What Jonathan Taylor Thomas Is Up To Now

If you were a girl growing up in the '90s, chances are you had a poster of Jonathan Taylor Thomas hanging in your locker at school. The teen idol starred in Home Improvement as the middle son of Tim "The Toolman" Taylor, voiced kid-Simba in The Lion King , and was the marquee name in some Disney flicks, including I'll Be Home for Christmas. Then, all of a sudden, JTT disappeared. What's he up to now? Let's find out. 

Jonathan Taylor Thomas is super smart

Thomas (born Jonathan Taylor Weiss) left Home Improvement at the peak of his fame in 1998 to focus on school. It paid off: he enrolled at Harvard University in 2000, studied abroad at St. Andrew's University in Scotland, and graduated from Columbia University in 2010.

"I'd been going nonstop since I was eight years old. I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break," Thomas told People magazine in 2013. "To sit in a big library amongst books and students, that was pretty cool," he said. "It was a novel experience for me."

Jonathan Taylor Thomas still acts occasionally

Jonathan Taylor Thomas guest-starred on Smallville in 2002 and again in 2004. He also appeared in Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter and showed up in a few episodes of Veronica Mars in 2004.

Years later, Thomas reunited with his Home Improvement parents, Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson, for several episodes of Last Man Standing. Allen told Yahoo! TV that he was pleasantly surprised when Thomas approached him about the show. "He's so shy. It's funny to see him so shy, so nervous," Allen said. "He worried whether he still had it, and he didn't want to do this because he's had other stuff in mind. But they asked him, and he agreed to it. I was shocked, because as I said, he's just shy."

Jonathan Taylor Thomas loves life behind the scenes

In addition to guest-starring roles on Last Man Standing, Jonathan Taylor Thomas also directed several episodes of the series. "He's been shadowing John Pasquin, our director, because they've known each other for years," Tim Allen told Yahoo! TV in 2013. "He really was dedicated to his studies, and then kind of got away from TV. But he graduated and he came back, and loves directing, loves working with actors."

Jonathan Taylor Thomas is still pals with his on-screen bro

In 2012, Jonathan Taylor Thomas' former TV brother, Zachery Ty Bryan, revealed that he and Thomas have remained close since Home Improvement went off the air. Bryan told Hollywood.com, "We'll go out, hang out for an evening, catch up. All good stuff." In 2013, Us Weekly reported that the two reunited for a screening of Dark Tourist in Los Angeles.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas has zero regrets about quitting the spotlight

Despite leaving Hollywood at the peak of his career, Jonathan Taylor Thomas is adamant that his decision was 100 percent for the best. "I never took the fame too seriously," he told People in 2013. "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."

Jonathan Taylor Thomas enjoys a quieter life

In 2013, People reported that Jonathan Taylor Thomas was living in Los Angeles and "focused on directing, writing scripts and taking advantage of his free time." His lifestyle sounds pretty sweet. "I watch a lot of movies, I hike, I stay up on shows and theater," he said.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas is involved with SAG-AFTRA

In July 2017, Variety reported that Jonathan Taylor Thomas was running for a seat on the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) national board. "Since I started as a child actor, a group still being taken advantage of by producers, times have become more uncertain for performers," he said. "Many members are facing chronic insecurity, shrinking paychecks, and unlivable residuals in basic cable and new media. Periodic work at scale is simply not sustainable."

The following month, Thomas was successfully elected to the board, alongside a number of A-listers that included Martin Sheen, Regina King, and Matthew Modine. Congrats! 

In July 2019, Deadline reported that Thomas was once again on the ballot for SAG-AFTRA's national and LA local boards. 

JTT nostalgia may live on forever

In June 2016, Complex wrote a heartfelt and on-point piece about the lasting star power of Jonathan Taylor Thomas, particularly among girls of the '90s. The actor's name had resurfaced in connection with a number of shows, including The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, Broad City and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

"Even in 2016, JTT remains in our consciousness, and part of that is because he disappeared for so long, unlike a lot of child actors who continue to exceed their welcome," Complex writes. "JTT was our friend and unrequited crush. He was an anodyne symbol of purity and love, and he epitomized our peaceful pre-9/11 world. He was intangible yet concurrently relatable... It's unclear whether Taylor Thomas' indirect TV appearances will have any impact on him throwing his hat back into the Hollywood ring, but it's a reminder of what once was—and what could be again."

"While we continue to endlessly cycle through '90s nostalgia, Taylor Thomas' MIA status makes us yearn for him even more, much like we did as hormone-fueled teens." The magazine concluded, "JTT—I know you hate being called that, but if you're reading this, it's not too late to come back."

Dramatic, to be sure, but hey, who wouldn't welcome a JTT comeback?