The Most Popular Teen Idol Guys of All Time (Then and Now)

The teen idol is more than just a young celebrity, they're an American institution. Hot singers, young singers, young actors---teen idols are indeed a special kind of rock star. They can fall as fast as they rise. Or they can go on to have long careers as major superstars. But what makes a teen idol? There's no special requirement, save for the ability to entrance hordes of teenagers for as long as their attention spans allow. You don't even have to be a teenager----just an entertainer of sorts who strongly appeals to the teen masses. 

They don't necessarily have to be the best singers or best actors or make the best pop music. They just have to be LOVED by teenagers everywhere. 

This list is compiled of the most popular male teen idols of all time---with before and after pics. That means teen idol legends who are deceased, such as Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Andy Gibb, aren't on it. Just the living ones. So here they are-----the most popular teen male idols of all time----then and now. Some went on to become major superstars and others... well, read the list to see what they've all been up to.

  • Kirk Cameron burst on the teen idol scene as Mike Seaver on the sitcom Growing Pains, starring Alan Thicke, in the mid-'80s. A good-looking mouthy chap, it didn't take long for teens across the nation to swoon over his quips, his curls, and his TV antics. To their dismay, he eventually got a girlfriend on the show (played by Chelsea Noble), who he later married in real life.

    After Growing Pains ended, Kirk continued to act in TV guest spots here and there, as well as Growing Pains reunion projects like The Growing Pains Movie and Growing Pains: The Return of the Seavers. But during the actual series Cameron became a born-again Christian and has since dedicated his life to being an evangelist minister.

    Now married with children, in addition to his ministry, he currently produces Christian films. In 2012, Cameron sparked controversy when he appeared on The Piers Morgan Show stating that "homosexuality was unnatural, detrimental and ultimately destructive to the foundations of civilization."

  • Matt Dillon is one of the few teen idols who made his name almost strictly in films aimed at teens. Starting out as a child actor, he didn't hit his teen idol stride until the '80s. Things kicked off when he was cast in the film Little Darlings with Kristy McNichol in 1979. That same year, he co-starred in My Bodyguard, which helped push Dillon into teen stardom. 

    After that, he worked in a slew of films throughout the '80s, including teen classics such as Liar's MoonThe Outsiders, and Rumblefish

    Dillon has long grown out of his teen idol status and transitioned into a low-key but fairly consistent Hollywood leading man. He has continued to work over the years in films; his most notable role in recent times was in 2005's Crash, for which he received a Golden Globe for his performance.

  • Another '80s teen star, Corey Feldman starred in a bunch of highly successful films throughout his young career. While he's been acting since he was 3-years old (he's appeared in over 100 TV commercials and TV shows), Feldman basked in the teen idol spotlight in such films as Stand by Me, The Goonies, Lost Boys, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and a couple of the Friday the 13th films.

    Like some of his other teen idol colleagues, Feldman has his had own battle with addiction - an issue he revealed in his book Coreyography, published in 2013. In the book, he also revealed that he'd been assaulted as a child by his father's male assistant.

    He continues to work now, hosting his own show called Coreys Angels Live on Battlecom.com.

  • The star of the phenomenally successful Karate Kid films, Ralph Macchio also struck teen girl hearts as the little brother in The Outsiders. Believe it or not, Macchio was in his early 20s when he did the Karate Kid films. Kind of funny since it was his popularity in those films that got him on the covers of bubblegum mags like Teen Beat and Tiger Beat, both of which helped make him a teen idol for girls all around the world. 

    Now married with children, the actor has worked sporadically over the years, appearing in such films as 2012's Hitchcock, and guest-starring on the TV series How I Met Your Mother. In 2018, he reprised the role of Daniel LaRusso in the Karate Kid sequel series Cobra Kai.