There are certain things that seem to be a universal truth of being a human. For instance, there is the whole death and taxes saying or the innate feeling of needing to protect children but there is another thing that we all seem to go through while we are children.
Developing crushes on people is about as widespread a phenomenon that we can think of. And while it continues into adulthood, there is just something different about it when you go through it as kids. After all, you are just starting to understand what being attracted to someone is, so it feels all-encompassing, and you’re not sure how to handle yourself. Another interesting aspect of that time in life is that most of us tend to develop feelings for people we see on our televisions, in movie theaters, in music videos, or in magazines. As a result of that, there are certain people that are fantasy fodder for many of us growing up. Realizing that is what inspired us to put together this list of twenty common childhood crushes that we had, then looked at what they are up to now.
In order for someone to be considered for inclusion on this list, she first needs to have attained a certain level of fame in recent decades. Next, they need to be someone that many younger people at the time had a crush on, which means that we gave a premium to stars below a certain age. Finally, it doesn’t matter what the people in question did to earn their fan following, so those involved in the acting, music, or any other industries could have been in the running.
20 Kirsten Dunst
An actress that first came to prominence after she gave a performance far beyond her years as part of Interview with the Vampire, Kirsten Dunst would become a celebrity crush due to the movie Bring It On. Going on to raise her profile even further when she starred in the Spider-Man movies as Mary Jane Watson, the longstanding love interest of Peter Parker, it would make her a worldwide star. Opting to go down a different route than most celebrities, instead of starring in a slew of blockbusters in the wake of those movies, she would focus on more story-based fare. That is why we’re not surprised at all that she has been seen in smaller films like Midnight Special or The Beguiled in recent years, as well as starring in a season of the incredible series Fargo.
19 Hayden Panettiere
Another former child star, you may or may not remember Hayden Panettiere as a kid but she showed up in movies like Remember the Titans, Joe Somebody, and even voiced Dot from A Bug’s Life. Of course, the project that changed her life and made her a star was her part in the series Heroes that was a huge deal when it first premiered despite going downhill in popularity. In fact, based on the success of that show, she was able to put together a career as the star of movies like I Love You, Beth Cooper, or Scream 4, which is something only few people can say. These days once again focused on television, she has been a part of the show Nashville as Juliette Barnes since 2012, on top of appearing in the TV movie Custody in 2016.
18 Shannon Elizabeth
An interesting footnote in the history of Hollywood, Shannon Elizabeth is one of a few people that can say they became a star based on a tiny role in a popular film series. Cast as Nadia, the foreign exchange student, in the movie American Pie and its sequels, it was a short sequence in the first film in that franchise that made her a star because she looked so good in it. Riding that wave for several years afterward, she would appear in movies like the aforementioned sequels to American Pie, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Tomcats, as well as Scary Movie. No longer a big deal today, she has yet to appear in anything in 2017 but was a part of movies in 2015 and 2016 and has a history of playing professional poker under her belt too.
17 Christina Aguilera
One of the biggest pop stars alive in the late nineties and early two thousands, there was a time when Christina Aguilera was often seen peering out to you in music videos, media appearances, and photos. Earning the affections of many people as a result of the early days of her career in the spotlight, at the time, her music was more suggestive than many of her peers. Then, she re-imagined her public profile as Xtina and put out imagery of herself that blatantly played on her physical appeal before changing once again and taking on the look of a blonde bombshell. The focus of attention for her five-year stint as one of the coaches on the hit competition show The Voice, she has moved on but remains a part of the television landscape through appearances and producing.
16 Christina Ricci
An actress that so perfectly fit the role of Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family film remakes of the early nineties, it almost seems like Christina Ricci was born predestined to take on the part. Earning the affections of many because of those films, she would then go on to appear in a slew of films as she became a young woman including the likes of Casper, Now and Then, Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain, as well as That Darn Cat. Growing into a mature performer after that, she was a part of several acclaimed films like The Ice Storm, Buffalo '66, Pecker, and New York, I Love You. The star of the series Z: The Beginning of Everything which aired in 2017 and was about Zelda Fitzgerald, the show was a big-enough success to get a second season which is huge for her career.
15 Jessica Biel
Made a big deal when she was cast in the show 7th Heaven when she was a young woman, the series was kind enough to introduce her to the world, but Jessica Biel outgrew it before too long. A gorgeous person from the moment that most people became aware of her, by the time she made the move to the film world, she was already considered one of the hottest women alive. Reaching her peak as a star in the early part of her movie career, she starred in films like a remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Blade: Trinity, Stealth, and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry. No longer as big of a deal at the box office, she starred in the 2017 series The Sinner as a confused killer and makes headlines from time to time as the real-life wife of Justin Timberlake.
14 Jessica Alba
From one Jessica to another, the early part of the career of Jessica Alba greatly mirrors that of our previous entry, Jessica Biel. Also a former TV star, as part of Flipper and Dark Angel, the latter of which was produced by James Cameron, she too found herself on lists of the most attractive ladies in the world on a regular basis. Then, she made a huge impact with films like the Sin City and Fantastic Four franchises as well as standalone movies like Idle Hands, Into the Blue, and Good Luck Chuck but has seen her acting career wane. However, that seems to have come at a good time for her as she is now an entrepreneur since she co-founded The Good Company, which has become a huge success at selling consumer goods.
13 Rachel True
One of a quartet of women that starred in the 1996 movie The Craft, at the time the movie came out, it didn’t seem to be that big of a deal but there were many people that related to it. Of course, Rachel True finds herself on this list because many people that didn’t feel like embracing the Wicca lifestyle were still very much interested in having her in their lives. Also memorable for her part in the cult classic comedy Half Baked and the series Half & Half, she has yet to find a role since that garnered as much attention for her. Still, she got a lot of attention from the social media not too long ago when a photo of her looking wonderful on Instagram went viral, and she has appeared in two small films of late.
12 Alexa Vega
Chosen by Robert Rodriguez to be one of the child stars of his Spy Kids franchise of films, Alexa Vega gained a following when she was still a youngster because of that role she played multiple times. Continuing to have a relationship with that widely-respected and accomplished director in the years since, she has appeared in other films involving Rodriguez like Machete Kills. Also known for early roles in movies like Sleepover and Repo! The Genetic Opera, people may not be aware of it but this actress has appeared in a lot of films and shows over the years. In fact, so far in 2017, she starred in a TV movie as well as voicing a role in an animated series, and there is no way to know what comes next for her.
11 Alicia Silverstone
An absolute sensation among younger people when she first made a big impact in the film world, young people around the world lusted after Alicia Silverstone when she became a star. Known at the time for her work in movies like Clueless, The Crush, Blast from the Past, as well as Batman & Robin, the latter film was such a bomb critically, it did a lot of damage to her career. Still, she was able to gain lead roles on television including short-lived but memorable series like Braceface and Miss Match in the early 2000’s. Working a lot more today than some may be aware of, Alicia has two movies and a show coming out in 2017 and also got headlines a few years ago when footage of her feeding her child from her mouth went viral.
10 Jennifer Connelly
Part of many classic films beginning back in the eighties, many people first developed feelings for Jennifer Connelly as one of the stars of the beloved Jim Henson-related movie Labyrinth. Moving on to star in other movies like Career Opportunities, The Rocketeer, Higher Learning, and Dark City in the nineties, that only hinted at her staying power. We say that because much of her most celebrated work came in the two thousands including Pollock, Requiem for a Dream, A Beautiful Mind, and House of Sand and Fog, among others. Unfortunately, in the last few years, it seems like we’re seeing less and less of her. But at least we got to hear her voice in Spider-Man: Homecoming as the voice of Spidey’s new suit’s automated system.
9 Britney Spears
We already touched on the career of one pop princess from the nineties, Christina Aguilera, so it only seems natural to look at her main competition at the time, Britney Spears. Someone who became a huge deal because of releasing songs like “...Baby One More Time,” “Oops! ... I Did It Again,” and “(You Drive Me) Crazy” early on in her career, she seemed to have the Midas touch. Of course, we’d be lying if we tried to pretend like much of her success wasn’t related to her looks at the time since her music videos were must see viewing for people going through puberty of both s*xes. Still recording music to this day, she put out an album as recently as 2016 which charted in at least thirty-one different countries in almost all regions of the world.
8 Amy Jo Johnson
A television and film franchise that has been an ongoing part of pop culture since its debut, every year seems to have more Power Rangers content created to serve its passionate fanbase. One of the people that were there from the beginning, Amy Jo Johnson played The Pink Ranger in the first season of the series and remains one of the most popular parts of its history to this day. Also memorable for playing one of the leads in the first three seasons of Felicity and a guest star in the fourth, it proved that she could be a valuable part of a more dramatic series. Transitioning into being a director in the last few years, including four projects she also acted in, she also made a Power Rangers return with a cameo in the recent film re-imagining.
7 Danielle Fishel
One of the stars of Boy Meets World, a coming-of-age show that holds a place in the hearts of many people that grew up alongside its cast, Danielle Fishel is a picture of beauty for a generation of fans. Starting out as a recurring character on the series, her character, Topanga, was a classmate of two of the leads and eventually began a relationship with the series’ main character, Cory. Eventually marrying him at the end of that show’s run, it served as the perfect cap for the show since the audience got to see the love between them grow. Going on to star in the Disney Channel spin-off series Girl Meets World, it lasted three seasons before it was canceled, and it brought Danielle back into the public eye, to the happiness of many.
6 Danica McKellar
The star of a show that was all about nostalgia, The Wonder Years, it is funny how things work as Danica McKellar is someone who many people remember with fondness all these years later. Cast as Winnie Cooper, the love interest of series’ lead, Kevin Arnold, as he goes from being a kid to a young man, it was only natural for audience members that are attracted to women to crush on her. We say that because she portrayed someone that seemed lovely and was a pretty young person as well. Going on to buck the trend of child stars going awry as adults, Danica got an education in mathematics and used that knowledge to write books to encourage people to become interested in it too. On top of that, her acting career continues, including starring in two TV movies and voicing an animated character in a Jetsons and WWE co-branded film.
5 Alyssa Milano
Introduced to most of the world when she was cast as one of the leads of the eighties and early nineties sitcom Who's the Boss?, the show had millions of viewers in the same age range as Alyssa Milano. Also appearing in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Commando in the same time-frame, despite that, over the years, her greatest success has been found on television. Going on to appear in Melrose Place for three seasons, she was one of the leads in the sci-fi series Charmed for eight years too, which is a big accomplishment. Clearly someone with a lot of staying power, she made the leap to Netflix stardom with her part in the 2017 series Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later and will be part of the show Insatiable for them too.
4 Rachael Leigh Cook
The star of one of the most memorable nineties teen movies, She’s All That, Rachael Leigh Cook was cast as an outsider that got a makeover and became popular as part of a fledgling romance. Parlaying that success into starring roles in other films, including Josie and the Pussycats, a movie that many saw as having the potential to be a big hit, instead, it was a bomb. On top of that, she was in several other films that underperformed including Get Carter, Antitrust, and Blow Dry, which was an awful thing for her career prospects. Set to be a part of a film adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream that is supposed to be released sometime in 2017, she also starred in a pair of TV movies in the last two years as the same character.
3 Tatyana Ali
An actress that seems likely to have her legacy dominated by a single role, we’re sure that Tatyana Ali wishes she would have similar successes again and again but she clearly takes a lot of pride in her history too. Cast as Ashley Banks, a member of the family at the core of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, she was a pivotal part of one of most beloved sitcoms of all time. Also a singer in her own right, she actually released some pretty successful music at the end of her time on that show including a track that reached the sixth position on the Billboard Hot 100. Announcing her pregnancy to the world in 2016, that was also the year of her last role in a major movie or show, in this case, as part of the series Zoe Ever After.
2 Hilary Duff
From one actress who has a history in the music industry to another, in this case, we’re looking at the career of Hilary Duff. Best known early on as the star of the Disney Channel show Lizzie McGuire, she also was a part of a film spin-off from it that was creatively named The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Only one of the well-received movies she was a part of, she also starred in others like the Cheaper by the Dozen series, Agent Cody Banks, A Cinderella Story, and Raise Your Voice. Making headlines a few years back when news of her joining the dating app Tinder broke, her time on it fizzled out but proved her unique view of celebrity. The co-author of several books in recent years including a New York Times bestseller, she has also put out a line of jeans and seems to also be focused on her music career as well.
1 Jennifer Love Hewitt
An actress that was added to the cast of the acclaimed teen drama Party of Five in its second season, Jennifer Love Hewitt was so important to it that her character was chosen to get a spin-off. Unfortunately, that series didn’t make it but that only served to set her up for a transition to focusing on getting film roles. The star of several popular movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel, Can’t Hardly Wait, as well as Heartbreakers, she was always a vision of beauty when she appeared onscreen. Last seen as part of the TV scene once again, she appeared in both The Client List and Criminal Minds but has mostly disappeared from the media since 2015. Evidently, she has decided to spend her time with her kids these days instead of focusing on her career, and she is the only one who knows if she will try to stage a comeback but we’ll be waiting if she does.
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