The Transformation Of Lindsay Lohan From Childhood To 35

This article contains mentions of addiction, domestic abuse, and an eating disorder.

Lindsay Lohan has lived a full 35 years, sometimes in the spotlight, other times away from the noise of Hollywood. Her fans esteem her as a legendary Disney darling, a 2000s teen queen, a mysterious businesswoman, and an all-around icon. Perhaps Lohan's website puts it best — she "magnifies her influence on popular culture with every move" she makes in the entertainment industry. The star has seen a lot in her decades in showbiz, navigating public highs and lows in her career and her personal life.

It's no secret that Lohan is making a comeback, and she has opened up about her past in ways you might not expect. But the actor doesn't want to dwell on ancient history. "This is the last time we will go backwards and bring up the past," she joked in a 2022 "Good Morning America" interview. Lindsay Lohan is much more than a highlight reel or a tabloid story (so we can put that Aaron Carter-Hilary Duff drama behind us), and she's still showing the world who she is, in her own time. This is her transformation from childhood to age 35.

Lindsay Lohan grew up dancing and modeling

Lindsay Lohan was born in New York in 1986 to Michael and Dina Lohan and grew up in Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island. Dina had "apprenticed as a Rockette," went to the American Ballet Theater, and worked in Off-Broadway productions, per The New York Times. Michael was a trader on Wall Street. 

Lindsay was a guest on Dina's podcast, "The OG Mama D," in 2020, and Dina recalled: "My girls grew up dancing. I taught everywhere, pretty much, every dance studio on Long Island, and in Manhattan. They would always come, and since they were little, Lindsay would sit and make faces in the mirror. She was an actress at 2." Lindsay started doing her own makeup from a young age; she shared on the podcast, "When I was younger, I was so nervous about my freckles. I would get so shy, and I hated them 'cause no one had freckles around me. And I felt like, ugly; I didn't feel like I fit in. So I would want to cover them when I was young."

That freckle-faced toddler eventually became more comfortable in her own skin. At only 3 years of age, Lindsay's parents got her a contract at Ford Models. Then came print ads, magazines, and commercials. She booked her first television gigs in the early '90s, including an appearance on "Late Night with David Letterman" (as a trick-or-treating pile of trash), "Sesame Street," and two soap operas.

Lindsay Lohan's film debut had her seeing double

Lindsay Lohan's turn in "The Parent Trap" (a remake of 1961's classic) made an impression on kids and families in 1998. Lohan used her skills to convincingly play both Annie and Hallie, just as Hayley Mills played both Sharon and Susan decades earlier. Millennials were raised on the sweet story of twins who first meet at camp, initially detest each other, and become so close that they're determined to bring their gorgeous, divorced parents (Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson) back together. 

Lohan told Rolling Stone, "I left school for eight months. When I came back, my friends were like, 'Where'd you go?' I said, 'My family and I went on a long vacation.' Then the movie came out, and they were like, 'Um, Lindsay? That's you in 'Parent Trap.'" As the rising star adjusted to her newfound fame, she couldn't have known how special her debut film would be more than two decades later. 

In July 2020, Katie Couric hosted a "Parent Trap" reunion to raise funds for World Central Kitchen. Dennis Quaid complimented Lohan on her acting, especially that British accent. She revealed that she'd done her first-ever screen test at age 11 and that making the film helped her through her own parents' separation. Distinguished director Nancy Meyers praised the "spectacular" cast before saying, "And also, L.L. We discovered a big star, you know, we discovered somebody that everybody fell in love with."

She became a Disney Channel fashionista

In 2000, "Life-Size" premiered on ABC's "The Wonderful World of Disney." Lindsay Lohan played Casey Stuart, a tween football player who accidentally brings a doll to life while trying to reincarnate her deceased mother. That doll was Eve, played by Tyra Banks. Lohan was still 13 when the world first heard Eve sing, "Shine bright, shine far, be a star!" The unique family movie found additional audiences on the Disney Channel and via home video sales

In 2019, Lohan chatted with Entertainment Weekly about where some of her iconic characters would be as adults. She mused about her "Life-Size" character: "Casey would be living in Texas dating a really famous football player. And Casey would be friends with, like, Giselle and Tom Brady. [They could have] kids' parties together."

Lohan was called on to help celebrate Walt Disney's birthday in 2001. The 15-year-old reprised her beloved "Parent Trap" roles for interstitial footage filmed at Walt Disney World. She kept spreading that Disney magic, and a year later, the teen starred in another 2000s hit: the Disney Channel Original Movie "Get a Clue." Lohan and on-screen bestie Brenda Song become Manhattan fashionistas and amateur detectives — and yes, Alfalfa from "The Little Rascals" (Bug Hall) was also in this film.

LiLo's Freaky Friday

Much like her "Get a Clue" character, Lexy Gold, Lindsay Lohan embraced early-2000s styles — including the skinny scarf. She also embraced teenage things, like hanging out with her friends and siblings, and watching "American Idol." She confirmed in an interview with IGN that she was quite involved with her website,, at the time. "i cannot decide who i want to win, Kelly [Clarkson] is great too, and Simon [Cowell] thinks she should win, idk! idk! idk! lol," she blogged in September 2002.

But the world saw Lohan with a punky edge in her return to Disney theatrical films. She played rock 'n roll chick Anna Coleman in the 2003 "Freaky Friday" remake opposite Jamie Lee Curtis, who played her mother, Tess. Chad Michael Murray was the love interest no one could forget. The movie was a comeback of sorts for Lohan, who had been going to regular high school between Disney films, she told IGN.

At 16, Lohan's versatility once again shone on the screen. While inhabiting the psyche of both a mom and a daughter, the actor showcased her singing skills and picked up the guitar. In a behind-the-scenes featurette, Lohan shared, "Leaving the set at the end of a movie is always really upsetting for me, just because you become, like, a family. You really confide in these people a lot, and you get to know them really well. It's hard to just leave people and wonder if you're ever gonna see them again."

That girl was a world-class teenage drama queen

By 2004, Lindsay Lohan's It Girl glow was fully activated. She scored another Disney theatrical project in "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen," a psychedelic display of music, dance, and the mind of Lola (Mary) Steppe. You can't go wrong with Megan Fox as your popular-girl archnemesis, either. Mere months later, Lohan struck gold with yet another high school flick. "Mean Girls" became a cultural institution, with Lohan's portrayal of Cady Heron going down in history as one of her best-loved performances. The huge role could be considered a happy twist of fate since Lohan was originally interested in playing Regina George, but her fame demanded that she take the lead, per Vulture

After turning 18, Lohan released her first studio album, "Speak." Music executive Tommy Mottola told the Los Angeles Times in 2004 that the record was "[the best he'd] been involved with in five years. ... [Lindsay] has as much if not more potential than any star or superstar I've worked with in all my careers." Lohan gave the outlet a long list of musical influences – Kenny Loggins, Gwen Stefani, Journey, Pat Benatar, "Coldplay, U2, Eminem, Jay-Z, old-school Madonna," and others. One of Lohan's tracks, "Rumors," painted a picture of what she was going through with the paparazzi at the time: "I can tell that you're watching me/And you're probably gonna write what you didn't see/Well, I just need a little space to breathe/Can you please respect my privacy?"

A star burning out

Lindsay Lohan's "Speak" album sold 2 million copies by 2005 (via the Los Angeles Times). Her song "First" was featured on the soundtrack for "Herbie Fully Loaded," the final Disney family film she starred in during the aughts. The actor reportedly partied frequently during this time, and while shooting the movie, she suffered a fever and exhaustion that landed her in the hospital (per People). The outlet claimed that before their breakup, Wilmer Valderrama of "That '70s Show" stayed with Lohan at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Recording an album and simultaneously filming a movie didn't leave the celeb with much rest time. "I was going on three hours of sleep at night," Lohan told the Los Angeles Times. "I can never sleep because I'm always thinking about what I can be working on next, going over ideas, writing stuff down. I push myself, and I don't want to disappoint people. I just want to give everything I can, and it's a lot of pressure."

While the star dealt with work pressures, her public family troubles were mounting. In January 2005, Dina Lohan filed for divorce, per E! News (via UPI). UPI noted that the separation came after "Michael Lohan's court-ordered rehab for showing up uninvited at the family's Long Island home in violation of a restraining order taken out by his wife." The splintering of the Lohan family was a long and painful process that followed Lindsay into the recording studio as she made her next album.

Just Lindsay's Luck

Critics noticed that Lindsay Lohan had titled her second album "A Little More Personal (Raw)." She belted out the lines "Daughter to father, daughter to father/I don't know you, but I still want to" in her lead single, "Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter to Father)." In June 2005, Michael Lohan was incarcerated "for attempted assault in the second degree and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle in the first degree" (via CBS News). Though these charges were supposedly separate from his immediate familial issues, Lindsay suggested that Michael was also abusive at home. Her music video displays herself and her real-life sister, Aliana, privately suffering while the actor portraying their father is abusive toward the actor playing their mother. "A lot of the stuff in the video has happened in my real life," she told MTV during the video shoot, which she directed.

Lohan released her album in November 2005, and she rose above the turmoil to shoot another movie — the charming rom-com "Just My Luck," with Chris Pine. The star told E! News, "It's an older character for me. It's something new. She's 23, and it's kind of nice to step out of just being in the high school age group. I love the fact that I got to dress a bit more sophisticated and kind of tap into the fashion side of it all because I love fashion." Though this was a worthy moment in Lohan's career, the film isn't necessarily heralded as one of her best.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Lindsay Lohan's shaky young adulthood

In addition to "Just My Luck," Lindsay Lohan was in "A Prairie Home Companion" and "Bobby" in 2006. Her "Prairie Home" co-star Meryl Streep told Vanity Fair about Lohan: "She has a quality that is really unusual in actors, and that is that she is very present and alive, almost preternaturally alive, on camera."

As she transitioned from her teen years to her 20s, Lohan was sued over an October 2005 car accident; in January and May 2007, she reportedly went to rehab (via The Hollywood Reporter). The star was still working steadily on feature films, but her personal life was a hindrance. People reported that Lohan had trouble in summer 2006 while filming "Georgia Rule." The production company's CEO "blasted her for being absent ... and blamed her 'heavy partying' for the behavior," per the outlet.

"I was out too much. I was too caught up. ... I was going out too much and I knew that, and I have more to live for than that," Lohan told People. She later had to pause filming on "I Know Who Killed Me" due to her appendectomy. Tabloids were busy rounding up all the controversy surrounding Lohan between 2005 and 2007, including her eating disorder. She told Vanity Fair that she was determined to help others through similar situations: "Going through s*** makes me that much stronger. And doing great things makes me want to do even better things."

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Things were looking up

Lindsay Lohan went back to rehab in summer 2007 after being arrested and "charged with drunken driving, cocaine possession and driving with a suspended license" (via CNN). The rumor mill wouldn't let up, and Lohan spoke out in a statement (via People): "It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs," she said. Lohan continued, "Recently, I relapsed and did things for which I am ashamed. I broke the law, and today I took responsibility by pleading guilty to the charges in my case. ... I very much want to be healthy and gain control of my life and career and have asked for medical help in doing so."

Aside from a guest arc on "Ugly Betty," Lohan's work slowed in 2008 while she navigated her personal life. She filmed "Labor Pains" and stood out to Rick Schwartz, the film's producer. "She delivered on every single thing that she promised me. ... I feel like I'm trying to spread the gospel of Lindsay," he told Harpers Bazaar. Lohan began dating DJ Samantha Ronson and enjoyed a more low-key existence watching "Gossip Girl," in true '08 fashion. She confirmed Howard Stern's suspicion that sadly, people did "pass judgment on" her while she dated Ronson, whom she said she was "more best friends" with back then.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Serving time and starting over

In 2009, Lindsay Lohan had missed required court appearances and education courses, so an extension was placed on her probation. After being targeted by members of the Bling Ring, the star was forced to "share a jail cell wall with one of the individuals arrested in connection with the ring" of burglars (via Crime Museum). Into the 2010s, Lohan and the law still did not see eye to eye. Along with more rehab, the celeb served additional time behind bars for her issues with addiction, a shoplifting incident, and missed psychotherapy sessions and community service hours. It wasn't until 2012 that her reports were more promising, though that year wasn't perfect, either.

Lohan's publicist said at the time, "She is ready to start the next chapter in her life and get back to work and doing what she loves to do — making movies" (per HuffPost, via the Daily Beast). She appeared on "Glee," starred as Elizabeth Taylor in the film "Liz & Dick," and began working on "The Canyons," a Hollywood drama-thriller. While working on the latter project, Lohan told The New York Times, "I've missed this so much. ... When it's done, I want to go somewhere far away, maybe Africa. Uganda? But right now all I want to do is work, work." The star also considered pursuing a directorial career. She was reportedly late and uncooperative during parts of the shoot, and "The Canyons" didn't land with critics or audiences

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Oprah knows best

Spring and summer 2013 saw Lindsay Lohan return to rehab as a result of "reckless driving and lying to law enforcement" (according to the Crime Museum). Following her time in rehabilitation, Lohan's probation continued until May 2015. Upon completion, Lohan tweeted a statement of gratitude to those who made it possible for her to fulfill her community service requirement. "Thank you for the inspiration. Clean slate. Fresh start," she concluded (via ET Canada).

Before finishing her community service hours, Lohan decided to share her experiences through a very public format, appearing for an interview with Oprah in 2013. Oprah asked her, "Are you an addict?" Lohan said that she was addicted to alcohol. "That, in the past, was a gateway to other things, for me." The star continued her relationship with the talk show host by starring in a docuseries for OWN in 2014. She moved into a New York City apartment, worked with a life coach, and went about her daily life. The spotlight proved to be invasive, though: "As much as I want people to see the real side of me and know that I am just a person, there are certain things that I don't want to talk about, and I feel pressure to talk about, on camera," she said in the docuseries. This seems to have been a time of self-reflection for Lindsay Lohan, who was closing in on freedom.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

London calling

Around the time that her OWN docuseries aired, Lindsay Lohan took a page out of her former character Annie James' book and lived in London, England. She told The Guardian, "I can go for a run here on my own. I do every morning, early, and I think how my friends in New York would still be up partying at that time. I needed to grow up and London is a better place for me to do that than anywhere else." 

Life across the pond agreed with Lohan, who pondered a more permanent move there. She eagerly tried something new with a stage role in "Speed-the-Plow," and her nightly presence on stage provided her with "a calmness," she told The New York Times.

She shared the joys of her anonymity in the United Kingdom, lamenting that L.A. churned out gossip as daily news. "I love the BBC. I haven't heard myself mentioned on TV since I have been here. That has been really weird for me, and great," Lohan explained to The Guardian. The actor fondly recalled Annie James' British accent in "The Parent Trap" as she shared her wishes to perform in more plays while in London.

Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club

Lindsay Lohan was reportedly engaged to Egor Tarabasov when she celebrated her 30th birthday in 2016 with him and her pals on the island of Mykonos in Greece. Tarabasov allegedly physically assaulted Lohan at other times (via E! News). As she dealt with the trauma, she chose to buy the beach and reclaim what it meant to her. "There's a business side to my life now, but I'm not in America, so no one knows about it, which is nice for me. Because I get to actually focus on the result of things," Lohan told The New York Times. She emphasized, "My past has to stay in the past."

Lohan Beach House on Mykonos became the setting of the star's MTV reality series, "Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club." Per Page Six, she opened the club in 2018 but was not renewed for a second season of the reality show; she shared in a since-deleted Instagram post that "the club is moving to other locations in the world" (via The Cut). 

The star also became a proud resident of Dubai, where she's enjoyed a relatively quiet existence. She told Emirates Woman in 2018 that relocating to Dubai gave her "a fresh start," and a holistic one, at that. "I've had a really wonderful experience with people taking me under their wing, and teaching me more about the culture. I'm a very spiritual person so I'm always interested in religions, and faiths and beliefs and higher powers," Lohan said.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Lindsay Lohan, Netflix Christmas queen

In fall 2019, Lindsay Lohan was a judge on the inaugural season of "The Masked Singer Australia." Lohan was unable to judge subsequent seasons, but she was ready to continue exploring her interests in the entertainment industry, including more music. On her 2020 single "Back to Me," she tweeted, "The song is about rediscovering and accepting oneself, shutting out the noise and moving forward and letting the past go. Living in the now."

2020 was replete with television and film reunions via Zoom, and LiLo embraced her former roles. She appeared with castmates and host Katie Couric in reunions for "The Parent Trap" and "Mean Girls." During the latter get-together, Lohan recalled New Yorkers telling her all about "Mean Girls Day." She's gotten wind of other trends, jumping on Instagram and TikTok to join fans in celebrating her iconic roles. "Yes, you want to know the difference between us? I have class and you don't," she TikToked as Annie, telling off Hallie from "The Parent Trap."

The star is up for creating personalized greetings on Cameo (if you have $500 to burn). But you can also catch her on screen. She lit up the 2022 Super Bowl with her Planet Fitness commercial, and she filmed a Netflix Christmas movie in 2021 called "Falling for Christmas." In real life, Lindsay Lohan has fallen for her fiance, financier Bader Shammas, writing on Instagram, "My love. My life. My family. My future." Her comeback reflects Lindsay Lohan now — being herself and doing work that she loves.