When Child Stars Grow Up

Hilary Duff

The Child: Another Disney kid, Duff’s big break came with TV series Lizzie McGuire – which actually came after her movie debut, Casper Meets Wendy.

The Adult: Duff’s had a rocky ride to adulthood in the critical stakes, having been nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards. She’s just given birth to her first child, which we imagine will involve a break from acting for a while.

Henry Thomas

The Child: Another Spielberg beneficiary, Thomas was plucked from obscurity to play the young lead in ET: The Extra-Terrestrial . He went on to play a young Norman Bates in the less-lauded Psycho IV: The Awakening.

The Adult: Thomas has worked consistently since his ET days, appearing in everything from Gangs Of New York to Dear John . Never as the lead, mind.

Neil Patrick Harris

The Child: Debuted in Whoopi Goldberg movie Clara’s Heart in 1988 before taking on the title role as Doogie Howser in the comedy-drama series.

The Adult: Now best recognisable as a womaniser in TV sitcom How I Met Your Mother , Harris has been slowly cracking the big screen with appearances in The Muppets, American Reunion and The Smurfs. Also performed at the Oscars.

Chlo Grace Moretz

The Child: Played an adorable moppet in The Amityville Horror remake and stuck to genre stuff with The Eye before kicking ass as Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass . Was JGL’s sage younger sister in (500) Days Of Summer.

The Adult: On the cusp of adulthood at the grand old age of 15, Moretz is returning for another round of Hit-Girl mayhem with Kick-Ass 2, and continues her worrying trend of reboots (note: Let Me In ) with Carrie .

Jeff Bridges

The Child: Entered the fray aged nine alongside dad Lloyd and brother Beau in TV show Sea Hunt.

The Adult: One of our most prolific and still-thrilling actors. Bridges has a name for himself now as a laidback dude (see: The Big Lebowski ), but his career’s a treasure trove of wonders: The Last Picture Show, Thunderbolt And Lightfoot, Tron, The Fabulous Baker Boys, True Grit…

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The Child: Be-curtained in Third Rock From The Sun , a student in dog pic Beethoven and ‘Young Norman’ in A River Runs Through It. His teen contributions included getting his face smooshed in Halloween: H20 and getting loved up in 10 Things I Hate About You.

The Adult: Genre-hopping like a genre-loving flea, JGL’s done action (Inception, Looper ), comic books ( Dark Knight Rises ) and tragi-comedy ( 50/50, 500 Days Of Summer ). One of our favourites.

Kirsten Dunst

The Child: Was directed by Woody Allen in her film debut (short film Oedipus Wrecks ) before terrifying and thrilling in equal measure as seriously messed-up young vampire Claudia in Interview With The Vampire.

The Adult: Went through a non-car-wreck teen phase (gold star results : Bring It On, The Virgin Suicides, Drop Dead Gorgeous ) before emerging with the mature likes of Melancholia and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.

River Phoenix

The Child: Made his debut in Joe Dante’s sci-fi fantasy Explorers in 1985 before making one of his most famous films, Stand By Me . Went on to star as Young Indy in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.

The Adult:
Made the phenomenal My Own Private Idaho in 1991, then tragically died on 31 October 1993 of a cocaine and heroin overdose.

Anna Chlumsky

The Child: Most recognisable for her role as Vada Sultenfuss in My Girl , which she filmed when she was just 11 years old. She also made sequel My Girl 2 and Trading Mom.

The Adult: Jumped back into the spotlight via scathing political comedy In The Loop . Now mostly appears in TV shows like White Collar , Covert Affairs and Army Wives.

Ron Howard

The Child: Made his first uncredited on-screen appearance aged just two (Frontier Woman ) before landing a gig on The Andy Griffith Show aged six. Went on to appear in Happy Days for six years.

The Adult: One of Hollywood’s biggest directors, with two Oscars under his belt. Top credits include Frost/Nixon, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 (and yes, Willow and Splash ).