Little Dakota Fanning isn't so little anymore. Well, she’s still short in height, but not in age. Gone is the spunky soon-to-be teenager who graced our big screens in the 2000s, replaced instead with a poised and classy little lady who has handled being a child star the best out of all the rest.
Although she’s nearing being 25 years old, she still relentlessly continues to be reminded of her pre-pubescent days. For most celebs, the transition from being a child star to being an adult one certainly isn’t as challenging as it has been for Dakota Fanning, but she now embraces it, just perhaps not wholeheartedly.
She told Cosmopolitan, "I've made my peace with the fact that there will be some people who, for the rest of my life, will believe I'm, like, nine years old. I have this joke that I'm literally going to be 35, married, and pregnant and people are still going to say, 'Oh my god, you grew up so fast! I can't believe it!' And yeah, sometimes when you're 21 years old and people are still saying that, you just want to rip your hair out. But I'm OK with it. I know who I am."
Have a look at these 20 pictures of Dakota Fanning all grown up. Unlike most celebs who give boring and shallow interviews, she is also one of the few actresses who deliver truly intellectual answers, not merely appearance-based.
20 First Ever Grown-Up Pic
This picture of Dakota cheerleading just a few years ago is one of the very first pics that made fans do a complete double-take in realization of just how much the starlet had grown up.
Not only was she, as she told Today, determined to “have the high school experience”, she was also a cheerleader and homecoming queen two years in a row. Wow, that’s definitely getting the high school experience, all right!
"I just think everyone always looks back on that time in their life. Who was homecoming princess and [did] the cheerleading ... and all the things that go along with high school? And I wanted to have that. I'm really lucky that I found a school that allows me to do both," she also added.
Fans were actually shaken when pics of her cheerleading and leading a normal high school life came out as she had pretty much been doing it on the down-low until then.
Answering a Newsweek Q&A about whether she’s a “math girl or an English girl”, Dakota once said: “English girl. I like math, but because I'm only a sophomore, I'm in geometry. On the SAT, there's a lot higher maths on there.”
19 Feeling Particularly Edgy
She told Marie Claire at the beginning of this year: “It always cracks me up when people talk about how I haven’t gone off the rails − which I have not, by any means − but you know, I’m a normal person. I love a party and I love having people over for any occasion since I’ve had my own apartment in New York. I’m always like, “You can stay with me!” I don’t cook, but I make cocktails. I make a good margarita.”
That’s actually pretty amazing to know, especially since that’s a side of her that she simply never shows to the tabloids.
Having been exposed to the limelight at too early of an age, she has certainly learned to maneuver around the endless paparazzi to the point that she is almost always only caught by them when she is ready.
In most pics, she is nearly always wearing something fashion-forward and trendy that is still comfortable.
If anything, it might actually be argued that it’s her sister Elle who now gets photographed more than she does. But that also has something to do with the fact that Elle has emerged as an actress in her own right, having had major roles in movies like Maleficient, Super 8, and many others.
18 Boyfriend #6
Shock! Not only does Dakota Fanning currently have a boyfriend, but he's also her fifth -- that the media knows of anyways. Her very first boyfriend was reportedly Cameron Bright, who ironically enough, played her twin brother Alec in Twilight when she played Jane.
Their roles definitely enabled them to get even closer to one another, just as Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison had, as well as Nikki Reed and Kellan Lutz (rumor has it that Nikki also had a short romantic stint with Robert while he was with Kristen).
Information is scarce as to why they broke up, but according to WDW, she also dated Freddie Highmore, who plays the chilling Norman Bates, around the same time that same time that she dated Cameron Bright.
Her stint with Cameron Bright has never been officially confirmed but ironically enough, they played twin siblings in Twilight. Awkwaaaard, maybe that’s why it also didn’t last. She then moved onto Jamie Strachan, eventually splitting with him too and jumping into Logan Markley’s ship soon after.
As of the latest news, Dakota is now with Henry Frye. Unlike her exes, who were models and actors, this one appears to be a mere student, so maybe she’ll have better luck this time.
17 Her Actions Don't Equal Her Words
Despite her multiple long-term relationships, she once revealed to Glamour: “I don't really date, I have a weird vision of relationships because my parents have known each other since second grade, and they got married right out of college. I've always thought that's what it's supposed to be like, and if it's not, then I don't want to waste my time on it. Even when I was 14, I was like, ‘I'm not gonna marry this person. What's the point of doing it?' It's not me being naive. I just know what it's supposed to be like. And I think until I feel that, I cannot be bothered.”
It’s a very aloof thing to say, but her dating history has definitely proved that she hasn’t been able to find love the same way that her parents have.
Not only has she had a couple of boyfriends since saying that she doesn’t like to date, but she also has majorly shied away from every staying single.
She’s only 24 years old, so there is certainly nothing wrong with dipping her feet into the dating pond as often as she wants. As we know, there are plenty of fish in Tinder sea.
16 Enviably Young & Healthy
I know what you’re thinking, “that can’t possibly be Dakota Fanning,” but it certainly is!
She doesn’t often rock a crop top and low-rise sweatpants look but she undeniably looks amazing in this get-up that most of us can only dream of ever being able to squeeze our mom bods into.
You’d be hard-pressed to find what exactly the actress eats or does to stay in as great shape as she is, but that’s mostly because she tends to gravitate towards giving more intellectual interviews. Although, she did once post to Instagram a picture of herself sipping a coconut drink straight out of a coconut.
Quick, run to get a coconut as that appears to be the elixir of youth! Don’t take that too seriously as unlike most celeb women, Dakota has been known to be able to get away with indulging in lots of fried foods and scrumptious desserts.
Blame that on her fast and young metabolism, but she will likely need to start being careful the closer she gets to the big 3-0. We all know it comes sooner than anticipated.
15 A Night Out
Oups, Dakota doesn’t exactly look her best in this one, but then again, this paparazzi shot was taken during one of her night’s out. Yes, she does go out with friends sometimes, but no, you will never find her smashed unable to walk.
Despite some of her “night out” pics, Dakota is still clearly a homebody. She told Glamour, “Oh, TV. I never skimp on TV. I watch an embarrassing amount of TV shows. I don't even know how I do it. I don't really know. I watch all the Real Housewives—I'm liking New York this season—and Game of Thrones. I just finished Broad City and I can't believe I’ve just discovered it. I feel like such a fool.”
How amazing would it be if Dakota would have had a role in Game of Thrones as one of the White Walkers? After Twilight, that’s certainly a role that she would have absolutely nailed. Not to mention, she would have had fans absolutely reeling!
Too bad it’s the last season and she won’t get the chance, but maybe she will be able to land a role in another amazing show?
Hint, hint, The Walking Dead now that they’re making room with all the character departures.
14 Inappropriate Q's
Having grown up in Hollywood, Dakota once told USA Today her resentment towards being told how much she has grown up.
“Starting so young, I'm going to get, 'You've grown up so much' until I'm heavily pregnant with a child. Yes. That is what happens," she says. "When I was younger, I used to get that all the time.' Do you have friends?' reporters would ask me. So inappropriate. What are you looking for?"
She also said, “Well, I'm here. That's the thing about it. If I thought about it that way, you'd bang your head against the wall," Fanning says. "I'm going to grow up. It's going to happen. Life goes on.”
It’s true, life does go on. But for fans, it can come as a particular shock to realize that some of our favorite child actresses (or actors) are suddenly adults. The moment from teenagehood to adulthood is so quick and many don’t even realize when child stars grow up. Our lives are so busy that we don’t always have time to read up on the latest gossip. Even the gossip mags at the checkout lane aren’t all that reliable, proclaiming that so-and-so is pregnant when they aren’t yet!
We’re all guilty of having this picture in our heads of little Dakota Fanning running away from aliens in War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise playing her dad. Of course, let’s also not forget the time that she played prissy little Ray in Uptown Girls, alongside the dearly loved Brittany Murphy.
But as already mentioned, little Dakota Fanning isn’t so little anymore. Well, that’s not entirely true.
At close to 5’3”, she isn’t exactly about to become a Victoria’s Secret model any time soon, but Dakota has still come a long way from the aforementioned roles.
It’s particularly hard to recognize that she is no longer the little girl that she was in our favorite movies.
Still, some might be shocked to realize that she wasn’t exactly as little as some of us may have thought. Since War of the Worlds came out in 2005, according to IMDB, that would put her at about 11 years old at the time. We can all agree that she definitely looked to be about nine years old in the movie! Her younger features and small height certainly contributed towards that perception, which is perhaps another reason as to why fans were as shocked to see her all grown up as they were.
12 One-Time Casual Look
The usually highly put-together Dakota shocked fans when she stepped out wearing some of the most casually unflattering clothes ever. Under different circumstances, the wet spots on her shirt may have been reminiscent of the infamous Jonathan Rhys Meyers pics where he was seen clutching a bottle that eventually landed him into rehab.
Luckily, we’re willing to bet our entire reputation that Dakota’s feet will never step foot into any kind of rehab facility.
The only exception might be a center similar to the one that Selena Gomez has been known to retreat to every once in a while to de-stress, but even then, it’s clear that Dakota isn’t your typical Hollywood child star. We have run many articles about child stars who either ended up in rehab or with careers that were flushed down the toilet, but the same will never be said about Dakota.
Unlike some celeb child stars who have steadily gone off the rails one after the other, Dakota’s head is firmly planted on her shoulders. You’d be hard-pressed to find a bad photograph of her, but that’s mostly because of her intense career plans. According to Marie Claire, she is currently in the midst of taking a women’s studies course at NYU.
11 Glamour Shot
Doesn’t she look absolutely gorgeous in this Glamour pic? When asked about the mag as to what it means to her “to be an American woman” now, her answer might be surprising to some.
"My best friends are the same friends I’ve had since I was 14 years old. I’m very proud to be a woman—you’re part of a tribe. Automatically, you feel connected to another woman when you meet them. That’s really special. And I’ve started to really realize and feel that. There’s just something you can relate to immediately, even without knowing a woman. It’s an inherent thing, an inherent connection. I’m really appreciating it and valuing that,” she answered.
Wow, that certainly is special and a consecutiveness that most would trade anything for, perhaps even a kid or two.
Just kidding! She might not be a mom yet, but any mom reading this will be sure to know instantly how lonely parenthood can be. Sure, you meet other parents are daycare, school, or at the park, but the connection is often fleeting. Everyone has their own busy lives to get back to and it can be hard to form new friendships. Let’s just hope that Dakota gets to keep her same group of friends well into whenever she has kids.
10 More Than Meets The Eye
Did you know that Dakota has a twin? Okay, not entirely, but her younger sister Elle Fanning may as well be! They may be four years apart, but the similarity is uncanny, especially since it can be incredibly hard to tell them apart in some pictures.
This pic of the two of them at the Saint Laurent runway might come as shock to some, but there is more to both of their looks than meets the eye.
Sure, Elle’a make-up is a little much and Dakota might be better suited heading up to the A club, but there’s an edgy reason behind both looks.
In fact, famed face painter Erin Ayanian Monroe once told Fashion Unfiltered, “Both Dakota and Elle are risk takers when it comes to their beauty looks and each has her own unique style and taste. Dakota may be the more classically inclined of the two but they are both excited to try new products and hear any new ideas from me.”
“The reasons their skin always looks great is twofold: First, they have great skin! Second, we choose not to cover that freshness with a lot of base and instead spot conceal if needed and use highlighters,” she also added. Something many of us can only dream of!
9 Little Star Meeting Big One
How immensely cute is this picture? Little child start meet former child star! As W Magazine’s headline summed it up the best: “Millie Bobby Brown and Dakota Fanning had a mutual fangirling moment at the 2018 SAG Awards”.
Not only did they both do the typical “OMG” face as they met each other, they also ended the moment by hugging it out. So cute! But it also just goes to show how much Dakota has indeed grown up.
Gone is our favorite and spunky little 11-year-old, replaced instead with a little mini-me, complete with her own buns.
You certainly won’t find her tripping over her feet at the trendiest Hollywood after-hour, but you will find her constantly challenging herself.
She told Marie Claire UK: "I am definitely ambitious. I want to do this, this and this, and then I’ll be happy.” Professionally, I am very ambitious but those ambitions reveal themselves, subconsciously, as the challenges come along.”
‘I do have moments where I feel like nowadays being just an actor isn’t enough. I was listening to Anna Faris Is Unqualified, which I love, and I was like, [in a paranoid whisper] “She’s an actor. Now she has a podcast… am I supposed to get a podcast?!,” she also hilariously added.
8 Not Without Controversy
Wow, look at those legs! We have nothing but envy for the stunning Dakota Fanning. She’s got it all: beauty, charm, personality and a fortune that already has her set for life. According to TheRichest, she is worth a cool $16 million, which is actually more than the other Dakota, who you would think would have a higher net worth. For her part, Dakota Jonhson is only worth $10 million.
Despite having her life together, Dakota Fanning’s career isn’t devoid of controversy. Back when she was 17 years old, her Marc Jacob ad was actually banned in the UK as a result of being deemed to provocative. There’s certainly way worse campaigns than that one, especially since she was merely sitting back in a dress with the Oh, Lola! Fragrance between her legs.
Speaking about the controversy, she later told Vogue, “There are much more important things to talk about than what I’m wearing or not wearing. It’s a waste of energy. I’d done things with Marc Jacobs before and [photographer] Juergen Teller is a friend of mine and when somebody tried to pollute that, I was just like: ‘You’re not going to take this away from me. This is so cool. It’s girlie and pretty and I can wear that I want. If you’re being creepy, then you have the problem.’”
7 Surprising Quirk
She’s a favorite on most late night shows, but she has particularly been on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon quite a few times since growing up. All of her videos are worth looking up on YouTube, especially since you might be shocked to realize that she not only looks grown up, but she also sounds completely different now as well! Although it’s not nearly as popular as she would have undoubtedly liked, her TV show The Alienist is worth checking out, or even more excitingly, her role in Ocean’s 8.
Another shocking thing about Dakota? She’s a self-proclaimed food substituter. She confided to Jimmy Fallon that when she went to Budapest, she tried to get a little Thai place to make her a custom dish, only to be met with “a resounding no”. In particular, she explained, “I’m always saying ‘no this’, ‘add this’, ‘this dressing’, but in a nice way.”
“I think about these things. I plan them out, like really, too much. I’ve planned my order two days in advance,” she also added.
All things considered, many people will be able to relate to that quirk. Sometimes, you just want what you want and not getting it can be particularly difficult on the taste buds!
6 Best Daytime Look - Minus The Guy
What better pic to show just how much Dakota has grown than one of her looking absolutely on points in roll-down jeans, heels and a casual top? It’s likely an ensemble that costs more than anyone’s rent! The guy in the pic is actually her ex Jamie Strachan, but still, the real star is her, no matter who she’s with.
Despite the boyfriends that have come and go in her life, her friends have remained the same and this, despite her self-proclaimed weirdness.
When asked about a “one-sentence tagline” that she would use to sum herself up, Dakota had a funny answer for Vogue.
“I should ask my friends. I was with all my friends this weekend. We were out at our friend’s house for his sister’s graduation party, and we all got home and were eating dinner and just kind of collapsed. I think a lot of my weird qualities had come out over the weekend because one of my closest guy friends, who I’ve known forever and went to high school together, looked at me and was like, “You’re a really weird person.”
When asked if her friend was saying it in a good way, she didn’t hesitate to answer, ”Yeah, of course. He was saying it with love. I was like, “You’re just realizing it?" He was like, "No, I'm not." I think the straw that broke—we were eating sushi, and they were like, "Here's soy sauce." And I was like, "No, no, no, I don't want it." And they were like, "You don't want soy sauce? You don't like soy sauce?" I was like, "Yeah, I like it. Just, it's not a necessity. I don't need to have it. I don't want it." And he was like, "You're a really weird person."
5 The Other Olsen Twin
With her role as the Scarlet Witch in Avengers, Elizabeth Olsen has been all the rage lately, but even Dakota Fanning can’t escape her!
When asked if she ever looked up to the Olsen Twins growing up, Dakota told James Corden that growing up, she watched all of their movies and that she even went to the same school as they did, although at different times as they are eight years apart. However, she is close to their youngest sister Elizabeth, whom she revealed she gets mistaken for on the street sometimes.
Did you know that the two friends actually starred in the movie Very Good Girls back in 2014? It doesn’t exactly have the best Rotten Tomatoes score, so it’s probably not worth checking out, but it’s still interesting to know that the two friends starred in a movie together. Hopefully, another movie will be more successful than this one if they ever score adjoining roles again.
Speaking about the movie, Dakota had actually told Teen Vogue at the time,
“I made this movie shortly after I turned 18, so I was on my own living in New York City and was alone on set for the first time. I could really relate to what was happening in the movie. It's such a story about independence and what it means to have your freedom."
4 Inseparably All Grown Up
The Fanning sisters may have their own successful acting careers completely separate from each other, but they also don’t hesitate to work on similar projects. As Vogue pointed out, Elle Fanning “has a long history as a Miu Miu muse”, often appearing in their campaigns. As already mentioned, for her part, Dakota recently made her first directorial venture by directing a Miu Miu short film.
Both sisters are also known to coordinate their make-ups and fashion styles to match one another and it goes without saying just how much both look absolutely grown-up in this picture.
Highly supportive of each other, the Fanning sisters also don’t hesitate to help each other on the red carpet and backstage whenever needed. Confiding to W Magazine, Elle said, “I was wearing jewelry earlier tonight that I had to take off, but there was no safe in my hotel room, so she's wearing it all at dinner right at this moment.”
The jewelry in question was actually a $75,000 Tiffany necklace, but as she added: “She’s keeping it all safe for me.” Nice! With how vicious the business can be, it must be a relief to know that they can always count on each other.
3 Enchanting Effortlessness
Back in 2017, Dakota Fanning took a bunch of stunning pics as part of Jimmy Choo's Spring collection and OMG, we can't get enough of this pic. Not only does she look heavenly, but it's also clear that she has come a long way from her earlier roles.
Gone is the little-frazzled girlie, replaced instead with an effortless cool to her posture. At the time, she had confided that there is still lots more on her bucket list.
“There are so many things I still want to try. I’m about to do a television series for the first time, and I couldn’t be more excited. I watch so much television and am so inspired by the subject matter that we’re tackling. It’s such an incredible opportunity to develop a character over a long period of time. As for theatre, that is something I’ve yet to do, but absolutely want to. I know that will be a challenge unlike any other, so I’m also very excited for that.”
Dakota doing theater? That’s a sight that many would pay dearly for, especially as she remains firmly entrenched as our darling former child actress.
2 Fashion-Forward Every Time
Despite her young age (she’s still far from 30!), Dakota Fanning has already positioned herself as a fashion role model. Interestingly, she revealed during her Jimmy Choo shoot:
“My earliest fashion memory was clomping around in my aunt’s heels, while visiting her in Miami. I was probably around two years old and insisted on wearing them with absolutely everything the entire trip!”
“I love heels of all kinds,” she also added. “Especially chunky platforms. My favourite style from the shoot was a beautiful strappy heel in metallic purple and green—the straps were like the vines of the flower that unfolded across the toes.”
When asked how she keeps her wardrobe and shoe collection “under control”, Dakota claimed that she is, “More on the meticulous side. But I must confess it could be more organized in there at the moment.”
Given how she told Jimmy Fallon how much of a control freak she is when it comes to her food, it definitely doesn’t surprise us that she would be “more on the meticulous side”. But don’t get us wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being organized.
1 All About Women's Rights
Although this picture shouldn’t require too many explanations, there is still a lot behind its meaning. It’s actually a limited edition t-shirt that Dakota had designed in honor of International Day of the Girl, but it’s her views on feminism that are particularly interesting.
When asked about what femininity means in our current world, Dakota told Vogue early this year, "I think it's so different to each and every person, and it changes for me from day to day. Society is having this conversation about how people express themselves, what makes them feel like themselves, what clothes represent who they are. I think the most important thing about what we're learning is that it changes all the time.”
"I think the world has changed a lot, and so I think ultimately all industries change. One of the most obvious ways is just thinking about social media and how that's changed the world. For better or worse, it’s changed,” she also added.
In fact, she is already making her mark on the issue and not just through her interviews and initiatives to raise money for certain causes. She just recently made her directorial debut with the short film Hello Apartment in Miu Miu’s Women’s Tales.
References: NY Daily News, News Week, WDW, E Online, IMDB, Glamour, Fashion Unfiltered, TheRichest, Vogue, YouTube, Teen Vogue, YouTube, USA Today, Marie Claire, W Magazine, Vogue, Vogue UK, W Magazine, Jimmy Choo, and Cosmopolitan.