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10 Former Teen Idols Who Are Megastars Today

Here's who is still kicking it today.

The transition from being a teen idol to achieving megastar status is a remarkable feat in the entertainment industry. In this article, we explore the journeys of ten former teen idols who have successfully navigated the challenging path of transitioning from teenage fame to adult prominence. From Justin Timberlake's solo music career and acting ventures to Selena Gomez's multi-faceted achievements in music, television, and entrepreneurship, these individuals have solidified their positions as icons. Join us as we delve into the stories of these talented individuals who have captivated audiences with their talent, resilience, and enduring success.


Justin Timberlake

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Justin Timberlake first started out on the Disney show, The Mickey Mouse Club. He was then placed into the boyband NSYNC, where he was one of the lead vocalists. Timberlake then launched a solo career in 2003, with hit songs like "Cry Me A River," "Like I Love You," and "Senorita." Timberlake also started an acting career, appearing in Friends With Benefits, The Social Network, and the Trolls franchise. Timberlake received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2013 MTV VMAs, and headlined the Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2018.


Britney Spears

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Britney Spears, like former flame Timberlake, started her career on The Mickey Mouse Club. When she was a teenager, she released her debut single "…Baby One More Time," which not only topped the charts, but had an iconic music video. She then followed it up with singles like "Oops! I Did It Again," and iconic live performances at the MTV VMAs. While Spears hasn't released new music lately, she's still a pop culture icon. Her conservatorship battle and the #FreeBritney movement took over the internet in 2021, and the way the media treated her in the past has led to several conversations. 


Selena Gomez

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Selena Gomez first started her career on the PBS Kids series, Barney & Friends. She then was signed to Disney, starring in the hit series, Wizards of Waverly Place, the show's spinoff movie, and movies like, Another Cinderella Story and Princess Protection Program. Gomez also launched a music career, with her most recent album being Rare in 2020. Today, Gomez stars on Hulu's Only Murders In The Building, hosts HBO Max's Selena + Chef, and has her own beauty line, Rare Beauty. 


Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift first started her career when she was a teenager, having moved to Nashville when she was a teen to get signed. Almost 20 years later, Swift is at the top of her game. She's released chart-topping albums, most recently Midnights in 2022. Swift's broken several Spotify and Billboard records, and has won Album of The Year at the Grammys three times. 


Ariana Grande

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Ariana Grande got her start on Broadway, notably in 13: The Musical. She then played Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon series, Victorious, and in the spin-off, Sam & Cat. During this time, Grande began her recording career, releasing her debut single "The Way" with Mac Miller in 2013. Since then, she's topped the charts with singles like "Break Free," "no tears left to cry," and "Dangerous Woman." Grande will be making her return to acting in the upcoming film adaptation of Wicked. 


Harry Styles

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Harry Styles first auditioned for The X Factor in 2011, where he was placed into the boyband One Direction. Styles enjoyed massive success with the group, before embarking on a solo career in 2017. Since then, he's released three albums, had successful singles like "Sign of The Times," "As It Was," and "Golden." Styles won Album of The Year at the 2023 Grammys for his album Harry's House. He also has started an acting career, notably starring in the 2022 horror film, Don't Worry Darling. 


Zac Efron

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Zac Efron began acting as a teenager, appearing on the series Summerland, receiving a Young Artist Award nomination for his role in Miracle Run, and appearing in the High School Musical franchise. Efron has continued acting as an adult, starring in 17 Again with Matthew Perry, the Neighbors films with Seth Rogen, and Dirty Grandpa with Robert De Niro. Efron played Ted Bundy in the Netflix film, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. He also hosts Down To Earth with Zac Efron, which earned him a Daytime Emmy.


Joseph Gordon-Levitt

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt began his acting career as a child in the '90s. He starred in films like Holy Matrimony, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Angels In The Outfield, as well as a leading role on the sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun. In the 2000s, Levitt starred in the 2009 romantic comedy, 500 Days of Summer and the 2011 comedy, 50/50, both of which earned him Golden Globe nominations. Levitt also founded HitRecord, and received two Emmys for his programs HitRecord on TV and Create Together. 


Lindsay Lohan

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Lindsay Lohan started her career as a child model, before starring on the program Another World at the age of 10. She then starred in several Disney films, including The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, and Confessions of A Teenage Drama Queen. Lohan's most well-known role was in 2004's Mean Girls. After years of controversy, Lohan opened up a beach club in Mykonos, and documented the process on the MTV reality series, Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club. In 2022, she starred in the Netflix film Falling For Christmas. 


Shawn Mendes

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Shawn Mendes got his start by posting covers on Vine, which lead to a record-deal. He released his debut EP in 2014, and debut album the following year. Mendes is the youngest artist to have four albums top the Billboard 200. Mendes' hit songs include, "In My Blood," "Stitches" and "There's Nothing Holding Me Back."

Anna Bechtel
Anna Bechtel is a freelance writer currently based in Hamden, CT. Read more
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