10 Child Actors Who Went on to Adult Success

"Melancholia" Premiere - 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Year after year, it seems like there is yet another story of a former child star who is struggling to deal with the fact that they’ve fallen into obscurity. Unfortunately, many of these former stars turn to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. The sad reality is this: people who find fame at a young age often struggle to keep it, and as a result peak very early. But even with that being said, there are still many former child stars who have managed to catch all of the curveballs that have been thrown their way. In fact, some of these stars are so famous now, that their new fans don’t even realize that they used to be child stars. Here are 10 child actors who went on to adult success.

Jason Bateman

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When Jason Bateman began his career, he was just a kid. Despite landing some great early roles, many viewers were not sure that he would be able to successful transition to a career as an adult. Although he experiences a bump in the road while still in his 20s, Bateman was able to come out on top. As an adult, he’s has a great career, and has even worked as a producers and director.

 (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

If you grew up during the late 80s/early 90s, there’s a pretty good chance you remember Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his younger days. In fact, for a while, Gordon-Levitt had become one of the most familiar faces. However, he took a break from acting in order to pursue a college degree at Columbia. While taking a break can sometimes mean career death, Gordon-Levitt left school in 2004 to pursue acting again, and has since appeared in some very successful films including, 50/50 and The Dark Knight Rises.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris Book Signing For "Choose Your Own Autobiography"

These days, there are probably plenty of people around who don’t even remember that Neil Patrick Harris was a child star. But once upon a time, Harris was best-known for his role as the extremely smart teenage doctor, Doogie Howser. However, thanks to his role on the popular sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, Harris has had a very successful career as an adult. Aside from his TV appearances, he has also found success on stage.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Dakota Fanning

If you’ve been following Dakota Fanning’s career, it should come as no surprise that she’s become one of the child stars who has been able to withstand the test of time. Even in her earlier roles, there was something about Fanning that just screamed star power. Now 21, Fanning has already been in the business longer than some people twice her age. Although she is still relatively young, she seems ready to be taken seriously as an adult, and so far she is definitely showing that she has what it takes to have an unforgettable career in Hollywood.

 (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Elijah Wood

'Open Windows' Madrid Photocall

During his childhood, Elijah Wood starred in several successful films including, The Good Son and North. Now all grown up, fans may recognize him most from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, aside from his work on the big screen, Wood has also found success as a television actor, and has even had several roles as a voice actor.

 (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Mayim Bialik

5th Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards - Arrivals

During the late 80s and early 90s, Mayim Bialik was one of the fastest rising young stars in the business. In 1990, she landed a starring role as the title character in the hit sitcom, Blossom, and quickly became a household name. However, when the show ended in 1995, Bialik disappeared from the spotlight, and many assumed that she would stay away. But to the surprise of many fans, Bialik had actually started a career as a voice actress, and her voice appeared in several popular cartoons including Hey Arnold and Recess. Now, Bialik, who also took the time to earn a PhD, has caught a second wind in her career and is one of the stars of The Big Bang Theory.

(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio is another former child star whose adult career is nothing more than a distant memory to most of his fans. Although he appeared in several films, DiCaprio didn’t catch his big break until 1997 when he starred in the now classic film, Titanic. Since then, DiCaprio has become a household name who is also one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

 (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)


Premiere Of Fox's "Empire" - Arrivals

When Raven-Symone made her on-screen debut as Olivia Kendall on the successful sitcom, The Cosby Show, she instantly become a fan favorite. Viewers just couldn’t seem to get enough of the cute and sassy little girl, and with the success of the show, she was able to land other roles and even had a short-lived music career. Although she took a few years away from the spotlight, Raven returned in 2003 with her own hit Disney show, That’s So Raven, which again made her a household name. When the show ended in 2007, she again took a break from the spotlight after feeling like the fame had gotten overwhelming. However, now nearing 30, Raven is back in front of the camera as a co-host of The View. 

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Jodie Foster

Academy Award winning actress, Jodie Foster, may be one of the most successful actresses of her generation. Over the course of her career, she’s worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, and has appeared in some very successful films. With all of her accomplishments, many people tend to forget that Foster’s first on-screen appearance came when she was just three-years-old.

(Getty Images)

Drew Barrymore

2014 Women's Leadership Award Honoring Stella McCartney

Drew Barrymore may be the only former child star to have completely hit rock bottom and still find success as an adult. Like many other people who find success at an early age, Barrymore struggled to deal with substance abuse and other personal issues. However, she was able to overcome her struggles, and is now one of the most well-known stars in Hollywood.

(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Lead (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

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