If your heart still flutters for Disney stars and actors, you’re in the right place for some sweet nostalgia. You won’t believe how some of our favorite stars turned out!
Olivia Rodrigo Then
Remember Olivia Rodrigo in “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series"? Of course, you do. Before she played the series’ central character, Rodrigo was also on another Disney show as Paige Olivera on “Bizaardvark” for three years (2016 to 2019).
She met her first serious boyfriend, Ethan Wacker while filming but her relationship with High School Musical co-star Joshua Bassett made pop culture history. The Nini-Ricky pairing had blossomed into a real-life romance! What’s more? It allegedly involved a love triangle with fellow Disney star Sabrina Carpenter.
Olivia Rodrigo Now
What’s Olivia Rodrigo doing today? From Disney star to Grammy-winning artist, Rodrigo’s taken her career to the next level. Her breakthrough single “Driver’s License” (2021) reached the top of the charts everywhere. The lyrics led fans to speculate that Rodrigo may be referring to the supposed love triangle involving Sabrina and Josh. The three actors have never addressed the rumors.
Rodrigo and Basset never even confirmed they were dating back then. Love triangles or not, Rodrigo has arrived as a musician and songwriter. She writes about love, heartbreak, and finding herself – not unlike her idol, Taylor Swift.
Madison Hu Then
Madison Hu kickstarted her journey on Disney as Marci, a recurring role on “Best Friends Forever” (2015). While the show wrapped up in 2016, big prospects were on the horizon for the Texas-born actor.
She’s best known for playing songwriter Frankie Wong on “Bizaardvark” from 2016 to 2019. She brilliantly embodied the quirks and humor of her character on the show. The teen star kept her dating life private — no alleged rumors or whispers about her love life made the rounds.
Madison Hu Now
Madison Hu has appeared in numerous films and shows since “Bizaardvark.” Hu appeared in two episodes of “The Misadventures of Psyche & Me.” (2018). She played the role of Jessica on the show. You might even remember her as Chelsea Nevins in “Remnants of the Fallen” (2020).
She also played Anda in the 2021 film “Voyagers.” Her character’s inherent goodness is at odds with a mission to colonize another planet. Hu continues to keep her private life private.
Rowan Blanchard Then
For anyone obsessed with “Girl Meets World” (2014), the quirky Rowan Blanchard needs no introduction. Blanchard’s portrayal of Topanga in the Disney series earned her tremendous fame. Before her breakout role, Blanchard played Caitlin on the TV series “Dance-A Lot Robot.” Later, Blanchard played one of the central characters in “Invisible Sister,” a Disney Channel Original Movie based on a book of the same name by Sara Pinto and Beatrice Colin.
Although mostly hearsay, the actor was romantically linked to “Girl Meets World” co-stars Peyton Meyer and Uriah Shelton.
Rowan Blanchard Now
Rowan Blanchard’s glow-up has been pretty amazing. Not only does the fashionable star have plenty of starring roles, but she also advocates for numerous causes close to her. Post-Disney, she had recurring roles on “The Goldbergs" (2013) and “Splitting Up Together”(2018). She uses her social media channels to discuss gender equality, intersectional feminism, teen mental health, and planned parenthood.
The actor has also reprised the role of Alexandra Cavill in “Snowpiercer” since 2020. While always private about her love life, fans on social media discovered she was dating model Franklin Ayzenberg. The two are reportedly still dating.
Sabrina Carpenter Then
The world may remember her as the other girl in a love triangle, but Sabrina Carpenter is much more than that. Her breakout role was the rebellious Maya Hart in Disney’s “Girl Meets World” (2014), where she displayed not just her acting talents but powerful vocal abilities.
In 2014, the singer released a four-song EP titled “Can’t Blame a Girl for Trying,” followed by a debut album “Eyes Wide Open” in 2015. Prior to playing Maya, Carpenter appeared in numerous films and shows, including the Disney movies “Austin & Ally” (2011) and “Gulliver Quinn” (2012).
Sabrina Carpenter Now
Sabrina Carpenter continued acting after the show wrapped up. She’s appeared in numerous films over the years, including “The Hate U Give” (2018), Netflix’s “Work It” (2020), “Tall Girl” (2019), and the Disney movie “Clouds” (2020). As to her alleged feud with Rodrigo, the internet can’t seem to let things go. When Carpenter released her visceral track, “Skins” (2021), wild speculation ensued!
The timing certainly didn't help things with the single coming out soon after “Driver's License,” where Rodrigo supposedly refers to her as the other woman. The singer took to Instagram to clarify that “Skins” was no diss track, just an outlet for her emotions.
Madison Pettis Then
Madison Pettis was destined for stardom. The talented actor began receiving modeling offers when she was only five. By the time she turned eight, Pettis landed her first Disney role in “Hannah Montana” (2006) as Sophie Martinez – daughter of President Richard Martinez.
In 2007, she returned as Sophie Martinez, this time as part of “Cory in the House.” That same year, she starred alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson” as his long-lost daughter, Peyton Kelly in “The Game Plan.” Later, Pettis had a recurring role as Janelle in the Disney XD series “Lab Rats” (2012).
Madison Pettis Now
Her Disney days might be behind her, but Madison Pettis refuses to slow down. She voiced the character of Zuri in “The Lion Guard” from 2016 to 2019. We also saw her play Natasha Bennet on “Five Points” (2018).
Additionally, she starred in “He’s All That”, a remake of the 1999 hit film “She’s All That." Over the years, the gorgeous actor has made the news for her many romantic links – a list of names that include Jaden Smith and NBA star Michael Porter Jr.
China Ann McClain Then
China Ann McClain’s rise to fame was nothing short of meteoric. At the young age of 7, McLain’s incredible singing helped her land a pivotal role in “Spy Kids 2” (2002). The rest was history. Disney fans know and love her as Chyna Parks on “A.N.T. Farm” (2011). Her vocals powered the show’s theme song.
She also knocked everyone’s socks off with a cover of “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz. The track soared to No 2. on the Billboard chart for kids’ digital songs. Later, McClain worked on several projects for the Disney franchise, such as “Wizards of Waverley Place” (2007), and “Jonas” (2009.)
China Ann McClain Now
“A.N.T. Farm” may have ended in 2014, but China Ann McClain’s career was just getting started. From 2007, the actor was synonymous with the character of Jazmine Payne in the series “House of Payne.” She bid farewell to Jazmine in 2020 when the show ended. She’s also made her OTT debut on Netflix’s “Hubie Halloween” (2020).
McClain portrayed the role of Jennifer Pierce in “Black Lightning” (2018) for three seasons before leaving the show to pursue other passions. Who’s she dating these days? We might not know for a while since the star is known for being a private person.
Carlon Jeffery Then
Carlon Jeffrey began acting in community productions at the age of 8. His big break came in when the young star bagged the role of Chris in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (2005).
Jeffrey also played Damon Dawson on the hit series “Heroes” (2006). But most people know him as Cameron Parks – the self-professed ladies’ man on Disney’s “A.N.T. Farm” (2011). Jeffrey was memorable as the young Parks, trying to break out of his sister’s shadow.
Carlon Jeffery Now
Jefferey continues to act in his adult life. In 2014, he starred in the Disney Original movie “Cloud 9” and appeared in one episode of “Kickin’ It" (2011). Jeffrey has also reinvented himself as a rapper, MC, and acting coach.
He’s pursuing his music career under the pseudonym Lil C-Note. Hard to believe, but the actor is also a dad now. Jeffery married Yaneris Mendiola, and the couple welcomed a baby girl in 2017.
Sierra McCormick Then
Sierra McCormick is best known for her breakout role as therapist Olive Doyle in “A.N.T. Farm” (2011). McCormick came to the audition, only to discover it wasn’t an audition. They never asked her to do improv or act out scenes. The producers asked her to talk about tigers instead.
When McCormick finished speaking, they were sure they had found their Olive Doyle. Around this time, the actor also landed a recurring role as Connie Thompson in “Jessie” (2011). Later, the young actor starred in numerous shows including, “Hannah Montana” (2006), “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2000), and “CSI" (2000).
Sierra McCormick Now
Life after Disney has been busy for Sierra McCormick. She played one of the central characters in the 2015 horror flick “Some Kind of Hate," which received positive reviews on the festival circuit. The actor also starred in “Vast of Night” (2019).
Critics lauded the sci-fi film, widely considered one of the best movies of 2020. The actor also starred in “Camp” (2020) and the psychological drama “We Need to Do Something” (2021).
Jake Short Then
Jake Short’s career in Hollywood began almost immediately after he moved to L.A. to look for work. His breakthrough moment arrived when he signed on to play Scott Smith in the crime series “Dexter” (2006). Around this time, Disney had plans for an ambitious children’s series called “A.N.T. Farm.”
Later, the actor also appeared in “Mighty Med” (2013) and “Labs Rats: Elite Force” (2016). The actor also found and lost various loves during this period – including co-stars China Anne McClain, Paris Berelc, and Alexxis Lemire.
Jake Short Now
Jake Short kept a low profile after Disney compared to his other contemporaries, but he never stopped acting. In 2018, he appeared in a 10-episode series called “All Night.”
Short then starred in “The First Team” (2020), a riveting BBC sports comedy series. The role seemed tailor-made for the actor, who could show off some of his soccer skills in the film. He continues to take on new acting projects.
Miley Cyrus Then
Few people have influenced a generation and pop culture like Miley Cyrus in “Hannah Montana” (2006). The Hannah Montana era swept the world off its feet spawning tours, a movie, and several albums. It seems everyone wanted a piece of Miley Cyrus. She began dating Nick Jonas during this time, and the two quickly became Disney’s newest “it” couple.
Even though the role catapulted Cyrus to stardom, it wasn’t long before cracks began to appear. The world began to sense her unease and a desire to ditch the bubblegum persona that had made her famous.
Miley Cyrus Now
The star came in like a wrecking ball, tearing down anything holding her back from a fresh start. Miley Cyrus's first act of defiance was chopping off and bleaching her signature Hannah Montana hair. Her salacious twerking routine at the 2013 VMA Awards raised plenty of eyebrows. She also released her album “Bangerz” in 2013, signaling the arrival of a brand-new Miley.
Since then, the singer has also married, divorced, reunited, and broken up again with Liam Hemsworth. Media and public opinion notwithstanding, her transformation is fascinating and endlessly entertaining.
Hilary Duff Then
Duff, as the clumsy but relatable teen in “Lizzie McGuire” (2001), was a household name. She reprised the role in 2003 for “Lizzie McGuire: The Movie.” Duff also starred in “Cadet Kelly” (2002) and bagged her first major movie role in “Agent Cody Banks” (2003).
Love and romance were in the air as well. The young starlet had an on-again-off-again relationship with Aaron Carter and later with Frankie Muniz. On top of that, the star released her first full-length studio album “Metamorphosis” (2003), which topped the U.S. and Canada charts.
Hilary Duff Now
You can call Hilary Duff many things, but “so yesterday” isn’t one of them. After Disney, she made appearances in “Raise Your Voice” (2004), “A Cinderella Story” (2004), and “Younger” (2015). She has also recorded five studio albums and gone on tour to promote them. Duff married Matthew Koma in 2019, and the couple is now proud parents to two children. She co-parents her first son, Luca, with Mike Comrie, her ex-husband.
In 2021, Duff played the role of Sophie in “How I Met Your Father”, the spin-off series of “How I Met Your Mother.”
Shia LaBeouf Then
Shia LaBeouf is best known for playing the naughty Louis Stevens on “Even Stevens” (2000). The show’s massive popularity prompted Disney Channel executives to create a TV movie version. LaBeouf was on a roll, and little did he know this was just the beginning.
Soon, major blockbuster projects came knocking for the talented LaBeouf, including “Transformers” (2007) and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (2008). Although fans were curious, the actor never divulged details about his relationships or life outside the big screen.
Shia LaBeouf Now
LaBeouf’s life after Disney has been eventful, and that’s putting it mildly. The actor made appearances in movies such as “Honey Boy” (2019), “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (2019), and “Pieces of a Woman”(2020). He also made his directorial debut with a short film titled “Let’s Love Hate” (2004).
On the personal front, LaBeouf’s journey has been far from peachy. He’s had several run-ins with the law due to substance abuse. The star was arrested for public drunkenness during a particularly raucous night in Savannah, Georgia.
Jake Thomas Then
Jake Thomas is best known for his character, Matt in “Lizzie McGuire" (2001). You remember Matt. He was Lizzie’s younger annoying brother, forever scheming and pranking his older sister and her friends.
Before his breakout Disney role, Thomas also appeared in “If Tomorrow Comes” (2000). His showbiz career began early since his parents had their own radio and television shows. The day Thomas was born, he appeared on his mother’s TV show, live from the nursery!
Jake Thomas Now
After “Lizzie McGuire”, the actor continued to act in numerous shows. He landed a role in Steven Spielberg’s “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.” (2001). The child star also graduated from high school and attended California State University to study Japanese and screenwriting. Later, he appeared in shows such as “Cory in the House" (2007), “CSI Miami” (2002), “Criminal Minds” (2005), and “House" (2004).
It appears he found another career calling over the years. Thomas is a director and a well-known entertainment photographer.
Dylan and Cole Sprouse Then
Cole and Dylan Sprouse landed their first acting gigs while still in diapers! The twins appeared in several cult shows and films of the '90s, such as “Big Daddy” (1999), “Friends” (1994), and “That '70s Show” (1998). But they came into their own in 2005 on Disney's “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody", one of the network’s most successful premieres, bringing in over four million viewers.
The show ended in 2008, but the brothers continued appearing in various spin-offs of other Disney classics, including “Hannah Montana,” (2006), “Wizards Of Waverley Place” (2007), and “That’s So Raven” (2003).
Dylan and Cole Sprouse Now
The siblings took a break to attend New York University. Dylan kept a low profile for a few years, preferring to act in independent and short films. Meanwhile, Cole’s career reached dizzying new heights after he landed the role of Jughead in “Riverdale” (2017). The twins haven’t worked on a project together since their Disney Days but they are not ruling it out.
Cole also gained a reputation for dating his co-stars. His last serious relationship was with Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty Cooper on “Riverdale.” Dylan is currently dating Barbara Palvin.
Demi Lovato Then
Demi Lovato began acting at the age of 10. The star got their first big TV break on “Barney & Friends.” Lovato made their Disney debut on a show called “As the Bell Rings” (2007) and later landed the starring role in “Sonny With a Chance” (2009).
Demi's Disney journey and career took off in earnest with a lead role on “Camp Rock” (2008) alongside Joe Jonas. While filming the movie, Lovato recorded and sang three songs for the soundtrack. Since then, the singer-actor has put out several solo releases.
Demi Lovato Now
The last few years have been challenging for Lovato, battling an eating disorder and substance abuse — the trauma leading her down a path of self-harm. With consistent help and effort, the star is on a journey to recovery today. Demi is a passionate spokesperson and source of support for people going through what they did. Despite personal struggles, Lovato cemented their career as a successful pop star.
Lovato has also released a YouTube series with unfiltered and intimate details about their life, career, and addiction struggles.
Zac Efron Then
Zac made his TV debut in 2002 on an episode of “Firefly.” A young Efron also appeared as Cameron Bale in “Summerland” (2004). But the star got his breakthrough role in 2006 as Troy Bolton in “High School Musical.” The original series became a cult phenomenon, firmly establishing Efron as the new heartthrob of a generation.
When fans came to know he was dating co-star Vanessa Hudgens, the response was mixed – equal amounts of heartbreak and delight. The world couldn’t get enough. So of course, there was High School Musical 2 (2008) and 3 (2009) as well.
Zac Efron Now
Many teen actors struggle to shed their Disney tag, but not Zac Efron. He established himself as a serious actor – appearing in movies like “Neighbors” (2014) and “The Greatest Showman” (2014). The actor got his OTT break on “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile,” a 2019 Netflix crime drama where he played serial killer Ted Bundy. Efron even hosted his own travel series on Netflix titled “Down to Earth With Zac Efron” (2020).
The actor also went from gawky teen to hunky heartthrob. Over the years, he’s dated Lily Collins, Sami Miró, and Vanessa Valladares but is now reportedly single.
Selena Gomez Then
Although Selena Gomez was the veritable Disney darling, her first TV role was as Gianna on “Barney & Friends” (1992). She made her Disney debut on “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” (2005), where her stellar performance as Gwen led to other Disney projects.
She played mean Mikayla in “Hannah Montana" (2006). Later, the star bagged the starring role in “Wizards of Waverley Place” from 2007 to 2012. She also began making music alongside her acting career and signed with Hollywood Records in 2008. Soon after, the internet found a new obsession – her tumultuous relationship with Justin Bieber.
Selena Gomez Now
Gomez built a mega-successful career. In 2013, her first solo album, “Stars Dance,” debuted at No.1 on the U.S. Billboard charts. In 2020, she released “Rare,” her third studio album, and launched a beauty line with the same name. The star has dated a few good men, including Zedd, and Charlie Puth. Despite briefly getting back with Justin Bieber, she seems to have moved on, for good this time.
In 2021 she began working on a new show, “Only Murders in the Building” with Steve Martin and Martin Short, the show became a high success.
Keke Palmer Then
We first saw Keke Palmer in a small role on “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” (2004) as Tina’s (Queen Latifah) niece. After the show, the Illinois–born actor found numerous singing and acting projects. In 2007, Palmer made her Disney debut with “Jump In!” – a movie about a boxer who unexpectedly gets pulled into a Double Dutch tournament.
She portrayed the character of Mary on the show that also featured two of her original songs – “Jumpin’” and “It’s My Turn Now.” Despite a successful stint on Disney, her role on the Nickelodeon sitcom “True Jackson VP” (2008) is widely considered one of her best works.
Keke Palmer Now
Palmer has had several starring roles since “Jump In!” wrapped up in 2011. You may have seen her on the "90210" reboot in 2013. She landed one of her bigger roles in the horror series "Scream Queens" (2015) by Fox. The actor went on to star in “Berlin Station” (2017) and “Scream: The TV series" (2019).
She also acted alongside Jennifer Lopez in the critically acclaimed film “Hustlers” in 2019. Her dating life has been equally, if not more, demanding. Palmer has dated Elvin Jackson, Ty Dolla $ign, and Quincy Brown, among others. The actor also appeared in the Disney revival series “Proud Family” in 2022.
Brenda Song Then
Song has been acting for the small screen since she was a teen. Her popularity skyrocketed after she appeared on “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.” She was perfection as London Tipton on the show, the hotel heiress who’s a bit of a bimbette. The actor was part of iconic shows such as “The Bernie Mac Show” (2001), “MAD TV” (1995), and “7th Heaven” (1996.)
Song became a familiar face in several Disney original movies, including “Get a Clue” (2002), “Phil of the Future” (2004), and “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior” (2006).
Brenda Song Now
Post-Disney, the former teen icon continued leveling up her acting career. She appeared on Shonda Rhimes’ hit ABC series “Scandal” (2012) and as Daisy in “New Girl” (2011) alongside Zooey Deschanel. You may also remember her in “Social Network” (2010) as the girl who gives her boyfriend (Andrew Garfield) a hard time.
In 2019, she landed the lead role in the Netflix film “Secret Obsession.” Song has also found love in another famous child actor – Macaulay Culkin. The couple welcomed their first child Dakota in 2021.
Zendaya’s Disney days began when she was 14 years old. Her big break arrived on “Shake It Up!” (2010) – where she portrayed the character of Rocky Blue. The show ran for three years. Zendaya followed that up with appearances in several Disney Original movies, including “Zapped” (2012) and “Frenemies” (2014).
In 2015, the star returned to Disney to perform in “K.C. Undercover.” The young actor had always made music throughout her Disney days.
Zendaya’s meteoric rise since Disney is well-documented. The actor landed leading roles in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017) and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (2019), starring alongside Tom Holland.
The internet has speculated about sparks flying between the actors before anything actually began. But the two have since confirmed they are dating, and the rest is history. The talented Zendaya is presently the lead character on the HBO series “Euphoria" (2019). She also starred in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2021).
Vanessa Hudgens Then
Vanessa Hudgens’s first acting gig was for an episode of “Still Standing” (2002). But the world knows her best for playing the lovely Gabriella Montez in “High School Musical” (2006), one of the most defining roles of her career. “High School Musical 2” happened for the young star in 2007.
A total of 17.2 million viewers saw the premiere – making it the most popular Disney Channel Original Movie of all time. Fresh off the show’s success, Hudgens released her solo debut album “V” in 2008, which was certified gold by the RIAA. She and Zac Efron also started dating, making everyone's dreams come true!
Vanessa Hudgens Now
Decades after High School Musical, the actor’s love for musical theater still shines bright. She played the lead character on Broadway’s “Gigi” in 2015 and appeared as Rizzo in “Grease Live” (2016). One of her most notable appearances was in the critically acclaimed “Tick Tick…Boom!” (2021), directed by Lin Manuel Miranda for Netflix.
Hudgens plays the talented Karessa Johnson in the film. The project was special to Hudgens, who had starred in several Jonathan Larson musicals after Disney.
Jake T. Austin Then
Jake T. Austin began acting in commercials at the age of seven. Although he took up several acting projects, his first credited role was on a comedy sketch called “Kid 1698” on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”
Austin’s big career break came in 2007 in Disney’s “Wizards of Waverley Place.” Soon, the actor became synonymous with his character, the mischievous Max Russo. Austin also appeared in several animated movies. He voiced Diego in “Dora the Explorer” (2000) and “Go, Diego! Go!” (2005). He later appeared on “The Fosters” (2013) as Jesus Adam Foster.
Jake T. Austin Now
Austin found a passion for voice acting, leading him to his first movie break. In 2011, he voiced Ferdinand in the massively successful animated film “Rio.” The actor reprised his role in “Rio 2” (2014). Like other Disney peers, Austin participated in “Dancing With the Stars” but it didn’t work out too well. He was one of the first contestants eliminated from the season.
Since then, Austin has appeared in “Adverse” (2020). He also landed the role of Angel Ramirez on “The Rise” (2021). He began dating Danielle Caesar in 2016, but the couple has parted ways.
Jason Earles Then
Jason Earles knew from a young age that he wanted to become an actor. The Oregon-born actor dabbled in college theater alongside sporadic professional gigs to hone his craft.
In 2001, he switched directions to film and television and got his career break six years later. The young actor became a household name as Jackson Stewart in “Hannah Montana” (2006). The franchise that broke every Disney record. Fun fact: He played Miley Cyrus’s teen brother even though he was 29 years old then! Earles also played Rudy Gillespie on the hit Disney show “Kickin’ It” (2011).
Jason Earles Now
Earle’s love for acting took him on even bigger adventures after Disney. He took on voice-over work for acclaimed shows such as “The Most Popular Girls in School" (2012). Earles was brilliant as Dax in “Hunted” (2014). He’s also appeared in films such as “Mood Swings” (2019), “Welcome to Howler” (2016), and “Hotel Du Loone” (2018).
On top of his acting career, Earles has also directed several multi-camera sitcoms. He’s been married to Katie Dryden since 2017. The couple lives in Toluca Lake with their two cats, Zeke and Donut.
Bella Thorne Then
Although best known for being a part of the Disney franchise, Bella Thorne’s acting career did not begin on the channel. She took on a few uncredited roles before landing roles in “The OC” (2003) and “My Own Worst Enemy” (2008).
Her career got the big push it needed with the Disney series “Shake It Up.” (2010). Thorne played a memorable CeCe Jones on the show. The series also gave the star her breakthrough in music. Her first single, “Watch Me” debuted on the Billboard 100 charts and earned her an RIAA Gold. She also went on to play Avalon Greene in “Frenemies” (2021).
Bella Thorne Now
Thorne continues to follow her passion for acting. She starred in “Midnight Sun” (2018), a remake of a 2008 Japanese film of the same name. Thorne also played a part in putting the film’s soundtrack together. Besides her acting, Thorne’s open views on her sexuality often make headlines. Her unabashed lifestyle charted unconventional career trajectories – including a stint on OnlyFans.
Thorne continues focusing on her music. She’s also authored three young adult novels. In 2021, she got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Benjamin Mascolo, from the Italian music group Benji & Fede.
Ryan Merriman Then
Lovestruck tweens who grew up watching Disney Channel movies know Ryan Merriman. The Oklahoma-born star appeared in several titles – including “Smart House” (1999), “A Ring of Endless Light” (2002), and “The Luck of the Irish” (2001). However, few people know that Merriman did commercials, local theater, and print work since he was 8.
Long before Disney, he played Blake Kellogg on the NBC sitcom “The Mommies” (1993). The actor won the Young Artist Award for playing Nathan Clay in the film “Everything That Rises” (1998). He went on to win five more awards in the same category and received three other nominations.
Ryan Merriman Now
The former Disney Channel actor has kept a low profile but hasn’t stopped working. Merriman had a recurring role on “Pretty Little Liars” (2010) and appeared in other famous shows such as “Smallville” (2001) and “Hawaii Five-O” (2010), He’s also appeared in pop culture hits such as “The Ring Two” (2005) and the “Final Destination” franchise.
When he’s not acing his acting game, Merriman enjoys downtime with his wife, Kristin McCullen.
The Jonas Brothers Then
Nick, Joe, and Kevin Jonas came aboard the Disney universe in 2007 after guest starring in “Hannah Montana”. But the brothers were already celebs in their own right before the show. By then, they had signed with Hollywood Records and released a self-titled album that reached No. 5 on the Billboard charts in the first week.
After a successful Disney debut, the band toured with Miley Cyrus. Nick and Miley dated for a bit during this time. The brothers also starred in “Camp Rock” (2008) and “Camp Rock 2” (2010) before landing their own Disney Channel Show, “Jonas” (2009), which ran for two seasons.
The Jonas Brothers Now
The brothers continued making music together, releasing two albums before announcing a hiatus to heartbroken fans in 2013. But guess who got back together in 2019? The band released a new album and went on tour to promote it. During the hiatus, Joe became the frontman for DNCE of “Cake by the Ocean” fame.
He dated many women over the years before marrying Sophie Turner in 2019. Nick released two solo albums and appeared on TV, in films, and on Broadway. He married Priyanka Chopra in 2018. Kevin is married to Danielle Jonas, and get this – he’s now a father!
Raven Symoné Then
Raven Symoné was only two when she began her modeling career. At age four, she auditioned for a role on “The Cosby Show.” Although she was young for the original part, Cosby created the role of little Olivia for her. In 2001, the young star auditioned to play a role in an upcoming Disney Channel series. Instead, the producers offered her a lead character and changed the show's name to “That’s So Raven” (2003).
Later, she appeared in numerous Disney titles, including “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century” (1999), “The Proud Family” (2001), “Cory in the House” (2007), and “The Princess Diaries 2” (2004).
Raven Symoné Now
Since Disney, Raven Symoné has been rocking fabulous hairstyles and an equally excellent career. Besides acting, music is another of her passions. The artist has so far released four albums and two singles. The star continues to make regular TV appearances. She hosted “The View” (1997) before taking a break to film the Disney spin-off series “Raven’s Home” (2017).
Symoné also guest-starred in a season of “Black-ish” (2014) as Rhonda Johnson. The actor came out as a lesbian in 2016 and married her partner, Miranda Maday, in 2020.
Moisés Arias Then
Before getting his breakout role, Moisés Arias made guest appearances on several Disney Channel shows. He played Randall in “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” (2005). The child star also appeared as Max’s Conscience on “Wizards of Waverley Place” But the world knows him best for playing Rico Suave on “Hannah Montana”.
After the show, Arias appeared in “Dadnapped” (2009) and participated in numerous Disney Channel games. He also voiced Fred’s character on the animated show “Phineas and Ferb” (2007).
Moisés Arias Now
Arias has successfully shed his child actor tag. In 2012, he filmed “The Kings of Summer,” which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews. The star’s appearance in “Ender’s Game” (2013) marked a decisive shift from his Disney days.
He also played one of the lead characters in “The King of Staten Island” (2020). He’s not the kind to share details about his personal life – but there are mentions of him having dated Cassidy Sawchuk and Willow Smith.
Steven Anthony Lawrence Then
Steven Anthony Lawrence became synonymous with his character in the Disney Channel original series “Even Stevens” (2000). He gained fame as the annoying next-door neighbor, Bernard “Beans” Aranguren. Before his breakout role, Lawrence appeared in a bunch of TV shows, including “The Amanda Show” (1999), “ER” (1994), and “Frasier”(1993).
You may have also seen his instantly recognizable face on “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” (1996) and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997).
Steven Anthony Lawrence Now
The actor has kept a relatively low profile after Disney and a smattering of film and TV appearances since. He was on feature films such as “Cheaper by the Dozen” (2003), “Kicking & Screaming" (2005), “The Cat in the Hat” (2003), and “Bratz” (2007). Lawrence may have fallen on hard times in between.
He allegedly began working in a California mall as a Santa’s helper. The press got wind of it, and the news went viral for a while. In 2020, the actor has appeared in “I Wrote This for You.”
Gregg Sulkin Then
Gregg Sulkin made his acting debut in the 2002 mini-series “Doctor Zhivago,” but his name endured as the hot werewolf on Disney’s “Wizards of Waverley Place” (2007). Before the big Disney break, Sulkin played roles in TV specials and films. He appeared in “Man on the Moon” (1999) and “Sixty Six” (2006).
Sulkin soon started making a name for himself, and in 2007, he bagged the lead role in “As the Bell Rings.” After “Wizards of Waverley Place” (2007) wrapped up, the actor appeared in numerous shows such as “Pretty Little Liars” (2010) where he played Wesley Fitzgerald.
Gregg Sulkin Now
Sulkin has continued acting in various capacities post-Disney. He played Liam Booker on the MTV show “Faking It” from 2014 to 2016. The actor followed that up with appearances in “A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish” (2019) and Marvel’s “Runaways” (2017). Sulkin dabbled in a little voice acting as well.
He played voice roles in “Yak: The Giant King” (2012) and “A Mouse Tale” (2012). He also enjoyed a brief stint on the big screen with roles in the horror flicks “Don’t Hang Up” (2016) and “Anti Social” (2015). His love life seemed to be going well while dating Bella Thorne, but the two dated only for a year.
Jason Dolley Then
Before making it big on Disney, Jason Scott Dolley began acting in school talent shows. Dolley landed his first acting job at age 11 as the lead character in a rendition of “Chasing Starlight.” The child actor finally took baby steps into Disney with “Read It and Weep” (2006). Soon, Dolley became a Disney regular.
He starred in “Cory in the House” from 2007 to 2008 and played the role of Pete Ivey in “Hatching Pete” (2009). In 2010, Dolley bagged his second Disney Original Series, “Good Luck Charlie.” His authentic portrayal of P.J. Duncan won Dolley thousands of fans.
Jason Dolley Now
Jason Dolley got a major glow-up since his time at Disney. It’s hard to believe this is the same child actor who played P.J. Duncan! Other than that, he’s stayed relatively low-key since “Good Luck Charlie” ended. He hasn’t been as busy as some of his co-stars but continues acting. Dolley appeared in “Helicopter Mom” (2014) and a few episodes of “American Housewife” (2016) on NBC.
He later guest-starred in episodes of “The Ranch” (2016) and “Major Crimes” (2014). The Disney alum also played the role of Wing Nut in “Secret Agent Dingledorf and His Trusty Dog Splat” (2020).
Corbin Bleu Then
The impossibly good-looking Corbin Bleu won hearts as Chad Danforth, Troy’s wingman in “High School Musical” (2006). But the young star had been appearing in commercials and feature films since age two.
Bleu bagged his first lead role for a TV series in “Flight 29 Down” (2004) before getting his breakthrough Disney role two years later. The phenomenon that was “High School Musical” (1, 2, and 3) launched the actor into new levels of stardom. From his acting talents to his vocal abilities, Bleu received some well-deserved fame and recognition.
Corbin Bleu Now
What’s Bleu up to these days? A ton of fun stuff! He’s a Broadway star, among other things. The actor has starred in productions of “Godspell,” “Holiday Inn,” and “In the Heights.” In 2019, Bleu made another Broadway appearance for a revival of “Kiss Me, Kate!” Like other Disney actors, Bleu took his chances on “Dancing With the Stars” where he was Season 17’s runner-up.
He guest-starred on popular shows like “Castle” (2009) “The Good Wife” (2009), and “The Fosters” (2013). He also found the time to record and release two albums in between. In 2016, Bleu married the love of his life, Sasha Clements.
Ashley Tisdale Then
What would a Disney retrospective be without mentioning Ashley Michelle Tisdale? Before Disney, Tisdale appeared in over a hundred TV ads while performing for theater. She joined the Disney franchise in 2004 as Maddie Fitzpatrick in “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” (2005).
However, her spectacular rise to fame came in 2006 with “High School Musical” 1 and 2. Tisdale played the main antagonist Sharpay Evans to perfection, becoming everyone’s favorite mean girl to hate. And the rest is history. The show's phenomenal success resulted in several spin-offs, including “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure” (2011).
Ashley Tisdale Now
The former Disney royalty proves she’s a queen in any era and in her own time. Tisdale is now a singer, entrepreneur, actor, and executive producer. She dropped two albums in 2007 and 2009, and released a third studio album in 2020 called “Symptoms.” Tisdale began her entrepreneurial journey in 2016 with the launch of her company “Illuminate Cosmetics.” That same year, she and musician Christopher French tied the knot.
The couple officially became parents to a baby girl in May 2021. Fans may have recently spotted Tisdale as Kayla in “Merry Happy Whatever” (2019) and in “Carol’s Second Act” (2019) as Jenny Kenny.
Lucas Grabeel Then
Lucas Grabeel played in “High School Musical” (2006) as Ryan Evans, evil Sharpay’s brother. Throughout the series, Ryan often gets pulled into all the scheming and conniving by his sister.
But he redeems himself somewhat after participating in a baseball-themed dance routine in “High School Musical” the sequel. The film’s extraordinary success catapulted Grabeel to stardom, launching his career in numerous ways. He also played a young Lex Luther in “Smallville” (2001) and landed a central role in “Switched at Birth” (2011).
Lucas Grabeel Now
After Disney, Grabeel voiced characters on several TV shows like “Family Guy” (1999) and “Elena of Avalor” (2006). One of his quirkier voice roles has been a hot dog on the show “Pinky Malinky” (2009). The actor also competed in a cooking show called “Chopped” in 2014.
Besides his acting career, Grabeel also formed a folk-rock band called “Midnight Holler.” Additionally, he and co-star Ashley Tisdale teamed up in 2017 to sing “What I’ve Been Looking for” from the first High School Musical film. The last we heard, Grabeel was dating Sara Paxton, but the two have parted ways since.
Monique Coleman Then
Monique Coleman is best known for playing Taylor McKessie in “High School Musical” (2006). Before joining the Disney movie franchise, she made her first screen appearance in “Mother of the River,” a 1985 independent film.
Later, the young actor starred in several television programs such as “Gilmore Girls” (2000) and “Malcolm in the Middle” (2000). Soon after, she landed her first Disney project playing Mary Margaret in “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” (2005). 2006 was a big year for Coleman; she joined the wildly successful High School Musical Franchise and also participated in “Dancing With the Stars.”
Monique Coleman Now
Coleman struggled to find her place as an artist after Disney. She went years without working until she found a purpose in philanthropy. Today she uses her platform and influence to empower young people. She heads an organization called “Gimme Mo Youth” and works closely with “Girl Up” to empower women leaders.
The U.N. also named her the first “Youth Champion” for all her efforts. The former Disney star married Walter Jordan in 2012, and the happy couple lives in New York City. Coleman's big dream is to be able to tell a "cool" story. She hopes to do that through a children’s book currently in the works!
Olesya Rulin Then
When thinking of the “High School Musical” cast, Olesya Rulin is probably not the first name that comes to mind. She played the role of pianist Kelsi Nielsen in the franchise, without whom the plot would fall apart, her character composed the music to the song “You Are the Music in Me.”
Rulin found work as a model when she was 12. Besides starring in the High School Musical films, she appeared in several Disney Channel Original Films such as “Halloweentown High” (2004) and “Hounded” (2001), among others.
Olesya Rulin Now
Olesya Rulin continues to appear in several shows and TV movies. One of her most recent appearances was in the 2018 film “Devious Nanny.” The former Disney star starred in shows like “NCIS” (2003), “SEAL Team" (2017), and “The Mentalist” (2008).
In 2008, she landed a role in “Major Movie Star,” starring alongside Jessica Simpson. Rulin and co-star Jessica Coleman remain close friends. She credits Coleman for making her believe in her potential. The actor is discreet about her personal life.
Bradley Steven Perry Then
Bradley Steven Perry’s acting career began with minor roles when he was just eight. He appeared in films like “Choose Connor” (2017), “Old Dogs” (2009), and “Magnificent Max” (2007). In 2010, Perry landed his first starring role on “Good Luck Charlie” – the iconic Disney Channel sitcom.
He played the smart but scheming Gabe Duncan. Perry reprised his role in 2011 for the film “Good Luck Charlie, It’s Christmas!” That same year, he co-starred with Ashley Tisdale in “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.” You may remember him as Sharpay’s nemesis, competing with her to get his dog a lead role on Broadway.
Bradley Steven Perry Now
After “Good Luck Charlie” ended in 2014, Perry starred in several Disney Channel movies and TV shows. From 2010 to 2014, He played Kaz in “Mighty Mea” and subsequently appeared in the spin-off series “Lab Rats: Elite Force” (2016). Perry also guest-starred in “Speechless” (2016) on NBC. “Good Luck Charlie” remains his biggest claim to fame even today.
In an interview, Perry shared that the cast remains close-knit and gets together often.
Orlando Brown Then
The young actor stole viewers' hearts as 3J in “Family Matters” (1989). But the world knows him best as Eddie Thomas, Raven’s talented best friend, in “That's So Raven” (2003). He also played Dobbs in “Max Keeble's Big Move” (2001) and appeared as Travis Elliot in one episode of “Lizzie McGuire” (2001).
Brown had mad vocal abilities as well. He sang on the “That’s So Raven” soundtrack. As part of the Disney Channel Circle of Stars, he performed “A Dream Is What Your Heart Makes” and “Circle of Life.”
Orlando Brown Now
From Disney star to a recovering addict, Orlando Brown is better known today for his run-ins with the law and erratic behavior. His future seemed bright after leaving Disney in 2007. Brown set his sights on a music career, and by all accounts, everything was going well. Things began to spiral in 2016.
He got a tattoo of co-star Raven Symoné on his neck – the two were dating then. That same year, Brown was arrested and charged with too many crimes to list here. It marked the beginning of a series of arrests. Fast forward to 2020, and Brown was finally on the path to recovery.
Adrienne Bailon Then
Adrienne Bailon became famous as the lead singer and founding member of the girl group “3LW.” She then rose to prominence as one of the fabulous Cheetah Girls along with Raven Symoné, Kiely Williams, and Sabrina Bryan. The 2003 television film was a rating success, with the girls reprising their roles for two more films.
Later, Bailon guest starred in “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” (2005) and “That’s So Raven” (2003). The star went on to pursue a solo music career, contributing two singles to the “The Cheetah Girls: One World” soundtrack.
Adrienne Bailon Now
After the Cheetah Girls disbanded in 2008, Bailon signed with Island Def Jam Records to release her solo debut album. The former Disney star began dating Rob Kardashian around this period, appearing in a few episodes of the reality series “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” (2007).
The pair split up in 2009, allegedly because Rob was unfaithful to her. Bailon has since appeared in numerous TV shows and films. She co-hosted the daytime talk show “The Real” from 2013 to 2022. Bailon also returned home to play Alana in “Raven’s Home.”
Emily Osment Then
Emily Osment played Lilly Truscott in “Hannah Montana” (2006). She was Miley’s BFF and a huge Hannah Montana fan with no clue about her friend’s double life.
Before making it big on Disney, Osment co-starred as Gerti Giggles in “Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams” (2002) and “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over” (2003). She went on to star in the Disney Channel film “Dadnapped” (2009) and reprised her role in “Hannah Montana: The Movie” (2009).
Emily Osment Now
The star’s career continued taking off long after Disney and “Hannah Montana.” She portrayed the role of Taylor Hillridge “Cyberbully” (2011) and starred as Roxy Doyle on Fox’s “Almost Family” (2020). The talented actress landed recurring roles in shows such as “Mom” (2013), “The Kominsky Method” (2018), “Young and Hungry” (2014), and “Cleaners” (2013).
Osment released a studio album, “Fight or Flight” in 2010. She performs under the moniker “Bluebirrd” and even released an EP titled “When I Loved You.”