Remember Lizzie McGuire? That popular Disney Channel show helped make its star, Hilary Duff, into a bona fide teen idol. But unfortunately, teen idols tend to burn brightly and then flame out incredibly fast. What became, then, of Hilary Duff once her much-loved show met its end?
Hilary Duff demonstrated a love of acting and performing from a young age. And, luckily, her parents were more than happy to encourage her passion, which meant that little Hilary was appearing on TV, on stage and in movies before she had even turned ten. What’s more, when she bagged her big breakout role in Lizzie McGuire she was just 14.
Lizzie McGuire was a massive hit with young girls, and so Hilary Duff was catapulted to stardom before she was even old enough to drink, vote or drive. Luckily, however, she seemed to deal with her newfound fame pretty well.
By 2003 the show was so popular, moreover, that Disney turned it into a film, The Lizzie McGuire Movie – and the multi-talented Duff recorded some original music for it, too. The film itself was panned by critics, unfortunately. But, by this point, people were more interested in Duff’s personal life anyway.
And that was primarily because Duff had found herself in a strange young-love triangle with fellow teen idols Aaron Carter and Lindsay Lohan. Carter would later admit that he had basically been two-timing the girls. At the time, however, the media couldn’t get enough of the teen trio and their many make-ups and break-ups.
In a way, though, Duff certainly came out the best from that teenage feud. Carter went on to become a virtual laughing stock after filing for bankruptcy, behaving pretty strangely on Twitter and pledging his support for Donald Trump. As for Lohan – well, sadly she ended up as the poster girl for fallen teen idols.
But even as her peers struggled to come to terms with fame during some pretty turbulent teenage years, Duff herself seemed to adjust without too much drama. There never seemed to be a hint of controversy surrounding her – and when Lizzie McGuire finished in 2004, she already had more work lined up.
The young starlet began to cultivate a more adult, and much more serious, on-screen image. And although her acting was usually met with derision during this period – she picked up several Razzie award nominations – her songs were undeniable hits. Plus, she was earning the type of money most people her age could only dream about.
In 2007 Duff even briefly ditched the blonde hair – her trademark for years – in favour of a brunette look instead. And her style choices were becoming more and more assured, even in the midst of much personal strife. In 2006, for example, she took out a restraining order against two men who had stalked her, one of whom received a prison sentence for his actions. And then, in 2007, Duff’s parents divorced after it emerged that her dad had been unfaithful.
But even as she was dealing with these crises, Duff had managed to find love. In the summer of 2007, only a year after breaking up with Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden, she met hockey player Mike Comrie on a group holiday with mutual friends, and the pair began dating.
Duff had now turned 20, and she was beginning to be seen as something of a sex symbol. She was showing a more mature side of herself whenever she got on stage, too, as well as also appearing in less family-friendly fare. In the satirical 2008 movie War, Inc., for example, she played a pop star just like she had in The Lizzie McGuire Movie – only, this time, Duff played an “oversexed” one.
Duff was very keen indeed to break away from Lizzie McGuire and the tween roles she was famous for now, but it wasn’t so easy. “It was tough for a while,” she told MTV later. “I was stuck in this bubble of Hilary Duff, and no one was really taking a chance on me.”
But gradually, more and people did begin to take chances on the former child star. And Duff ended up doing very well indeed, both professionally and personally. Her songs continued to be chart-toppers, her music videos got sexier and in 2010 she married Mike Comrie in a dream wedding ceremony at an expensive Californian ranch.
Duff also started evolving past her previously Razzie-nominated acting choices. Her performance as the child of a sex worker in the indie film Bloodworth, for example, was praised as her most impressive by far, even though the movie itself received mixed reviews.
In 2012, however, Duff was forced to take a hiatus from work – because she had a baby! She and Comrie were obviously besotted with their new arrival and announced the birth of their son Luca with the tweet, “We are overjoyed and feel like the luckiest parents in the world.”
Duff didn’t return to acting until 2013, when she briefly popped up in Raising Hope. And although she was determined to enjoy her first year as a mother without work getting in the way, she began keeping herself busy in other, more philanthropic, ways. In 2013, then, the new mom started working with charities like Save the Children to help fellow parents who were struggling financially.
But, unfortunately, a blow was to come, as in 2014 Duff and Comrie announced they were going their separate ways after four years of marriage. However, a representative for the actress issued a statement saying that the pair would “remain best friends” and were “dedicated to loving and parenting their amazing son.”
There was no scandal involved, apparently – the couple had simply drifted apart. And Duff seemed determined not to let it get her down, too. In fact, in 2015 she released an album titled Breathe In. Breathe Out, and it became her fifth album to debut in the top five of the Billboard 200.
But as dedicated as she was to her music, Duff seemed even more dedicated to ensuring her son got a good upbringing. And so although she and Comrie officially divorced in 2016, they have continued to co-parent their son. The two are often papped taking the youngster to theme parks together and generally appearing the most amicable exes imaginable.
Critics are constantly impressed by how well Duff made the transition from child star to adult star, and it’s certainly not hard to see why. It’s hardly surprising that a lot of today’s young starlets admire her immensely, too – she just made the celebrity lifestyle look so easy.