• Mon, Nov 11 - 3:45 pm ET

13 Former Disney Stars, Ranked By Their Their Post-Disney Success

Miley Cyrus Hannah Montana changing

It’s become a bit of a cliché that as soon as Disney stars leave Disney for their own careers as adults, they’re handed a one-way ticket on the Hot Mess Express. Either that or they’re left on the side of road and forced to find their own way to Obscurity Town. This is often true of former child stars in general, but Disney stars in particular have become famous for it, especially since a certain lady whose name rhymes with Wily Papyrus started doing things like lighting up joints onstage at award shows.

It’s hard to emerge from the Disney bubble and enter into an adult life that has any semblance of normality or career success, let alone both. So I thought I’d take a look at a bunch of former Disney stars from the past decade or so and rank them according to how well they’re doing career-wise post-Disney, from least successful to most successful. I’ve taken a lot of factors into consideration, including how likely we are to remember them a few years down the line.

13. Hilary Duff

Hilary Duff Leaving The Gym November 1 2013 Los Angeles California(Photo: WENN)

Poor Hilary Duff. She’s emerged from her Lizzie McGuire days pretty scandal-free, with a husband and a son and a healthy habit of being photographed going to the gym and hanging out at the pumpkin patch. Unfortunately her career hasn’t been going so well. She’s mostly been guest-starring on TV shows and appearing in the occasional TV movie, including the new one she’s rumored to be in according to her IMDb page: Girlfriend in a Coma. Oh Hilary, you poor poor thing.

12. Raven-Symone

Raven Symone Premiere of Secret of the Wings New York City NYC October 20 2012(Photo: WENN)

I think it’s a bit of a shame that Raven’s acting career hasn’t really taken off as an adult, since she was always one of my favorites on the Disney Channel. She recently came out of the closet on her own terms after a bit of speculation, but she hasn’t really been in the news lately for her career.

11. Ashley Tisdale

Ashley Tisdale The Walking Dead Premiere October 4 2013 Los Angeles California(Photo: Apega/WENN)

This former High School Musical star keeps herself in the spotlight enough with her engagement, plus she’s still lending her voice to Phineas and Ferb. But that means she’s still got one foot in the Disney pool, which isn’t exactly a sign of much progress for a 28-year-old.

10. Dylan and Cole Sprouse

Dylan and Cole Sprouse Millions of Milkshakes Fundraiser November 13 2010 Culver City California(Photo: WENN)

Since they left their Suite Life series, twin brothers Dylan and Cole have made headlines for how out-of-the-spotlight they are — working at restaurants, going to college, and making nerdy Tumblrs. Because they seem to be doing a great job of moving forward as non-actors, I have to put them higher on the list. You can’t fail at something you’re not even trying to achieve in the first place.

9. Jonas Brothers

Jonas Brothers Charity Soccer Match August 17 2013 Los Angeles California(Photo: FayesVision/WENN)

What a tragedy for the ages. After canceling their tour, deleting their Twitter account, and being all-around shady, the JoBros finally called it quits. While Nick Jonas seems determined to make a name for himself as a solo artist, as a group they just didn’t cut it. Put your pom-poms down, boys.

8. Vanessa Hudgens

Vanessa Hudgens Le Jolie Event October 25 2013 Hollywood California(Photo: RHS/WENN)

Vanessa’s an interesting specimen. She’s still starring in buzzed-about movies like Spring Breakers, but her presence there always seems to be a mistake. Add in her offscreen weirdness, whether it’s booty-popping on late night talk shows or releasing songs called “$$$ex,” and her success really doesn’t make sense. It’s like every day I wake up and think, “This is the day Vanessa Hudgens stops being famous, right?”

You can reach this post's author, Jill O’Rourke, on twitter.
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  • Kate McGarry

    I have to say, I really disagree with where Hilary Duff lands on this list when you consider the debauchery and self-sabotaging so many of her peers have engaged in. I guess career-wise, maybe she falls to the bottom (although really? Raven, the Sprouse kids, and Ashley Tisdale beat her?? At least her hockey husband/adorable son keep her in the pages of People and US Weekly). But I think she has far surpassed nearly everyone else on this list when it comes to becoming a fully functioning adult.

    • Jill O’Rourke

      I hear ya! If this were a list of the most fully functioning former Disney stars, she’d be much higher. Unfortunately that doesn’t always go hand in hand with a successful career.

    • Kate McGarry

      Fair enough. I still maintain that she beats Raven and the Sprouse kids as far as careers go. Raven had the benefit of being a Cosby kid but they both petered out at the same time. At least Hilary is still working (albeit in embarrassing projects). And the Sprouse kids were on Tumblr or digging up fossils or something? Not that this matters in the scheme of things of course. Oh well, I just….ughhhh #freeLizzie

  • Eyeballs

    I like your list :D I agree with it! I think Anne will be her generations DC star and Demi will be hers. I like them both! They are working hard on there carriers and I respect that. Hard work pays of :D

    (Btw You didn’t put JT, BS and CA in there so I guess its DC and not the mickey mouse club people.)

    • Jill O’Rourke

      Thank you! And yes, I decided to keep it to stars from the past decade or so, but there’s not denying those Mickey Mouse Club kids are crazy successful.

    • Eyeballs

      Haha Kind of figured. Think the world kind of get that as well.

    • Lucy

      Don’t forget Ryan Gosling! Arguably the most successful from the Mickey Mouse Club group.

  • Mike K

    Shia LaBeouf was a Disney star and getting in to Transformers which lead to dating Megan Fox…. thats more successful than most of the people on the list.

    • Jill O’Rourke

      He’s on the list. #6.

    • Lajya

      and..uhh..his doucebaggery bounced him down, I’m telling ya! (also, not more successful than anne or demi..)

  • Becky Jerams

    Hey, Hilary Duff has been writing books too (I read the first one and for teenage fluff it was pretty enjoyable!) And she had a cameo on Gossip Girl, plus she’s one of the only people on the list who hasn’t driven herself into the ground with drink and drugs. 13 is undeserved, swap her with the Suite Life boys lol!!

  • Danielle Saver

    Doesnt Justin Timberlake count? Didnt he get his start on one of those crappy Disney shows? I think he blows all the rest away success wise.

    • Jill O’Rourke

      He was on the new Mickey Mouse Club as a kid, but I chose to keep the list to new millennium stars.

  • Danielle Saver

    Thanks for doing this list , by the way. My daughters a teenager now and every once and awhile we DO find ourselves asking what happned to these people. We were just talking about Raven a few days ago!

    • Jill O’Rourke

      Glad you enjoyed!

      I miss Raven.

  • Haha

    Needs to be updated because Miley Cyrus would be on top of the list? Even tho a lot of people find what she is doing a bit odd and disgusting. The girl is on everyone’s lips. She holds the most views on vevo in 24 hours. Got her first number 1 hit single. Has now sold over 30 million albums in the US alone. Had the most tweets per min. That girl is on fire right now if you like it or not.