We cannot believe how much time has passed since these stars were playing secret pop princesses, witches and warlocks, and soaring, flying to the stage of a high school musical! A slew of Disney Channel stars have grown up right before our eyes. Now, we’re looking back to see how stars like Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and more have grown and evolved over the years, and throughout their careers.
Selena was once one of Disney Channel’s biggest stars. Though her career started as a toddler on Barney and Friends, Selena became famous playing witchy tween Alex Russo on Wizards of Waverly Place from 2007-2012. During her Disney days, she also starred in DCOMS like Princess Protection Program with former bestie Demi Lovato. After Wizards ended, she pursued more mature film roles, like in Spring Breakers (2012), and The Dead Don’t Die (2019). But her power lies in her pop stardom.She broke out as a solo artist with her 2013 album Stars Don’t Dance, which featured the hit “Come and Get It”. Her 2015 album Revival included “Hands to Myself” and “Good for You”. Her 2020 album Rare is on its way to being a classic, too. In 2020, Selena’s album Rare debuted to glowing reviews and a lot of love from fans. It’s her most vulnerable work yet. But in 2021, Selena seems poised to show fans a different side of herself, debuting her new song “De Una Vez,” which means that fans can expect a Spanish-language album in the near future!
Selena has struggled with health issues, including a dire battle with lupus, and a secret kidney transplant. She was forced to cancel the remainder of her 2016 Revival tour to seek treatment for depression caused by lupus. Of course, her love life has been a major topic of discussion. She dated Justin Bieber as a teenager, and their on-again, off-again relationship was one of the wildest love stories in Hollywood. After years apart, the couple briefly reunited in 2018. She’s also dated DJ Zedd, and rapper The Weeknd.
Much like Selena, Demi Lovato has also grown up in the spotlight. The powerhouse singer got her big break with the Camp Rock films on Disney Channel, before earning her own show: Sonny With A Chance. Demi continued to branch out into more mature work, but it was her music that really made her soar. Demi has released six studio albums thus far, and earned a Grammy nomination along the way.Since her Disney days, Demi hasn’t been as close with her former co-stars or pals. “I’m grateful for the opportunities that I got. Do I wish that I’d had more downtime? Yes. I think when you are a teenager and you’re given your big break, you’ll do anything to make it happen,” she shared her April 2020 Harper’s Bazaar profile. “I do feel that a lot of the way some of my life was handled and lived led to me kind of having a bit of a downfall, just because I was so overworked and I wasn’t dedicating enough time to my mental health or my personal life.”
Demi has been incredibly transparent about her struggles with addiction and substance abuse. Following her 2018 overdose, the singer and songwriter was poised to make the ultimate comeback and returned to the Grammys stage in 2020 with a rousing rendition of her song “Anyone.” Following her split from fiancé Max Ehrich, Demi set a course for a new project: returning to TV with the NBC series Hungry!
So many of todays biggest stars started out on Disney Channel, and the above are just a two of the many celebs who have found success following their time on Disney! They’ve all gone through a lot of professional and personal growth since donning the Mickey Mouse ears and playing their first major roles on the small screen. To take a look at more Disney Channel stars and see where they are now, click through our gallery above!