Hair was bigger, shoulder pads were higher, and teeth were less white. Some of them still have a booming career while other stars’ careers have shattered. Take a look back in time and see where these beloved 80s stars ended up.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Claudia Wells will be best remembered for her role as Jennifer Parker, the girlfriend of Michael J. Fox’s iconic character Marty McFly in the 80s Sci-fi movie Back to the Future. Despite the movie’s success, Wells decided to put her family first when she found out that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer. She did not reprise her role for the following two movies and it would be a long time before she starred in anything else.
Claudia Wells – Now
Wells ended up having an absence from the acting industry for the good part of thirty years. Then, in 2011, she made a small comeback with a role in the indie sci-fi movie Alien Armageddon. In the same year, she was hired to provide the voice for her character Jennifer Parker in the video game Back to the Future: The Game. A few years later, she starred in the movie Starship: Rising and her most recent role came in 2017 in the independent thriller Vitals.
Olivia d’Abo is best known for starring on the hit show The Wonder Years. She played Karen Arnold, Kevin’s rebellious and hippie sister for four seasons. She also guest starred in a Star Trek episode as well as playing villain Nicole Wallace in Law & Order: Criminal Intent in the early 00s. The stunning actress is also a musician and has released a couple of tracks. Some of the 80s movies that she starred in included Conan the Destroyer.
Olivia d’Abo – Now
Since the turn of the millennium, Olivia d’Abo has appeared on other shows such as Alias. She also played the voice role of Luminara Unduli in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which is set between the events of the movies Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. At one point, d’Abo was engaged to Julian Lennon. Recently, Olivia’s work has slowed down but we hope to see her make a comeback soon!
One of the poster boys of 80s cinema, Emilio Estevez starred in some of the most quintessential movies of that decade. The son of Martin Sheen and the brother of Charlie was part of the Brat Pack, a group of actors/actress who starred in numerous movies such as The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. He also starred in movies such as Repo Man, The Mighty Ducks, and the hilarious western comedy Young Guns, as well as its sequel.
Emilio Estevez – Now
The harsh reality is that Emilio Estevez has never been able to recreate the magic of his days spent as part of the Brat Pack. Not only that, but he also failed to reach the levels of success that his brother, Charlie Sheen did. However, Estevez has managed to have guest appearances in a variety of TV shows such as The West Wing, CSI: NY, Criminal Minds and Charlie’s classic sitcom Two and a Half Men. He recently directed the movie The Public.
Nancy McKeon, an actress best known for her role as Jo Polniaczek on The Facts of Life, started her career by appearing in commercials and several episodes of The Secret Storm and Another World. Initially, McKeon was cast on The Facts of Life after the producers saw her in a Hallmark greeting card commercial. There is no denying that Jo Polniaczek was McKeon’s most iconic role and her reputation as an unconventional female protagonist revolutionized the way young women were portrayed on TV.
Nancy McKeon – Now
McKeon actually auditioned for the role of Monica Geller on the sitcom Friends, but the part went to Courtney Cox instead. Since then, the actress has managed to hold down a regular role as Inspector Jinny Exstead on the crime drama The Division. McKeon starred in all 88 episodes and proved that she wasn’t just a one-trick pony. Her private life has been pretty stable, having been married to Marc Andrus since 2003 and the couple even had two daughters.
Former model and Playboy Playmate Erika Eleniak gained fame with her role as Shauni McClain on Baywatch. Shauni starts off on the show as a very inexperienced lifeguard, not being able to handle the pressure when she was responsible for saving people’s lives. However, when Jill Riley comes along to give her some guidance, Shauni eventually becomes a confident member of the team. She has an on-screen romance with Billy Warlock’s character, Eddie Kramer. Reports suggest that Eleniak left the show due to creative differences.
Erika Eleniak – Now
Eleniak had several film appearances both before and after her time on Baywatch. These included the likes of Under Siege and E.T. However, the reality is that, in recent years, her acting career has been fairly dormant. In the late 90s, her marriage to Philip Goglia came to an end after just six months. Eventually, she fell in love with both the city of Calgary, Alberta and a man by the name of Roch Daigle. The couple live happily together and also had a daughter in 2008.
In the 80s, Danica McKellar had her big break when she played Winnie Cooper, Kevin Arnold’s girlfriend in the hit show The Wonder Years. Winnie is nerdy, but a charming individual who shares a kiss with Kevin on air. Years later, McKellar confirmed in an interview that the kiss was strictly for the cameras; nothing else. “My first kiss was a pretty nerve-wracking experience! But we never kissed off-screen,” she admitted. “Pretty quickly our feelings turned into brother/sister, and stayed that way.”
Danica McKellar – Now
Although Danica has since guest starred in a number of TV shows, she actually moved into a different field entirely – mathematics! Yes, really. Danica’s aim is to encourage teenage girls to enjoy and embrace math. She’s even written a number of books on the subject. The gorgeous actress also proved she’s got some moves when she recently came 6th on Dancing With The Stars. She recently starred as The Quail in the hit Netflix series Project Mc2.
Samantha Fox is an English pop singer, songwriter, and actress, known for being a model since the age of 16. She was the most popular pin-up girl from the 80s. However, she wasn’t just a sight for sore eyes. Fox also began a music career in the 80s, releasing the single “Touch Me (I Want Your Body).” The song was number one in a staggering 17 counties. A couple of years later, Fox was nominated for a Brit Award for Best British Female Artist.
Samantha Fox – Now
In recent times, Samantha Fox has appeared on many celebrity reality TV shows including Celebrity Wife Swap and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here. After a short-lived engagement with Australian Peter Foster, Fox announced to the public that she had been in relationships with other women. “All I know is I’m in love with Myra,” she said in a statement. Fox’s long-term partner, Myra Stratton, sadly passed away after her long battle with cancer. Fox has been an advocate for many LGBT campaigns.
Elisabeth Shue has actually played the same character as somebody else on this list. She made it big in the 80s and starred in a number of films. Perhaps her best-known roles are Ali Mills in The Karate Kid and Jennifer Parker in Back To The Future Part II and Back To The Future Part III. Other 80s movies she starred in included Adventures in Babysitting and Cocktail, which she starred in alongside the one and only, Tom Cruise.
Elisabeth Shue – Now
More recently, the gorgeous actress played the lead role of Julie Finlay in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She starred in 71 episodes before bowing out of the show in 2015. She also had a guest appearance in two episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Shue has also had notable roles in a string of successful movies such as Hollow Man, Piranha 3D, and Hope Springs. In 2017, Shue starred in Battle of the Sexes alongside fellow actors Emma Stone and Steve Carell.
Geena Davis – a former model and actress – is best known for her roles in The Fly, Thelma & Louise, and Beetlejuice. Davis’ career started in the 80s with her performance in Tootsie, but she later became a very successful model. She reached the pinnacle of her acting capabilities when she not only got nominated but won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the movie The Accidental Tourist. Has Davis managed to build on both her commercial and critical success?
Geena Davis – Now
Although Davis hasn’t won another Academy Award since 1989, Davis has received praise for numerous movies she has starred in since then. These include A League of their Own and Commander in Chief, which she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress. In 2001, Davis married Iranian-American surgeon Reza Jarrahy. The couple had three children together, two of whom are fraternal twins. Before marrying Jarrahy, Davis was married to Richard Emmolo – an actor who starred with her in three different films, including The Fly.
Raquel Welch is an American actress who first rose to fame with her role in Fantastic Voyage (1966). After Welch’s minor role in One Million Years B.C., she became a national symbol. Although there were very few scenes of her, most of them were in a bikini. The 80s were a fascinating time for Welch, as she spent a lot less time in movies and put most of her energy into fitness. She released a fitness program book in 1984.
Raquel Welch – Now
After the 80s came to an end, so did Welch’s fixation with fitness culture. She made the most of her book, The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program, but eventually decided to turn back to acting. Welch went on to star in dozens of movies and was one of the first actresses to portray a female lead in a western film. Raquel was married four times and has two children. Her most recent role came in 2017’s How to Be a Latin Lover.
The gorgeous actress, model, and former child star gained critical acclaim after acting in the movie Blue Lagoon. When she was 12 years old, she played a controversial role in Pretty Baby as a child “worker.” What is Brooke Shields doing nowadays?
Brooke Shields – Now
Brooke Shields is also an occasional guest star on the Today Show. She is known for being a vegan, a huge animal rights activist, and has also spoken out about her battle with postpartum depression. One of her most notable roles in recent memory has come in the adult animated show Mrs. Pickles, which she has lent her voice for 19 episodes as the character Mrs. Goodman. Shields also recently made a cameo in the short-lived sitcom Scream Queens.
Kelly LeBrock is best known as an 80s actress as well as a model. Her starring roles in the films Weird Science and Hard to Kill are what ultimately put her on the map. The former was directed by John Hughes, the man responsible for other 80s classics such as The Breakfast Club. She was also a model for Pantene shampoo and conditioner along with a huge campaign for Christian Dior. Her commercial slogan, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” became extremely popular.
Kelly LeBrock – Now
In more recent times, LeBrock has used her name to good effect by featuring in numerous reality TV shows. In 2005, she was elected captain of her own team “Kelly’s Bellies” in VH1’s reality show Celebrity Fit Club. That wasn’t all though. She also made a surprise appearance on the third season of the UK version of Hell’s Kitchen. After the death of her brother, Harold, LeBrock devoted much of her time to helping the terminally ill and children suffering from cancer.
Although Sybil Danning was known to appear in low-budget films throughout the 70s and 80s, she is a name and a face you would recognize. Danning’s breakthrough came when she was cast as an Amazon in the 1980s film Battle Beyond the Stars. Not only did this earn her “The Golden Scroll Award of Merit”, but a reputation in sci-fi and cult films. She also appeared on shows such as A Man Called Sloane, Simon & Simon, and The Fall Guy.
Sybil Danning – Now
The model/actress, originally from Austria, took a hiatus during the entirety of the 90s. Danning’s return to acting came in 2007 when she starred in a fictitious trailer titled Werewolf Women of the SS, which came before a segment of the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez-directed double feature Grindhouse. She also appeared in a remake of the classic horror Halloween. Danning suffered an injury during a rehearsal for a stunt, but came back to the spotlight in 2003. Today, she produces music videos and returned to Europe for films.
No one can forget Phoebe Cates as the heartthrob of the 80s classic, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. After starring in this particular movie, Phoebe Cates decided to stop doing nude scenes. However, this didn’t stop her from getting work. Cates also had notable roles in movies such as Gremlins (and its sequel), Bright Lights, Big City, and Heart of Dixie. Although she carried on starring in movies throughout the 90s, Cates eventually stopped acting, and for a good reason.
While auditioning for a role in Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill, Cates fell in love with actor Kevin Kline and even though there was a 16-year gap, they tied the knot in 1989. Cates decided to focus on being a full-time mom in 1994. She only did one other film in 2001 for her friend called The Anniversary Party. In 2005, Cates started her own Boutique on Madison Avenue called Blue Tree. She did lend her voice though to 2015’s video game Lego Dimensions.
We all know her as Alex Owens from Flashdance. Shockingly, Jennifer Beals’s dance moves were done by a stunt double. Sorry to break your hearts! Nevertheless, Beals was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role. She proved she is just as smart as she is beautiful after attending Yale University. Beals was inspired at a young age to become an actress after her high school performance in Fiddler on the Roof.
Beals is also Bette Porter on Showtime’s The L Word. This actress has been in 70 episodes of the show! She has also made appearances on numerous other shows such as Frasier, Law & Order, and Lie to Me. Beals is also one of the main characters in the prequel TV show of the movie Taken. Not only that, but she has starred in more than 50 movies! These include hits such as The Grudge 2 and The Book of Eli. Now she is married to Ken Dixon and has one child.
As an American actress and producer, Tanya Roberts is best known for her roles on the James Bond classic A View to a Kill and The Beastmaster in the 80s. Probably the most iconic project that she was a part of during that decade was the show Charlie’s Angels. Although most of the show’s run came during the end of the 70s, Roberts was cast as Julie Rogers in the final season. Despite being an interesting character, the show dipped in ratings.
Tanya Roberts – Now
Recently, Roberts was cast as a mother, Midge Pinciotti, on That 70s Show alongside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis. Although she was one of the main characters for the first few seasons, Roberts revealed that she had left the show in 2001 because of her husband’s terminal illness. In 2006, Barry Roberts passed away. However, she did make some guest appearances later in the show. The couple had no children. Roberts currently resides in the Hollywood Hills in California.
Kathleen Turner, one of the most beautiful actresses of the 80s, is known for her raspy voice. Turner’s breakthrough was with her performances in Body Heat (1981) and Crimes of Passion (1984). Since her rise to fame, Turner starred in over thirty films and eight television series. Other 80s classics that she was involved in included Romancing the Stone, The Jewel of the Nile and Julia & Julia. In addition, Turner worked in theatre as well as Broadway, for which she received several Tony Award nominations.
Kathleen Turner – Now
In more recent times, Turner has made appearances in TV shows such as Friends, Law & Order, Nip/Tuck, and Californication. She even played an animated version of herself in the hit series Family Guy. Since then, the actress had issues with alcoholism, some even stating that it’s too difficult to work with her. Although she married Jay Weiss back in the 80s, the couple decided to separate in 2007. Despite this, Turner still referred to Weiss as her best friend in an interview.
Rick Astley’s famous hit “Never Gonna Give You Up,” which was released in 1987, became a hit in 25 countries and no one could get the tune out of their heads! Astley even won the Brit Award for the Best British Single. Throughout the late 80s, Rick continued to be a successful pop star, releasing two albums that went on to be certified Platinum and Gold in the UK and USA respectively. Astley retired from music in 1993 at the age of 27.
Rick Astley – Now
Through the majority of the 90s, Rick Astley remained out of the limelight due to becoming disenfranchized with the business side of the music industry. However, he did make something of a comeback at the turn of the millennium, with the album Keep It Turned On. Two more albums followed and Astley’s main hit has since become something of a viral sensation since the dawn of internet memes. The rise in publicity allowed Astley to release a new single in 2016, titled “Dance.”
In 1982, Aileen Quinn played the adorable orphan Annie in the hit movie of the same name. The child star was just 11 at the time and was catapulted into fame when the film became a huge success both commercially and critically. Quinn even won Best Young Actress at the Young Artist Awards for her incredible performance. After appearing in Annie, Quinn turned her hand to singing and performing on Broadway. She also studied Spanish and Politics at Drew University.
Aileen Quinn – Now
Although Quinn’s acting roles have been few and far between since her role as Annie, she has still managed to have a fulfilling life in many other aspects. In the 00s, she hosted a show called Generation Gap, with the goal of helping kids work out how to resolve conflicts. Today, Aileen is a teacher in New Jersey. Specifically, she is a theater professor at Monmouth University. In 2009, Quinn was awarded an honorary degree from the university.
Geri Jewell starred in the Facts of Life as Geri Tyler. Jewel made headlines with the role as she was the first person with a disability to have a regular role on a prime-time series. Specifically, she was the first actor with cerebral palsy to be on a TV series. Although the character was one of the main cast, and certainly didn’t eclipse the performances of actresses such as Nancy McKeon and Charlotte Rae, it was an important moment in TV history.
Geri Jewell – Now
The Facts of Life wasn’t the only show that Geri Jewel has appeared in. The actress has also had roles in shows such as 21 Jump Street, The Young and the Restless, Deadwood, and Glee. Although she was in a relationship with Richard Pimentel, the couple divorced in 2002. Her autobiography, I’m Walking as Straight as I Can, refers to her situation of having cerebral palsy and also being a lesbian. It was very well received. She still has the same huge smile to this day!
Keren Woodward was part of the popular British Pop Group, Bananarama. Throughout the 80s, the group had much success including a US number one, 11 hits reach the Billboard Top 100 as well as a string of top 10 hits in the UK. Some of their most notable hits included “Venus,” “Shy Boy,” “Help!” and “It Ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It).” Keren formed the group with her childhood friend Sara Dallin and shortly after Siobhan Fahey joined them.
Keren Woodward – Now
In 1988, Woodward’s Banarama colleague Siobhan Fahey became frustrated with the group’s progression and decided to leave. However, she returned to the group in 2017 for their UK tour. Amazingly, it was the first tour that she had done with Banarama. As for Woodward, she has made appearances on shows such as Pointless Celebrities. She split up with former Wham! member Andrew Ridgeley in 2017. Woodward recently criticized the UK charts, claiming it is much more difficult for artists to have a hit.
Kim Wilde took the music world by storm with her debut single “Kids in America” in 1981. It was actually suspected that foul play was the reason for the single’s incredible success. Throughout the 80s, she had a string of top 10 hits and she has had a whopping 25 singles reach the top 40 of the UK charts. She received one of the ultimate honors in pop music when she was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist.
Kim Wilde – Now
Wilde’s “Kids in America” has such a long-lasting impression on pop culture that it has often been used in projects that aim to pay homage to the 80s. It was used in the classic video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which is set in a fictional world similar to that of Miami Vice. Kim currently hosts a radio show in the UK and she has also become a keen landscape gardener, even releasing a couple of books on her projects.
Everyone knows Jane Wiedlin as the drummer and backup singer from The Go-Gos, the all-female new wave band. Her music career did not go super far after the 80s. Not only did she release a handful of successful albums with the band, but she also had a fruitful solo career in the 80s too. Weidlin did have a stint on reality television and made an appearance on VH1s The Surreal Life. Like many artists, Wiedlin was inspired by The Beatles and The Monkees.
Jane Wiedlin – Now
At the turn of the millennium, Wiedlin starred in episodes of shows such as Frasier and was a regular on MTV’s Spyder Games. Weidlin’s most recent acting role was in HoneyBee, a horror movie. Wiedlin has been an animal rights activist for many years, having worked with PETA. She has had two marriages, with her first lasting from 1987 to 1999 with Ged Malone (she referenced him in her song “The Good Wife”). She then had a short-lived marriage with David Trotter in the 00s.
Similar to Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy is best known for her roles in Brat Pack movies such as The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. In the former, Sheedy stood out for her role as Allison Reynolds, the moody girl who dressed in all black. However, her acting career did not end there. She also had key roles in WarGames, Short Circuit, and High Art. Before The Breakfast Club, Sheedy was planning on making it big as a full-time ballerina.
Ally Sheedy – Now
As a young adult, she struggled with substance abuse but has since overcome such issues. She was married to fellow actor David Lansbury and had one child with him. Sheedy has had numerous roles on TV shows such as Oz, Kyle XY, and Psych. Her most recent role came as a cameo in 2016, as the teacher of Scott Summers (better known as Cyclops) in the Marvel blockbuster X-Men: Apocalypse. Sheedy recently called out James Franco for inappropriate behavior on Twitter.
Tiffani Amber Thiessen
Tiffani Amber Thiessen is best known as the adorable Kelly Kapowski from Saved By The Bell. Her character is the most popular girl in her high school, as well as being the captain in all her sports teams. Most notably, Kelly is the love interest of main character Zack Morris and eventually marries him. The show ran for five seasons, for a total of 86 episodes. Thiessen was also hugely popular as Valerie Malone on Fox’s Beverly Hills, 90210.
Tiffani Amber Thiessen – Now
Tiffani Amber Thiessen has had a big impact on pop culture due to her image as a teen idol. At the 2011 MuchMusic Video Awards, Justin Bieber wore a t-shirt with Thiessen on it. She has also had steady acting career throughout her life. Few people know that Thiessen graduated as valedictorian at Valley Professional High School in L.A. She is married to Brady Smith and has two children. She is just as gorgeous today as she was as a teenager.
No one can forget Lori Singer as Ariel Moore, the rebellious daughter of a preacher in Footloose. Starring alongside Kevin Bacon, the movie is considered to be one of the most iconic hits of 80s cinema after making $80 million at the box office. She also played the character, Julie Miller on the TV series Fame. Many do not know that besides being an actress, Singer is also a cellist. She was born into a family full of creative artists, musicians, and producers.
Lori Singer – Now
For a while, Singer took a hiatus from acting. She returned in 2011 guest starring on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and also produced an HBO documentary in 2013 called Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. The documentary received universal acclaim and was nominated for five Emmy Awards. It ended up with three of them: Outstanding Writing, Exceptional Merit in Documentary Film Making, and Best Editor. The documentary also received a nomination at the Academy Awards.
Justine Bateman rose to fame in the 80’s with her role as Mallory Keaton on Family Ties. The character is an intelligent young lady who will be best remembered for her love-hate relationship with her brother Alex, played by Michael J. Fox. Other shows that Bateman had roles in included It’s Your Move, which also starred her brother Jason Bateman, who in all honesty, has gone on to become much more successful. She also starred in the television film Right to Kill?
Justine Bateman – Now
In recent times, Bateman has had something of a renaissance, having made appearances on numerous shows such as Arrested Development (which also stars brother Jason), Desperate Housewives, Californication and most recently, Modern Family. She is now over 50 years of age and has since had numerous movie and TV credits, as well as starting her own production company. Another interesting tidbit about Justine Bateman is the fact that she is a licensed pilot as well as an avid scuba diver.
In the 80s, Molly Ringwald stole the show. She was the queen of 80s cult classics like The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. As a super famous teen, Ringwald has stated that she was very aware of her responsibility as a role model. After her role in For Keeps, in which she played a pregnant teen, she said the following: “I didn’t want to give the wrong message to teenagers. I sort of felt a certain responsibility.”
Molly Ringwald – Now
Although her best days are undoubtedly back in the 80s, Ringwald has still managed to remain in the public eye. She is still considered a strong female icon because of her reputation as one of the most famous stars of the 80s. She is often referred to as the “Queen of the 80s.” Between 2008 and 2013, she played the role of Anne Juergens on the hit show The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Her pregnancy with twins was even written into the show!
Another actress whose reputation is synonymous with 80s movies is the one and only, Meg Ryan. Best known for her successful roles in romantic comedies throughout the 90s and 00s, Ryan rose to fame with her performance in When Harry Met Sally (1989). Throughout those two decades, Ryan was considered one of the most famous actresses, both nationally and internationally. In 1991, Ryan married actor Dennis Quaid, and although the couple had a son together, they ended up separating in 2001.
Meg Ryan – Now
Ryan’s reputation gone far beyond the 80s. The actress has also starred in famous movies such as City of Angels, You’ve Got Mail, and even provided the voice for the character Anastasia in the animated movie of the same name. However, since the turn of the millennium, Ryan’s acting opportunities have slowed down. She also made her directorial debut in 2015 with the movie Ithaca. Ryan was also in an on-again-off-again relationship with John Mellencamp, but the relationship ended in 2015.
Tracy Gold is most well known for her role as Carol Seaver in Growing Pains. Despite the show being a huge success, child stardom did not provide a lot of confidence and stability for the young actress. Gold severely struggled with anorexia and was unable to act in most of the final season of Growing Pains. The script repeatedly called for fat jokes toward the young actress at her expense. She starred in other 80s shows such as Goodnight, Beantown.
Tracey Gold – Now
Gold was able to have four children despite concern over damage to her reproductive organs after her battle with anorexia. Now she has maintained a normal weight and is much healthier. As for her acting career, she has starred in shows such as Stephen King’s Dead Zone, as well as TV movie reunion, Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers. Gold also had a run-in with the law when she was arrested for DUI while driving in her SUV.