Disney Channel Stars: Where Are They Now?

Playing Disney Child Stars Who Grew Up to Do Big Things

Caroline Sunshine left the Mouse House and joined the White House — and she's not the only Disney star who's enjoying a successful career.

Sunshine, 22, starred as Tinka Hessenheffer in the Disney Channel show “Shake It Up” opposite Bella Thorne and Zendaya before the show came to an end in 2013. This week, she was hired by the Trump administration as a press assistant in the White House communications office.

Here are some other stars who took their Disney success to new heights.

Britney Spears
Before she became one of the most sought-after pop singers in history, Britney Spears was a Mouseketeer during a revival of The Mickey Mouse Club between 1989 and 1994. In 1998, she jumped into the music scene with her critically acclaimed first album “… Baby One More Time” and its successful follow-up, “Oops!... I Did It Again.” Despite some tabloid trauma that saw her shaving her head and attacking paparazzi with an umbrella, she remains at the top of her game. Fresh off a five-year Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood, she has inked a new deal to stay in Sin City for a new set of shows at the Monte Carlo Resort beginning in 2019.

Britney Spears
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Christina Aguilera
On that same “Mickey Mouse Club” cast was another pop princess-to-be, Christina Aguilera. Following her Disney Channel days, she took over the airwaves in 1999 with hit songs “Genie in a Bottle” and “What a Girl Wants.” She had further success with “Dirrty,” “Beautiful” and “Fighter.” In recent years, she has been a coach on “The Voice,” flaunted her vocal talents on “The Emoji Movie” and will star in the upcoming sci-fi romance film, “Zoe.” She has two children — one with former husband Jordan Bratman and one with fiancé Matthew Rutler.

Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf had already made appearances in TV shows including “The X-Files” and “ER” before landing the role of Louis Stevens on the Disney Channel series “Even Stevens.” When the show ended its 65-episode run in 2003, LaBeouf vaulted himself onto movie screens in “I, Robot,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and most notably, the “Transformers” franchise. Following those successes, LaBeouf found himself on the wrong side of the law a handful of times between 2007 and 2017, but has film projects in the works. The 31-year-old will next appear as hot-blooded tennis star John McEnroe in “Borg vs McEnroe,” which premieres on April 13. 

Ryan Gosling
No Disney Channel alum has earned more cinematic success than Ryan Gosling, another member of the storied '90s “Mickey Mouse Club” cast. Gosling did more children’s television after the show was canceled in 1995, but turned to movies at the turn of the century. But nothing launched his career quite like 2004’s “The Notebook,” which secured his reputation as a Hollywood leading man. Later this year, he will star as Neil Armstrong in Damien Chazelle's “First Man.” The 37-year-old has two children with actress Eva Mendes.

Gosling
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Jake Paul
For the last few years, Jake Paul has been delighting his more than 14 million YouTube followers with cheeky, humorous and downright dangerous pranks (much to the chagrin of his Hollywood neighbors). All the while, he was starring as Dirk on the Disney Channel series, “Bizaardvark.” But outcry over his YouTube antics wound up getting him dismissed from the show last year. His brother Logan had enjoyed the same YouTube success only to see it come crashing down for a hot minute at the beginning of the year after uploading a clip that showed a dead body in a Japanese forest notorious for suicide. Today, Jake Paul continues to feed his vast YouTube audience fresh videos every day.

Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus made a career out of her duel Disney persona and took it to new heights while forging her own path. For five years, she played Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel series of the same name. All the while, she recorded several hit songs as both Montana and as Miley Cyrus before letting go of the Montana name when the show ended in 2011. She released hit songs like “Wrecking Ball” and “Party in the U.S.A.,” was briefly a coach on “The Voice,” and has starred in several films, including “The Last Song,” based on the Nicholas Sparks book. The 25-year-old is engaged to her co-star from that film, Liam Hemsworth.

Keri Russell
The star-studded '90s cast of the Mickey Mouse Club also brought in future star Keri Russell. Since her run on the show ended in 1994, she has worked steadily in film, stage and television. She is perhaps best known for playing “Felicity” in the hit TV series that won her a Golden Globe, and she continues to earn rave reviews for her portrayal of undercover Russian spy Elizabeth Jennings in the FX series, “The Americans.” She is in a relationship with her co-star Matthew Rhys.

Selena Gomez
Before enchanting audiences as a singer and Instagram sensation, Selena Gomez was a pint-sized sorcerer in Disney Channel series “The Wizards of Waverly Place.” Since the show ended in 2012, Gomez has emerged as a singing sensation and actress. She is the proud owner of six top-10 Billboard singles and her own fashion label. She became a figure of controversy last year as an executive producer of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” which ignited a flurry of rebukes over its portrayal of teen suicide.

Timberlake
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Justin Timberlake
Yet another graduate of the '90s “Mickey Mouse Club” revival, Timberlake went on to become a superstar. Not long after his tenure as a Mouseketeer ended in 1994, he formed the boy band NSYNC in 1995. In 2002, he went off on his own as a solo artist and he's about to embark on a new tour to promote his latest album, “Man of the Woods.” Timberlake has also exhibited his comedy chops with close friend Jimmy Fallon repeatedly over the years, and has starred in movies like “The Social Network” and “Runner Runner.” Despite playing a role in Janet Jackson’s notorious Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” in 2004, he was invited back to headline the Super Bowl 52 halftime show last month. He has a son, Silas, with his wife of five years, actress Jessica Biel.

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