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The Real Reason We Rarely Hear From These '90s TV Stars Anymore

Whether not you actually lived through it, you have to admit — the '90s were quite the decade. Plaid skirts, flower-adorned bucket hats, and long-sleeve shirts under short-sleeve shirts were wardrobe staples, keeping your tamagotchi alive was serious business, and boy bands spun in portable CD players on repeat all over the world. Still, it was TV that brought us the most joy. Whether you were glued to Must See Thursday, TGIF, or SNICK, the '90s sent an abundance of stars into our collective living rooms, leaving countless teens scrambling to find extra space in their lockers and on their bedroom walls for all the posters they wanted to display. 

But like any era, the '90s were still just a moment in time, and many celebrities who looked like they were poised to take over the world during the decade have seemed to disappear into the ether in the years since. Undoubtedly, you've thought about your '90s favorites over the years. We've checked in on some of these stars of the decade to see what they're up to now.

Marla Sokoloff

Arguably the coolest teen on TV in the '90s, Marla Sokoloff rose to fame as Stephanie Tanner's "bad girl" best friend Gia on Full House. She wore crop tops, went to make-out parties, and even smoked. (Sure, smoking is bad, but it's quite amusing to think about what we thought was edgy in the '90s.) Needless to say, her character had attitude to spare and we were there for it. If you were a TGIF junkie, you also saw Sokoloff pop up on Boy Meets World, Step by Step, and Family Matters. She even went on to star in Whatever It Takes where she met James Franco, whom she subsequently dated for four years. Her sitcom and film career seemed to be on fire. 

So where did Marla Sokoloff go? Well, honestly, the short answer is that she's been as busy as ever, even if it's been in projects that may not put her in the limelight the way they did during the '90s. While her domination of family sitcoms waned with the end of Must See TV, Sokoloff has had consistent work ever since, including six seasons as Lucy Hatcher on The Practice, an assortment of television guest-starring roles, and a slew of made-for-TV movies. Between 2016-2020, Sokoloff also made multiple appearances as Gia on the Full House sequel series Fuller House, making our '90s hearts swell.

Tatyana Ali

When Will Smith descended upon Bel-Air as the title character of the long-running hit '90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, he didn't always fit in with the glamorous residents of the wealthy California town. Even Carlton and Hillary regularly found themselves at odds with their east coast cousin. However, Will's bond with Ashley, the youngest of the Banks crew, was impenetrable. 

Starting at age 11, Tatyana Ali lit up the small screen as Ashley Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. We watched her have her first kiss, belt out a song for a record label, and grow out her bangs. After Fresh Prince, Ali expanded her talents to the music industry and film, putting out the album Kiss the Sky in 1998 and appearing in the film Jawbreaker with Rose McGowan and Judy Greer. In the years immediately following those achievements, Ali's education became top priority, and she graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor's Degree in African-American studies and Government. The Ivy League alum later married Stanford professor Dr. Vaughn Rasberry and is a proud mother of two

Still, she hasn't completely abandoned the industry; in recent years, she's branched out into producing, and her later acting credits include the 2019 holiday film Christmas Hotel. Plus, break out your best Carlton dance: Ali and her cast members are getting together for a Fresh Prince reunion special on HBO Max.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas

Jonathan Taylor Thomas, or JTT as we all endearingly referred to him, won over everyone's hearts with his dimples and endless wit. Photos of the Home Improvement and Man of the House actor lined the insides of middle school lockers around the world — and then our collective boyfriend seemed to ghost us in the mid-'00s. There was even a rumor going around that he died. 

Don't worry! He's very much alive. After turning down the lead role in American Pie, Thomas decided to leave acting and turn his focus towards higher education. He has degrees from both Harvard and Columbia, where classmates said he "is actually a pretty smart guy, and a good writer." The Ivy League grad is now dipping his toes back into Hollywood. He was elected to the SAG-AFTRA National Board in 2017 and was reportedly pitching a pilot with Zachery Ty Bryan. In other words, Jonathan Taylor Thomas is still imaginary boyfriend material. 

Danielle Fishel

Before Hermione Granger, our favorite big-haired overachiever was Topanga Lawrence on Boy Meets World. Danielle Fishel was both the envy and/or fake girlfriend of every '90s kid until the sitcom ended in 2000. While Fishel had small roles on Yes, Dear and Longshot after the series ended, she ultimately found that good roles just weren't coming her way, which, yes, sounds ridiculous. (What's the deal, Hollywood?) She took some time off from acting to earn a psychology degree, worked at Bloomingdales, got married, got divorced, and even got a DUI. In 2008, she began to host The Dish, which showcased her bubbly personality and funny zingers. More recently, Fishel's life has been extremely full. She reunited with her old castmates on the Boy Meets World sequel series Girl Meets World, remarried, had a baby, and has her eyes set on the director's chair. Okay, so she didn't end up with Ben Savage in real life, but it's nice to see her happy. 

Calista Flockhart

Many viewers first saw Calista Flockhart when she played the future daughter-in-law of power couple Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in The Birdcage, but it was her time as a lawyer who danced with an imaginary baby in Ally McBeal that made Flockhart an A-Lister, winning a People's Choice Award, SAG Award, and a Golden Globe. (We can also all agree that if the baby was around now, he'd be a huge Tik-Tok star — probably dancing in the flatbed of the Ocean Spray guy's new truck.) Flockhart had success after Ally McBeal playing Kitty Walker in Brothers and Sisters and, more recently, appeared in a recurring role on Supergirl. She's slowed her screen activity since then — her last role was in 2018 — but Calista Flockhart's personal life is very full. After all, she's married to Harrison Ford. Who needs to jet off to film sets when you get to come home to Han Solo?

Melissa Joan Hart

Before Wikipedia, pre-teens had one go-to source of information: Clarissa. Melissa Joan Hart Explained It All and we loved every second of it. Just when it didn't seem like she could be any cooler, Hart took on the titular role in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Living with her two awesome aunts and Salem, the best talking cat on TV, Sabrina used her magical powers to get through high school. 

Even though those characters were magical, Hart says she was only seen as her iconic roles, and found getting parts after Sabrina was a struggle. During this frustrating time in the industry, she found success in her personal life. In 2002, she met her husband, Course of Nature lead singer Mark Wilkerson. The couple have been going strong ever since, and have three boys together. In 2010, Hart's acting career took off again with a co-lead role in Melissa and Joey alongside fellow '90s heartthrob Joey Lawerence. Hart has also been busy in the holiday movie game as the lead in The Santa Con, Broadcasting Christmas, A Very Merry Toy Store, A Very Nutty Christmas, Christmas Reservation, and Dear Christmas. So while you keep holding your breath for that rumored Clarissa Explains It All reboot, you can get your holiday cheer on with Melissa Joan Hart.

Kel Mitchell

If you didn't say "Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?" enough times to drive your parents bonkers, you didn't do the '90s right. In those days you couldn't imagine a better sketch duo than Kenan and Kel. We all know Kenan Thompson went on to make us uncontrollably laugh every week on SNL, but you're wondering what happened to the other half of the duo, you're not alone. 

Kel Mitchell has actually had quite a fascinating career since his time on Good Burger. He is primarily a voice actor, with his most famous role being "T-Bone" on Clifford the Big Red Dog. In 2019, Mitchell also appeared on Dancing with the Stars, finishing in second place. Perhaps his most surprising career turn came later in the year, when he announced he'd become a licensed youth pastor. The father of three rediscovered his faith after a struggle with drugs and alcohol. He told People, "I was trying to figure it all out on my own. But what I needed to do was turn to Him. Once I found that clarity with Christ, I knew everything would work out."

Lark Voorhies

Lark Voorhies came into our lives as the extraordinary Lisa Turtle on Saved by the Bell. She knew how to play hard to get and it was a master class. "The sprain" was absolutely superior to "flossing," and the fact that it is not performed at every wedding is a travesty. 

After Saved by the Bell, Voorhies made appearances on shows like The Bold and the Beautiful, In the House, and The Parkers. Unfortunately, she also became part of a National Enquirer scandal when the publication claimed that Voorhies was hospitalized due to a cocaine addiction. Voorhies filed a lawsuit suggesting that she lost work because of their false claims, but even after the case concluded, she remained out of the limelight. Voorhies' mother Tricia later told People that her daughter had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder

Voorhies publicly said she'd like to be involved with the Saved By The Bell reboot — and those pleas may have paid off, as it appears she'll be popping up in the show. We wish her the same amount of happiness she brought all of us in the '90s.

Shane West

Shane West burst into our lives on the ABC family drama Once and Again, later leaving the small screen to take roles in the films Whatever It Takes and Get Over It and making teens bawl uncontrollably watching him fall in love with Mandy Moore in A Walk to Remember. He became an undeniable heartthrob — and then he was gone. 

Well, not really. Actually, West went back to his roots, working regularly on television, although the roles were a little different than his fans were used to. After years of teen romance, West was eager to leave that world behind, so he took on grittier parts, including roles on ER, Salem, Gotham and Nikita — yes, the same Nikita with the one and only Devon Sawa. West has also continued to work regularly on the film side of things, with a list of credits that includes the thriller Escape the Field