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90s Celebrities: Where Our Our Famous Crushes from the Decade These Days

We loved them before we were old enough to really know what love was. Not only did we see every one of their movies or TV episodes, wait in endless lines to buy all their music albums – memorizing every word to their songs along the way – and learn every one of their dance moves, but we also plastered their pictures all over our bedroom walls so their faces would be the first and last thing we saw each day. These 90s celebrities were the childhood crushes from film and TV that we were totally obsessed with. And if we’re honest, we’re still not over them.

Even as adults, we haven’t really given up that dream of one day bumping into them on some busy street, falling madly in love, and living happily ever after, have we? What are our favorite childhood crushes — like Tiffani Amber Thiessen, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Jessica Biel — up to these days? Some have fallen out of the spotlight and some are embracing it more than ever. The sight of them still gives us those same butterflies in our stomach.

Which of these childhood crushes was your favorite, and which are you still crushing on? Let us know on Facebook!

Jessica Biel

Another one of those starlets who just seems to be getting more and more beautiful with time. Remember when you first laid eyes on Mary Camden – a.k.a. Jessica Biel – from WB’s longest-running series ever, 7th Heaven? Along with her successful film and TV roles, Biel participates in numerous charitable causes, giving back to those less fortunate than she has been, and oh yeah, married Justin Timberlake. Yeah, those are some major crushing points right there.

Halle Berry

Some may remember Halle Berry from some early appearances in Hollywood films, but it was really a second-place finish in the 1986 Miss USA pageant that put Berry on the map. She turned that near-win into an incredible career in modeling and acting that’s seen numerous accolades fall her way. Her 2002 Academy Award win for Best Actress (Monster’s Ball) is probably the crowning achievement of her highly successful career.

Jennifer Connelly

Is it just us, or does Jennifer Connelly look just as incredible now as she did back in the 1980s, when she earned her first big starring role opposite David Bowie in the movie Labyrinth? In fact, it’s been more than 30 years, and one could argue that Connelly is aging backwards. Oh yeah, there’s also that little thing of becoming one of the most critically acclaimed actresses in Hollywood. We expect to see Connelly on the big and small screen for years to come.

Tiffani Amber Thiessen

Oh, Kelly Kapowski … Who wasn’t madly in love with this star at one point in their lives? Kelly Kapowski was probably the most popular crush of the 90s. We were all devastated when Saved by the Bell finally came to an end, but lucky for us, we wouldn’t have to go too long without seeing this star’s beautiful face on our television. Tiffani Amber Thiessen quickly landed the role of Valerie Malone on the teen hit drama Beverly Hills, 90210 – a show with an even bigger cult following than Saved by the Bell. The wholesome girl next door turned into a sultry vixen before our eyes. More recently, you could catch her starring in USA’s hit series White Collar. 30 years later, we’re still nowhere near done crushing on her.

Emma Watson

We’ve watched her grow up and rise to fame starring as the studious Hermione Granger in all eight Harry Potter movies. Turns out she’s got a lot in common with her on-screen counterpart. Emma Watson is incredibly hardworking, studious, and intelligent. After filming for Harry Potter finally ended, Watson went on to earn degrees at Brown and Oxford, and today she is making headlines for her countless humanitarian efforts. She was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. women. She’s also the face of Lancome, confirming yet again what we already knew: She’s one gorgeous gal. Beauty, brains, and a kind heart … Yep, we’re still fully crushing on Emma Watson.

Marley Shelton

Every guy’s fantasy was for lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn from The Sandlot to give them mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Well that fantasy is still very much alive, and so is our crush on this childhood star. It’s crazy to think that at 41, she just keeps getting better. The former Miss Peffercorn went on to have prominent roles in movies like Pleasantville, Never Been Kissed, Sugar & Spice, and Uptown Girls – to name a few – and more recently you could find her appearing in episodes of the hit TV series Mad Men.

Stacey Dash

We were all crushing on Stacey Dash when she landed her breakout role in 1995’s Clueless. But it was really her appearance in the 1988 movie Moving (pictured left), with Richard Pryor, that put Dash in the spotlight. She then showed up in the critically acclaimed St. Elsewhere TV series. Dash has continued to work in both TV and film, but most may recognize her these days as a regular contributor on the Fox News network.

Kirsten Dunst

We first got to know her when she starred opposite Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in Interview With the Vampire, and following that, at just 13, this star was named one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People. At the time, Kirsten Dunst told People, “I’d like to grow up and be beautiful. I know it doesn’t matter … but it doesn’t hurt.” Well, mission accomplished, Ms. Dunst. The crazy thing is, this star doesn’t even look like she’s aged a bit, so of course we’re still crushing on her.

Soleil Moon Frye

Who would have imagined that Punky Brewster – known for her trademark pigtails, face full of freckles, and bright colored clothing – would grow up to become such a hottie? Soleil Moon Frye continued to act for some years after Punky Brewster, but in recent years she’s stepped behind the camera to direct films such as Wild Horses and Sonny Boy, which won Best Documentary at the San Diego Film Festival. Frye is also an entrepreneur, the co-founder of a party kit company, and a published author.

Alyssa Milano

Alyssa Milano started off her acting career playing Tony Danza’s adorable daughter on the hit show Who’s The Boss?, which was on the air for eight years. In that time we watched her cuteness turn to hotness, and that hotness landed her a role on the steamy primetime soap opera Melrose Place, which she would keep until her next big break, landing a starring role on The WB’s hit series Charmed. Milano is also an outspoken political activist with numerous philanthropic pursuits.

Christine Lakin

We used to wait all week to see this TGIF girl on ABC’s Step By Step. She played Alicia “Al” Lambert, the family’s tomboy daughter. Well Christine Lakin is definitely not a tomboy anymore, and she is more crush-worthy than ever. Despite not having many smash hits over the years, Lakin stays plenty busy in Hollywood. She has more than 100 film and TV credits on her resume, including as a regular voice cast member on Family Guy and stints on CSINCIS, and Hollywood Darlings.

Christine Ricci

Back in the day, we loved to watch this precocious little actress star in dark and spooky movies, like Casper and The Addams Family movies (where she played Wednesday Addams). But there’s nothing dark or spooky about Christina Ricci these days. Perhaps it was her role in the hugely successful movie Now and Then that solidified our love for Ricci – especially after we felt some serious jealousy watching fellow child star Devon Sawa get to kiss her. But Ricci has become a seriously talented actress as an adult, with critically acclaimed roles in Monster and The Opposite of Sex.

Melissa Joan Hart

Who didn’t have a crush on Melissa Joan Hart when we first met her back in the early 90s, starring on Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains It All? Clarissa was such a cool chick and every guy wished they could switch places with her best friend, Sam. Her next big role came when she was cast to star as Sabrina in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Oh, and who could forget her racy Maxim magazine cover shoot back in 2000? She must have still had those witch powers, because we fell deep into her spell and loved every minute of it.

Alicia Silverstone

“As if” we could ever stop crushing on this star. Interestingly enough, it was Alicia Silverstone’s role in the move The Crush that introduced us to this blonde beauty. That role caught the attention of a band you may have heard of, Aerosmith, which ended up featuring Silverstone in three of their most popular music videos. Next thing you know, she was nicknamed “the Aerosmith chick,” and that would lead to her landing her most memorable role of all. She starred as the popular and very wealthy high school student Cher Horowitz in the 90s mega hit movie Clueless. Every girl wanted to be her, and every guy wanted to be with her.

Danica McKellar

Danica McKellar is best known for her role as Winnie Cooper, the on-again, off-again girlfriend of main character Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years. She had a hard time transitioning into an adult acting career, so we pretty much had to wait until 2005 when, after readers voted her the childhood star crush they’d most like to see again.

Michelle Trachtenberg

From Harriet the Spy to The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Michelle Trachtenberg really made a name for herself in the 1990s. The good thing was that her career was just getting started. It was her role as Dawn on the hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer that really caught our attention. She then went on to be the girl we loved to hate, the manipulative Georgina Sparks on Gossip Girl.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Best known for her leading role as Buffy from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar is often the first person we think of when it comes to the 90s. From I Know What You Did Last Summer to Scream 2 and Cruel Intentions, she was one of the biggest Hollywood stars of that time. Nowadays, she’s been focused on a few smaller TV series projects and voice-acting roles that keep her busy but generally out of the limelight.

Jennifer Love Hewitt

We want to make this “party of five” a party of two, please. The ever-so-sweet Jennifer Love Hewitt captured our hearts as Sarah Reeves on the hit mid-90s Fox show Party of Five. Since then, she’s gone on to star in numerous films, most notably the I Know What You Did Last Summer horror series and as the broken-hearted Amanda Beckett in Can’t Hardly Wait, in which every guy would have given his right arm to be her high school sweetheart. Hewitt has continued to age gloriously and nab roles on hit show after hit show.

Danielle Fishel

We all know Danielle Fishel as Topanga from Boy Meets World, arguably one of the most iconic TV shows of the 90s. She reprised her role on Girl Meets World in 2018 and has since been very family-focused following the birth of her son, Adler, in June 2019.

Natalie Portman

It feels like light years ago since we first laid eyes on little miss Natalie Portman in Leon: The Professional. That was just the beginning for Portman, who went on to become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading ladies and star in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. (Perhaps it’s her degree from Harvard University that gives her that extra advantage?) Her hard work and sense of determination have led to some of her most compelling performances on the big screen, most notably her 2010 portrayal of a young ballerina in Black Swan – a film that landed her the title of Best Actress at both the Golden Globes and Academy Awards in 2011. Portman’s the full package, so we’re nowhere near done crushing on her.

Lacey Chabert

Lacey Chabert first shot to fame in the 1990s, playing the role of Claudia on Party of Five, but that was not all we got from Chabert. Theater lovers would have recognized her before that as young Cosette in the immensely popular Broadway production of Les Miserables. Chabert starred in a few big movies after Party of Five, but nothing that really caught anybody’s attention. Then in 2004, a familiar face popped up in the comedy hit Mean Girls, leaving many saying, “Why does she look so familiar?” That face was Chabert, as Gretchen Wieners, and suddenly everyone was amazed at how the young star had aged so well. She’s been described by Maxim magazine as being “sinfully cute.” She’s also sinfully talented and has a remarkable Hollywood resume to boot.

Tyra Banks

Remember when your jaw literally hit the floor the first time you laid eyes on Tyra Banks on the cover of that Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue? Ya know, the one where she’s in the skimpy red bikini set against the azure blue Caribbean sky? Yeah, we can’t forget it either. The cover photo launched Banks’ modeling career into the stratosphere and she’s never really come back down to Earth. Thanks to her ultra successful stints as a Victoria’s Secret Angel and the reality TV show America’s Next Top Model, Banks is constantly in the public eye and we couldn’t be happier.

Anna Chlumsky

Here’s a star that is aging like a fine wine. Anna Chlumsky broke our hearts and had us falling in love with her all at once when she made her acting debut as the character Vada in the movie My Girl. After a flurry of projects, she decided to take a brief hiatus from acting to study at the University of Chicago. At one point she even considered a new career path, but lucky for us she found everything else to be boring, and by her late 20s she was back in the acting game. In recent years you could find her on HBO’s hit series Veep, as well as starring on Broadway in Living on Love.

Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes never stopped being hot. She first achieved fame on The WB’s beyond-popular teen drama Dawson’s Creek, where she had a starring role as Joey Potter. Holmes became the new “It” girl after Saved by the Bell went off the air and we no longer had Kelly Kapowski in our lives. She broke our hearts for about six years when she decided to take herself off the market and marry actor Tom Cruise, however that didn’t last. Holmes continues to act in both television series and movies, and we don’t see her fading from the spotlight any time soon.

Drew Barrymore

She’s been stealing our hearts ever since her 1982 acting debut in the incredibly popular sci-fi classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which led her to become one of Hollywood’s most sough-after child stars. We watched her struggle through her teenage years, but she managed to work it all out and land on her feet, charming us the whole way. She’s starred in some of the most memorable movies of our time, such as The Wedding SingerNever Been KissedCharlie’s Angels50 First Dates, and He’s Just Not That Into You – to name a few. She just exudes this authentic, insanely positive energy that makes it impossible not to love her.

Claire Danes

We haven’t stopped crushing on Claire Danes. How could we? Her acting career is on fire. She’s been snatching up awards ever since she first crash landed into the business, and she just keeps getting better. These days, Danes is killing it – sometimes literally – as super paranoid, bipolar CIA officer Carrie Mathison on Showtime’s award-winning series Homeland. But remember how much we loved her on MTV”s My So-Called Life with Jared Leto? Oh, and then again in Romeo + Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio? It’s been more than 25 years and Danes shows no signs of slowing down.

Madeline Zima

Her role as Mia, the 16-year-old (don’t worry, she was 22 when she started filming the series) promiscuous and destructive character on Showtime’s hit series Californication couldn’t be more opposite from where her acting career began. Madeline Zima played Grace Sheffield on the popular CBS sitcom The Nanny. She definitely doesn’t need a nanny anymore, but maybe her former character, Mia, could use a little extra adult supervision. Well Californication is over, but Zima’s career is far from it. We expect to see her for years and years to come on the big screen.

Christine Taylor

Who could forget Melody from Hey Dude? We all dreamed of packing up and moving to the Bar None Dude Ranch just for her. Hey Dude was only the beginning for this star, who then landed a major role playing Marcia Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie in 1995. “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” is the line we couldn’t get out of our head, along with Taylor’s crush-worthy smile. She then went on to star in some highly successful comedies such as The Wedding Singer,  Zoolander, Dodgeball, and Tropic Thunder, to name a few. She also met her husband, Ben Stiller, during filming and they married in 2000 (though they separated in 2017). We can’t stop crushing on her!

Vanessa Williams

When you’re crowned Miss Universe, of course people are going to take notice, especially when you’re the first African-America woman to do so. The crown helped launch Williams into a successful music and acting career that continues to this day. Williams has starred in such critically acclaimed hits as Desperate Housewives, and she earned three Emmy nominations for her role on Ugly Betty. We have no complaints about continually seeing her in movies and on TV.

Christina Applegate

It was easy to fall in love with her on Married… with Children as Kelly Bundy, but Christina Applegate has continued to have success over the years. Applegate starred in the short-lived NBC series Jesse, in which she was nominated for an Emmy for her lead role. And how could we leave out her role as Veronica Corningstone in the Anchorman films opposite Will Ferrell? That role helped to revitalize Applegate’s career, and we’re hoping it just keeps going and going.

Danielle Harris

This Long Island-born horror film star first found fame in the classic Halloween movies. Harris was just 10 years old at the time. Her next big movie came when she was cast in one of the 90s most memorable movies, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. She later decided to go back to horror films and, 18 years later, she was signing herself up to remake – wait for it – Halloween! You can understand why the New York Daily News and various other publications decided to label her “horror’s reigning scream queen.”

Rider Strong

Rider Strong burst on to the entertainment scene in 1993 on the TGIF sitcom Boy Meets World as bad-boy with a heart of gold Shawn Hunter. His character’s constant state of emotional strife, combined with Strong’s iconic haircut and oh so 90s wardrobe, made him the show’s breakout character and a teen idol to millions throughout the 1990s. After Boy ended in 2000, Strong attempted to distance himself from the series, going to college, acting in more adult fare like the horror film Cabin Fever, and venturing into writing, directing, and podcasting. In recent years however, Strong has embraced Shawn Hunter a bit more appearing at conventions and on the spin-off Girl Meets World (as well as directing numerous episodes of the latter) as well cohosting the podcast Pod Meets World.

Alexandra Paul

Alexandra Paul was a well-known actresses throughout the 1980s, appearing in Christine, American Flyers, 8 Million Ways to Die, and Dragnet, however she found her greatest success – and became a crush to millions – during a 1990s run on the smash hit Baywatch. Paul played Lt. Stephanie Holden from 1992 through 1997. In the years since, Paul has continued to act in films and television, as well as devote herself to numerous charitable causes.

Sable

Rena “Sable” Hero was the fantasy crush of millions during the professional wrestling boom of the late 1990s. Initially debuting as a valet to her then husband Marc Mero, Sable became an in-ring star in her own-right, parlaying that into mainstream stardom, including record-breaking appearances in Playboy. After an acrimonious departure from the then-WWF in 1999, Sable tried her hand at acting before winding up back in the WWE in the early 2000s. She left the business on-screen in 2004, but did marry wrestler-turned-UFC fighter-turned wrestler again Brock Lesnar.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s 90s crush days began in earnest when he was cast as the old-aged-but-stuck-in-a-teenager’s-body Tommy on the aliens-on-Earth sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. Unlike many other 90s childhood stars, JGL’s career has flourished in the decades since. He’s starred in films including 500 Days of Summer, Miracle at St. Anna, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Inception, 50/50, The Dark Knight Rises, Looper, and Lincoln, The Walk, Snowden, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. In addition, Gordon-Levitt has also written and directed the film Don Jon, and founded the online media platform HitRecord.

Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani had been singing in the band No Doubt since 1987, but she didn’t become a crush to millions until the 1995 release of their album Tragic Kingdom. Stefani’s appearance in the videos for songs like “Don’t Speak”, “Excuse Me Mr.”, “Sunday Morning”, and “Just a Girl” proved that Gwen was anything but. Nearly 30 years later, Stefani has become one of the most prolific rock stars of all time, churning out hits with her band and solo, as well as acting and working as a judge on The Voice.

Kennedy

Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, who goes by Kennedy, was a crush to millions of early 1990s rock fans when she was the VJ (MTV parlance for host) of the network’s Alternative Nation program. Following her MTV days, Kennedy parlayed her real life conservative and libertarian views into a career as a political pundit for Fox News. She currently hosts her own series on the Fox Business Channel as well as appearing regularly on numerous other Fox shows.

Zachary Ty Bryan

Zachary Ty Bryan played older brother Brad on the 1990s smash Home Improvement, which almost automatically made him a teen idol to millions through the years of the show’s run. Following the end of the series in 1999, Ty Bryan continued acting, finding limited success. In 2020, he ran afoul of the law when he was arrested for “felony strangulation, misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree assault and interfering with making a police report, after an apparent argument with his girlfriend in their apartment in Lane County, Oregon.” He plead guilty in 2021, and was sentenced “to three years of bench probation and ordered to partake in a batterer intervention program and to have no contact with the victim.”

Yasmine Bleeth

Yasmine Bleeth was one of the biggest sex symbols of the 1990s thanks to her performance as Caroline Holden on Baywatch. During that period, People named her one of magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People, she was one of FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World every year from 1996 to 2001, and FHM’s U.S. 100 Sexiest Women every year from 2000 to 2003. However, after a cocaine arrest and trip to rehab in 2000, Bleeth stepped away from acting to live a quiet life with her husband in Arizona.

David Charvet

Not every Baywatch crush was female, as proven by the swooning that accompanied anytime David Charvet’s Matt Brody appeared on screen. However, the series would be the apex of Charvet’s acting career, as he sipped away from the profession to pursue a career in music – mildly successful in Europe – before pivoting again to home construction. As of 2022, Charvet “runs Los Angeles-based residential contracting company The Jones Builders Group.”

Maitland Ward

Maitland Ward was added to Boy Meets World during the long-running shows sixth and seventh seasons as the new character Rachel McGuire, who served as a potential love interest for the competing characters of Eric and Jack. In the years following the end of the series, Ward dropped out of mainstream acting and instead began working in social media cosplay modeling and pornography. In 2022 she released a memoir detailing her long-running career.

Will Fridele

Will Friedle became a 90s teen icon – and a crush to a generation of teenage girls – portraying wise older brother-turned-comedic relief Eric Matthews on Boy Meets World and the lead in. the popular film My Date With the President’s Daughter. However, following the end of Boy, Friedle focused almost exclusively on animation, voicing characters including Terry McGinnis/Batman on Batman Beyond, Ron Stoppable on Kim Possible, Blue Beetle on Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Lion-O on ThunderCats, Bumblebee in the Transformers franchise and Star-Lord on the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series. Friedle did return for some guest-shots on Girl Meets World, and currently cohosts Pod Meets World.

Courtney Cox

Courtney Cox likely first became a crush to some way back in 1984 when she appeared – and was pulled on stage – in Bruce Springsteen’s video for “Dancing in the Dark.” However, it wasn’t until the mid-90s 1-2 punch of Friends and the Scream film franchise that she became a darling to millions. After Friends ended in 2004, Cox arguably has had the most successful career of the show’s cast, starring in the series Cougartown and continuing to appear in Scream films.

James Van Der Beek

James Van Der Beek will forever have 90s teen crush cred for his performance as the the titular Dawson Leary in the iconic late 90s series Dawson’s Creek. In addition, Van Der Beek starred in one of the eras best remembered teen films, Varsity Blues. In the years since his teen idol days, the actor has portrayed a fictionalized version of himself on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23,FBI Special Agent Elijah Mundo on CSI Cyber, Matt Bromley on Pose, serial killer Tobias Hanke on Criminal Minds, and Simon Tremblay on How I Met Your Mother.

Alanis Morisette

Alanis Morisette’s mid-90s career, highlighted by the smash hit album Jagged Little Pill, was the opposite of your typical teen pop, with songs like “You Oughta Know” skewering the typical portrayal of love and relationships in pop music. However, this ironically led to her being an even bigger crush for the disaffected teens of the time. Morisette has continued releasing music, acted (notably as God in Kevin Smith’s Dogma), and even produced a Broadway musical based on her music.

Ben Savage

Ben Savage knew first hand what a teen idol went trough, as his older brother Fred was the star of The Wonder Years. Ben got his own taste of stardom as the lead on Boy Meets World from 1993 to 2000. Following the end of the series Savage went to college for Political Science and mostly stayed to of the spotlight until returning to a starring role on Girl Meets World in 2014. In 2022, Savage ran for a West Hollywood City Council seat.

Kerri Russel

Kari Russell first became a crush to millions of 90s teens thanks to her appearance in the music video for the smash hit “Always” by Bon Jovi and role in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. In 1998, her crush-quotient increased considerably when she took the starring role on the television series Felicity. In later years, Russell have a critically acclaimed performance in the television series The Americans, as well as appearing in numerous films including Mission: Impossible III, Waitress, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Edward Furlong

Edward Furlong gained major crush status from many after his performance as rebellious teenage version of future humanity resistance leader John Conner in 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Throughout the rest of the 90s, Furlong appeared in numerous films including American Heart, Pet Sematary Two, A Home of Our Own Before and After, American History X, Detroit Rock City, and Animal Factory. However, his career sputtered in the 2000s due to a slew of personal and legal problems.

Neve Campbell

Neve Campbell’ ascension to 90s crush began when she was cast as Julia Salinger on Party of Five, and further cemented by her performance as Bonnie Harper in the The Craft. however, she was rocketed to the top of the entertainment world when she portrayed Sidney Prescott in Scream. Campbell has gone on to appear in every Scream film to date, becoming one of the biggest legends in horror cinema history.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas

There was arguably no bigger 90s teen idol crush than Jonathan Taylor Thomas. From his role as sarcastic middle child Randy Tayler on Home Improvement, to voicing Simba in The Lion King, to other film appearances, to countless teen magazines, Thomas was all over the 1990s. Which made it all the more mysterious to many when he just disappeared in the early 2000s. Outside of two appearances on TV dad Tim Allen’s series Last Man Standing, Thomas has been out of the public eye since.

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