Whether as child actors themselves or as part of the adult cast, children’s programming has launched more than one storied career. Here’s a list of celebs who surprisingly got their start on children’s shows.
Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, and Ryan Gosling on ‘The All-New Mickey Mouse Club’
Perhaps no show can claim putting as many A-list stars on the road to fame as “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club,” which ran from 1989-1994 on The Disney Channel. When they joined the show, Britney Spears was just 11, Justin Timberlake was just 12, and Christina Aguilera was just 13. Little did they know they would end up becoming the biggest pop stars of their generation. Childhood friends, Spears and Aguilera would be pitted against each other as singing rivals for the rest of their careers. Meanwhile, Spears and Timberlake grew up to have a high-profile relationship from 1998-2002. Ryan Gosling, who started on the show at age 12, became a respected leading man in film, garnering multiple Academy Award nominations for hits like “La La Land” (2016). Other notable cast members include J.C. Chasez (who went on to join *NSYNC with Timberlake) and Keri Russell (who went on to star in the hit TV shows “Felicity” and “The Americans”).
Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez on ‘Barney & Friends’
If you had (or were) a child in the 1990s, you are probably cringing right now. “Barney & Friends,” starring the titular purple dinosaur, was loved everywhere by elementary school kids and ran for an astonishing 18 years. While the adult cast consisted of costumed dinosaurs, children ran through the series in the hundreds, among whom were seven-year-old Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez. Both got their first exposure laughing, singing, and dancing along with Barney and crew, which more or less served as an audition tape for future roles. Lovato became part of the cast of Disney Channel’s “Camp Rock,” while Gomez was picked up for “Wizards of Waverly Place.”