The term “child actor” seems to only get tossed around when we’re talking about the Macaulay Culkins of the world — stars who weren’t able to turn their success as youngters into stable adult careers or lives. But whether your memory has failed you or you just never knew in the first place, some of your favorite stars right now got their start when they were much, much younger, and have turned out (more or less) just fine. While some of the roles were indeed memorable, some of these might surprise you. Read on to find out the celebrities you forgot were child stars.
1. Jennifer Lawrence: Before Katniss and Mystique, before Silver Linings Playbook and Joy, talented chatterbox Jennifer Lawrence put in the work with bit parts on popular TV series such as Monk, Cold Case and Medium before landing her first big recurring role on The Bill Engvall Show. JLaw played Lauren, the teenage daughter of a therapist who can figure everyone but his own family out. (Photo via Jamie McCarthy/Getty)
2. Ellen Page: Before we fell in love with Ellen in her breakout leading role as a sarcastic pregnant teenager in Juno, Ellen charmed Canadian audiences with numerous small-screen roles, including a series about coal mining in Nova Scotia (Pit Pony) and a mockumentary comedy about rural trailer park life (Trailer Park Boys). Acclaim for the 2007 Canadian film The Tracey Fragments cemented her as a talent to watch, and the world would catch on soon after. (Photo via Jason Merritt/Getty)
3. Kristen Stewart: Kristen may have only been 18 when she starred as Bella in the blockbuster Twilight franchise, but at just 11 she starred alongside one of the greats, Jodie Foster, as the daughter in Panic Room. We hardly recognized her either. (Photo via Rachel Murray/Getty)
4. Ryan Gosling: Hey girl, did you know that Ryan Gosling was a Canadian TV celeb in his own right with shows like Breaker High (where he played an overconfident dweeb who went to high school on a boat) and Young Hercules (where he played — spoiler alert! — Hercules)? When he was really young, he was also a Mouseketeer alongside summer chart-toppers Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. Hey girl. (Photo via Ian Gavan/Getty)
5. Ryan Reynolds: The other child actor on Canadian TV, Ryan! Before breaking out on the sitcom Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, Ryan had starring roles on Hillside (called Fifteen when it aired on Nickelodeon) and The Odyssey. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)
6. Gaby Hoffman: Before captivating roles on critical faves Girls and Transparent, Gaby was all of our best friend in movies like Freaky Friday and as young Samantha (played as an adult by Demi Moore) in Now and Then. Which reminds us: more teenage girl ensemble movies, please. (Photo via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)
7. Anna Chlumsky: Currently known for her supporting role as high-strung, sleep-deprived campaign manager to the President (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) on Veep, Anna’s debut — and ultimately star-making — role was as hypochondriac Vada in My Girl. If you haven’t ever watched it, watch it. Watch it now. And quote, “He can’t see without his glasses!” and cry over it forever and ever. (Photo via Rob Kim/Getty)
8. Kate Winslet: She may forever be best known as Rose from Rose and Jack (in Titanic), but Kate Winslet was a TV star in early ‘90s Britain with recurring roles on sci-fi show Dark Season and the sitcom Get Back. She made her film debut in the 1994 critical hit Heavenly Creatures. (Photo via Mike Windle/Getty)
9. Shailene Woodley: Did you remember that Shailene played Marissa Cooper’s little sister Kaitlin in The O.C.? She played the role for all of six episodes before being replaced by Willa Holland. Not that it hurt her any — Shailene, of course, turned up her own TV-starring role in The Secret Life of the American Teenager before becoming a major Hollywood star too. (Photo via Jason Merritt/Getty)
10. Kat Dennings: Blink and you might miss her, but a young Kat Dennings made her acting debut with a scene in Sex and the City before going on to star in Raising Dad (which ALSO starred Bob Saget and a young Brie Larson). (Photo via Jason Merritt/Getty)
11. Natasha Lyonne: This is going WAY back. When she was just six years old, Natasha Lyonne — who you now know best as the tough-talking heroin addict Nicky on the much-binged Orange Is the New Black — played Opal, one of three kids who made up Pee-wee’s playhouse gang on the first season of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. (Photo via Fernando Leon/Getty)
12-13.) Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez: And the award for the most adorable child actors goes tooooo: Demi and Selena, who, long before they became Disney Channel stars, sang songs and played dress up with a big purple dinosaur. Yep, you might not have recognized them, but these two childhood friends both starred on Barney and Friends, going all the way from Baby Bop to queens of pop together. #goals (Photo via Jason Merritt/Getty)
Do you remember any of these appearances? Let us know over @BritandCo!
(Featured photo via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)