Where Are Your Favorite Disney Channel Stars Now?

Get a look at 30 of the cable network's former familiar faces, all grown up.

By Billy Nilles 30 May, 2019 10:00 AMTags

Every once in a while, a ghost of Disney Channel past will pop up to offer an update on their life post-Mouse House, sending a certain segment of the internet (read: Millennials) into an absolute tailspin. 

This week, it was Even Stevens and Kim Possible star Christy Carlson Romano, who penned a powerful essay for Teen Vogue in which she recounted the years since starring as Ren Stevens and the titular animated heroine, respectively, and the challenges that she silently weathered unbeknownst to the rest of us. 

"I have never been perfect or pulled together as my reputation or the success of my young adulthood might suggest," she confessed. "During a period of time in my life, I grappled with depression, drinking, and more, desperate to find fixes for how I felt."

For 10 years, she admitted, she struggled with her "relationships, alcohol usage, and career path," despite multiple appearances on Broadway, authoring a novel, and writing music. It wasn't until she returned to school and met now-husband Brendan Rooney that she found "a companionship that would take a mallet to the tape that had been screaming in my head all those years."

The couple married in December 2013 and now have two daughters.

Christy's about to launch the next phase of her career—a YouTube series, Christy's Kitchen Throwback, kicks off in June—and she does so knowing who she is. "Anyone reading this, or anyone who decides to go into the entertainment business (including my daughters, should that time come), know this: having a clear understanding of your personal value helps to positively shape everything you do," she concluded. "If you don't, if you aren't careful, you just might end up getting what everyone else wishes for but wondering what you want yourself."

Reading Christy's powerful admission—and reveling in its happy ending—had us reminiscing about the other Disney Channel stars who didn't go on to have the careers like the Shias and the Zacs, the Mileys and the Hilarys, the Selenas and the Demis of the world. So let's check in on the rest of the cable network's former stars, shall we?

Clayton Snyder, Lizzie McGuire

After getting his break as lovable heartthrob Ethan Craft on the Hilary Duff-starring comedy, which ran from 2001-04, Clayton Snyder took a break from acting to finish high school and attend Pepperdine University, where he played water polo from 2006-09. Though he's returned to acting in recent years, his only major credit is a 2014 episode of NCIS.

Adam Lamberg, Lizzie McGuire

After starring as Lizzie's BFF-turned-BF David "Gordo" Gordon" on the beloved comedy, Adam Lamberg landed two roles in the films When Do We Eat? and Beautiful Loser. According to his LinkedIn page, he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Geography from UC Berkeley before seeking out a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College. having retired from acting, he currently works as a development associate at the Irish Arts Center in his native New York City.

Lalaine, Lizzie McGuire

When Lalaine's character Miranda Sanchez disappeared from the final six episodes of Lizzie McGuire (as well as the 2003 movie) due to her filming schedule on Disney Channel Original Movie You Wish!, her career sort of disappeared as well. An attempt at a music career never really went anywhere, while a 2007 reprisal of her role in a Lizzie McGuire sequel series What's Stevie Thinking? (centered on Miranda's younger sister) never went beyond the pilot stage. That same year, she was arrested and charged with felony possession of meth. After completing court mandated rehab, the charge was expunged from her record. Despite a cameo in 2010's Easy A, she's more easily found on Instagram than either big or small screen. She does have a film, Definition Please, in pre-production with a targeted 2020 release, however.

Jake Thomas, Lizzie McGuire

After 65 episodes as quintessential little brother Matt on Lizzie McGuire, Jake Thomas continued to work steadily, first appearing on Disney's Cory In the House before doing the guest star circuit on procedurals like ER, House, Criminal Minds, NCIS, and, most recently, S.W.A.T. He also co-starred in YouTuber Joey Graceffa's web series Storytellers in 2013-14. He officially graduated from Cal State University, Northridge in 2018 with a degree in Screenwriting with a minor in Japanese Language. Over on his Instagram, he shares a mix of his own photography and throwback pics to his child actor days.

Camilla Belle, Rip Girls

After landing her first starring role in the 2000 DCOM Rip Girls, Camilla Belle took a bit of a break from acting before starring in the 2006 remake of When a Stranger Calls and the 2008 hit 10,000 BC. After briefly dating Joe Jonas, whom she met on the set of the Jonas Brothers' video for "Lovebug," from late 2008-mid-2009, earning herself a reference in the Taylor Swift song "Better Than Revenge," she's worked mostly in the indie scene, starring in films like Open Road, Diablo and, most recently, the 2017 James Franco film The Mad Whale

Jake T. Austin, Wizards of Waverly Place

When his time as youngest Russo sibling Max on Wizards of Waverly Place came to an end in 2012, Jake T. Austin rebounded quickly with a starring role on ABC Family-turned-freeform's The Fosters. He played Jesus Foster for the first two seasons before departing and being replaced with Noah Centineo. He followed that up with a somewhat obligatory stint on Dancing With the Stars, where he was the first contestant eliminated in season 23. He also lent his voice to 2017's The Emoji Movie and recently finished filming Adverse, a thriller starring Mickey Rourke.

David Henrie, Wizards of Waverly Place

Meanwhile, David Henrie, who starred as eldest Russo sib Justin has had a bit of a different go of things since the show wrapped in 2012. He was the lone cast member not involved in follow-up film The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex, however he has appeared in films such as Grown Ups 2 and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. He married former Miss Delaware Maria Cahill in April 2017 and welcomed daughter Pia Francesca Philomena Henrie into the world on March 19, 2019. Around the time he revealed he and Maria were expecting, he was arrested and charged at LAX under allegations of carrying a loaded gun in the airport. After apologizing for the unintentional act, he was sentenced to two years probation and 20 days of community labor.

Jennifer Stone, Wizards of Waverly Place

After returning as Alex Russo's (Selena Gomez) BFF Harper Finkle for The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex, Jennifer Stone starred in 2014 Lifetime thriller High School Possession and played the Babysitter in Nickelodeon's anthology series Deadtime Stories. According to IMDb, she has a few movies in various stages of production, all of them independent. In 2013, she was diagnosed with latent autoimmune diabetes in adults, often referred to as Type 1.5 diabetes, and her upcoming film The In-Between aims to bring more awareness to the condition. The film debuted at the Twister Alley Film Festival in Woodward, Okla. in early May.

Mia Talerico, Good Luck Charlie

Ready to feel really old? Little Mia Talerico was only ten months old when she was cast to play the titular role of Charlie Duncan on Good Luck Charlie, which debuted in April 2010. Since the show wrapped in 2014, she landed a role on YouTube network Brat's kid's show Mani, playing Paige in 13 episodes. She also has a YouTube channel of her own, where she participates in "unboxing" and toy review videos. Oh, and she's only 10 years old.

Bridgit Mendler, Good Luck, Charlie

Meanwhile, the erstwhile Teddy Duncan, Charlie's second-oldest sibling, followed up Good Luck Charlie with a decidedly more adult role when Bridgit Mendler joined the second season of NBC comedy Undateable in 2015. She starred in two seasons of the sitcom before it was canceled. Since then, she's appeared in two episodes of Nashville and the Netflix film Father of the Year, with a Netflix series co-starring Dennis Quaid and Ashley Tisdale, Merry Happy Whatever, officially given the green light in February 2019. The actress, whose also released two albums, studied anthropology at USC, announced in May 2018 that she'd started a graduate program at MIT, followed by a January 2019 announcement that she was studying at Harvard Law School. IN April 2019, she and mechanical engineer Griffin Cleverly, whom she'd been dating since 2017, announced their engagement

Kiely Williams, Cheetah Girls

While her Cheetah Girls co-stars Raven-Symone and Adrienne Houghton (formerly Bailon) have kept themselves in the spotlight with acting roles here and there (for Raven) and a pair of talk show hosting gigs (The View for Raven and The Real for Adrienne) since the DCOM franchise aired its last installment in 2008, life for Adrienne's former 3LW group member Kiely Williams has been a little bit different. After starring in The House Bunny the same year, Kiely earned roles in 2010's Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale and Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming, as well as one in 2013's Holla II. After marrying Brandon "BJ" Cox in December 2016—where fellow Cheetah Girls co-star Sabrina Bryan served as bridesmaid—she briefly returned to the spotlight for a 2017 episode of Celebrity Family Feud, competing on the Girl Group team alongside Sabrina. 

Sabrina Bryan, Cheetah Girls

After Cheetah Girls: One World aired in 2008, Sabrina Bryan served as a correspondent for E! News during the eighth season of Dancing With the Stars in 2009—three seasons after she competed and was eliminated sixth. She returned to the ballroom for season 15 in 2012, competing as an All Star. Despite receiving perfect scores, she was again eliminated sixth five years to the date of her first elimination. She performed some voice work in the Disney Channel animated series Fish Hooks, launched a web series with Kiely Williams called Dinner With Friends in 2011, and married strategic accounts manager Jordan Lundberg on October 6, 2018 after nine years of dating.

Ryan Merriman, Smart House

After starring in the classic 1999 DCOM Smart House, Ryan Merriman became a staple on the network, appearing in 2001's The Luck of the Irish and 2002's A Ring of Endless Light. From there, he ventured into more adult fare, appearing in horror films like Halloween: Resurrection, The Ring Two and Final Destination 3. In 2010, he nabbed the recurring role of Ian Thomas on Pretty Little Liars, appearing in 16 episodes through 2014. He also appeared in the 2013 Jackie Robinson biopic 42 in a supporting role. His career remains active, though lately the roles are in more independent fare. After tying the knot in 2004, he and wife Micol Duncan divorced in 2011. On January 1, 2012, he and Kristen McCullen announced their engagement. They made it official in 2014.

Kirsten Storms, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century

From 1999 through 2004, Kirsten Storms was one of Disney Channel's favorite faces, starring in the Zenon trilogy and Johnny Tsunami, while lending her voice to Kim Possible. But during that time she had already begun her transition to a more adult career, beginning a four-year, 410 episode stint on NBC's Days of Our Lives in 2000. After trying to break into primetime with a role on 2004's Clubhouse, a short-lived baseball drama on CBS, she returned to soaps in 2005 as Maxie Jones on ABC's General Hospital, a role she remains in to this day. Fun fact: She's appeared in over 1,100 episodes! In 2011, she made a brief foray into reality TV, starring in the short-lived E! series Dirty Soap, which followed the personal lives of soap stars. In August 2013, she and former GH co-star Brandon Barash confirmed they'd secretly tied the knot in June and were expecting a child in January. Their daughter Harper Rose Barash was born on January 7, 2014. On April 6, 2016, it was revealed that she and her husband had filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. 

Erik von Detten, Brink!

In 1998, Erik von Detten stole tween hearts everywhere as the star of one of the earliest DCOMs, Brink! After that, he popped up everywhere, doing voice work on Recess, playing John Bryant in The Princess Diaries, and starring on spooky Disney Channel series So Weird from 1999-2001. He dipped a toe in early reality TV waters, competing on the first celebrity edition of ABC's The Mole, while landing roles in short-lived series like Dinotopia and Complete Savages. His most recent work was in Toy Story 3, returning as Sid, a role he'd originated in the Pixar franchise's 1995 start. He and wife Angela von Detten welcomed their first child, daughter Claire, on May 17, 2019.

Raviv Ullman, Phil of the Future

After playing the titular Phil of the Future from 2004-06 credited as Ricky Ullman, Raviv began transitioning to more adult fair with appearances in Big Love and House (with his 2006 episode being the first credited with his real name), followed by a series regular role on Lifetime comedy Rita Rocks from 2008-09. His most recent credits include a 2015 episode of Broad City and a recurring role on web series Strangers in 2018. From 2012-18, he's appeared in a handful of stage shows and, from 2013-14, he was the drummer in Zoe Kravitz' band Lolawolf. 

Kimberly J. Brown, Halloweentown

In 1999, Kimberly J. Brown shot to stardom starring as young witch Marnie Piper in the classic DCOM Halloweentown opposite the legendary Debbie Reynolds. The film was such a hit that it spawned three sequels, however the network made the bizarre decision to recast her in 2006's Return to Halloweentown, replacing her with Sara Paxton. Not surprisingly, the fourth film is perhaps the least-liked entry in the franchise. Her acting work outside the franchise has been particularly limited, with a role in the 2005 film Be Cool and a handful of episodes on AMC's short-lived Low Winter Sun in 2013 among the most notable. After graduating college with a degree in business, she launched an Etsy shop CraftilyCreative, where she sells a variety of items, including Halloweentown-themed merch. And in 2016, she and coauthor Diane Yslas published a Halloween-themed children's book, Poppin's Pumkpin Patch Parade.

Mitchel Musso, Hannah Montana

From 2006-11, Mitchel Musso starred as Oliver Oken, one of Miley Stewart's (Miley Cyrus) BFFs on Hannah Montana. As the show was winding down, he had a promising career going for him on Disney, landing a lead role on new series Pair of Kings, as well as a gig hosting PrankStars. But when he was pulled over on October 17, 2011 and charged with a DUI suspicion while underage—he was 20 at the time—he was written out of Pair of Kings and his prank show was canceled. Since then, work has been relegated to indie films and voice work in Milo Murphy's Law, a Disney XD series.

Jason Earles, Hannah Montana

Despite playing Miley's older teenage brother Jackson Stewart on Hannah Montana, written as a 10th grader in season one, Jason Earles was actually 29 when the show began airing and 34 by the time it ended. Immediately afterwards, he began starring on Disney XD comedy Kickin' It, where he spent four seasons playing the more age-appropriate Rudy until the show wrapped in March 2015. Since 2018, he's starred on Hotel Du Loone, a Brat series available on YouTube. In August 2017, he married girlfriend Katie Drysen.

Kyle Massey, That's So Raven

After starring as younger brother Cory Baxter on That's So Raven from 2003-07, Kyle Massey earned a spinoff of his own, Cory in the House, that aired on the network until 2008. Following that, he recurred on The Electric Company, guest starred on Gotham and Being Mary Jane, provided voice work for Fish Hooks, Mighty Magiswords, and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and competed on season 11 of Dancing With the Stars and in a 2017 episode of Celebrity Family Feud against Jennie Garth. In 2018, several outlets reported that he would be joining the cast of The Hills: New Beginnings, but the rumors proved to be unfounded, with Kyle himself calling them "fake news."

Brenda Song, Suite Life of Zach & Cody

After appearing in the 2002 DCOM Get a Clue, Brenda Song became a fixture on the network, starring in DCOMs Stuck in the Suburbs and Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior and making appearances on That's So Raven and Phil of the Future. But her biggest contribution to the network came in 2005 when she landed the role of London Tipton on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. In 2008, she reprised the role in spinoff The Suite Life on Deck, where she remained for 71 episodes until 2011. A year before the show wrapped, she'd begun venturing into more adult fare with a role in 2010's The Social Network. She followed that up with recurring arcs on shows like Scandal, New Girl, and Station 19, starring roles on short-lived shows Dads and Pure Genius, and guest spots on Robot Chicken, Life in Pieces and Superstore. Her most recent film, Changeland, is set for a June 7, 2019 release. She also has a Hulu comedy, Dollface, and a Netflix film, Secret Obsession, on the way. She's been dating Macaulay Culkin since mid-2017.

A.J. Trauth, Even Stevens

After playing Twitty on Even Stevens from 2000-2003, and lending his voice to the role of Josh Mankey in a handful of Kim Possible episodes, A.J. Trauth made the guest star rounds, popping up in episodes of 7th Heaven, House, Ghost Whisperer, CSI, and Bones, among others, through 2012. Since then, he's appeared in a handful of independent films while providing voice work for video games Wolfenstein: The New Order and its 2017 sequel, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. After getting engaged to actress Leah Pipes, his girlfriend of almost three years, in February 2014, the couple tied the knot that December. 

Christy Carlson Romano, Even Stevens

After starring as brainy Ren Stevens for three years on Even Stevens, bringing the titular Kim Possible to life, and starring opposite Hilary Duff in the 2002 DCOM Cadet Kelly, Christy Carlson Romano took to Broadway for a 31-week run in Disney's Beauty and the Beast in 2004, playing Belle, before returning to the famed theater district in 2008, joining the company of Avenue Q. She wrote a novel, Grace's Turn, in 2007, directed a feature film, Christmas All Over Again, in 2016, earned a degree in Film Studies from Barnard College, and married writer-producer Brendan Rooney on December 31, 2013. The couple have two daughters, the youngest born in February 2019. Christy returned to the network that made her a household name in 2019 with a role in the live-action Kim Possible film, playing pop star Poppy Blu. In May 2019, she also opened up about the difficulties she faced coming out of her years as the network's star in a powerful essay for Teen Vogue. "I have never been perfect or pulled together as my reputation or the success of my young adulthood might suggest," she confessed. "During a period of time in my life, I grappled with depression, drinking, and more, desperate to find fixes for how I felt."

Brandon Baker, Johnny Tsunami

In 1999, Brandon Baker made his DCOM debut as the iconic titular star of Johnny Tsunami. After the film, he worked sporadically, popping up in a handful of Even Stevens episodes with roles in more adult-minded shows like Boston Public and The Unit while he pursued a degree at UC Santa Barbara. In 2007, he returned to the role that made him a Disney star in the sequel, Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board. Since then, he's appeared in two independent films, The Formula, co-starring Family Matters' icon Reginald VelJohnson, and Up on the Wooftop, which co-starred Saved By the Bell's Dennis Haskins as Santa Claus. Naturally.

Alana Austin, Motocrossed

In 2001, Alana Austin starred in the DCOM Motocrossed as Andrea "Andi" Carson, the teenage girl barred from competing in motocross despite her love for it who secretly begins racing as her twin brother after he injures himself before a big race. Despite making a handful of guest star spots on shows like 7th Heaven, Boston Public and Cold Case following the film's release, she retired from acting altogether in 2006. She reportedly studied medicine at USC, but when asked by a fan on Twitter in April 2016 what she was up to, she replied "Pursuing writing" before noting that acting was always "high up" in her heart.

Corbin Bleu, High School Musical

Once the High School Musical phenomenon came to an end in 2008, Corbin Bleu kept on working. He landed a role in the short-lived CW show The Beautiful Life: TBL in 2009, made his Broadway debut in 2010 as the lead in Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights, joined the cast of the short-lived digital revival of One Life to Live in 2013, and competed in season 17 of Dancing With the Stars in 2013 and Battle of the Network Stars in 2017. He's currently finishing up a run in the Broadway revival of Kiss Me, Kate at Roundabout Theatre's Studio 54. In October 2014, he proposed to actress and girlfriend of three years Sasha Clements, marrying her in July 2016.

Lucas Grabeel, High School Musical

After Lucas Grabeel said goodbye to Ryan Evans in 2008, he followed the franchise up with something decidedly more adult: a role in Milk, starring Sean Penn. After some guest star work on Family Guy, CSI and Smallville, he landed a starring role on Switched at Birth in 2011, playing Toby Kennish on the drama until it concluded in 2017. Since then, he played Laurie in a 2018 film adaptation of Little Women starring Switched at Birth co-star Lea Thompson, while providing voice work in Netflix's Spirit Riding Free and Nickelodeon's Pinky Malinky

Monique Coleman, High School Musical

Since wrapping up the HSM franchise in 2008, Monique Coleman's work has been largely relegated to independent films and digital series. In 2010, she launched an online talk show called Gimme Mo', a show dedicated to empowering today's youth. She eventually turned Gimme Mo' into a docuseries that premiered on Discovery Life in October 2018, earning her a 2019 Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Host. 

Kay Panabaker, Phil of the Future

After landing a recurring role in Phil of the Future, Kay Panabaker became something of a staple on Disney Channel, starring in DCOMs Life is Ruff and Read It and Weep, alongside older sister Danielle Panabaker, and competing in the first Disney Channel Games in 2006. She made a transition to more adult fare in the 2009 remake of Fame and the 2011 ABC drama No Ordinary Family, but by 2012 had retired from acting. She went on to study zoology at UCLA and, as of 2016, was working as an animal keeper at, of all places, Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Tahj Mowry, Hounded

While Tahj Mowry, younger brother of twins Tia and Tamera Mowry didn't get his start on Disney, his WB show Smart Guy only really gained recognition when it began airing in syndication on Disney Channel. That lead to starring roles in two 2001 DCOMs, Hounded and The Poof Point, as well as the role of Wade Load on Kim Possible. Since finishing Kim Possible in 2007, he guest-starred in an episode of Desperate Housewives and appeared in the film Are We Done Yet?, both out that same year. He returned to TV full-time in the ABC Family sitcom Baby Daddy, which ran from 2012-17. He hasn't worked since.