Some celebrities begin as child stars, and we basically get to see them grow up in front of our eyes. The Harry Potter cast, for example – we saw them on red carpets throughout their childhood as they promoted the films, and any shots of a twelve year old Daniel Radcliffe or Emma Watson are immediately recognizable.
Then, there are the rest of the celebrities making Hollywood their home. Many of these stars come from towns across the United States or the U.K. and only step into the public eye when their career starts. Some begin achieving fame when they’re as young as 18 or 19, and others don’t achieve notoriety until they’re much older, even in their 30s. Regardless, we essentially see them when they’re fully formed and Hollywood-gorgeous. Sure, style changes, and a lot of these stars probably regret certain hair styles or fashion choices they rocked in the 1990s, but looking at older pictures of them, we still know who they are.
That is, until you start finding photos from way, way back – all the way from childhood. It makes sense that a lot of gorgeous celebs would be equally adorable as children, but if you looked at any of these photos without knowing who the individual pictured was, you probably wouldn’t be able to match them up with who they grew up to be.
Here are 20 actors you would never recognize as children.
20 Eva Longoria
Despite being 40 years old, Eva Longoria continues to stun. When her ex husband, NBA player Tony Parker, left her, everyone was left scratching their heads – why on earth would you give up such a stone cold fox? Well, back in the day, Longoria was just an adorable kid with bangs, a big grin, and by the looks of it, some awesome 80s puffy sleeves. Her hair color and eye color are similar, but she definitely underwent a huge transformation between childhood and when we first got to know her as Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives.
19 January Jones
January Jones stepped into the public eye in a huge way when she snagged the role of the cold yet fascinating Betty Draper on hit HBO series Mad Men. Jones also has a wicked sense of humor and frequently posts deprecating photos of herself as a child – her parents definitely didn’t do her any favors, that’s for sure. Looking at her today, you might picture a mini January Jones as an adorable blonde girl. That’s not exactly the case – thanks to someone’s instructions at the barber, she was rocking a very interesting mullet hairdo, and wore her best multi-color, printed, collared shirt for what we can only assume is picture day. Well… it’s a look.
18 Russell Brand
Russell Brand is known for two things – his sense of humor, and his somewhat distinctive style. We’re used to seeing him in deep, deep V-neck shirts and stacks of necklaces with crazy, curly, long hair. Well, that’s apparently a look he only took to cultivating once he stepped into the limelight. Back when he was a teenager studying at drama school, he was rocking an entirely different look – see for yourself. He grew his hair out eventually, and also lost quite a few pounds, so this photo of a younger Russell is almost unrecognizable.
17 Lea Michele
Lea Michele has been belting out show tunes since she was a young star on Broadway, and this photograph of her definitely proves she was practising for her headshot from an early age. She’s still rocking her dark brunette locks, but they’re up in adorable pigtails in this shot. With her statement-making striped jacket and hands jauntily cradling her face, this photograph definitely says ‘I’m a future superstar.’ This is a childhood photo Rachel Berry would be proud of.
16 Eva Mendes
Eva Mendes is known for her sultry looks, and more recently, for being Ryan Gosling’s baby mama. Well, this Cuban hottie wasn’t always quite the beauty she is today. Take a look at this childhood photo of a young Eva – she’s rocking an interesting combo of a headscarf, skirt, and what looks to be cowboy boots. And, naturally, all pink everything – obviously. This endearing photo proves that even future celebs were once posed by their parents, and told to smile for awkward childhood photos that would later become funny memories.
15 Lindsay Lohan
The public essentially knows two Lindsay Lohans – the super sexy, curvaceous redhead who starred in the cult film Mean Girls, and the much skinnier, blonde version that struggled publicly with a variety of demons. Well, it’s time to meet a third Lindsay Lohan – or should we call her cowgirl? This childhood photo shows Lohan in a very serious pose as she seems to be wearing a cowgirl themed outfit. This image seems to be taken way before the days of The Parent Trap and Lohan certainly looks different than the girl we see today.
14 Nicole Kidman
Australian actress Nicole Kidman is known for two things – her vibrant red hair, and her often cold, composed, elegant demeanor. She’s likely a lovely person when you get to talk to her, but when she’s posing on the red carpet, she’s often quite reserved. This snapshot of a younger and almost unrecognizable, frizzy haired Nicole Kidman. The only giveaway is her trademark flaming red hair – although even that is far curlier and crazier than she’s let it get in years.
13 Henry Cavill
Many likely associate Henry Cavill with one of his most iconic roles to date, playing Clark Kent/Superman himself in 2013’s Man Of Steel. Cavill got in great shape for the role, admirably filling out the skintight Superman suit with his well developed muscles. However, he wasn’t always such a stud. Check out this childhood photo – Cavill is wedged between two boys, all in uniform, in what appears to be some sort of team photo. From the slightly dorky running shoes to the silly expression on his face, safe to say Cavill got a lot more comfortable in front of the camera as his acting career developed.
12 Kate Beckinsale
Most of us know Kate Beckinsale as that gorgeous brunette who just never seems to age, regardless of the years passing by. She’s acted in everything from romantic comedies to action movies, but this childhood photo suggests maybe there’s another role she should be holding out for – race car driver! In this photo, she’s pictured with (assumedly) her parents as she steers a teeny blue toy car. From the bangs to the adorable collared shirt, cardigan, and socks, Beckinsale was definitely a cute kid. Who knew that this driving fiend would end up transforming into an A-list actress?
11 Robert Pattinson
Despite being a household name now, courtesy of his starring role in the Twilight film franchise, Pattinson doesn’t always behave like a movie star. He’s not the biggest fan of publicity and walking the red carpet, so you’ll really only see him in the tabloids on the rare occasions he steps out for dinner while shooting or something along those lines. Those who have been yearning for more casual photos of Pattinson, perhaps this will help. As most people know, Pattinson is British. This photo captures him posed for what seems to be a class photo at a British school, in uniform. You wouldn’t even recognize him! He’s the one circled, to help you out. Pattinson is known for his often unruly, casually mussed hairstyle, and now we know the reason – he must be rebelling against his childhood bowl haircut!
10 Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Okay, this is one you might be able to guess if you study his face really hard. Imagine this young teenage boy with hair a few shades closer to the orange side, and a bit shorter. Add a beard and a suit. Getting anywhere yet? It’s none other than Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson! There are some similarities between this photo and his current look, most notably in his facial features, but there’s no doubt that he’s undergone a huge transformation over the years. Mitchell Pritchett wouldn’t be caught dead in a necklace like that!
9 Julia Roberts
Some A-List stars are so big that it seems they’ve just always been in Hollywood. Wait, they had lives before that? You bet. Just take a look at this school photo. Her hair was a light blonde and placed in pigtails, this picture of her is adorable but this is very different from her look today. Now take a peek at the image on the right, that’s none other than the movie star with the mega-watt smile, Julia Roberts. She eventually figured out how to maintain her superstar coif, but that wide, infectious smile is still there.
8 Camilla Belle
Camilla Belle might not be a household name like some of the other celebrities on this list, but chances are you’ve seen her in at least one or two movies over the course of her career. This raven-haired beauty has a distinctive look that photographers love on the red carpet – and they figured that out when she was pretty young! Belle got her start as a child actress, and one of her earlier roles was in Jurassic Park: The Lost World. She’s photographed on the red carpet for that movie, and while you might expect to see her nowadays in a slinky gown and stilettos for red carpet events, a young Camilla rocked a cardigan, skater skirt, and Converse sneakers. We bet a lot of female celebs wish they could forego glamour for comfort on the red carpet sometimes.
7 Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet is often referred to as a beautiful English rose, thanks to her country of origin and crisp accent. This photo captures a teenaged Winslet, appearing to almost have just bloomed from the garden itself. She’s shown with her natural hair color, smiling for what seems to be a school photo. She looks completely fresh-faced and gorgeous, but quite unlike the glamourous starlet who graces the red carpets now. We’d like to think Winslet still rocks this look when she’s hiding from the public eye.
6 Kate Hudson
It’s tough growing up with a famous parent – while many celebrities have childhood photos that will probably never see the light of day, Hudson’s famous mom, Goldie Hawn, was often photographed by paparazzi, meaning the children she was toting with her were also photographed. This snap, captured a young Hudson, posing for the paparazzi, already donning that sassy smirk. She doesn’t look particularly happy to be out and about but who knows, maybe that was her camera ready face.
5 Ashley Benson
Nowadays we know Ashley Benson as the blonde bombshell who snagged a role on ultra-popular teen drama series Pretty Little Liars. Back when she was a child, however, she was just another kid lining up for picture day and school – and here’s the proof. Benson has the same trademark blonde hair and blue eyes, but she also has what appears to be a strong propensity for flowers. Her floral dress is definitely a look she could still pull off! She looks adorable and fresh-faced, but we bet you would never have recognized her.
4 Emma Stone
Emma Stone has one of the most distinctive faces in Hollywood, but this childhood yearbook photo might stump you. She looks drastically different, but those trademark freckles might help clue you. Stone (or more likely, her mother, who groomed and dressed her for this photo) looks simple in a clean bob haircut and plain shirt. As many young teenagers do, she’s rocking braces as well. Stone got her start in Hollywood at a relatively young age, moving out to Los Angeles when she was just a teenager to jump start her acting career, but this photo captures her even before that.
3 Nina Dobrev
Canadian cutie Nina Dobrev stepped into the limelight with her role on Degrassi: The Next Generation, but attained superstardom when she got the role of Elena/Katherine in The Vampire Diaries. In this photo, however, she was just a kid focused on completing whatever project she was working on. From the wispy bangs to the hair band she’s rocking, Dobrev is definitely an adorable kid, but who would have guessed she would end up walking the red carpet someday?
2 Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham isn’t shy about her past, and has shared many photos of herself as a teenager gallivanting around New York City. This shot, however, captures a younger Dunham that you definitely won’t recognize. Though she’s rocking a short haircut, as she’s become synonymous with today, those crazy curls have since been replaced by Dunham’s straight ‘do. All tucked into bed, but still having a party? That’s a kid who’s got the right idea!
1 Joe Manganiello
Okay, if you haven’t yet seen any picture of Joe Manganiello when he was younger, you need to sit down for this one. You know Joe Manganiello – the super sexy guy who played werewolf Alcide on Herveaux on True Blood and co-starred in the Magic Mike movies. Manganiello has an incredibly sculpted body that any guy would kill for – and any girl would kill to get her hands on. That physique took a lot of work, however – just look at his childhood photo. Manganiello, posing for a basketball photo, is pictured with thick glasses and an incredibly skinny, lanky frame. Growing up treated him very, very well. Manganiello has used this childhood photo many times promoting his fitness book Evolution, arguing that if he can transform his body from this to his current state, so can you!