I can't imagine what it'd be like to have excessive fame, money, and freedom at a young age — not when I wasn't even allowed to stay up late and watch "Family Guy." There's a reason why a lot of child stars end up faltering as they prepare to enter adulthood and instead end up kind of strange.
Enter Miley Cyrus, the face of wholesome Disney superstar Hannah Montana and daughter to one of the cheesiest celebrities of all time, Billy Ray Cyrus. Everyone is still buzzing about the performance she and Robin Thicke gave us (and not in a good way). Interestingly, The Onion predicted this is the road Miley would take five years ago (they even got the year right). While part of me understands she's just a 20-year-old girl trying to shed her Hannah Montana image and "find herself," the other part of me is all, "No. No thank you."
But Miley's transition isn't inevitable! So here are five child stars who turned out just fine.
Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris first became famous when he starred in the title role in "Doogie Howser, M.D." He was only 16 when he starred as the teenage doctor. Today, he plays Barney Stintson on "How I Met Your Mother," one of the biggest shows on television; he's hosted the Tony Awards on four separate occasions; received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011; and is overall pretty well-liked. NPH turned out more than okay.
Christina Applegate was 15 when she first starred as Kelly Bundy in the TV show "Married... with Children." There wasn't much of a break in her career, either, as she went on to star in several films (including "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" and, of course, "Anchorman"). Christina has also been the lead in three sitcoms: "Jesse"; "Samantha Who?"; and "Up All Night."
Technically, Jessica Biel is now Jessica Biel-Timberlake because yes, Mary from "7th Heaven" totally married Justin Timberlake. The show started when Jessica was 14 and she stayed on as Mary Camden through 2006. While acting on the show, she also built a movie career, including roles in films like "The Illusionist," "Elizabethtown," and "Summer Catch."
We can't forget Opie Taylor from "The Andy Griffith Show." Ron Howard was just six (six!) when he got this gig, which he stayed in for eight years. Seven years later, he became the adorably wholesome Richie Cunningham on "Happy Days," where he stayed until he decided to pursue directing, a career that really allowed him to flourish. His directing credits include "The Da Vinci Code," "Splash," "Cinderella Man," and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Ron Howard also created the TV series "Arrested Development."
Sarah Jessica Parker
While you may remember Sarah Jessica Parker for her role as Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City," she actually began acting when she was 12. First starring as "Annie" on Broadway, Sarah Jessica Parker later became the co-lead in the TV show "Square Pegs." Over the next few years, she starred in various films (including the 1993 Disney film "Hocus Pocus" and the critically-acclaimed "Ed Wood) before finally becoming Carrie. These days, she dabbles in various projects and is mom to two kids (with her husband, also a child actor who turned out okay, Matthew Broderick).