THEN AND NOW: 18 sets of siblings who were child stars

·15 min read
dylan and cole sprouse suite life then and now
Dylan and Cole Sprouse turn 29 on August 4. Disney Channel and Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
  • Some child star siblings continue to act or perform together, like Elle and Dakota Fanning.

  • Others gave up acting altogether, like fashion moguls Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

  • Dylan and Cole Sprouse, who turn 29 on August 4, both returned to acting after taking a break.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Fred and Ben Savage played brothers in "Little Monsters" in 1989.

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Ben and Fred Savage in "Little Monsters." United Artists

Fred played Brian, the older brother who became friends with a "monster" who was under his bed playing tricks.

Both brothers still act, and Fred also works as a director.

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Fred (left) and Ben Savage. Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images, David Livingston/Getty Images

Ben rose to fame on "Boy Meets World" and will return for its spinoff, "Girl Meets World." He also recently appeared in the Hallmark movie "Love, Lights, Hanukkah!"

Fred, who starred of "The Wonder Years" in the late '80s and early '90s, has lent his voice to shows like "Family Guy" and "American Dad!' and has also directed episodes of "Blackish," "The Conners," and "Modern Family."

Twins Dylan and Cole Sprouse appeared in "Grace Under Fire" and "Big Daddy" before landing their breakout roles as stars of "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody."

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Cole and Dylan Sprouse in 1999. Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

The Sprouse twins played Tipton Hotel residents Zack and Cody Martin on the Disney Channel sitcom from 2005 to 2008, and the subsequent spin-off "The Suite Life on Deck" from 2008 to 2011.

After a brief break from acting to attend New York University, the Sprouse twins are back to acting in TV shows and films.

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Dylan (left) and Cole Sprouse in 2019. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Cole appeared in 2019's "Five Feet Apart," and he currently plays Jughead Jones on The CW's hit drama "Riverdale," a recurring role he's had since 2017. Last year, he also starred in the horror podcast "Borrasca."

Dylan returned to the screen for 2017's indie "Dismissed" and, in his biggest role since his hiatus, he appeared in last year's "After We Collided" as Trevor. He has also appeared in two music videos: Camila Cabello's "Consequences" and Ygo's "Think About You." But he's branched out to other industries too: He opened the All-Wise Meadery in Brooklyn, New York, with two business partners in 2018, and he started releasing a comic book last year.

Mackenzie and Maddie Ziegler rose to fame on Lifetime's "Dance Moms."

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Mackenzie Ziegler (left) and Maddie Ziegler in 2012. Mike Coppola/Getty Images

The Zieglers appeared on "Dance Moms" from 2011 to 2016. The reality show followed their training and careers in competitive dance and showbusiness, and the dynamics between the dancers, their mothers, and Abby Lee Dance Company owner Abby Lee Miller.

Maddie toured with Sia after appearing in several of her music videos and now works as an actress, and Mackenzie became a pop singer and influencer.

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Maddie Ziegler and Mackenzie Ziegler in 2019. Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

In a casting decision that was criticized by autism rights activists, Maddie just starred in "Music" as a non-verbal girl on the autism disorder spectrum. She will also portray Velma in the upcoming film remake of "West Side Story."

Mackenzie released her second album, "Phases," in 2018, and was just unmasked as the Tulip on series one of "The Masked Dancer."

Both have garnered millions of YouTube subscribers and Instagram and TikTok followers.

As young actors, Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal appeared in several projects together.

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Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images

In 1993, the siblings first appeared in "A Dangerous Woman," which their father, Stephen, directed. The young stars even made guest appearances with their mother, Naomi Foner, on two episodes of the cooking show "Molto Mario" on the Food Network.

In 2001, they appeared as siblings in the cult hit movie "Donnie Darko."

Both are A-list actors today.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jake Gyllenhaal in 2018. Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Maggie is known for films such as "Secretary," "The Dark Knight," and "Crazy Heart." She most recently starred in as Eileen "Candy" Merrell in the TV series "The Deuce" and had a small role in "Best Summer Ever."

Jake recently joined the Marvel universe as Mysterio in "Spider-Man: Far from Home." His most famous films include "Nightcrawler," "Brokeback Mountain," and "Prisoners."

Tia and Tamera Mowry played long-lost twins on the sitcom "Sister Sister."

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Tia and Tamera Mowry. Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

They also played long-lost twins in the Disney Channel original movies "Twitches" and "Twitches Too" about twin witches.

They continue to work together on a "Twintuition" book series.

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Tamera Mowry (left) and Tia Mowry in 2015. Vincent Sandoval/FilmMagic/Getty Images

They took a break from acting to attend Pepperdine University and both majored in psychology.

Tamera hosted the daytime talk show, "The Real," for seven years, but she announced her departure in July 2020. She also acted in "A Christmas Miracle" in 2019 and appeared on "The Masked Singer" as the Seashell in April.

Tia has also continued acting, with roles in "Baggage Claim" and "Indivisible," and a role on the TV show "Family Reunion."

The sisters have four books in their "Twintuition" series, which follows tween twins. The first book, "Double Vision," was released in 2015.

Another famous set of twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, got their start on "Full House."

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Mary-Kate and Ashley in 1992. DMI/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The Olsen twins were babies when they began starring on "Full House" in 1987, and were 9 years old when it ended. They went on to star in their own TV series, "The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley" and "Two of a Kind," as well as a slew of movies, including "Passport to Paris" and "Our Lips Are Sealed."

The twins have mostly retired from acting to focus on their fashion line, Elizabeth and James, which they launched in 2007.

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Ashley Olsen (left) and Mary-Kate Olsen in 2019. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Mary-Kate last acted in "Beastly" in 2011, and Ashley's last major role was in "New York Minute" alongside her sister in 2004.

Their clothing line, Elizabeth and James, was launched in 2007 but reportedly slowed down operations in 2018 due to a dip in sales, Business of Fashion reported in 2019. As a result, they entered into a licensing agreement in 2019 for the clothes to be sold exclusively at Kohl's.

Hilary Duff played the titular character in Disney Channel's "Lizzie McGuire," while her sister Haylie made cameos as Cousin Amy.

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Hilary Duff and Haylie Duff in 2001. Sebastian Artz/Getty Images

Haylie provided the singing voice for Lizzie McGuire's double Isabella Parigi in "The Lizzie McGuire Movie." She also landed her first movie role in "Napoleon Dynamite."

After "Lizzie McGuire" ended in 2004, Hilary starred in movies such as "A Cinderella Story," "Raise Your Voice," and "The Perfect Man."

Hilary has continued acting, and Haylie launched a blog and children's fashion line.

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Haylie (left) and Hilary Duff in 2017. Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Words with Friends 2

Hilary most recently starred in the TV series "Younger" and the movie "The Haunting of Sharon Tate." She was also set to star in a reboot of "Lizzie McGuire" featuring the character in her 30s, but production halted after two episodes were filmed and the showrunner was fired.

Haylie started the food blog Real Girl's Kitchen in 2012, which became a series on the Cooking Channel, and she founded the children's clothing line Little Moon Society in 2017.

Nick, Kevin, and Joe Jonas formed The Jonas Brothers band in 2005.

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Nick Jonas, Joe Jonas, and Kevin Jonas in 2006. Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

The brothers released four albums between 2006 and 2009 and toured with Kelly Clarkson, The Cheetah Girls, and the Backstreet Boys. They also starred in the Disney Channel original movies "Camp Rock" and "Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam," then had their own series called "Jonas" for two seasons.

The band broke up in 2013 due to "creative differences."

After six years apart, the Jonas Brothers got back together in 2019 and released a new album, "Happiness Begins."

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From left: Nick, Kevin, and Joe Jonas in 2020. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

While the band was broken up, Nick acted in films such as "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and television shows including "Kingdom" and "Scream Queens." He also released two solo albums. Joe formed the band DNCE and hit the Billboard charts with their song "Cake By The Ocean." Kevin largely kept out of the limelight.

They went on tour for "Happiness Begins" between 2019 and 2020. Among their more recent releases was a song featured in the Netflix series "Dash and Lily" called "Like It's Christmas." Nick is also an executive producer of the series.

Nick also released a solo album, "Spaceman," earlier this year.

Elle Fanning got her start playing younger versions of her sister Dakota's characters.

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Elle and Dakota Fanning in 2002. Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Elle's first role was playing a younger version of Dakota's character in the film "I Am Sam," and both sisters dubbed "My Neighbor Totoro" in 2005.

Both continue to act, and they are set to star as siblings in "The Nightingale" in 2022.

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Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning in 2019. Amanda Edwards/WireImage/Getty Images

Elle has recently starred in the TV series "The Great," as well as "All the Bright Places" and "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil."

Dakota's most recent onscreen credits include the TV show "The Alienist: Angel of Darkness," "Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood," and "Ocean's 8."

Abigail and Spencer Breslin appeared in several films together as kids, sometimes even playing siblings.

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Abigail and Spencer Breslin. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The Breslin siblings appeared together in "Raising Helen," "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement," and "The Santa Claus 3: The Escape Clause."

Spencer shifted to music, while Abigail continues to act.

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Spencer and Abigail Breslin in 2011. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Spencer writes music and performs with his rock 'n roll band, Broken Machine, but still acts in small, independent projects occasionally.

Abigail, who was just 10 when she was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in "Little Miss Sunshine," played "Baby" in a 2017 remake of "Dirty Dancing" and appeared in the TV show "Scream Queens." Most recently, she appeared in the just-released "Stillwater," starring alongside Matt Damon.

Macaulay and Kieran Culkin both got their start in the "Home Alone" movies.

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Macaulay (left) and Kieran Culkin in 1991. Dave Benett/Getty Images

Both brothers appeared in the original "Home Alone" and the sequel "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," although they played cousins.

Macaulay took a break from acting in 1994, but returned with a few small roles in 2003. Kieran is currently starring in "Succession."

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Macaulay Culkin (left) and Kieran Culkin in 2020. FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO, Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

Macaulay wrote an autobiography, co-founded a pizza-themed Velvet Underground tribute band called The Pizza Underground with which he toured before they split up in 2018, and hosted a podcast called Bunny Ears. He has continued acting as well — he did voiceover work for "Robot Chicken" and is slated to appear in a 2021 episode of "American Horror Story."

Kieran is currently starring in "Succession" as Roman Roy and earned an Emmy nomination for the role. Other notable roles include Wallace Wells in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" and Simon Boggs in "She's All That."

Alyson and Amanda Michalka were known as "Aly & AJ" on the Disney Channel in the mid-2000s.

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Alyson Michalka and Amanda Michalka of Aly and AJ in 2004. Lee Celano/WireImage/Getty Images

Aly & AJ released their albums "Into the Rush" in 2005 and "Insomniatic" in 2007. They starred together in the Disney Channel original movie "Cow Belles" as well as "Super Sweet 16: The Movie."

Aly also acted in the Disney Channel series "Phil of the Future" from 2004 to 2006.

Both continue to enjoy acting careers, and they still make music together.

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Aly and AJ Michalka in 2020. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Spotify

Aly recently starred in "iZombie" and "Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television." AJ is currently voicing Catra in "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power" as well as holding roles in "Schooled" and "The Goldbergs."

After briefly changing their band name and releasing music as 78Violet, they returned to their roots as Aly & AJ in 2017 with their EP "Ten Years," and their 2019 EP "Sanctuary."

Nat and Alex Wolff starred together in a Nickelodeon series called "The Naked Brothers Band."

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Nat Wolff and Alex Wolff in 2007. Chris Polk/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The mockumentary show was created by their mom, Polly Draper, and lasted for three seasons, from 2007 to 2009.

They have released four albums together under the artist name Nat & Alex Wolff, and they have acted in a few films.

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Nat and Alex Wolff in 2018. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

The brothers appeared in the TV movie "Mr. Troop Mom" and starred in the 2018 film "Stella's Last Weekend," which was written and directed by their mom.

Alex has acted in movies such as "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," "Jumanji: The Next Level," and "Bad Education." Nat appeared in "The Fault in Our Stars," "The Intern," and stars in the TV series "The Stand."

Laura and Vanessa Marano both got their starts as young actors on television.

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Vanessa and Laura Marano. Alison Buck/WireImage for Kari Feinstein PR/Getty Images

Laura and Vanessa played siblings in the TV show "Without a Trace." Laura went on to appear in "Superbad" in 2007, and Vanessa became known for playing April Nardini on "Gilmore Girls" from 2005 to 2007.

The Marano sisters starred together in "Saving Zoë" in 2019.

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Laura and Vanessa Marano in 2020. Jon Kopaloff/WireImage/Getty Images

While they occasionally work together on film projects, they also maintain their own acting careers. Laura's notable film appearances include "The Perfect Date" and "Lady Bird." Vanessa does more indie movies, and has also starred in TV shows "The Dead Girls Detective Agency" and "Switched At Birth."

Raini and Rico Rodriguez appeared on Disney Channel shows before landing their most famous roles.

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Raini and Rico Rodriguez in 2009. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Raini had small roles in "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" and "Handy Manny" before her breakout role in "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" in 2009.

Rico appeared on "Cory in the House" before he joined the cast of "Modern Family" as Manny Delgado in 2009.

Both Raini and Rico's stars have continued to rise.

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Raini and Rico Rodriguez in 2019. Ethan Miller/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Raini starred as Trish De la Rosa in the Nickelodian show "Austin & Ally" from 2011 to 2016, where Rico joined her as a guest star for one episode. She has since had roles in TV shows such as "Bunk'd" and voiced characters for "Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous" and "Vampirina."

Rico starred on "Modern Family" for 11 seasons until the show's end in 2020. He also appeared in "The Muppets" and "Epic Movie.

Twins Peyton and Spencer List both started acting at a young age.

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Peyton and Spencer List in 2007. Mat Szwajkos/Getty Images for Child Magazine

Born in 1998, the twins acted together in "Spider-Man 2" in 2004, "Saturday Night Live" in 2007, and "Bereavement" in 2010.

Both continue to act, occasionally starring side-by-side, and Peyton has ventured into singing as well.

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Spencer and Peyton List in 2019. Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Spencer's latest roles have included parts in TV shows "Good Trouble" and "The Fosters," as well as films such as "The Bachelors" and the upcoming "Exploited."

Peyton became known for her roles in"Bunk'd," "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," and "Happy Together," and songs "Dance Till We Die" and "Liar Liar."

The twins acted together again in "Anthem of a Teenage Prophet" and "The Thinning: New World Order" in 2018.

Fred and George Weasley were played by real-life twins James and Oliver Phelps, respectively.

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James (left) and Oliver Phelps in 2002. Stephen Hird SH/ASA/Reuters

The twins played Ron's mischievous older brothers, Fred and George. "Sorcerer's Stone" was both actors' first film credit.

The Phelps brothers have acted together on other occasions since "Harry Potter."

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James and Oliver Phelps. Eduardo Parra/Getty Images

After "Harry Potter" wrapped, the twins continued to act in films.

They both appeared in the 2015 TV movie "Danny and the Human Zoo." They also worked together on the 2021 films "Last Night in Soho" and "Own Worst Enemy."

The brothers also have a podcast called "Normal Not Normal" (previously known as "Double Trouble"), on which they've reunited with a number of their fellow "Harry Potter" stars.

The character of Carrie Ingalls on "Little House on the Prairie" was played by twins Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush.

Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie.
Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush. Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

The twins alternated playing the role of Carrie from 1974 to 1982 and were credited as one actor named Lindsay Sidney Greenbush.

The twins retired from acting, but they continue to participate in "Little House on the Prairie" cast reunions.

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A screenshot from the "Little House on the Prairie" cast reunion in March 2021. Stars in the House/YouTube

After the show and a few commercials, the twins largely left show business and graduated from Santa Monica High School.

They most recently appeared together at a virtual cast reunion in March on the YouTube channel Stars in the House to raise money for charity.

Lindsay, who now goes by Rachel Lindsay (pictured center), performed in a production of "The Vagina Monologues" in 2016 with former "Little House" castmate Alison Arngrim.

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