A Comprehensive Guide to Your Biggest Childhood Crushes: Then & Now
Lawrence may be known for starring in Mrs. Doubtfire opposite the late and great Robin Williams, but ’90s babies will always remember him as Shawn Hunter’s older (and dreamy!) brother, Jake, on Boy Meets World. Lawrence is still acting, and is currently celebrating big news in his personal life: He got engaged to Dancing with the Stars pro Cheryl Burke in May 2018!
Elwes made us swoon with three words — “As you wish!” — in 1987’s The Princess Bride, playing sweet, lovelorn Westley, opposite Robin Wright’s titular character. And he didn’t slow down since his breakout role in the cult classic. He went on to star in The X-Files and Life in Pieces, and is set to join the cast of Stranger Things in season 3.
Unsurprisingly, Katz’s most memorable role remains that of Hocus Pocus‘ high school student Max, a California transplant who recently moves to Salem, and unwittingly lights the Sanderson Sisters’ black flame candle, giving the witches an opportunity to wreak havoc on the town on Halloween night. In 2000, Katz had a guest spot on General Hospital as a tattoo artist — seven years after his breakout performance.
He may have played the object of every teen girl’s affection as Casper the boy in the 1995 film, but Sawa told The A.V. Club in 2012 that being a heartthrob wasn’t something he embraced, and tried hard to break out of the title. “I thought I was going to do the weirdest stuff I could possibly do. Stuff that was edgier and alternative, like Idle Hands and SLC Punk! and the ‘Stan’ video,” said Sawa, who went on to star in Nikita. “I wanted to get out of that kind of teen-idol thing.”
Harvey, is that you? A completely different person from who we once knew as Sabrina’s (Melissa Joan Hart) high school sweetheart, Richert traded in his floppy hair for a shaved head. Richert has since left acting to pursue a career in music.
He may have cemented his status as every ’90s kid’s ultimate crush in Home Improvement, but Thomas decided to take a break from the spotlight a few years after the show’s 1999 finale. Instead, choosing to focus on his education over actively pursuing acting gigs. “I never took the fame too seriously,” the actor, who appeared with Tim Allen on the ABC sitcom from 1991-99, told PEOPLE in 2013. “It was a great period in my life, but it doesn’t define me. When I think back on the time, I look at it with a wink. I focus on the good moments I had, not that I was on a lot of magazine covers.” He has since dabbled in directing and screenwriting, and starred in four episodes of Last Man Standing.
Playing Tia Landry’s (Tia Mowry) love interest, Tyreke, in Sister, Sister, Lee’s onscreen counterpart won us all over with his aww-worthy dedication to his longtime girlfriend. Following the show’s finale, the actor scored spots on Moesha, Madea Goes to Jail, and most recently starred in the LeBron James-produced comedy Survivor’s Remorse, which aired from 2014 to 2017. During an appearance on The Real, Lee told former costar Tamera Mowry that he is all for a reboot of the family-friendly show — and has an idea of what Tyreke would be up to today. “Being that he was a security guard when they went to college at University of Michigan, I think he’s parlayed that into a full-on firm. He’s doing bodyguard work,” he said. “He’s doing big things.”
Houston gave us one of the greatest TV transformations of all time. The star went from portraying Tia and Tamera’s annoying next door neighbor, Roger Evans, on Sister, Sister to becoming a certified hunk before our very eyes. Houston — who has released five albums and most recently starred in 2016’s A Weekend with the Family — continues to make our hearts skip a beat.
We can’t help but have a soft spot for von Detten, who played one of the “Soul-Skaters” in 1998’s Brink!. The actor still had us mesmerized (despite being a jerk) in Princess Diaries, where he played Princess Mia’s (Anne Hathaway) ill-intentioned crush. Von Detten hasn’t starred in a major production since voicing the character of Sid in 2010’s Toy Story.
He stole Raven-Symoné’s heart in The Cheetah Girls, while taking ours hostage for years (and years) too. Since starring in The Cheetah Girls, the actor has worked in Being Human and most recently starred in the TV mini-series, Six.
Real talk: Anyone who watched The Karate Kid and didn’t develop a crush on Daniel (Macchio) has been lying to themselves for decades. Since his lead role in the 1984 film, Macchio has continued to act and is now reprising the role that made him famous in a new YouTube Red series, Cobra Kai, opposite his Karate Kid costar and onscreen nemesis, William Zabka.
Breaking news: Strong, who played Shawn Hunter in Boy Meets World and its 2014 reboot Girl Meets World, was not fond of the hair that made him famous. “My hair is wavy and they would straighten it on the show and it would take forever,” Strong told Cosmopolitan in 2013. “I wanted to cut my hair so bad, but the only time I got to was when we found out the show was going to be canceled.” A self-proclaimed “bad, good teen idol” (he wasn’t a fan of the attention), Strong has served as a screenwriter and director in his career, and also attended Columbia University, where he graduated with an English Literature degree.
As one of the members of Dream Street — which also introduced us to a baby-faced Jesse McCartney — Trousdale was the object of many a fan’s affection during the boy band’s 2000-2002 reign. A decade later, in 2012, he auditioned for The Voice, but was not picked. Regardless, the triple threat (he sings, acts and dances) is keeping his head up. He released a single, “Dance for Love”, in March 2018.
He first won us over as Shia LaBeouf’s character’s BFF in the Disney Channel series Even Stevens before making us swoon in You Wish, a film about a teen (Trauth) who wishes his younger brother would disappear forever – only to have it come true. He’s had guest spots in a slew of TV shows, from Bones to Reba, and most recently starred in 2017’s Camp Cool Kids. Another notable tidbit? Trauth is actually married to a fellow Disney Channel Movie star, Lea Pipes, who had a role in Pixel Perfect.
Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose! While we would have been better off falling for sweet Jason Street (Scott Porter), we just couldn’t quit the allure of beer-loving bad-boy (but with a good heart, we promise!) Tim Riggins (Kitsch). Since Kitsch’s turn in the fan-favorite TV show, the actor has starred in season 2 of True Detective and currently has a lead role in Waco as religious leader David Koresh.
You know him as one of the three super-cute brothers in Hanson, the band that gave us one of the catchiest tunes of all time: 1997’s “MMMBop”. Fortunately, Taylor isn’t sick of the song after all these years.
“Thankfully, it’s a calling card we’re not embarrassed of, and never have been, because it’s our song,” Taylor, who is also the lead singer of Tinted Windows, told TIME in 2013.”It’s three young brothers that performed in a garage and recorded this very simple song that then became a little more shiny and polished and was heard by millions of people.” He added: “When we perform it now and we see people singing it, it has a whole different life and we’re more proud of the fact that it has maintained a kind of freshness.”
From surfing big waves in Hawaii to taking on Vermont’s snow slopes, Brandon Baker in Johnny Tsunami not only made us feel like he got us – what with moving to a new school and making new friends – but his devotion to improve in each sport made him totally crush-worthy. Baker has appeared in a handful of TV shows, including guest spots on Even Stevens and a TV sequel to Johnny Tsunami in 2007.
The Oscar winner got his start in acting by playing Angela Chase’s (Claire Danes) ever-mysterious love interest Jordan Catalano in the short-lived, but culturally important My So-Called Life. “It was about time,” Leto, who earned an Academy Award for 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club, proclaimed when Rolling Stone writer described his character as a “lust object” — a role typically reserved for actresses. “I’m happy to have taken that, uh, baton or whatever.”
We may be in awe of Smith’s impressive (and exhaustive!) acting resume, but nothing quite compares to his early acting days on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Unfortunately, the lauded actor can’t seem to watch himself on the ’90s show — particularly in the first few episodes. “If you watch the first four or five episodes, you can see I’m mouthing other people’s lines,” Smith said on The Graham Norton Show in 2017. “It’s terrible and I can’t bear to watch it.”
Waking up early on Saturday mornings to watch Saved by the Bell meant one thing: we got to experience the charismatic Zack Morris (Gosselaar) get himself into laugh-out-loud situations and pine after Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen), who we may or may not have been jealous of back in the day (okay, very jealous of). Gosselaar has had steady onscreen work since those onscreen high school days, landing roles in Franklin & Bash, Pitch and Nobodies.
Your typical cute jock, Ethan Craft (Snyder) was pretty much everyone’s school crush — including Lizzie’s (Hilary Duff) — in Disney Channel’s Lizzie McGuire. Following the end of the show and release of its subsequent film, Snyder graduated to a range of onscreen roles, from YouTube series Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party to 2017 miniseries Mondays. Oh, and did we mention he was a successful water polo player while attending Pepperdine University?
… but if reserved intellectuals were more your type, then Lizzie McGuire’s BFF Gordo was probably (read: most definitely) your soulmate back in the day. Lamberg hasn’t acted since his Disney Channel days, and according to his LinkedIn profile, currently works at New York City’s Irish Arts Center.
Deemed Degrassi high’s bad boy due to his tough exterior, Sean Cameron (Clark) was actually a low-key good guy, fans of the long-running show learned throughout Clark’s 101-episode run. After Degrassi, the actor decided to step away from acting, enrolling at New York University, where he majored in political science and interned on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show. After graduation, Clark worked at ABC News and Fusion as a producer.
While some people had posters of the Coreys — Corey Haim and Corey Feldman — up on on their walls following the premiere of 1987’s The Lost Boys, others were mesmerized by Sutherland’s David, the film’s villain, who just so happens to be a vampire. Casual. Best known for his lead role in 24, the Golden Globe winner is still acting, and currently stars in ABC’s Designated Survivor.
As a member of the Brat Pack— also comprised of Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael Hall — Nelson starred as rebellious delinquent John Bender in The Breakfast Club, which launched him into superstardom in the 1980s. That same year, Nelson starred in St. Elmo’s Fire. Nelson still acts and does voiceover work, but mostly keeps a low profile.
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