn't as glamorous as it seems. The beach was 2 hours away by bus...

So who is it?

...To blonde star

Cameron Diaz!

Diaz describes her childhood as being "adventurous, independent, and tough."

She left home at 16 to see the world and for the next five years, she lived in Japan, Australia, Mexico, Morocco, and Paris working as a model for the the Elite agency.

Among her youthful modelling credits are shoots for Mademoiselle, Seventeen, Calvin Klein, Levi's, and Coca-Cola.

Before her sexy job, she admits that she spent most of her early teen days soaking up the sun and eating junk food. Harsh...

From class clown...

This winsome young woman was born in 1949, and nearly got lumbered with the name Flavia thanks to her father's obsession with Roman history.

Thankfully, Susan Alexander avoided that fate, though childhood wasn't all easy.

At the various private schools she attended, she was mocked for being taller than most of her classmates (she was 5' 10" at 13) and became a class joker to distract attention.

While she's done lots of comedy work since, she's really known for an iconic action role.

Who is she?

...To no-nonsense broad

Sigourney Weaver!

Weaver was born in New York in 1949 and by the age of 10, her family - actress mother Elizabeth Inglis and TV producer father Sylvester Weaver Jr and older brother Trajan - had lived in 30 different houses.

According to the actress, she took a long time to find her true self: "I was one of those people who take so long to coalesce into a definite person - just this big blob going through adolescence, trying to take in everything."

And she nabbed the name Sigourney at 14 based on a minor character in The Great Gatsby.

From picture perfect...

It's not that hard to believe that this smiley, attractive girl from Smyrna, Georgia turned into one of America's most famous actresses, but that wasn't her original career plan.

A love of animals had her setting her sights on veterinary school, before switching to pursue journalism. But her family couldn't afford to send her to college.

"We didn't have the money, though my mom probably could have scraped it together. I probably could have applied myself more at school and gotten better grades to get a scholarship. So it's not really, 'Wah, wah, wah... I didn't get to go to college.' I have yearnings to go back to school every other week. It just wasn't my path."

And who is she?

... To America's sweetheart

Julia Roberts!

Despite early sadness - her parents divorced when she was four and her father, who she was very close to, died of cancer five years later - Roberts enjoyed a largely happy childhood.

She attended Griffin Middle School and then Campbell High School in her home town and played clarinet in the band.

At age 17, she caught the acting bug and travelled to New York with her sister Lisa to study the artform. But while she registered for several classes, she didn't finish any of them.

Performing would have to wait a few years...

From rebel rouser...

Though the picture makes her look like a bruiser, our next subject had a relatively untroubled youth.

"I had a very happy childhood," she says. "I was lucky enough to have two parents who were very much in love and who had tremendous intellect, integrity and humour."

Still, she suffered from the same hangups most of us do...

"Seventh grade was my worst stage. I weighed about 13lbs, I had braces and my head was disproportionately large on my body.

"It was 1984 and I had decided to shave the back of my head."

But just who did she turn out to be?

...To sexy star

Gwyneth Paltrow!

Paltrow might come from a line of film folk - her parents, after all, are director Bruce Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner - but the young woman didn't immeditately see stage or screen as her calling.

She gained her first real acting experience around the age of 11 (in the summer stock productions her dad was directing), but studied art history in New York and Calfornia before realising her destiny.

And though she's turned into a healthy actress, she did have something of a wild side in her teens: "I was a naughty child who caused trouble. I'd pretend to be going to the theatre when I was out drinking cocktails."

From big grin...

This smiling Kentucky native must've known something about his famous future.

But he didn't have it all easy -during one of his younger school days, he was struck with Bell's Palsy, which partially paralyzes the face. His cruel classmates nicknamed him Frankenstein.

"That was the worst time of my life," he recalls. "You know how cruel kids can be. I was mocked and taunted, but the experience made me stronger."

Strong enough - and studious enough - that he earned As and Bs at high school and played baseball and basketball (the latter a passion which has stuck to this day). He even tried out for a professional baseball team , but didn't make the cut.

Still, acting beckoned - who is he?

...To leading man

George Clooney!

George Timothy Clooney is the son of former pageant queen Nina Bruce and journalist Nick Clooney.

The young actor was exposed to screen work early when his father would bring him into the studio during his talk shows. George quickly became an audience favourite - even at age 5.

But though he latched on to acting after dropping out of two colleges, he's glad he didn't become famous overnight: "It was a big help. If I was as famous as some people are at eighteen years old, I would have been shooting crack into my throat. But you can't remain famous like that over a long period of time."

Freelance Journalist

James White is a freelance journalist who has been covering film and TV for over two decades. In that time, James has written for a wide variety of publications including Total Film and SFX. He has also worked for BAFTA and on ODEON's in-cinema magazine.