Disney Channel was a major part of many of our childhoods, as we often tried to emulate stars like Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato and binge-watched nearly all the shows of the 2000s. Many of our favorites have already left the network and done a complete 180 with their public images to distance themselves from the wholesome personas and ingenue-esque nature of their teen years.
Like when Miley traded in the signature long blond hair of Hannah Montana for a pixie cut and started donning latex panties onstage. Or when Zac Efron swapped the red basketball jerseys for a red bathing suit to become a sexy lifeguard on Baywatch. Like us, these stars have grown up and out of the goody two-shoed images that Disney made us believe in. And as surprised as we may be about the drastic evolutions of some, we’re still as fascinated by their lives as ever.
16. Joe Jonas
The DNCE band member was kind of a hunk on Disney Channel, first as Shane West, the arrogant musician in Camp Rock and then on Jonas. And let’s not forget those purity rings that he and his brothers wore. According to a revealing interview with New York, he talked about some of the uncomfortable experiences of being being in the Disney family, how he had done away with his purity ring years ago and lost his virginity at 20 years old, and even smoked weed with Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus. Talk about letting it all out. He may be grateful that the network had such a huge hand in making his career what it is today, but given some of his more negative words about the experience, it’s safe to assume he’s closed that chapter for good.
15. Zac Efron
Zac Efron has had a pretty illustrious rise to stardom. He was the dreamy Troy Bolton in his heydey of the High School Musical franchise, and has slowly gone from sweet, romantic hero in The Lucky One to frat boy and bodybuilder in Neighbors and Baywatch. I mean, have you seen those biceps?! His upcoming film finds him playing the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, which is about as anti-Disney as you can get. He’s a loooong way gone from the boy who tried to reconcile his passion for singing with that of basketball, but sometimes you’ve just ~gotta go your own way~.
14. Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf has become more of a complex actor and character, a huge departure from his goofy persona on Disney Channel’s Even Stevens. That’s probably a sign in and of itself. While he’s grateful to the folks behind Disney for taking a chance on him, he’s mentioned that he didn’t feel like he ever fit in on the network and how he’s sometimes gotten flack for being just your typical Disney kid.
He’s since worked hard on establishing himself as a serious actor, doing a wide range of movies such as Transformers, Disturbia, and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, starring alongside A-list actors such as Michael Douglas, Megan Fox and Harrison Ford to name a few. Have we mentioned he is also in Sia‘s “Elastic Heart” music video with Maddie Ziegler?! His strange antics in public sometimes distract from his work, but he still is a super talented dude.
13. Lindsay Lohan
As much as we adored her while Lindsay Lohan was in Parent Trap and fell in love with her songs and roles in Mean Girls and Freaky Friday (we could go on), her career (and personal life, so it seems) has been on a bit of a downward spiral ever since reaching such levels of fame at such a young age. Directors and those she worked with complained about her partying and drinking, and she got a reputation for being tough to work with on-set. After getting arrested for a DUI in May 2007, she’s admitted herself into rehab a few times. Additionally, she had to perform 240 hours of community service for reckless driving and cocaine possession, among other charges. That’s one way to shed an image!
12. Britney Spears
Britney Spears has come a looong way since her days on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1992. With hits like “Oops!…I Did it Again,” “Baby One More Time” and “Toxic,” the inimitable Britney has widened the range of her songs and taste in music. She’s gone from cutesy to sexy and bold, and her performances have gotten even more provocative over the years. With basically a million awards under her belt, she’s proved that she’s a force to be reckoned with in the music industry no matter what age.
11. Nick Jonas
The youngest member of the former Jonas Brothers has also given up his purity ring. Nick Jonas, the sweet and sensitive JoBro from Disney’s past has evolved since his time on the network. The love triangle between him, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez aside, his songs have taken on a sexier edge and entered the mainstream music scene with a splash. He was recently on the first season of Scream Queens with a sexy role, and if his underwear photoshoot with Flaunt Magazine isn’t enough to distance him from the tween network, we don’t know what is.
10. Vanessa Hudgens
Vanessa Hudgens, who got her big break with the High School Musical franchise alongside Zac Efron, gradually made the shift away from Disney. Many may recognize her from her frequent appearances at Coachella with beau Austin Butler, but she’s also performed on Broadway and starred in a number of movies over the years. Though her singing career is on hold (for good? Perhaps), she starred in Beastly and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Perhaps her most risqué role was in Spring Breakers, where she made out with Pretty Little Liars‘ Ashley Benson and held a gun in James Franco‘s mouth while forcing him to imitate giving it a blow job.
She was recently the lead on an NBC comedy called Powerless, but it was unfortunately canceled after one season. Vanessa was the victim of leaked nude photos during her time on Disney, and when the scandal went down there were reports the network was considering firing her as Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical movies. Luckily she got to finish the role – but wow!
9. Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake, who was also on The Mickey Mouse Club, has had a meteoric rise to fame. He was initially part of NSYNC before he went solo. His seductive voice, smooth and suave dance moves and sleek appearance, combined with the sexy overtones of his songs, namely “SexyBack,” have turned him into a musical sensation. Although he’s starred in a few movies such as The Social Network and Trolls, he’s primarily committed to his music career. He’s become a huge sex symbol and shows no signs of slowing down.
8. Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera also got her start on The Mickey Mouse Club, but has evolved in a pretty significant way since then – just like Brit and JT. The former Disney star went on to win multiple Grammys with her epic soprano voice and has been known to sing some pretty explicit songs. (We all know what “Genie in a Bottle” is REALLY about.) She was called the “Sexiest Woman of the Year” by Maxim in 2003. Not to mention she was part of one of the most viral moments of the 2000s, in which she and Britney Spears kissed Madonna during a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.
7. Raven Symoné
Raven Symoné is best known for her characters on That’s So Raven and The Cheetah Girls, both of which were essential Disney viewing items in the early to mid aughts. She was essentially a staple of the network for many years, and ended up veering off-course to pursue her musical ambitions. While she’s returned back to the network for the reboot of That’s So Raven, Raven’s Home, she’s revamped her image, opting for an edgier look to go with her badass personality. Most recently, she’s been seen on Black-ish and as one of the hosts on ABC’s The View.
6. Ashley Tisdale
We all adored Ashley Tisdale as Maddie on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and she pretty much kicked it out of the ballpark with Sharpay Evans in the High School Musical franchise. She’s dabbled in music since then, been hailed as one of Maxim‘s hottest celebrities and sexiest women in 2008, and also starred on The CW show Hellcats. Currently, Ashley is the executive producer of the show Young & Hungry. She also posed for the 2011 nude issue of Allure, saying, “Being in this shoot was me saying, ‘I’m not just the young girl everybody thinks I am. I’m actually a woman.'” We hear you loud and clear, Ash!
5. Orlando Brown
Eddie, played by Orlando Brown, was a pretty awesome and funny best friend to Raven on That’s So Raven. The actor-turned-rapper, however, has taken a turn for the worse. He was arrested back in February 2016 for misdemeanor, battery and drug possession, among other things, and again in January 2018 for battery after allegedly getting into a fight with his girlfriend. We’re not surprised his character on That’s So Raven was recast, especially after he claimed that he and Raven had gotten ~nasty~ during their time filming the child-friendly show. Get it together, Orlando!
4. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus might be the most prime example of a Disney star shedding her image. The wholesome image of Hannah Montana has been shredded to pieces by her more sexual songs and music videos like “Can’t Be Tamed” or “We Can’t Stop.” She twerked her way to the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards where she grinded against Robin Thicke and did a racy performance with a foam finger. Contrary to the message of her 2010 album, she’s dialed it back a bit with her most recent song releases and concerts.
3. Demi Lovato
We were first introduced to Demi Lovato in the Camp Rock franchise and slowly fell in love with her goofy but endearing persona on Sonny with a Chance. Shortly after, however, Demi made her exit and entered into rehab for personal issues including an eating disorder and drug addiction, which culminated after she hit a backup dancer in the face for exposing her. As Demi has matured, so has the content of her music. A totally underrated bop? “Daddy issues.”
2. Selena Gomez
Gone are the vests, skinny jeans and converse, and in their place are gowns and sexy stilettos that give way to a sleeker and more sophisticated look for Selena Gomez. The former Wizards of Waverly Place star gradually moved away from all things Disney, going as far as to part ways with Hollywood Records – which has partnered with many Disney stars – to sign with Interscope Records. Her songs and music videos took a sensual turn – “Hands to Myself” anyone? It’s HOT. She’s branched out to other fields, becoming a spokesperson for Coach and producing the hit Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. She may still have a lot of teen and tween fans, but it’s safe to say she’s put Disney in her rearview mirror.
1. Bella Thorne
Even though it was VERY recently that Bella Thorne was one of Disney Channel’s biggest stars on Shake It Up, alongside Zendaya, she has quickly shed that image to become one of the most controversial former Disney kids. She’s taken a slightly more risqué role playing the lead character on Freeform‘s Famous in Love, but it’s really her personal life that’s caused the most of a stir. She’s been romantically linked to partyboy Scott Disick and shamed YouTube star Sam Pepper! She also was caught up in an alleged cheating scandal with Tyler Posey and Charlie Puth, and posted a pic to her Instagram of her touching tongues with YouTuber Tana Mongeau. Along with the dating, she’s posted videos to her Snapchat of herself getting a bikini wax, and some practically nude pics to her own social media pages. Something tells us Bella’s not planning to return for a revival of Shake It Up anytime soon.