The Biggest '00s TV Teen Idols, Then and Now
Here's what all your favorite bad boys and queen bees are up to these days.
The '90s may have given us Dawson's Creek and the best years of Saved by the Bell, but still, it's no match for the '00s when it comes to teen-focused TV. The first decade of the new millennium was all about adolescent angst, from Upper East Side prep school wars to vampire love triangles (and even quadrangles?). The high school-set shows of the aughts also launched many a career, unknowingly giving us future Marvel villains and Disney princesses. It's hard to believe that many of these shows are almost two decades old, so to really put it in perspective, here are the biggest teen idols of '00s TV shows, in the early days of their fame and now. And for some of the best teen flicks ever made, we're Ranking Every '90s Teen Movie, From Worst Reviewed to Best.
Read the original article on Best Life.
Kristen Bell: Then
In 2004, the eponymous teen detective Veronica Mars made her debut, as played by relative unknown Kristen Bell.
Kristen Bell: Now
Bell parlayed the cult favorite status of Veronica Mars (which returned for a belated fourth season in 2019) into a sturdy career in film and TV. Her most recent comedy series, The Good Place, came to an end earlier this year, and she'll be back on Disney+ soon as the host of the theater kid reality TV show, Encore!, which is getting a second season.
And if you can't get enough of this era, check out 23 Celeb Red Carpet Photos From 2000 You Have to See to Believe.
Chad Michael Murray: Then
After recurring roles on Gilmore Girls and Dawson's Creek, Chad Michael Murray scored a lead on the teen drama One Tree Hill, which ran from 2003 to 2012.
To see where the teen stars from the previous decade ended up, check out The Biggest '90s TV Teen Idols, Then and Now.
Chad Michael Murray: Now
Murray's 2020 credits include the Hallmark Christmas movie Love in Winterland and the action flick Survive the Night. He also made a return to the teen soap genre when he guest starred on Riverdale as a charismatic cult leader.
Adam Brody: Then
As Seth Cohen on The O.C., Adam Brody helped introduce a generation of teen viewers to Deathcab for Cutie and the hybrid holiday Chrismukkah.
For shows from the turn of the millennia that you may have forgotten, check out 20 Beloved TV Shows You Won't Believe Are 20 Years Old.
Adam Brody: Now
Brody has had a busy 2020, with roles in the movies The Kid Detective and Promising Young Woman, plus the series Mrs. America. He's also been married to another star on this list, Gossip Girl actor Leighton Meester, since 2014.
And for the latest on this '00s couple, check out The Surprising Name Adam Brody & Leighton Meester Are Calling Their Son.
Blake Lively: Then
Two years after she had her breakout role in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Blake Lively hit the small screen as Gossip Girl's golden girl, Serena van der Woodsen.
For the high-school star you remember best, check out This Was the Most Popular Teen Idol the Year You Graduated.
Blake Lively: Now
In 2020, Lively starred in the thriller The Rhythm Section. And she welcomed her third child with husband Ryan Reynolds in late 2019.
And for another star who just added to their family, check out Mindy Kaling Secretly Had Another Baby and His Name Is Too Cute.
Taylor Kitsch: Then
Friday Night Lights bad boy Tim Riggins wouldn't have been the same if he hadn't been played by Taylor Kitsch for the entirety of the football drama's run.
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Taylor Kitsch: Now
Kitsch's most recent role was in 21 Bridges, the 2019 police thriller that features one of the final performances of the late Chadwick Boseman.
And for more on Boseman's last project, check out The Trailer for Chadwick Boseman's Last Movie on Netflix.
Hilarie Burton: Then
Hilarie Burton came to One Tree Hill with plenty of teen star caché—she'd been a VJ on MTV's Total Request Live for a few years by that point. She played Peyton Sawyer for six seasons of the small-town drama.
Hilarie Burton: Now
Burton can frequently be seen in holiday TV movies, whether on Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel. In 2020, she appeared on the series Council of Dads, which has since been canceled. In 2019, she married long-time partner, The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
And for more Hollywood romances that may have slipped your mind, check out 20 Long-Term Celebrity Couples You Totally Forgot Are Still Together.
Ben McKenzie: Then
On The O.C., Ben McKenzie played Ryan Atwood, the teen offender taken in by his public defender's wealthy Orange County family.
Ben McKenzie: Now
McKenzie's run as a young Jim Gordon on the Batman prequel series Gotham ended in 2019. (He's married to costar Morena Baccarin, who he met on set.) This year, he made his Broadway debut in the play Grand Horizons.
Alexis Bledel: Then
Starting in 2000, Alexis Bledel became synonymous with the role of Rory Gilmore, the high-achieving daughter of single mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham) on Gilmore Girls.
Alexis Bledel: Now
Since 2017, Bledel has played Ofglen on the acclaimed series adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale, for which she won an Emmy award.
Tyler James Williams: Then
Tyler James Williams led the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, as a fictionalized version of future comedian Chris Rock.
Tyler James Williams: Now
Williams continues to work in TV and film; most recently, he appeared in the comedies The Wedding Year and The Argument.
Liza Weil: Then
Liza Weil costarred on Gilmore Girls as Rory's rival-turned-friend Paris Geller.
Liza Weil: Now
Weil could be seen on the Shondaland primetime soap How to Get Away With Murder as Annalise Keating's (Viola Davis) associate Bonnie Winterbottom, until the series came to an end in 2020.
Mischa Barton: Then
Mischa Barton was the queen bee of The O.C. for three seasons, playing the troubled rich girl next door Marissa Cooper.
Mischa Barton: Now
Okay, keep up with us on this one: The MTV reality show The Hills is a spinoff of another reality series, Laguna Beach, which was conceived as the real-life answer to The O.C. In 2019, Barton—who starred on the drama that inspired it—joined the cast of the reboot series The Hills: New Beginnings, appearing as herself. She also starred in the 2020 horror-comedy Spree.
Ian Somerhalder: Then
Starting in 2009, Ian Somerhalder played the dark and mysterious bloodsucker Damon Salvatore on The CW's huge hit The Vampires Diaries.
Ian Somerhalder: Now
Somerhalder starred on the Netflix sci-fi series V Wars, which dropped in 2019 but was unfortunately canceled in 2020. Forming a vampire drama power couple, he married Twilight star Nikki Reed in 2015.
Michael B. Jordan: Then
After impressing critics and audiences with his work on The Wire, Michael B. Jordan joined the cast of Friday Night Lights in Season 4, playing green quarterback Vince Howard.
Michael B. Jordan: Now
Jordan is indisputably one of the biggest young stars in Hollywood, having starred in the Creed movies, entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Black Panther villain Killmonger, and leading socially relevant dramas like 2019's Just Mercy.
And if you're a Black Panther fan, you'll appreciate this Ranking of Every Marvel Movie, From Worst Reviewed to Best.
Tristan Wilds: Then
On the 2008 reboot 90210, Tristan Wilds played Dixon Wilson, one of two siblings who have to adjust to the Beverly Hills lifestyle after moving there from the midwest with their parents.
And for some drama with the original 90210, check out "90210" Stars Respond to Jessica Alba's Claim About How They Treated Her.
Tristan Wilds: Now
In addition to continuing to act, Wilds is also a musician. His most recent album, AfterHours, came out in 2017.
Jared Padalecki: Then
Jared Padalecki was one of the many Gilmore boys, and by that we mean one of Rory's love interests, who are still hotly debated. Dean, Padalecki's character, has the distinction of being the first.
Jared Padalecki: Now
We probably don't have to remind you where Padalecki has been since leaving Stars Hollow. For a whopping 15 seasons, he's been playing Sam Winchester, one-half of the duo of demon-hunting brothers on the show Supernatural. It's coming to an end this year, after which he's set to star in the Walker, Texas Ranger revival series, Walker.
Leighton Meester: Then
Leighton Meester made headbands cool again as Gossip Girl's Blair Waldorf, Serena's best friend and the envy of all the Upper East Side.
Leighton Meester: Now
Until its cancellation this year, Meester could be seen on the sitcom Single Parents. She gave birth to her second child with husband Adam Brody in September.
Paul Wesley: Then
Paul Wesley played little vamp brother to Damon, Stefan Salvatore, on The Vampire Diaries, where his romance with a human named Elena (Nina Dobrev) was a key storyline.
Paul Wesley: Now
Wesley played several roles on the CBS All Access series Tell Me a Story (from Vampire Diaries coshowunner Kevin Williamson) and has also stepped behind the camera to direct some TV episodes, too.
Wilmer Valderrama: Then
Beginning in 1998, Wilmer Vanderrama played amorous exchange student Fez on That '70s Show.
Wilmer Valderrama: Now
Valderrama has stayed busy as an actor and producer. In 2020, he voiced a character in Onward, guested on the series Gentefied, and appeared in the video for Justin Bieber's song "Holy."
Rachel Bilson: Then
Rachel Bilson rounded out the main foursome of The O.C. as the seemingly vapid but surprisingly deep Summer Roberts, Marissa's best friend and the object of Seth's affection.
Rachel Bilson: Now
Bilson's most recent series credit is 2018's Take Two, following a recurring role on Nashville. She also grabbed headlines in 2020 when she accompanied Bill Hader, who she was rumored to be dating, to the Golden Globes. They called it quits this summer, however.
And for another couple who's made headlines recently, check out Matthew McConaughey Has Some Thoughts on "The Heat" Between Brad and Jen.
Jurnee Smollett: Then
Jurnee Smollett was another Season 4 addition to Friday Night Lights, playing aspiring football coach Jess Merriweather.
Jurnee Smollett: Now
Smollet had a huge 2020, with a key role in the DC comic book flick Birds of Prey and a starring turn on the buzzy HBO sci-fi series Lovecraft Country.
Mila Kunis: Then
Mila Kunis was the youngest of the main That '70s Show cast, playing the boy-crazy Jackie.
Mila Kunis: Now
Kunis wed her former '70s Show costar, Ashton Kutcher, in 2015, and they've since had two kids together. In 2020, she starred in the film Four Good Days, played herself on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and continued to voice her longtime character Meg Griffin on Family Guy.
Nina Dobrev: Then
Nina Dobrev did double duty on The Vampire Diaries, playing both girl-next-door Elena and vampire Katherine Pierce.
Nina Dobrev: Now
Since Vampire Diaries wrapped, Dobrev splits her time between guest spots on various TV series and starring roles in films like Run This Town and Lucky Day.
Tom Welling: Then
Tom Welling won the role of a young Clark Kent for the teen-focused Superman series Smallville after an extremely competitive process. He played the future superhero for 10 seasons.
Tom Welling: Now
Welling appeared on the earlier seasons of Lucifer and also reprised his role of Clark Kent in the Batwoman episode of the annual CW/DC crossover arc. He's also due to star on a series called Professionals, his first lead role since leaving Smallville in 2011.
Penn Badgley: Then
Penn Badgley's aspiring writer Dan Humphrey was the fish-out-of-water kid in the early days of Gossip Girl, though anyone who watched the series to the end knows that we say that with a wink.
Penn Badgley: Now
Since 2018, Badgley has been starring on the psychological thriller series You, as a serial stalker who sees himself as a nice, romantic guy. A third season is coming to Netflix in 2021.
And speaking of the best of Netflix, here are The 50 Best Netflix Shows Ever, According to Critics.