Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Whatever Happened To May From Bridge To Terabithia?

Actor Bailee Madison got her start in commercials when she was just a few weeks old. At age four, she made her movie debut, playing Rainelle Downing in the biographical crime-drama "Lonely Hearts" alongside acting heavyweights Laura Dern, John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Salma Hayek, and Jared Leto. Her second gig, playing May Belle Aarons in 2007's fantasy epic "Bridge to Terabithia," was no less impressive, and according to Madison, it had a huge impact on her career trajectory.

As the little sister to Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson), Madison had a small but notable role in the film, which also starred AnnaSophia Robb as their neighbor and friend, Leslie Burke. "I don't even know how I got to be a part of it, but I did," the actor said in an interview with IMDb. "Like my mom and I thought I would just go back to school and be in Florida, like no one thought anything after that, and the fact that that came out and I got to continue to fall in love with what I do is unbelievable."

With these impressive film roles under her belt, Madison's star continued to rise. After some smaller roles, she began starring in movies with popular comedy stars like Adam Sandler,  eventually even taking the lead in her own TV series. Keep reading to find out what Bailee Madison has been up to since "Bridge to Terabithia."

Bailee Madison quickly built up a solid filmography with smaller roles

After starring in "Lonely Hearts" and "Bridge to Terabithia," Bailee Madison had become a child star to watch. She continued to make a name for herself by building up a solid filmography. This included taking on guest roles in "House M.D.," "CSI: NY," and "Judy's Got a Gun." She also appeared in the popular Nickelodeon series "Unfabulous," the TV movie "Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh," and Disney Channel's "Cory in the House."

By 2009, 10-year-old Madison already had over a dozen credits to her name. She proved she could hold her own alongside experienced stars like Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, and Jake Gyllenhaal in the blockbuster family drama "Brothers." Recalling fond memories of that time, Madison told Miami Living, "That movie was a real blessing to me after it came out, with what it was able to do for me."

2010 turned out to be another big year for the young star as she took on the role of Sally in Guillermo del Toro's "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," alongside Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes. According to Madison, this was a great entry into the world of horror — a genre she'd revisit later in her career. She told ClevverTV, "It's really cool because I've always wanted to ... be in a scary film like this that keeps you on the edge of your seat." The then-11-year-old said she felt incredibly "blessed" to be working alongside Holmes and Pearce. (2:10-3:00)

She rose to fame starring alongside Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler

2011 marked another banner year for Bailee Madison. She followed up the success of working on "Brothers" and "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" with a starring role in the romantic comedy "Just Go With It" alongside Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. It stars Sandler as Danny Macabee, a serial bachelor until he meets Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), who he's convinced is the love of his life. He ropes his assistant Katherine (Aniston) and her two kids Maggie (Madison) and Michael (Griffin Gluck) into helping him look like a devoted but soon-to-be-divorced family man while they take a vacation to Hawaii.

Although it didn't go down too well with critics, the film did well enough at the box office. And apparently, Madison had a blast while filming it. Reminiscing about the early years of her career on Instagram in August 2023, Madison shared that she has many fond memories of that time and the experience in Hawaii. Additionally, she told IMDb, "I still continuously hold so much respect as I grow older to have gotten to be a part of 'Just Go With It.'"

"Just Go With It" really put Madison on the map as a child star and led her to the family drama "Cowgirls 'n Angels" in 2012, which she has said was another really rewarding experience. "For me, there's no scripts out there like this one," she told Behind the Lens, calling the job "such an honor."

Wizards of Waverly Place was another career high for Bailee Madison

Disney Channel's "Wizards of Waverly Place" ran from 2007 to 2012, and Bailee Madison joined the show at the height of its fame. She played Maxine Russo throughout the fourth season, temporarily replacing Jake T. Austin's character Max after he'd been turned into a little girl. "I had the time of my life," Madison told J-14 in 2020 while reminiscing about her time on the series. "It was such a fun show."

After all these years, she has remained close with the cast, which also included Selena Gomez, David Henrie, Jennifer Stone, Maria Canals Barrera, and David DeLuise. "We all run in the same scene, so we always see each other in passing, which is nice. We all had a chance to grow up with each other," Madison told J-14. She added that she'd definitely be down to reprise her role if there were ever a reboot.

With the number of reboots making their way to screens recently — and the fact that Henrie and Gomez have been openly brainstorming ideas — that's not totally out of the question. But, in the meantime, they've reunited for other projects. The majority of the cast got together to star in a music video directed by Madison in 2020, and Henrie shared a sweet picture of it on Instagram afterward.

She focused more on TV shows than movies

Bailee Madison has movies like "Bridge to Terabithia," "Brothers," and "Just Go With It" to thank for her early career success. But over the years, she's spent just as much time, if not more, starring in TV shows. Following her stint on "Wizards of Waverly Place," this became a bigger priority for her, and in 2012, she took on the role of the younger version of Ginnifer Goodwin's Snow White in the ABC fantasy series "Once Upon A Time." She recurred on the series until 2016, giving viewers an insight into Snow's younger years and her relationship with Lana Parilla's Regina before she became the Evil Queen.

At the same time, Madison started appearing on "The Fosters" as Sophia Quinn, before landing the role of Grace Russell in Hallmark's "Good Witch" series alongside Catherine Bell and James Denton — a job she kept for years. During an interview with Collider, Madison praised the show for being a safe landing ground where she could enjoy maturing through her teens. "[Hallmark] were so lovely and so kind, and I think it created an environment where when people wanted to make me 15 to 21 overnight, I didn't have to do that. I felt safe and protected," Madison said. "It gave me the space to grow."

Why did Bailee Madison leave Good Witch?

After five years (and five seasons) starring on "Good Witch," Bailee Madison was ready to say goodbye to the Hallmark series. Her exit coincided with Grace going off to college. The show then continued for another two seasons, during which time Madison briefly returned via video chat.

Her exit came as a shock to fans, but five years is a long time, and Madison was ready for a new adventure and the next chapter in her career. She looked back at the time on the show fondly as she shared a sweet departure message with her fans on Instagram in 2019. "So grateful for 5 amazing seasons with Good Witch, the amazing cast and crew which have become like family and Hallmark Channel," she wrote.

In the same post, Madison wrote that as she's grown up alongside her teenage character, she's taken on many of Grace's core values, one of which is embracing all the possibilities that life has to offer. "I couldn't be more grateful for the new adventures ahead, and to have you all along with me on the ride as my story continues to be written, it's a thrilling one," she concluded.

She started to diversify her career by moving into more adult roles

As she embarked on her next chapter, Bailee Madison made a swift lane change with the types of roles she took on. She'd started to do this already by filming the horror movie "The Strangers: Prey at Night" during her break from "Good Witch" in 2018, and her next TV role was much darker as well.

In August 2021, Madison announced that she was joining the cast of "Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin," playing the lead role of Imogen Adams. After months of suspense, the series finally came to fruition and began airing on Max (then HBO Max) in July 2022. The series co-stars Chander Kinney, Zaria, Malia Pyles, and Mai Reficco as the other little liars and deals with much darker, more adult storylines than many of Madison's previous works. Speaking on the transition, she told News.com.au, "I think for me with this show coming out, it feels deeply personal because I do look at this show as a next chapter, hopefully for my life and as an introduction to myself as a young woman."

She added, "I was really looking for something that was so opposite and so far away and removed from anything else that I had done." Madison told Collider that she did a lot of research to make sure her performance was authentic because she really felt the weight of the storyline and how much it mattered.

Bailee Madison co-authored a book

In 2019, Bailee Madison took a side-step away from her acting career when she co-authored the young adult novel "Losing Brave." She later admitted to the online journal Rose & Ivy that she didn't necessarily envision this being the next step in her career, but she took the opportunity when it arose.

Madison had been working with her now-co-author Stefne Miller on the script for the film "Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket," which she starred in and produced. She explained that she was a huge fan of Miller's books and, while working together, the author suggested that they team up to write her next one. Madison jumped at the chance. "We wrote a book based on a role that I would love to do and one that I'd never been sent or existed for someone my age," Madison explained to Rose & Ivy. The book is about a teenage girl, Peyton Brave, who becomes embroiled in a shocking mystery when other girls in town start to go missing, including her twin sister, Dylan.

As soon as they started collaborating, Madison realized that writing "Losing Brave" was the perfect way to help her channel some untapped creativity. "There is always that moment of, this feels right and this feels right to me and I need to creatively express it and didn't realize it until now," she explained.

Working on TV movies has kept Bailee Madison busy

Bailee Madison has obviously worked hard throughout her career, usually appearing in multiple projects per year. This continued even after she began starring in "Good Witch." Over the years, she kept busy with TV movies such as "The Night Before Halloween," "Holiday Joy," and "Love and Debt" while simultaneously working on the Hallmark show.

After leaving the series, Madison then went on to star in "A Week Away," which premiered on Netflix in March 2021, and "A Cinderella Story: Starstruck," which was released digitally a few months later. The two movies were exciting projects for Madison, and she told Hollywood Life that she was particularly excited to add to the legacy of the "Cinderella Story" franchise, which began with Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray's beloved 2004 film.

She explained that "Starstruck" is a new retelling of the classic story for a modern audience. "Something that we all talked about was the irony that 'A Cinderella Story' has never actually happened at a farm. There's been no connection to animals, which is a huge part of the original 'Cinderella' — her love for animals and her love for the outdoor space." Madison said.

She's taken on more of a behind-the-scenes role in the film industry

Netflix's 2021 movie "A Week Away" was a special project for Bailee Madison. Not only was she excited to star in an inclusive faith-based film, but it also allowed her to be more hands-on behind the scenes than she'd ever been before. Since 2016, Madison has slowly been building up her experience as a producer and director. "I started realizing that I loved being creative in more than one landscape probably when I was 15-years-old," she explained to Rose & Ivy. "I realized I had a lot more I wanted to say and do and sometimes you have to pave your own opportunities yourself."

That culminated in producing "A Week Away." "That was when I realized my voice and ambitions inside of me," Madison said. "I was producing alongside our incredible male producers who had been doing it for so long." Alongside producing, Madison's lifelong dream has always been to direct. She said in an interview for the BUILD Series that she's been learning from each of her past on-set experiences and every producer and director she's ever worked with. Madison made her directorial debut when she helmed the music video for The New Hope Club's single "Worse" in 2020. The video served as the aforementioned reunion with her "Wizards of Waverly Place" co-stars.

She joined the final season of The Hardy Boys

In between seasons of "Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin," Bailee Madison took the opportunity to make another interesting career move. In July 2023, she announced that she'd joined the cast of "The Hardy Boys" for the show's third and final season. The series stars Rohan Campbell and Alexander Elliot as the titular Hardy boys and follows them as they try to discern the truth about a menacing mystery in their town.

Madison admitted to Collider that it was initially a little nerve-wracking joining an already-established show. But as a huge fan already, she quickly got her feet set. Sharing details of her entrance to the series on Instagram, Madison wrote, "So excited for you to meet Drew, and so THRILLED I was welcomed into the HB family to help them close out an epic three-year journey!!! Trust me, you won't want to miss it!!! The cast is phenomenal, and it was such a joy being a part of this."

As Madison's fans may have noticed from her past movie and TV roles, the actor isn't content to work in just one genre. She wants to try new things, push her limits, and continue to grow and evolve. So, the mystery drama series is another change in direction for Madison. "It's like a blessing every project you get to do as an actor," she previously told IMDb

Bailee Madison has dated musician Blake Richardson for years

It's not all work and no play for Bailee Madison — despite what her jam-packed filmography might suggest. The star has had a couple of long-term relationships with fellow celebs over the years. After splitting with YouTuber Alex Lange at the beginning of 2019, Madison took her romantic life cross-continental a few months later, getting together with musician Blake Richardson from the U.K. Richardson is one third of the rock trio The New Hope Club, the very same group that she directed a music video for. Prior to meeting Madison in 2015, The Vamps signed Richardson's band to their label Steady Records. New Hope Club then toured with The Vamps before embarking on their own Love Again Tour in 2019 and Getting Better Tour in 2022.

Richardson fronts the band as the lead vocalist as well as contributing to guitar and piano. When he's not touring and Madison isn't working, they split their time between the U.K. and the U.S. and can often be seen at red carpet events together, or gushing about each other on social media. The "Good Witch" star wished Richardson a happy 24th birthday on Instagram in October 2023, and she regularly posts sweet tributes to her beau on the social media platform, previously sharing some candid shots of herself and Richardson smiling. Alongside it, she wrote, "Walking through life with you is priceless."