The fate of 11 of our favorite childhood crushes

Have you ever wondered what happened to that TV star you had a crush on back in the day? You know, back when you were young and innocent and just wanted to hold hands with Kelly Kapowski while the Pink Power Ranger danced seductively around a pole. Yeah, you remember. Good times. Well, we remember too, and like you we found ourselves wondering what happened to those childhood crushes of yore. What we found isn’t exactly as pretty as we all hoped it would be, but let’s face it, you’re not playing shortstop for the Yankees either so all-in-all, I’d say these eleven ladies did pretty well. I mean, at least they’re still alive, which for a former child star is about as good as it gets.

Photo credit: YouTube/YouTube

11 Lark Voorhies

Lisa Turtle was always the underrated Saved By The Bell crush, but don’t front, you know you were in touch with your inner Screech whenever she popped up on the screen. Unfortunately, the years have taken their toll and today Lark Voorhies only pops up on the TV screen when Inside Edition does a story on how her mother claims she’s gone batshit crazy. Yes, it seems that the real life Lisa Turtle and her mother have been publicly arguing about whether or not Lark is bipolar, which is no laughing matter – except for on days when she’s trending more to the manic side, I guess. But seriously, bipolar disorder is a bitch to deal with and let’s just hope she gets the help she needs. I’m sure Screech still loves her regardless.

Photo credit: YouTube

10 Melissa Joan Hart

You would figure that a teenage witch would be able to avoid the depressing humiliations of age a little better than the rest of us, but you’d be wrong. Melissa Joan Hart has continued to act, although I’m not really sure you’d call starring in a terrible sitcom with Joey friggin’ Lawrence an “acting career” so much as “eternal punishment in hell.” To make matters worse, she apparently saw how well the Veronica Mars and Zach Braff Kickstarters did and figured she’d call on her legion of fans to fund her newest venture, a romantic comedy called Darci’s Walk of Shame. She asked for two million dollars and ended up getting a grand total of $51,605. Walk of shame indeed. But hey, at least she still has Joey Lawrence.

Photo credit: YouTube

9 Angela Watson

AKA the bitchy one on Step by Step, which of course meant that I was in love with her. Sadly, however, my adolescent love was not powerful enough to save her as she ended up the child star equivalent of a country song cliché, with her parents stealing all her money while her career vanished. At least she didn’t end up doing whippets in the back of a van with Eddie Furlong or something, so she managed to avoid getting completely sucked into the child star cliché machine. Instead, she started a foundation to help child stars handle their finances themselves, which sounds like a great idea, but do you really want to give every wannabe Bieber control over their own checkbook? I shudder to think what I would have bought at that age – I probably would have tried to actually buy Angela Watson now that I think about it. Kids, amirite?

Photo credit: YouTube

8 Christine Lakin

AKA the tomboy on Step by Step, which of course meant that I was in love with her too. Look, Step by Step was obviously a very important part of my life. Fortunately, Christine Lakin seems to have avoided most of the pitfalls that most of her TV brethren and, uh, sisterthren have fallen prey to, as her career has continued uninterrupted, and while she isn’t a huge star or anything she seems to be doing alright. Perhaps most notably, she played the “ugly friend” of Paris Hilton in The Hottie & The Nottie which totally makes sense if you are blind and/or are a Herpes fetishist.

Photo credit: YouTube

7 Kellie Shanygne Williams

Laura Winslow was perhaps the most famous stalking victim of the ‘90s and so it makes sense that she really hasn’t done much since then. I mean, how do you escape the shadow of the notoriety of being the twisted object of obsession of a madman like Steve Urkel? After I’m sure many years of therapy, Kellie Shanygne Williams (by the way, in researching this I discovered that her middle name is pronounced Sha-neen, thus solving one of the most perplexing riddles of my childhood) started a foundation in the Washington D.C. area which gives area children a chance to produce TV shows for a local channel. She also married a dude named Hannibal, and let’s face it, hooking up with a cannibalistic serial killer is probably better than getting stuck with Urkel.

Photo credit: YouTube

6 Larisa Oleynik

Back in the day, Larisa Oleynik aka Alex Mack was the ultimate girl next door. These days, she’s basically the grown-up version of that girl next door. She kept acting and these days there is a good chance that you’ve seen her on TV and not realized it. She’s had runs on Hawaii Five-O, Pretty Little Liars, and even showed up as Ken Cosgrove’s wife on Mad Men. She also had a role in Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike, but let’s not talk about that. Frankly, it’s more embarrassing than if she had done porn.

Photo credit: YouTube

5 Elizabeth Berkley

I could tell you all the usual – she’s been acting, just had a kid, blah blah blah but really, just rent Showgirls. Poor AC Slater probably could never look at Jesse Spano the same again – and neither will you.

Photo credit: YouTube

4 Amy Jo Johnson

Ah yes, the much-beloved Pink Power Ranger. Amy Jo Johnson basically caused thousands of adolescent dudes to go through puberty while sitting in front of the TV while mom and dad were at work, so hey, congrats for that, Amy. Since then, she has continued to act, most notably starring on Felicity opposite Keri Russell. She also started a recording career and released a few albums which is pretty impressive for someone who’s all of… wait, she’s 42? The Pink Power Ranger is 42!? I need to lie down.

Photo credit: YouTube

3 Danica McKellar

As Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years Danica McKellar was basically Fred Savage’s entire reason for being – and a girl I had a crush on when I was still too young to even understand what having a crush actually was. Yes, Danica McKellar was probably an entire generation’s first crush and like most first crushes we promptly all forgot about her as soon as the show went away. She kept acting though and in between managed to go to school at UCLA where she studied mathematics and basically became the real life version of a character on The Big Bang Theory only incredibly attractive and also presumably actually, you know, funny. Seriously, she has coauthored important scientific papers and even has a math theorem named after her. That’s pretty nuts. Meanwhile, Fred Savage is directing episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and probably harassing younger brother Ben about what it was like to kiss Topanga so it’s hard to say who’s had the better life really.

Photo credit: YouTube

2 Danielle Fishel

Speaking of Topanga, after her run on Boy Meets World, Danielle Fishel became almost an urban legend amongst dudes of the Internet age. On message boards everywhere, assholes would debate the merits of Topanga vs. the dreaded “Fat” Topanga. It was deplorable, really… and you all did it. Don’t front. Meanwhile, the real Danielle Fishel had a full and interesting life. She went to college, dated Lance Bass before he came out of the closet, picked up a DUI and dated a recording artist for Death Row Records which means you all better watch your mouth about Topanga or else Suge Knight is gonna swing by your crib and hang you out the window by your ankles. Recently, she exploded back into our collective consciousness with her appearance in Maxim and reminded us all that we like Topanga no matter what.

Photo credit: YouTube

1 Tiffani Amber Thiessen, Christina Applegate, Jennie Garth

It is only fitting that I include all these lovely ladies at number one because as the Three Kellys – Kapowski, Bundy and Taylor, respectively – they were basically worshiped like a religion by horny young dudes. You cannot discuss one without discussing all of them. In our heads and in our hearts they will always be the Three Kellys and nothing that they have done in real life – boyfriends committing suicide, cancer, heart conditions, marrying dudes from Twilight – really matter. The ravages of time cannot touch our adolescent worship, which lives on inside all of us eternally, reminding us all that we were all once young and that a girl named Kelly will always – always – make us smile.

Photo credit: YouTube/YouTube/YouTube

Relive more childhood crushes of the 80s and 90s here and here.