Before They Were Stars: 35+ Adorable Images Of Famous Celebs As Kids

By Makungu H

This article was originally published on whythese

We know it’s hard to imagine, but celebrities didn’t come out of the womb as the flawless superhuman stars they are today. Believe it or not, our favorite celebs have also had to traverse the awkward world of adolescence to become the stunners that grace our television screens.

We have dug up some super-secret pictures of your favorite stars before puberty had mercy on them, and graced them with their movie-star good looks. These photos have spent decades hiding in between the sticky plastic of family photo albums, but today, we get to peruse them and get a glimpse into the world of celebrity childhoods.

Some of these stars look a lot like their younger selves, while others are almost unrecognizable. See if you can guess who these fresh-faced kids grew up to be.


What were you doing when you were nine years old? Chances are, you weren’t the lead singer of a girl group that had performances on national TV. Want to know who was doing all of those things? The adorable girl in this photo.

Image source: beyonce / ig

Beyonce may have only been knee-high when she began her singing career, but goodness, what a fantastic career it turned out to be! The sweet girl in this picture is undoubtedly proud of the woman she turned out to be.


When we think of hardcore rappers, we don’t ever envision them as baby-faced kids with polka-dot bomber jackets. Well, jokes on us because this good ol’ Canadian boy grew up to become one of the world’s most famous rappers. Any guesses on who this is?

Image source: champagnepapi / ig

If you said Drake, then you are correct! Many things have changed for the Hotline Bling rapper since this photo was taken. But one thing we wish had remained the same is that glorious head of hair – the afro is almost as big as he is!

Celine Dion

If we’re talking about famous Canadians, none are as iconic as Celine Dion. Though she was recently excluded from Rolling Stones‘ list of “200 Greatest Singers of All Time” (an act that sparked protests), she will always have a special place in our hearts.

Image source: celinedion / ig

Before she became a legend, however, she was this adorable kid with a badly cut fringe. Hey, no judgment here. Her parents did have 14 kids, after all. Not much time for haircut quality control when you’re trying to keep that many people alive!

Miley Cyrus

Oh, how time flies. One minute you are a gap-toothed kid snuggling your baby sister, and the next, you are swinging on a wrecking ball in nothing but your birthday suit and some old boots! Guess that’s just part of growing up, no?

Image source: mileycyrus / ig

In all seriousness, in this picture, Miley Cyrus looks every bit like the Disney star she grew up to be. She has since had a rebrand of her look, but, at her core, she is probably still this adorable little girl.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Before she became the walking meme she is today, Gwyneth Paltrow was actually a well-respected actress with several blockbusters under her belt. By the looks of this picture, before the money, success, and fame, she was also a beach-loving tween.

Image source: gwynethpaltrow / ig

Now she is known as the lady that survives off of bone broth and sells genitalia-scented candles for seventy-five dollars. We aren’t even kidding with that statement. For now, life seems to be taking a smiley Paltrow all the way to the bank!


Here are some things we already knew (and loved) about Adele: she is a fantastic singer, a master at turning heartbreak into hit songs, and she’s pretty funny, too. What we doubt anyone knew is that, even as a tween, she had fantastic taste in music.

Image source: Adele / ig

She looks pretty stoked about that wall of Spice Girls memorabilia on the wall, and who can blame her? The Spice Girls did dominate the charts during the nineties and early 2000s. What we want (what we really really want) is a Spice Girls/Adele collab. Someone make it happen!

Taylor Swift

Another pop star known for her ability to turn heartbreak into award-winning hit songs is none other than Taylor Swift. When she first popped onto the scene, she looked a lot like this little girl – cherub-faced with golden curls.

Image source: taylorswift13 / twitter

As her career has evolved, so has her look, and she is now a full-grown superstar with twelve Grammys under her belt. These days, you’re more likely to catch her donning some red lipstick and shiny boots rather than a tie-dye dress.

Jonah Hill

In a true battle of the tie-dye outfits, here is Jonah Hill looking like an exhausted father of five! Though we have no idea who took this picture, it looks like Hill is tired of their nonsense. Honestly, this is how we look at that annoyingly loud co-worker on a Monday morning.

Image source: jonahhill / ig

In all seriousness, though, the 21 Jump Street actor has sadly decided to somewhat step away from the limelight. That said, he managed to bring laughter and happiness to anyone who has ever watched his movies. Now that’s a legacy to be proud of.

Reese Witherspoon

At this point, it seems that Legally Blonde has firmly cemented itself as an important part of pop culture. “Elle Woods” is responsible for an entire generation of women knowing the power of the “bend and snap.” But did you know that the actress behind the iconic character did actually attend an Ivy League university?

Image source: reesewitherspoon / ig

Considering that Reese Witherspoon’s mother is a professor at Vanderbilt, it’s no surprise that Reese attended one of the best universities in the US (Stanford). In fact, the stunning blonde bombshell claims to have been a big dork growing up – the round wireframe glasses in this picture definitely confirm that fact!

Kim Kardashian

There are very few families that have managed to capture the attention of the world quite like the Kardashians have. Using one adult film and Kris Jenner’s incredible marketing prowess, Kim K and her sisters have successfully created billion-dollar brands.

Image source: kimkardashian / ig

Kim K is so famous that it is easy to forget that she, too, was once a little kid who adored her teddy. See, guys, celebrities are just like us! Of course, Kim grew up in Beverly Hills, going to the best private schools in the nation but still, what a relatable Queen.

Paris Hilton

Sure, Kim Kardashian has become the ultimate influencer, but people forget that she, too, was influenced by an “It Girl” that captivated the world with just two words: “That’s Hot.” What would the 2000s have been without Paris Hilton and her iconic pink Motorola Razr?

Image source: parishilton / ig

Even as a kid, Paris looks every bit like the uber-rich heiress she is. We would bet big money that the hair clip she’s wearing in this picture is made from real diamonds and pearls. She really has been fabulous from the day she was born.


From an “It Girl” to the “Material Girl.” While Paris Hilton may have owned the 2000s, the ’80s definitely belonged to Madonna. She took the world by storm and has now become the best-selling female recording artist of all time.

Image source: madonna / ig

We must say Madonna has one of the most recognizable childhood photos of all the celebrities on this list. We would recognize that iconic gap in her teeth anywhere. After all, it was this same smile and her talent that made us crown her the Queen of Pop!

Chris Pratt

Though the previous celebrity childhood picture was super recognizable, we must admit that this one had us stumped. We could not figure out who this jolly kid (who happens to be dressed as Chucky from Child’s Play – creepy) grew up to be.

Image source: prattprattpratt / ig

Turns out that this goofball is the hunky Chris Pratt. Grown up Chris does not look quite as cheery as baby Chris. Perhaps his gig as one of the Guardians of the Galaxy has taken its toll. Constantly saving the universe can’t be easy.

Heidi Klum

Have you ever seen a more adorable fashionista? She is rocking mixed prints, crimped hair, and a wicker handbag like a pro. Well, maybe the reason she could pull this look off at such a young age is that her place in the fashion industry had already been secured by the powers that be!

Image source: heidiklum / ig

Soon this cutie would grow into those knobby knees and become a world-renowned supermodel. German-born Heidi Klum went from posing in her backyard to strutting for some of the biggest fashion brands in the world. Funny how life works, huh?

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Rocking up to school as the only boy with ’50s-inspired bouffant hair must not have been easy. We’re certain none of the other kids would have dared to bully this boy if they knew who he would grow up to become – a 6’5, 260lb professional wrestler.

Image source: therock / ig

Dwayne Johnson’s story is a true “rags to riches” story. As a teenager, his family had to deal with financial struggles as well as the troubles that came with his run-ins with the law. Now, he is worth $800 million and is also an awesome dad. How inspiring!

Selena Gomez

Another celeb who has not had an easy ride in this journey called life is Selena Gomez. Though she’s been a star for most of her life, she struggled with something money can’t buy: her health. In 2017, she got a kidney transplant after experiencing complications with Lupus.

Image source: selenagomez / ig

Selena must be made of tough stuff. Not only has she had to overcome health issues, but she’s also done it while building a massive beauty empire. Not bad for a girl that started out as a cast member on Barney and Friends.

Kylie Jenner

Another star that has built a formidable beauty empire is Kylie Jenner. As part of the Kar-Jenner clan, she has been on our television screens since she was just nine years old. In essence, she grew up right in front of our eyes.

Image source: kyliejenner / ig

It comes as no shock that Kylie was so adorable as a child. After all, she is a mother to two of the most adorable kids! Though she has outgrown the pink bows, to us, she will always be the sweet little girl we saw grow up on Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Hilary Duff

Hilary Duff is another celeb that admittedly grew up right in front of our eyes. One minute we were jamming to This is What Dreams Are Made Of, and the next, we find out that the Lizzie McGuire star is now a mom of three.

Image source: hillaryduff / ig

We’re a bit jealous that we never looked this cool in our yearbook pictures. Just look at how awesome Duff looks with that bob, complete with some highlights. And the pose? Masterclass. There’s no denying that she was one cool kid.

Lenny Kravitz

Since we’re on the topic of cool kids, how about we talk about the king of cool himself: Lenny Kravitz. Even as a kid, Kravitz exuded confidence. In this picture, he is wearing knee-high socks, and though his shoes are the wrong way around, he is still one of the coolest kids we’ve ever seen.

Image source: lennykravitz / twitter

And as if he wasn’t awesome enough on his own, he teamed up with one of the most stunning women on Earth to create a goddess-like daughter. Honestly, it’s almost unfair how good-looking Lenny Kravitz, Lisa Bonet, and Zoe Kravitz are.

Cindy Crawford

Another celebrity family that won the genetic lottery is Cindy Crawford and her daughter, Kaia Gerber. This mother-daughter duo is insanely gorgeous. That said, it was to be expected that Kaia would turn out to be a stunner. Her mother is a legendary supermodel, after all!

Image source: cindycrawford / ig

Born into a normal Midwestern family, this little girl probably never dreamed that she would become the star that she is today. But armed with that smile and her iconic mole, Crawford became one of the most recognizable names in fashion.

Gigi Hadid

Kaia Gerber seems to be following in her mother’s footsteps and joining the world of modeling – a world that is currently dominated by the Hadid sisters. As the daughters of German model Yolanda Hadid, one would say the two were bound to become the superstar models they are today.

Image source: gigihadid / ig

At just two years old, Gigi Hadid was already modeling for labels like Guess. So, it comes as no surprise that she was able to channel so much fierceness into this photo. The head tilt and piercing blue eyes are proof that she was born to be in front of the camera!

Elizabeth Banks

This photo confirms to us that no matter how stunning someone grows up to be, childhood photos will always be the great equalizer. Even the biggest stars in Hollywood have childhood pictures of themselves as gap-toothed kids with awkward haircuts.

Image source: elizabethbanks / ig

But, if you’re as lucky as Elizabeth Banks, you will grow up to become a stunning woman with a successful acting career. However, if you’re a part of the unlucky majority, like us, then you will grow up to be the same awkward kid – just with a few more teeth!

Ariana Grande

Benjamin Franklin once said that nothing is certain in life but death and taxes. We reckon he missed one more of life’s consistencies: Ariana Grande’s high ponytail. No matter the situation, Ariana’s ponytail will remain as high as her vocal range – which is pretty darn high.

Image source: arianagrande / ig

Just take a look at this picture of her from her younger years. Sure, the ponytail is not nearly as long and luscious as it is now, but from the photo alone, we can already see the beginnings of her iconic hairstyle.

Jennifer Garner

A lot has changed for Jennifer Garner since this picture was taken. For example, she transformed from a theater kid into one of the most sought-after actresses of this generation. One thing that has not changed, though, is that adorable smile.

Image source: jennifer.garner / ig

Granted, she has a few more teeth than she had back then, but the dimples and the light in her eyes have remained the same. We are just glad that the haircut did not remain the same. Bowl cuts don’t necessarily scream “chic,” do they?

Billie Eilish

Some people find their star power later in life. It can take time to find what you’re good at and figure out how to make money from it. This wasn’t the case for Billie Eilish. At 13, she was catapulted into fame when one of her songs got hundreds of thousands of listens on SoundCloud.

Image source: Billieeilish / ig

Now, fans around the world know and love her for her amazing vocals, funky hair, and edgy style choices – style choices that are a far cry from the puppy shirt and Yankees cap she’s wearing in this picture. But hey, we aren’t judging. Who didn’t own a Yankees cap in the early 2000s?

Justin Timberlake

There’s nothing quite as nostalgic as listening to our favorite boy bands from way back when. The sounds of Bye, Bye, Bye make us want to don the quintessential 2000s uniform of a skirt over jeans while posting on our MySpace profile!

Image source: justintimberlake / ig

One of the men behind that iconic hit was none other than Justin Timberlake. Just one look at this, and you can tell that Justin was born to be a musician. It is said that his granddad taught him how to play the guitar when he was just a young boy. We guess those lessons paid off.

Christina Aguilera

Speaking of music and nostalgia, we really wish we could go back to the days when Christina Aguilera’s voice was pumping through our MP3 players, and all was right with the world. Ahh, those really were the days, weren’t they?

Image source: xtina / ig

But before she became the streaky-haired pop star known as Xtina, she was this little girl. This face just tells you she knew she was going to be an icon one day. We wish we could exude just a fraction of the same kind of confidence today.


With a name like Christopher Brian Bridges, it’s a wonder how Ludacris managed to get any street cred. But armed with excellent rapping skills and the Dirty South brand of hip hop, he became a three-time Grammy Award-winning rap legend.

Image source: ludacris / ig

Behind every rap legend, though, is a baby picture that threatens their tough-guy exterior. How can anyone be intimidated by a guy that once wore fuzzy socks and a onesie? However, we must admit that that chubby little fist is quite threatening!

Ice Cube

Believe it or not, this adorable guy with his luscious afro and goofy smile grew up to be a part of the rap group that populated a genre of music known as “gangster rap.” He grew up to be Ice Cube, one of the artists behind the infamous song “[insert expletive] the Police.”

Image source: icecube / ig

These days, Ice Cube’s career is more aligned with this goofy smile than with the gangster rap he was once known for. He has starred in numerous comedy films, including the hilarious 21 Jump Street and the Kevin Hart film Ride Along.

Jack Black

If we’re talking comedy films, then we would be remiss not to talk about one of the funniest actors Hollywood has to offer: Jack Black. The actor and musician has a way of making audiences giggle with just the slightest change in facial expression.

Image source: Jack rose agency

Just look at this childhood picture of him. His face just exudes happiness and joy. If you’re ever in need of a pick-me-up, just put on one of his movies (perhaps School of Rock or Jumanji), and you will be crying from laughter in no time!

Jennifer Anniston

How do you know you’re winning at life? That’s easy: when you’re dating Brad Pitt, and you are one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood! Okay, so the Brad Pitt thing didn’t end well, but still, Jennifer Anniston has been handed some pretty fantastic cards in life.

Image source: jenniferaniston / ig

It’s no surprise that she grew up to be a star, either. From when she was as young as she was in this picture, Jen was surrounded by actors. Her dad was actually an actor on Days of Our Lives for many years. Acting is clearly in her blood.

Anne Hathaway

Another actress that was born for Hollywood is Anne Hathaway. Her mother was an actor, and as a young girl, she watched her portray the role of “Fontaine” in Les Miserable’, a role Hathaway would later take on herself. Don’t you just love when life comes full circle?

Image source: annehathaway / ig

We can tell from this childhood picture that Anne Hathaway is a theater kid at heart. She doesn’t look like she has any reservations about being the center of attention. That’s good because her brilliant acting and “girl next door” persona have often landed her at the center of media attention.

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Like Anne Hathaway, Catherine Zeta-Jones practically grew up in the theater. Except, instead of watching from the sidelines, Zeta-Jones was on stage from as young as nine-years-old. She moved to London at just 15 years old to follow her dreams, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Image source: catherinezetajones / ig

We must say, though, she has changed quite a lot since this picture was taken. These days she is more of a sultry siren than the adorably chipper kid pictured here. It’s no wonder she was booking acting gigs from such a young age. Who could say “no” to that smile?

Yvette Nicole Brown

Yvette Nicole Brown is one of those people you can’t help but love. The actor and comedian, who starred in the hit show Community, has such an exuberance about her. Her radiant smile and bubbly persona are just so captivating.

Image source: Yvettenicolebrown / ig

However, judging from this picture, her smile didn’t come easily. Like many of us, she too had to navigate those tricky teen years with a mouth full of braces. But hey, it was all worth it. Now she has one of the best pearly whites in the business!

Mark Ruffalo

Speaking of braces, take a look at the ones Mark Ruffalo had to endure as a young man. Poor kid; it couldn’t have been easy trying to impress the ladies when your mouth has enough metal to build a spaceship! Simply tragic.

Image source: markruffalo / ig

However, if those girls knew that one day Mark would be in massive blockbusters like The Avengers, they might have given him a shot. Too late now, though. Mark has been married to his partner, Sunrise Coigney, for 23 years. Now that’s impressive!

Lucy Hale

We don’t know what song Lucy Hale was singing when this picture was taken, but whatever it was, she sure performed it with every bit of her soul. Just look at the curl of her lip; that is nothing but pure passion!

Image source: lucyhale / ig

Well, with passion like that, some acting chops, and a sprinkle of luck, Lucy Hale has become a bonafide Hollywood starlet. She went from being just another young girl moving to LA to follow her dreams to featuring in massive shows like Pretty Little Thing. Good for her!

Neil Patrick Harris

If you’re like us, you were first introduced to Neil Patrick Harris when he played “Barney Stinson” on How I Met Your Mother. But did you know that he was actually a child star? Considering the reputation child stars have for going off the rails, we’re impressed that he has sustained such a lengthy career.

Image source: nph / ig

Just a few short years after this adorable picture was taken, Harris was starring alongside big names like Whoopi Goldberg. While the rest of us spent our childhoods eating dirt and trading marbles, this guy was earning the big bucks!

Joesph Gordon-Levitt

Another child star that has continued to have a successful career even in adulthood is the lovable Joseph Gordon-Levitt. As the grandson of a film director, it was almost expected that Joseph would be on the big screen sooner or later.

Image source: Joe Gordon-Levitt / Facebook

How many kids do you know with acting headshots? Just look at this picture of Joseph. He is so young, but even at that age, he had already perfected the movie-star smirk. No wonder he started booking acting gigs at just six years old.


We don’t mean to bring up anything that might be traumatic, but do you remember the long period of time when Thrift Shop by Macklemore was all that would play on the radio? *shudders* Yeah, we still haven’t gotten over it, either.

Image source: macklemore / ig

Well, before he made us regret the day we were born with ears, Macklemore was this cute kid with the bluest of eyes. He looks so innocent in this photo that we almost can’t imagine that he would one day wear a mink leopard print coat and sing the most annoying song of all time!

Amanda Seyfried

Name a movie more iconic than Mean Girls. We’ll wait. Okay, fine, so Mean Girls wasn’t a masterpiece of great artistic depth, but it is still a classic. And one of our favorite characters from that movie was Amanda Seyfried, who played the girl whose breasts could predict the weather. Classic!

Image source: mingey / ig

Amanda Seyfried has since become the darling of Hollywood. She is both talented and incredibly charismatic. Looking at this picture of her as a kid, we can understand why Hollywood is so enamored with her. She looks like such a happy kid.

Brie Larson

As fans of the Marvel multiverse, we can’t help but love Brie Larson. There are not too many female superheroes that young girls can look up to, so Larson’s portrayal of “Captain Marvel” was one we were excited to see.

Image source: brielarson / ig

It seems that she has been preparing for her role as “Captain Marvel” since she was just a little girl. Look at her fighting off big bad dinosaurs in her living room. Silly dinosaur, he picked the wrong opponent to go up against!

Khloe Kardashian

If we were Khloe Kardashian, we would make this face, too, if the father of our children kept cheating on us and making babies with other women. Yep, Khloe should have given him this exact look instead of taking him back. But alas, the heart wants what it wants.

Image source: khloekardashian / ig

All jokes aside, we feel for Khloe. It can’t have been easy to try (and fail) at love with the whole world watching and judging. Well, she might not be winning in the love department, but at least she’s got two adorable kids and multiple successful businesses. She’s doing better than a lot of us!

Camila Mendes

How many of you have heard of Riverdale and even seen some of the actors but have never watched a single episode? It feels like everywhere we go, we can’t stop hearing about this show which stars Camila Mendes and her peers.

Image source: camimendes / ig

If the show is anything as good as Camila’s hair in this picture, then we might have to finally watch it. Honestly, we are jealous that even as a kid, she had this much glossy hair. How can one person be given great hair, heaps of talent, and stunning looks? Life just isn’t fair.

Mindy Kaling

While Camila Mendes had perfectly styled bangs, Mindy Kaling’s bangs in this picture look more like the ones we sported as kids. Somehow, our bangs were always cut just a tad bit too short. We are still too traumatized to ever get bangs again!

Image source: mindykaling / ig

Thankfully for Mindy, she ditched the bad haircut and nerdy (but still so adorable) glasses. Now she is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. See, kids, there is hope! One day you, too, might blossom into a rich actor. It’s unlikely, but it’s not impossible!

Nicole Kidman

Okay, it’s stupid and embarrassing, but we’ve got to admit; sometimes we can’t tell the difference between Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow. Alright, sure, they do not look exactly alike, but we can’t be the only ones that make that mistake, can we?

Image source: nicolekidman / ig

Looking at their childhood photos, we are even more convinced that they could be sisters. Or maybe cousins. Either way, both women grew up to become amazing actresses in their own right. And both of them are aging like fine wine.