Mara Wilson was just nine when she starred as the wonder child/genius Matilda in the 1996 family favourite movie of the same name. You might also recognise the actor from her popular roles in the non-stop laughter film ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ or ‘Miracle on 34th Street’.
Wilson retired from acting at the age of 13, struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression and the dark side of fame. The star has revealed that going through puberty poorly impacted on her career and body image, explaining in an interview with 'NPR' how she was made to feel “embarrassed” about her developing body. The former actress has since pursued her love of storytelling in different forms, releasing a string of novels and plays, including her upcoming tell-all ‘Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame’
2. Anna Chlumsky
She made us laugh, cry and hold our breaths in the 1991 family drama ‘My Girl’ as the tomboyish Vada Sultenfuss. For many of us '90s kids, this was the first coming-of-age film we watched, and we were captivated by the emotional rollercoaster of a plot (and who could forget *that* kiss?) Just 10 during the filming of ‘My Girl’, Anna was caught up in a whirlwind of fame.
The blonde beauty took an unexpectedly long hiatus from acting in 1999, returning seven years later to star in an episode of NBC’s ’30 Rock’. These days, you’ll find Anna starring in ‘Veep’, a political satire comedy television series and year-round Emmy’s favourite!
3. Tatyana Ali
She burst onto the scene at just six years of age, starring in almost 150 episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air alongside A-lister Will Smith.
After six years on the show, Tatyana chose to focus on her singing ability, releasing several albums, including a track with her on-screen brother Will. Since then, Tatyana has received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in African-American studies (um, can you say multitalented?), and is now expecting her first child.
4. Jodie Sweetin
We all know the story of the ‘Full House’ twins who group up to become the ever-fashionable A-listers Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. But have you ever wondered what happened to their onscreen sister and troubled tomboy Stephanie Tanner aka Jodie Sweetin?
Sweetin, who has revealed she dated and performed musical theatre with 'Glee' star Matthew Morrison in high school, fell into a difficult period of drug addiction and legal issues following her role in ‘Full House’. When the American sitcom ended after 8 long years, Sweetin graduated from high school and went straight into rehabilitation for substance abuse. Now at 34 years of age, Sweetin has returned to the screen to reprise her role in the Netflix reboot ‘Fuller House’.
5. Haley Joel Osment
After being nominated for an Oscar for his role in the spine-tingling thriller ‘The Sixth Sense’ at just 11 years old, Haley Joel Osment was one of the most prominent child stars of his generation. Known for his iconic line “I see dead people” line, Osment was scouted by a talent agent looking for new actors at just four years old whilst visiting an Ikea store with his mother.
After achieving major stardom at such a young age, Osment’s acting career took a turn for the worst he was involved into a car accident whilst driving under the influence in 2006. After months of rehabilitation, the young actor graduated from New York University, got back into acting, and reemerged onto the Hollywood scene, most notably for his roles in the ‘Entourage’ movie and ‘Comedy Bang! Bang!’
6) Maureen McCormick
Maureen McCormick is widely known for her role Marcia Brady on the ABC television sitcom ‘The Brady Bunch’. Throughout her career, she reprised the role several times on Brady Bunch spin-offs and films such as ‘The Brady Kids’, ‘The Brady Bunch hour’ and ‘A Very Brady Christmas’. She also appeared in well-known sitcoms such as ‘Bewitched’, ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and ‘The Farmer’s Daughter’.
Despite her early career success, McCormick had struggled in her personal life with addictions to cocaine and Quaaludes. The actress also struggled with depression and bulimia. In 2008, she published an autobiography titled Here’s The Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, which made it to number four on The New York Times bestseller list.
7) Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris rose to fame by playing the title character on ‘Doogie Howser, MD’. Harris found success by playing the notorious playboy, Barney Stinson, in the hit sitcom, ‘How I Met Your Mother’.
Harris also starred in several mainstream films such as 'Beastly', 'The Smurfs' and 'Gone Girl'. In 2014, he won a Tony award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his title role in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch'.
8) Madeline Zima
She played the youngest Sheffield daughter in the hit sitcom, ‘The Nanny’. In an interview with TVPage.com, Zima reveals that she didn’t have a “fun” experience working on 'The Nanny'. She reveals: “There was just a kindness and a sensitivity that didn’t exist on the set of The Nanny. They treated me more like a prop than like a human being.”
Now, Zima is a successful actress having starred in several TV shows such as ‘Californication’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘Heroes’. She also starred in several films such as ‘A Cinderella Story’, ‘Legacy’ and ‘The Collector’.
9) Jonathan Lipnicki
Lipnicki was only five when his career took off. He played Renee Zellweger’s son in the film, ‘Jerry Maguire’. His other famous role includes playing the adorable big brother, George, in the film ‘Stuart Little’.
Lipnicki briefly left Hollywood to focus on school and to experience a normal childhood. In 2012, he starred in his first movie role in years, playing Young Yoni in the film, ‘For the love of money’. Lipnicki reveals that he still gets advice from his then co-star, Tom Cruise. "I'm not going to lie and try to be like, 'Ahhh, we're best friends,' but you know he's really been there for me," Lipnicki explained to HuffPost. "As far as whenever I needed to reach out, he responded."