Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars — like Reese Witherspoon and Leonardo DiCaprio — got their start early in life and found continued success as time went on. Others found major success early on but ultimately decided to leave the industry that made them wealthy. Here are some of the richest child stars who stepped away from fame.
Last updated: Oct. 4, 2021
1. Amanda Bynes
- Net worth: $3 million
Amanda Bynes began acting in commercials at age 7 and got her big break on the Nickelodeon sketch comedy show “All That.” She impressed network producers so much that she landed her own spin-off, “The Amanda Show,” and went on to star in a number of films — including “What a Girl Wants” and “She’s the Man” — as well as the sitcom “What I Like About You.” But at 24, she announced in a tweet that she was retiring from acting.
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Where Is She Now?
Since retiring, her focus has been fashion. Bynes graduated from California’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in 2019 with an associate degree and is continuing to pursue her bachelor’s degree. Her attorney told People in October that she plans to launch a clothing line as well as a line of fragrances.
2. Kirk Cameron
- Net worth: $10 million
“Growing Pains” projected a young Kirk Cameron into stardom in the late ’80s. He even got his own show, “Kirk,” which ran from 1995 to 1996. But the actor soon realized he had a higher calling. As an evangelical Christian, Cameron opted to forgo the traditional Hollywood path and instead focused on creating faith-based projects.
Where Is He Now?
Although he’s eschewed mainstream Hollywood, Cameron is still in the entertainment industry. He has starred in the faith-based films “Fireproof” and “Extraordinary,” and he has his own production company, CamFam Studios. Cameron recently appeared on an episode of “Fuller House,” which starred his sister and fellow child actor, Candace Cameron Bure.
3. Macaulay Culkin
- Net worth: $18 million
Macaulay Culkin made it big in the ’90s as the star of the “Home Alone” movies, “My Girl” and “Richie Rich.” And although he still stars in television and movies occasionally, he has largely stepped away from the Hollywood scene.
Where Is He Now?
Culkin currently curates a comedy website, Bunny Ears, and is a member of the band The Pizza Underground.
4. Angus T. Jones
- Net worth: $20 million
Angus T. Jones starred in a couple of movies before landing his big break on “Two and a Half Men.” He stayed on the show from 2003 to 2013 (and made a return for the 2015 finale) but has since left Hollywood behind.
Where Is He Now?
After leaving Hollywood, Jones enrolled in college at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and as of a 2016 interview with People, Jones was working as president of entertainment for Tonite, an events company founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs’ son Justin.
5 and 6. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
- Net worth: $500 million (combined)
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were pretty much stars from birth, playing Michelle Tanner on “Full House” from 1987 to 1995; they landed the gig when they were only 15 months old. Propelled by their “Full House” fame, the twins went on to act in and produce the Mary-Kate and Ashley home video series and starred in the TV shows “Two of a Kind” and “So Little Time.” Mary-Kate also starred in “Weeds,” but hasn’t acted since 2011, while Ashley’s last acting credit is from 2004.
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Where Are They Now?
Since they’ve stepped away from acting, the Olsens now run a fashion empire that includes luxury brand The Row and contemporary label Elizabeth and James. They each have a net worth of $250 million.
7. Shirley Temple
- Net worth: $30 million (deceased)
Shirley Temple began acting in movies at the age of 3 and went on to become one of the most popular child stars of all time, starring in films that include 1936’s “Captain January” and 1940’s “The Blue Bird.” But she stopped acting when she was just 21 years old.
What Did She Do After Fame?
Temple spent her later years focusing on humanitarian work, serving as an ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She died in 2014 of pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
8. Jonathan Taylor Thomas
- Net worth: $16 million
Jonathan Taylor Thomas — aka JTT — starred in “Home Improvement” from 1991 to 1999, voiced Simba in “The Lion King” (1994) and acted in a number of ’90s movies as well. Although he’s made a select number of on-screen appearances since his heyday as a teen heartthrob, he hadn’t appeared on a red carpet in 15 years as of a 2019 Vice profile.
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Where Is He Now?
Thomas has used his time away from the spotlight to get an education — he’s taken classes at Harvard, St. Andrews in Scotland and Columbia University.
As of a 2013 interview with People, Thomas had shifted his focus to writing and directing, and was enjoying his time outside of Hollywood.
“I never took the fame too seriously,” he told the magazine. “It was a great period in my life, but it doesn’t define me. When I think back on the time, I look at it with a wink. I focus on the good moments I had, not that I was on a lot of magazine covers.”
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