Teen Show Actors Who Turned To Very Normal Careers

What makes a teen actor keep wanting to act when they enter adulthood? Because let's face it, there are probably many who got into the business after being introduced to it by their parents. Then once those kids reached the decision-making age, they left their acting careers behind completely. Sure, some have begun directing or did something else in entertainment, but there seem to be more who took on jobs that are typically considered regular.

The late actor Gary Coleman is a prime example because, for eight years, he played Arnold Jackson in the NBC sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes." Then, in 1998, it was reported that he was working as a mall security guard in Culver City, California's Fox Hills Mall. The media made a colossal-sized deal about Coleman's security job, but he's far from the only ex-teen actor who accepted an everyday gig. Who are the others, you might ask? We answered that question for you by gathering some of the former teen stars who went from dealing with directors and agents to later dealing with supervisors and bosses. Let's jump right into it.

Phoebe Cates went into retail

The 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" brought fast fame to Phoebe Cates after she played the heavily crushed on, red bikini-wearing Linda Barrett. Before that, she starred in "Paradise," which was her very first movie role. From there, Cates took on a host of other parts until 1994, before stepping out of the spotlight entirely. She did appear in 2001's "The Anniversary Party," but as of March 2022, that was her last acting job.

The native New Yorker married fellow actor Kevin Kline in 1989 and became a stay-at-home mom, raising their two children. Then in 2005, Cates opened Blue Tree in New York City, a boutique that sells clothing, jewelry, accessories, and other items that are considered to be unique. She sat down with Donny Deutsch on CNBC in 2008 and explained what drove her to open Blue Tree when people like her husband advised her against it. Cates also talked about no longer wanting to act.

"I knew that acting wasn't really an option for me. I wasn't driven to do it again," she explained. "I knew I had a certain amount of hours in my day and it didn't include going off on 15-hour shoot days so the store thing ... it was really just on my mind."

Dylan Sprouse brews mead

So, here's a possible scenario that a person who doesn't like their job may experience: They're inside their cubicle feeling miserable. As a matter of fact, their computer and phone might as well be handcuffs because the employee feels that trapped in their position. Then they start to daydream, and some ditch their 9-to-5 jobs for A-list fame. For Dylan Sprouse, it seemed he had the opposite experience. That's because while he was on TV sets doing the acting thing, he was probably dreaming about having a regular job.

Sprouse began acting with his twin brother Cole since they were tykes, and they became huge names after starring on the Disney Channel's "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" from 2005 to 2008. They also played in "The Suite Life on Deck" from 2008–2011. However, Dylan eventually began brewing his own mead, and in 2017 he opened All-Wise Meadery in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Meade, by the way, is "a fermented beverage made of honey, water, and yeast," Wine Country points out.

"I think that if you are an actor, or you are an entertainer, and you don't invest money in something that is more stable than the commission job that is acting, then you are a fool," Dylan told Vanity Fair in 2018. "I know I don't want to be on television."

Angus T. Jones could plan your event

First, he urged viewers to stop watching his show "Two and a Half Men," then, he journeyed miles away from the spotlight. We're talking about Angus T. Jones, who played on the CBS sitcom from 2003 to 2015. In his later years on the series, Jones became a Seventh-day Adventist, a sect within Christianity that recognizes Saturday as a day for rest and worship. "If you watch 'Two and a Half Men,' please stop watching 'Two and a Half Men,'" Jones pleaded in a 2012 clip that can be seen on The Forerunner Church's YouTube channel. "I'm on 'Two and a Half Men' and I don't want to be on it. Please stop watching it. Please stop filling your head with filth."

After saying those words and leaving the show, it would be easy to think that Jones would wind up behind a pulpit somewhere giving sermons but that wasn't the case. Instead, he partnered with Sean "Diddy" Combs' son, Justin Combs, and created an event planning company called "Tonite," which is attached to the music industry. "I really hadn't been imagining trying to pull off something like this because I feel like this is out of my league a lot of times," Jones told Billboard in 2016. But he also said that he learned about putting on a "good show" from being on "Two and a Half Men," a skill that he was able to use as an event planner. 

Josh Saviano went the legal route

From "The Wonder Years" set to Yale, then to a New York City law firm. That's how Josh Saviano's journey can be described. He played Paul Pfeiffer on the ABC series from 1988 to 1993, the entire time it was on the air. Us Weekly shows that he became an Ivy League man after that, earning himself a degree in political science at Yale University in 1998. He was later hired as a lawyer at Manhattan's Morrison Cohen, after attending Yeshiva University and getting his Doctor of Law degree.

Then after leaving that gig, he co-founded the Spotlight Advisory Group, which according to its LinkedIn page, is "An independent advisory firm designed exclusively for artists." And it doesn't seem like the former child actor has stopped reinventing himself, based on what he wrote on his Twitter page. "Yesterday, I was a child actor. Today I am a father, husband and strategic advisor to influencers and brands. Tomorrow ...???"

As far as acting, Saviano only played in one show after "The Wonder Years," which was "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," in three episodes from 2014 to 2016. And guess what he played? A lawyer.

Lisa Whelchel became an educator

Lisa Whelchel was in her mid-20s when "The Facts of Life" ended, per The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. She then became a stay-at-home mom after marrying a man named Steve Cauble in 1988. The actor also homeschooled their three children. That, of course, is a long way away from playing Blair Warner on "The Facts of Life," arguably one of the most popular TV characters of the 1980s. Whelchel wrote a book called, "So You're Thinking about Homeschooling" as well, published in 2003, which shows she was fully immersed in educating her little ones at that time. 

Then, the Texas native — whose marriage ended to Cauble after 24 years — started a website called MomTime, and became a life coach on top of that. But Whelchel returned to the bright lights of entertainment in 2014 when she played in the TV movie "For Better or for Worse." Whelchel played in a handful of other made-for-TV-films as well, and was a contestant on "Survivor" in 2012, where she tied for second place

Jennifer Stone wanted to help others

Being diagnosed with a serious condition and wanting to help others. Those are just two of the reasons why Jennifer Stone went from acting to nursing. She played Harper Finkle on the Disney Channels' "Wizards of Waverly Place" from 2007 to 2012. Then one year after the show ended, the red-haired Texan learned that she was living with an ailment, which changed everything for her.

"I decided I wanted to become a nurse when type 1 diabetes touched my life in 2013," wrote Stone on her LinkedIn page. "From the moment I experienced the ramifications of autoimmune disorders on patients and those close to me, I knew I had to do something."

After volunteering as a nurse, Stone attended the Glendale Community College School of Nursing in 2018. She "completed 120 hours of a preceptorship in the emergency department at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Burbank" after that. Then on April 7, 2020, Stone revealed some major news. "A very good friend of mine (@maiarawalsh ) pointed out to me that today is #worldhealthday," she captioned an Instagram post. "It is also the day I went from a volunteer, then a student nurse, and now an RN resident. I just hope to live up to all of the amazing healthcare providers on the front lines now as I get ready to join them." How's that for altruism and sticking to a goal?

Danielle Fishel works for a website

Danielle Fishel has been acting since the age of 10, a fact that's noted on her website. Although she has a long list of TV and film credits to her name, the native Arizonian is most known for playing Topanga Lawrence on ABC's "Boy Meets World" from 1993 to 2000. She also reprised that role in the series "Girl Meets World," which aired from 2014 to 2017.

Yes, it's true that Fishel has kept both feet in the acting world since leaving those sitcoms, but her hands have been busy carving out a career in journalism. That's because she's worked for PopSugar, while also doing a lot on the site's YouTube channel, PopSugar Girls Guide. Fishel has given relationship advice in the video series, and some of the titles include, "How To Tell a Friend Her Boyfriend is Cheating," "How to Get Your YouTube Crush to Notice You," and "How to Get Out of the Friend Zone." So if you think about it, Fishel is storytelling in multiple ways, as a journalist, an actor, and she's a director as well. Plus, the former child star could probably teach a class on how to pivot in your career since she seems to be pretty darn good at it.

Hayden Christensen became a farmer

By 2008, things seemed to be going superbly for Hayden Christensen. He had three "Star Wars" movies under his belt, per his IMDb page, playing Anakin Skywalker. Plus, the actor was looking for a new place to live around that time and was considering buying a home in New York City. But in the end, he opted for a different location, moving north of Toronto, Canada, buying a farm and taking care of the land himself.

"It's a hobby, but I want to have the appearance of being a proper farmer," Christensen said while speaking to the Toronto Star. "I'm trying to figure it out. It's all new to me, but I would eventually like it to be a fully operational farm with livestock and different crops. It's very much a departure for me."

The Canadian entertainer called the farm his "sanctuary" and says he's been doing things like fixing up an old farmhouse on the property and learning how to operate equipment. "I love it up there," Christensen told BNN Bloomberg. "It's a real escape for me. I like that environment, the lack of traffic and just the open space." Elsewhere in that interview, the actor explained that his folks had a farm when he was a child, which he has fond memories of and wanted to duplicate.

Nikki Blonsky kept using hairspray

From acting in "Hairspray" to using hairspray on her clients. That could describe Nikki Blonsky's career back in 2011 because it was reported that she was working in a salon in her hometown of Great Neck, New York. Just four years earlier, the native Long Islander was seen starring in the film adaptation of "Hairspray," playing alongside big names like John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Queen Latifah. Blonsky starred in the ABC Family sitcom "Huge" for one season as well, before the show was canceled in 2010.

"It's true I'm working @ Superstar Salon as a makeup artist & more," she tweeted in 2011, captured by Daily News. "I'm proud 2 b workin & helpin pay bills BUT I'll NEVER lose sight of my dream. Just cause I'm part time working doesn't mean I'm gonna give up on my dreams n don't give up on yours. I might book something big soon. Keep positive."

Blonsky's optimism eventually paid off because she landed a role in the 2013 film "The English Teacher," starring Julianne Moore and Greg Kinnear, as well as "The Last Movie Star," starring Burt Reynolds. Now, that's how you persevere, right? Good for her. 

Andrea Barber went back home

"Full Circle: From Hollywood to Real Life and Back Again." That's the name of Andrea Barber's 2019 memoir and it perfectly describes what she's been through. Barber portrayed the sometimes bothersome neighbor of the Tanners, Kimmy Gibbler on ABC's "Full House" in the '80s and '90s. She played the character again on the Netflix series "Fuller House," which ran from 2016 to 2020. After "Full House" went off the air, Barber left entertainment for academia, attending Whittier College in her hometown of Whittier, California, and getting an English degree. She then headed to the University of York in England before coming back to Whittier College and taking a job as the Assistant to the Director of the school's International Programs, per HuffPost. Barber also interned at the United Nations after her "Full House" days.

"I left Hollywood, so no sadness about that whatsoever," Barber told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. "I was very content to pursue other interests in my life. And I then had kids and was a stay-at-home mom for several years when my kids were babies and toddlers and I found that very fulfilling as well. Right up until [creator] Jeff Franklin called me a few years ago asking about reprising the role of Kimmy Gibbler, and that happened at a perfect time too."

Barber continued acting after "Fuller House" ended, playing the character Principal Willingham in Nickelodeon's "That Girl Lay Lay."

Danny Pintauro expressed his love for animals

If you check out Danny Pintauro's Instagram page, the top of it reads, "Actor, activist, child actor survivor." But he could've added one more title due to a certain job he once received. In 2019, Pintauro became a vet tech at a place called Austin Pets Alive in Austin, Texas. He also took care of cats at the facility.

The ex-sitcom actor played Jonathan Bower on "Who's the Boss?" for the entire run of the show, which was from 1984 to 1992. In 2001, he graduated from Stanford University, majoring in drama. But since childhood, his real love was working with animals, so being employed at Austin Pets Alive was a bigger accomplishment for him than landing a major acting part.

"As a very young kid, this is literally what I wanted to do when I grew up. Even though I was on TV, every summer I would work at this vet office near my house in L.A. and clean kennels or whatever they would let me do," Pintauro told NBC 5 in Texas. "I always used to say when you sit in a windowsill and you think about your life, and you think about everything you love to do, it wasn't acting for me. Especially for me being a gay child celebrity, it just wasn't worth it." But Pintauro hasn't left entertainment entirely. In February 2022, TV Insider announced that he was cast in the made-for-TV-movie, "A Country Christmas Harmony."

David Faustino got his own radio slot

You know who Grandmaster B is, right? That's Bud Bundy's rap guy alter ego on the sitcom "Married... with Children." The Bud character was played by David Faustino and he and Grandmaster B have something in common: They're both ardent hip-hop fans. Plus, Faustino is now a DJ, who plays rap tunes. He spins records every week on Dash Radio, as his Instagram page shows. And although being a DJ on a digital radio station isn't usually considered a regular job, it's a long way from Faustino playing the wise-cracking Bud for 10 years on the raunchy sitcom.

Plus, Club Planet reported in 2009 that the hip-hop-loving actor spun records every Monday night at Beauty Bar in Los Angeles. But despite Faustino living more of a regular life since his "Married... with Children" days ended, it doesn't seem that he's fully content with it. At least, based on what he told LA Weekly in 2011 about not having the same level of fame.

"I love the fame, I love the attention, and I love the perks," said Faustino, something that most celebrities haven't admitted to for some reason. "I've made some pretty decent investments so I feel comfortable financially. But is that enough? No, not really because, you know, I like the attention and the fame. That's part of the whole package."