Thursday, August 11, 2022
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Iconic Teen TV And Movie Actors Playing Parents Now

Troy Bolton is somebody’s dad in a movie this year…

If you’re like me, you were practically raised by teen TV — which means teen TV parents were a big part of your own childhood (even though most of them were basically absent, like, 99% percent of the time).

And, well, we’re getting to the point where the teen TV teens (who were generally played by twentysomething actors) of our youth are now the ones playing the parents on those projects.

Abc Family / Everett Collection

Yes, I know that’s simply how ~ time ~ works, but it’s just one of those things that makes me realize how much time has passed since my own high school days. 

So here are some familiar faces from our past who have recently showed up as TV and movie parents:


Benjamin McKenzie played 16-year-old Ryan Atwood on The O.C. starting in 2003…

Warner Bros / courtesy Everett Collection

…now, he’s playing a dad to a 17-year-old daughter in Amazon’s new rom-com, I Want You Back:

Then: Welcome to the O.C. bitch vs. Now: Welcome to my fancy home that I own with my own money, bitch.

Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection/Amazon


Zac Efron famously played 17-year-old Troy Bolton, king of gifting necklaces and not getting his head in the game in High School Musical

Disney Channel /Courtesy Everett Collection

…now, he’s playing a dad in the upcoming film Firestarter:

Then: Head in game, heart in song vs. Now: Head in game of raising a child

Disney Channel/Everett Collection/Universal Pictures


Raven-Symoné played Raven Baxter on That’s So Raven starting in 2003…

Disney Channel/Courtesy Everett Collection

…now, she plays the character as an adult with kids on Raven’s Home.

Disney Channel/Courtesy Everett Collection

Then: So Raven vs. Now: Soooooo Raven.

Disney Channel / Everett Collection, Bob D’amico / © Disney Channel / Courtesy Everett / Everett Collection


Sarah Drew played high schooler Hannah (who famously dated Chris Pratt’s character, Bright Abbott) on Everwood in 2004…

Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

…now, she played Cindy Turner, mother of Jeanette Turner on Cruel Summer:

Freeform/Courtesy Everett Collection

Hannah looks SO much like Cindy’s daughter, Jeanette Turner, in the 1993 timeline, TBH.

Then: One half of Bright and Hannah vs. Now: Mama to a likely sociopath

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection, Freeform/ Courtesy Everett Collection


Meanwhile, Nicole Bilderback played Courtney in Bring It On in 2000…

…and now, she played Jeanette’s lawyer, Denise Harper, in Cruel Summer in 2021.

Then: Brr, it’s cold in here. There must be some Toros in the atmosphere vs. Now: A badass defense attorney

Universal Pictures, Freeform


Chad Michael Murray played Lucas Scott on One Tree Hill starting in 2003…

Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

…and Edgar Evernever on Riverdale in 2019.


OK, TECHNICALLY, Evelyn was his 26-year-old wife posing as his high school–age daughter, but that’s just Riverdale for you…

Then: Weirdest thing that happened on his show was his father’s transplant heart was eaten by a dog vs. Now: One of the more normal things that happened on his show was he was a cult leader who tried to escape on a rocket ship.

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection, CW


Winona Ryder played 17-year-old Veronica Sawyer in the cult classic 1988 film Heathers…

New World Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

…now, she’s played Joyce Byers on Stranger Things since 2016:

Netflix /Courtesy Everett Collection

Then: Turning her high school upside down vs. Now: Literally going to the Upside Down

New World Pictures/Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection


Scott Wolf played 16-year-old Bailey Salinger, who was thrust into a parental role, on Party of Five…

Columbia Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection

…now he plays Nancy Drew’s father, Carson, on The CW’s Nancy Drew:

CW/Courtesy Everett Collection

Then: Party of five vs. Now: Party with ghosts…

Fox/CW/Courtesy Everett Collection

Fun fact: The role of Carson Drew was originally going to be played by fellow ’90s teen heartthrob Freddie Prinze Jr.


Minka Kelly starred as high school senior Lyla Garrity on Friday Night Lights starting in 2007…

NBC /Courtesy Everett Collection /

…now, she’s recurring as Samantha, a mom who Maddy babysits for on Euphoria:

Then: Dillon High vs. Now: Euphoria High

NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection/HBO


Alanna Ubach played Serena, one of Elle’s BFFs, in Legally Blonde

MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

…these days she plays Cassie and Lexi’s mom Suze on Euphoria:

Then: Legally Blonde vs. Now: Legally mom

MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection


Mekhi Phifer played Odin “O” James in 2001’s O

Lions Gate/Courtesy Everett Collection

…and now he plays Harold, Mia’s dad, on Love, Victor.

Then: High school star vs. Now: College university president

Lions Gate / Courtesy Everett Collection, Greg Gayne / Hulu


Sophia Bush starred as Brooke Davis on One Tree Hill starting in 2003…

Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

…she currently plays Veronica, Mia’s stepmom, on Love, Victor.

Then: Love triangles vs. Now: Stepmom drama

Warner Bros/ Courtesy Everett Collection, Greg Gayne / Hulu


Meredith Monroe played Andie McPhee on Dawson’s Creek in 1999…

WB/Courtesy Everett Collection

…and played Alex’s mom, Caroline, on 13 Reasons Why in 2017.

Then: Pacey’s first love vs. Now: No Pacey in sight

WB/Courtesy Everett Collection, Netflix


Wilson Cruz played Rickie Vasquez on My So-Called Life in 1994…

ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

…and then played the Bakers’ lawyer, Dennis Vasquez, on 13 Reasons Why in 2018.

Then: My So-Called Childhood vs. Now: My So-Called Adulthood

ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection, Netflix


Molly Ringwald was ’80s teen movie royalty in everything from Pretty in Pink to The Breakfast Club

Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

…and she’s played a mom in a ton of teen projects, including The Secret Life of the American Teenager, The Kissing Booth, and Riverdale.

Then: Dealing with standard high school drama like…detention vs. Now: Dealing with Gargoyle Kings and her son’s escape from jail and subsequent mauling by a bear

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection, CW


Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel played childhood sweethearts Cory and Topanga on Boy Meets World…

ABC Photo Archives / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

…and then we saw them all grown up and still together on Girl Meets World (2016).

Ron Tom / Disney Channel via Getty Images

Then: Boy Meets World vs. Now: Adults Meet World

ABC Photo Archives / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images, Ron Tom / Disney Channel via Getty Images


Luke Perry was a teenage heartthrob as Dylan McKay in Beverly Hills, 90210

FOX/Aaron Spelling Productions/Everett Collection

…and he played Archie’s dad, Fred Andrews (the heart and soul of the show), on Riverdale until his death in 2019.

Then: The best guy on 90210 vs. Now: The best dad on Riverdale.

Aaron Spelling Productions / Aaron Spelling Productions / Courtesy Everett Collection, CW


Nia Peeples played Nicole Chapman on Fame starting in 1983…

MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

…she eventually played Emily’s mom on Pretty Little Liars starting in 2010.

Then: Fame vs. Now: “A”

MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection, Jaimie Trueblood / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images


Skeet Ulrich played Billy Loomis in Scream in 1996…

Dimension Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

…and then played F.P. Jones on Riverdale starting in 2017.

CW/Courtest Everett Collection

Then: Evil murderer… vs. Now: In a town of evil murderers

Dimension Films / Courtesy Everett Collection, CW Network / Courtesy Everett Collection


And Alicia Silverstone was teen royalty as Cher in Clueless in 1995…

Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

…and is now Kristy’s mom, Elizabeth, in Netflix’s wonderful The Baby-Sitters Club reboot:

Then: As if! vs. Now: As if this much time has passed!

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection, Kailey Schwerman/ Netflix

I’m sure there are SO many more that I missed! Please feel free to tell me in the comments!



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