How Old 15 Stars Really Were When They Played Teen Idols

Theses actors had already left high school far behind when they scored these iconic roles.

The practice of casting adults for teen roles is so prevalent in Hollywood that it's rare to see a high school character who's actually played by an actor close to their age. For the most part, the teen characters you see in movies and TV are played by actors in their 20s, or even 30s! Sometimes they get away with it; sometimes you get the backlash to the trailer for the upcoming high school-set movie Dear Evan Hansen, in which 27-year-old Ben Platt plays a 17-year-old outcast. Read on to find out how old 15 other stars actually were they played teen idols and decide how well they managed to fool you.

RELATED: 28 Celebrities Who Are Older Than You Thought.

1
James Van Der Beek as Dawson Leery in Dawson's Creek

James Van Der Beek in "Dawson's Creek"
Getty Images

Age: 15 in Season 1

1
James Van Der Beek in real life

James Van Der Beek 1998
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Age: 21 in Season 1

2
Chad Michael Murray as Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill

Chad Michael Murray in "One Tree Hill" in 2003
Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Age: 16 in Season 1

2
Chad Michael Murray in real life

Chad Michael Murray 2003
Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

Age: 22 in Season 1

3
Stockard Channing as Betty Rizzo in Grease

Stockard Channing in "Grease" in 1978
Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

Age: 18

RELATED: The Best Teen Movie That Came Out the Year You Graduated.

3
Stockard Channing in real life

Stockard Channing 1978
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Age: 34

4
Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Sean Penn in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"
John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Age: 17

4
Sean Penn in real life

Sean Penn 1984
Jean-Louis URLI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Age: 22

5
Judge Reinhold as Brad Hamilton in Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Judge Reinhold in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" in 1982
Universal Pictures via YouTube

Age: 17

5
Judge Reinhold in real life

Judge Reinhold 1985
Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty Images

Age: 25

6
Keiko Agena as Lane Kim in Gilmore Girls

Keiko Agena in "Gilmore Girls" in 2000
Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Age: 16 in Season 1

RELATED: 25 Former Child Stars You Won't Believe Are in Their 40s.

6
Keiko Agena in real life

Keika Agena in 2001
Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Age: 27 in Season 1

7
Selma Blair as Cecile Caldwell in Cruel Intentions

Selma Blair l in "Cruel Intentions" in 1991
Sony Pictures Releasing via YouTube

Age: 18

7
Selma Blair in real life

Selma Blair 1999
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Age: 27

8
Meredith Monroe as Andie McPhee in Dawson's Creek

Meredith Monroe in "Dawson's Creek" in 1999
Sony Pictures Television

Age: 16 in Season 2

8
Meredith Monroe in real life

Meredith Monroe 1991
SGranitz/WireImage

Age: 28 in Season 2

9
Alan Ruck as Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Alan Ruck in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" in 1986
Paramount Pictures via YouTube

Age: 18

9
Alan Ruck in real life

Alan Ruck in 1994
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Age: 29

10
Rachel McAdams as Regina George in Mean Girls

Rachel McAdams in "Mean Girls" 2004
Paramount Pictures via YouTube

Age: 17

10
Rachel McAdams in real life

Rachel McAdams 2004
Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

Age: 26

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11
Stacey Dash as Dionne Davenport in Clueless

Stacey Dash in "Clueless" in 1995
Paramount Pictures

Age: 17

11
Stacey Dash in real life

Stacey Dash in 1995
Ron Galella, Ltd/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Age: 28

12
Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale in Catch Me If You Can

Leonard DiCaprio in "Catch Me If You Can" in 2002
Diane L. Cohen/Getty Images

Age: 17 at the start of the movie

RELATED: The Biggest '00s TV Teen Idols, Then and Now.

12
Leonardo DiCaprio in real life

Leonardo DiCaprio 2002
Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images

Age: 28

13
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Charisma Carpenter in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in 1998
Getty Images / Handout

Age: 16 in Season 1

13
Charisma Carpenter in real life

Charissa Carpenter 1997
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Age: 26 in Season 1

14
Gabrielle Carteris as Andrea Zuckerman in Beverly Hills, 90210

Gabrielle Carteries in "Beverly Hills, 90210" in 1991
Mikel roberts/Sygma via Getty Images

Age: 15 in Season 1

14
Gabrielle Carteris in real life

Gabrielle Carteris 1991
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Age: 29 in Season 1

15
Parminder Nagra as Jess Bhamra in Bend It Like Beckham

Parminder Nagra on the set of "Bend It Like Beckham" in 2001
Ronald Siemoneit/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

Age: 18

15
Parminder Nagra in real life

Parminder Nagra in 2003
by Andy Butterton – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Age: 27

RELATED: 100 Celebrities You Won't Believe Are The Same Age.

Amber Raiken
Amber Raiken is an Editorial Assistant at Best Life. Read more
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