The ’90s was an interesting decade, and it was a great time for entertainment because it brought us some of the best, and most memorable, TV series and films. The quality and popularity of these shows made some actors really big stars and propelled their work forward, but for others, their role was so popular that it seemed to haunt them afterward and they felt they could never really live up to that character again because it was constantly outshining them (just ask Mara Wilson from Matilda).
Some of these former stars were considered heartthrobs, others were just total goals or loved for their characters. Although their fame may have dwindled in the years since their success (and they have been replaced now by other popular stars), there is still an interest surrounding the actors who once played such an important part of so many people's lives.
And many are left asking, what are they up to now? Did they leave the acting world to focus on education, or start a family? Or are they still working in the entertainment industry, but their stars are shining just a little less brightly than they were before? Below are 20 forgotten babies of the ‘90s, and what they’re up to now!
20 Danielle Fishel Was On 'Boy Meets World,' And Now She’s A Mom To A Baby Boy
Danielle Fishel was a big star in the ‘90s because of her role in the hit show Boy Meets World, which ran for seven years. In it, she played the character Topanga Lawrence-Matthews, and after it wrapped, she never completely disappeared. Fishel is still an actress (although she’s arguably not quite as popular as she once was) and also appeared in the spin-off series, Girl Meets World, which ran from 2014 to 2017.
She is also all grown up, and will soon be a mom to a baby boy. She confirmed her pregnancy in January of 2019, saying she was “eating for two” and was expecting a boy with husband Jensen Karp, People reports.
19 Mara Wilson’s Acting Started When She Was Young, And She Stepped Away From Hollywood When She Was Young, Too
You may remember Mara Wilson from Matilda, the 1996 comedy film (that my sister and I must have watched around 100 times, along with most other children). But her character also haunted her in a way because she became so well-known for the role.
"I felt almost like Matilda was an older sister that was constantly outshining me," Wilson told Romper. "I felt like I was never going to be anywhere near as cool and amazing and brilliant as this character was."
Wilson left behind acting for a long time and went on to become a comedian and published author, the publication notes. She also furthered her education and graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2009.
18 Dakota Fanning Was Born In The ‘90s, And She Became A Star In The Same Decade
It’s hard to forget Dakota Fanning because she continues to be a big star, but probably not quite as big as she was in her youth when she secured role after role in Hollywood blockbusters and critically acclaimed films.
She was born in 1994, and her first role, according to IMDB, was in 1998 (although she really became a big star in the early 2000s). You may not hear about her as much now, although she was in Ocean’s Eight and The Alienist, but she has worked in the fashion industry and is a muse for brand Miu Miu, and also a director. Fanning made her directorial debut with a 2018 short film called Hello Apartment and told The Hollywood Reporter she had always wanted to direct.
17 Alyson Stoner Is A Dancer And Actress, And She’s Only In Her Twenties Now
You probably remember Alyson Stoner for her impressive dancing skills in the dancing film Step Up (and it’s sequels later on). She played the character Camille, and fans were impressed with her moves, but Stoner is a multitalented woman, and even before she secured this role in 2006, she was working in the industry, appearing in multiple TV series and music videos.
Unlike many of the other entries on this list, Stoner is slightly different in that she is a ‘90s baby because she was actually born in the ‘90s and didn’t just become famous in this decade. Born in 1993, she is now only 25, and has released her own music, and continued to work in the entertainment industry as an actress.
16 Jonathan Lipnicki Was The Cutest Child Star, But He Prefers A Much Quieter Life Now
How can anyone forget the adorable little boy named Jonathan Lipnicki who starred in the Stuart Little films, and played the role of Ray Boyd, in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire (opposite Tom Cruise)? Lipnicki was undeniably one of the cutest child stars in the ‘90s, but he seems to prefer a quieter pace of life now. According to Good Housekeeping, he has been spending his time practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but he has also made multiple TV appearances, which according to his IMDB page include Youthful Daze and Interns of F.I.E.L.D.
According to Nicki Swift, he also focused on theater performances, including starring in the Tony-nominated play The Lieutenant of Inishmore.
15 Frances Bean Cobain Became An Instant Celebrity In 1992 When She Was Born To Kurt Cobain And Courtney Love
Frances Bean Cobain is the only daughter of Courtney Love and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and unlike some other celebrity children, she has chosen to live her life, mostly, out of the public eye, although she has occasionally given interviews and appeared at high-profile events. She also has over a million followers on social media.
She was born in 1992, and there was always going to be an interest in Frances because of how famous her parents were at the time, and because just two years later, her father passed away. In the ‘90s, she was like the Blue Ivy and North West’s of today, and she has even jokingly referred to herself as “the O.G. Blue Ivy” during an episode of the RuPaul: What’s the Tee? podcast (via People).
14 Remember Andrea Barber From ‘Full House?’ Well, She Has Her House Full Of Kids Now
Full House was a really popular ‘90s show, which is why it was remade decades later, and Andrea Barber was part of the original series. On the show, she played D.J. Tanner’s best friend, Kimmy Gibbler, and she reprised her role in the reboot, Fuller House, too!
Fans were happy to have her back on the show, but you may have been wondering what she was doing in between the roles? Barber took a break from acting to study, and she enrolled in Whittier College. According to Bustle, she graduated with a degree in English, and then later furthered her education, getting an M.A. from the University of York in England. She’s also a mom to two children and remains good friends with Candace Cameron Bure (also known as D.J. Tanner).
13 Melissa Joan Hart Was The Teenage Witch Who Stole Our Hearts
Melissa Joan Hart was Sabrina the Teenage Witch on the popular series which ran from 1996 to 2003, and when the show wrapped, she continued to work steadily in the ‘90s. It was an iconic role, and one that Hart valued, telling Business Insider years later, “Every actor wants to play an iconic role that they’ll be remembered for their whole lives.”
According to Daily Mail, she and her mother own a production company called Heartbreak Films, and Hart appeared on the series Melissa & Joey from 2010 to 2015. She has been married to a man named Mark Wilkerson since 2003, and together they share three boys. All in all, things seem good for Melissa Joan Hart!
12 Jonathan Taylor Thomas Was A Bit Of A Heartthrob, But He’s Walked Away From Fame
Jonathan Taylor Thomas was considered a teen heartthrob, and his popularity grew thanks to his roles in Tom and Huck, and Man of the House. He was a big star in the ‘90s, and although people like Jason Momoa and Chris Hemsworth are considered heartthrobs in the industry now, perhaps that’s because Jonathan left the industry behind to focus on other things.
His roles slowed down in the early 2000s, and he disappeared completely after 2006. During this time, he decided to study and attended Harvard, Columbia, and then later went to the University of St Andrews in Scotland, Refinery29 reports. He did return to acting with a recurring role in Last Man Standing from 2013 to 2015, but according to IMDB, he hasn’t been credited with any roles after that.
11 Haley Joel Osment Impressed People As A Star In The ‘90s, But Now He'd Prefer To Keep His Private Life, Well, Private
Haley Joel Osment was Forrest Gump Jr. in the memorable film Forrest Gump, but he also starred in several popular films during the ‘90s. However, he is now one of the most popular celebrities to find themselves on lists of forgotten stars because unlike some actors and actresses, he has decided to leave his former child star life behind him and has instead opted for a life with a much slower pace — well, at least, he did that for a while.
According to ABC News, Osment graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2011, he also briefly appeared on Broadway. His IMDB page does show that he worked sporadically from 2007 to 2014, but it was in 2014 that he started taking on a lot more projects in Hollywood.
10 Michelle Trachtenberg Has Had Long-Lasting Success, Which Started In, You Guessed It, The '90s
Michelle Trachtenberg first became a big star in the ‘90s, but unlike many other child stars on this list, her work did not slow down and she has continued to work steadily in the industry and appeared on some big TV series including Weeds, and Gossip Girl. In more recent years, Trachtenberg has lent her voice to animated series, including Robot Chicken and Human Kind Of, in which she voices the character Judy Reilly, IMDB notes.
Trachtenberg's also a horse lover (judging by her social media) and recently excited Gossip Girl fans everywhere when she reunited with her former Gossip Girl co-star Leighton Meester — although it was just for a selfie.
9 Keshia Knight Pulliam Is All Grown Up Now And Has A Large Social Media Following
Another star from the ‘90s was Keshia Knight Pulliam, who was best known for her role as Rudy Huxtable in The Cosby Show. She is a chef and foodie and documents this journey with the name Keshia’s Kitchen.
Like Danielle Fishel, she is also all grown up and is a mama to an adorable daughter named Ella, who she is raising to be a strong woman. We know this, because, on International Women’s Day, Pulliam shared a photo of her daughter and captioned it with a telling message: “We have to teach our little ladies from birth that they deserve to be celebrated!!” In addition to teaching her daughter that women are equal to men, she also has an impressive social media following, perhaps because she is so relatable.
8 Anna Chlumsky Had A Hiatus To Go To College, But Now She’s Back
Anna Chlumsky is still an actress, and in her adult years she has starred in the comedic TV series Veep, but she is best known for her role in the ‘90s film My Girl, and three years later the sequel, My Girl 2. Following the success of these roles, Chlumsky actually took a step away from the acting world to focus on her studies and attended the University of Chicago.
According to ABC News, she studied international relations, and had this to say about her hiatus: “I had written off acting... because the way that I grew up with it and then stopped getting jobs through my adolescence, so much of it just made me feel bad. Everything around school made me feel better…”
7 Tahj Mowry Was One Of The Cutest ‘90s Stars Around, And Now He’s A Singer
You are probably familiar with twins Tia and Tamera Mowry, who still remain in the spotlight, but not everyone realizes that their brother is Tahj Mowry. He was a big star in the ‘90s thanks to various roles, and according to Refinery29, he guest starred on multiple shows, including Friends, and Who’s the Boss?. He also played the role of Teddy on Full House. But perhaps out of all of these roles he is best known for his show Smart Guy, in which he played the lead role.
Since his ‘90s fame, Tahj has lent his voice to some popular animated characters, held down several TV roles, and released music.
6 7th Heaven’s Mackenzie Rosman Was Once A Fan Favorite, But She Hasn’t Held Many Roles Since
Mackenzie Rosman is known for her television role as Ruthie Camden on the hit show 7th Heaven, which ran from 1996 to 2007. After her impressive TV run, she hasn’t actually held down many memorable roles, although she did appear in the TV series The Secret Life of the Am. Teenager (the same series that once starred Shailene Woodley), in which she played the character Zoe.
But maybe she simply wanted a change of scenery, having appeared in commercials since the age of four. Rosman’s focus seems to have shifted, and she is now a competitive equestrian rider and owns many horses, Elite Daily reports.
5 Danica McKellar Was On ‘The Wonder Years,’ And She’s Shown Her Skills As A Dancer Now
Danica McKellar played the role of Winnie Cooper on the ‘90s TV show The Wonder Years. Well, perhaps you could even call The Wonder Years an ‘80s show because it started in 1988 and ran until 1993.
The show made McKellar a big star in the ‘90s, and after it wrapped she did go on to appear in several TV series, including Inspector Mom and The West Wing, IMDB notes. Then in 2014, McKellar came back onto the scene, as Daily Mail notes she appeared on the 18th season of Dancing With The Stars. According to Zimbio, she has also penned several best-selling books and attended UCLA, where she earned a BS degree in mathematics.
4 Joseph Mazzello Was The Kid In 'Jurassic Park,' And People May Not Have Even Realized He Was Also In ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
Jurassic Park has been redone in recent years, but the original film, for many, will remain the best. The original film came out in 1993 and was directed by Steven Spielberg, and if you think back to the movie, it also had a child star, who was none other than Joseph Mazzello! He played the role of Tim Murphy, and also appeared in the sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
And then, for a time, many fans probably forgot all about Mazzello, until watching the 2018 Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, in which he played the role of John Deacon.
3 You Know Miranda Cosgrove From The 2000s Mostly, But Her Acting Started Even Earlier
Miranda Cosgrove was born in 1993, and this ‘90s baby was discovered by a talent scout when she was just three after she was seen singing and dancing at the restaurant Taste of L.A., AceShowbiz reports. She went on to appear in commercials for Burger King, McDonald's, according to her IMDB biography, and landed her first major role in School of Rock in 2003, starring Jack Black (although she was also in an episode of Smallville in 2001).
But Cosgrove became particularly popular in her teens, becoming a big Nickelodeon star thanks to the TV series iCarly, and its multiple spin-off shows. So, what has she been up to now? According to MSN, she enrolled at the University of Southern California in 2012 to study film, and she's still an actress.
2 Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s Brother Jussie Is Making His Mark In The Entertainment Industry, But She Beat Him Too It
Jussie Smollett has been making headlines in recent months, and not necessarily for his role in the TV series Empire, but his acting started in the early ‘90s. And he wasn’t the only famous Smollett during the ‘90s, either! His sister, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, also had an impressive work as a child star, and some of her roles in the ‘90s included Full House (in which she played Denise Frazer) and On Our Own, but she made her debut with a TV short, Sunday in Paris, in 1991.
At the end of the ‘90s, Jurnee's roles seemed to be less frequent but sped up again in 2016, when she appeared on Underground, and later Sofia the First. She now has several projects in post-production, according to IMDB. She also became a mama at aged 30, TV Over Mind reports.
1 Christina Ricci Is A Child Star Whose Work Is Still Going Strong
One of Christina Ricci’s most memorable roles was that of Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family, and later Addams Family Values (although these weren’t her first roles). She was a big star in the ‘90s, and her body of work is impressive. Ricci has continued to work steadily in Hollywood and has 77 acting credits to her name, and she has been nominated for several prestigious awards throughout her life so far.
Putting her acting aside, things are also pretty good in her personal life, and she is married with a son. In fact, she credits motherhood for changing her life for the better. "I think the latest developments in my life have grounded me,” she told People. "My agent has been with me since I was 10 years old, and she's a brilliant, grounded woman, so she's responsible for that element. But also really, it was getting married and having a child.”
Sources: People, IMDB, ABC News, Refinery29, Elite Daily, Zimbio, Daily Mail, The Hollywood Reporter, Teen Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Nicki Swift, Ace Showbiz, MSN, ABC News, TV Over Mind, Bustle, Romper