For many, Nickelodeon and Disney ruled our early years. Watching their branded sitcoms or themed movies was a sense of our childhood. Disney has grown leaps in bounds in its casting over the years.
Many actors and actresses on the network have gone on to have successful careers in the acting, singing and entertainment industry. Essentially, Disney has been a platform to help young stars get their start in the biz. Many up and coming stars cite the network as being a pivotal stepping stone in their career and credit the network for helping launch them into stardom.
When you think of young Disney, shows like Lizzy McGuire with star, Hilary Duff, or That’s So Raven, with star, Raven-Symone or maybe it was even Hannah Montana with the infamous, Miley Cyrus. It’s hard to think of how some of today’s hottest celebs once starred in our favorite shows as a kid. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and recap some of the most popular Disney stars and see what they’re up to now.
11. Zack & Cody Twins – Dylan and Cole Sprouse
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, definitely had a “sweet” life. Dylan and Cole Sprouse, better known as the Zack and Cody Twins, in 2010 were the highest-paid teenage Disney television actors, earning a reported $40k an episode.
The brothers chose to take the education route after their run on the show, unlike most other Disney stars. Attending New York University in fall 2011, then later deterring and enrolling in Gallatin School of Individualized Study, picking their own studies. The twins haven’t been active much recently, focusing on their studies and partaking in the “normal” life for a bit, before making a possible return to the entertainment industry.
10. Shia LeBeouf
Shia LeBeouf, or what many younger audiences know him better as, Louise Stevens from Disney’s, Even Stevens; LaBeouf got his start in film in the 2003 movie, Holes. He went on to star in larger blockbusters like the Transformers series, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull and Eagle Eye.
He’s one of the male Disney stars who’ve caused a stir. Getting into some questionable performance art on red carpets, sporting paper bags over his head, or going on wild Twitter rants on social media. LeBeouf has certainly had a rocky road in the public eye since his Disney start.
9. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato gained fame starring in the Disney sitcom, Sonny With A Chance, and the network’s movie, Camp Rock, where she rocked both her singing and acting skills. She also went on to open for fellow Disney rockers, The Jonas Brothers on their Burnin’ Up Tour, in 2008. She also dated JoeBro, Joe Jonas briefly.
She’s made public her struggles throughout the years with depression, self harm and an eating disorder. Which, perhaps could be attributed to all her early teen years in the spotlight. However, she seems to be dominating in her singing career and more recently, Lovato has been a regular on the judging panel for the American adapted version of The X Factor, for seasons two and three. She’s best known for her Billboard hits, “Give Your Heart A Break,” “Skyscraper,” “Neon Lights” and “Heart Attack,” which are frequently on repeat on today’s hit radio stations. Lovato seems to be doing just fine and has found her stride since her early sitcom and movie debuts.
8. Zac Efron
This High School Musical male eye candy, has surely made a name for himself in the acting realm of things. He quickly became seen as a teen idol after his role in the films. He went on to star in Hairspray, 17 Again, Me and Orson Welles, Charlie St. Cloud, New Year’s Eve, The Lucky One, That Awkward Moment and Neighbors. Quite a list for the heartthrob who’s still climbing the ranks in Hollywood, and this hunk isn’t showing signs of stopping anytime soon.
Efron dated co-star Vanessa Hudgens from the HSM series, but ended their romance in December 2010. The two even won a Nickelodeon Australian Kid’s Choice Award for Cutest Couple in 2008. How cute! It’s too bad it didn’t last.
7. Ashley Tisdale
This blonde bombshell Disney star is known for starring on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and being a diva in the High School Musical series. What you may not know is that this actress has appeared in over 100 TV advertisements and has been nominated and won countless awards, including an MTV movie and Teen Choice Award.
Ashley Tisdale is one of the few Disney stars that has managed to stay out of trouble and portrayed negativity in the spotlight. She’s also married to musician, Christopher French and the two seemingly live a private life.
6. Vanessa Hudgens
Disney’s High School Musical seems to be a common thread on this Disney list, and Vanessa Hudgens is no exception. Getting her start in HSM as the lead lady, this helped launch her acting and potential singing career. Her singing career started strong with two albums; V, in 2006 and Identified, in 2008. Both albums were widely received, but acting seemed to take a forefront for Hudgens.
She took on many different roles to have others see her in a new light, like in 2009’s, Bandslam and 2011’s, Beastly. She starred in the 2012 racy action movie, Spring Breakers, alongside fellow Disney star, Selena Gomez. In 2013, she starred in Gimme Shelter, a heartfelt independent drama based on a true story about a pregnant teen who runs away and tries to find her place. Hudgens is finding her place in the acting world with an array of films thanks to her Disney start.
Raven is better known as, “That’s So Raven,” a tagline used in many comedy sketches still today. Symone has starred in a number of roles like, Dr. Doolittle 1 and 2, College Road Trip, The Cheetah Girls and Revenge Of The Bridesmaids. She was even cast on the Broadway-adapted play, Sister Act.
Symone has made public her sexual orientation, and is a happy African-American lady in love with a female partner. She’s not a fan of labels and claims to be a, “human who loves humans.” This brave Disney star has stayed true to herself and seems to be living a happy positive life in the acting world.
4. Hilary Duff
Many associate Hilary Duff with her lovable character on the Disney hit show, Lizzie McGuire. Duff has kept up the acting role, taking on roles in movies like, Agent Cody Banks, Cheaper By The Dozen and A Cinderella Story.
Duff also made it big with her singing. Many of us can’t help but smile when hearing her old career hits like, “Come Clean,” as heard in the opening credits of the famous MTV reality show, Laguna Beach. Her album, Metamorphosis went triple platinum, her self-titled also went platinum. She went on to marry Canadian NHL player Mike Comrie, but later divorced. She has a son, Luca, with Comrie.
3. Jonas Brothers
This once-Disney brother threesome formed in 2005 and gained fame through the network. Starring in their own branded shows, JONAS and Jonas L.A., and the movies, Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam.
The band have released four albums and sold over 17 million albums worldwide. They took a hiatus during 2010 and 2011, to pursue solo projects and personal items, but later announced a breakup in October 2013.
Kevin, Nick and Joe are all holding their own solo. Kevin now has a wife, Danielle Deleasa, where they starred together on the E! Network reality show, Married to Jonas. The couple also have a daughter, Alena Rose Jonas. Nick is making grounds musically with his hit songs, “Jealous,” and “Chains.” Joe has also pursued a music career of his own, self-releasing his own music, as well as co-writing.
2. Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez, known for her role on Wizards Of Waverly Place, and the films, Princess Protection Program and Beezus and Ramona, is a Disney star has been turning heads musically and in acting.
Going solo, and then adding a band, “Selena Gomez and the Scene,” and then solo again, Gomez is showing she can do it all herself. Her, “Come and Get It,” and “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” singles are on constant repeat on today’s hit radio stations. The world has had a taste of new Selena and they certainly like what they hear. Her on-again-off-again relationship with Justin Bieber has also sparked some fame, but it seems as though she has moved on with music producer, Zedd.
1. Miley Cyrus
Disney’s Hannah Montana star, Miley Cyrus, who played a teen living the double life of a rockstar and a normal teen, is the most transformed of the Disney stars. Between singing, acting and well, just being Miley, the star has made headlines, records and a lot of money in the bank.
Her estimated net worth is reported around $165 million as of 2013. The 2011 Guinness World Records named her the “Most Charted Teenager” with twenty-nine Billboard Hot 100 entries as of November 2009. With countless tours, records and movies under both Hannah Montana, and herself, Miley has come quite a ways since her debut on the network. Most of us probably saw her transformation more recently at the 2013 MTV Music Video Awards, where she provocatively danced or “twerked” if you will, on the then taken, Robin Thicke. Miley mainly seems focused on her music these days. This 22 year old is one to still keep us guessing what her next move will be.
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