15 Actors Much Older Than Their Teenage Characters

In Hollywood, teenagers are almost never played by actual teenagers. Things like braces, acne, and hormones might by the cause for why we always find our favorite TV and movie teenagers portrayed by actors in the 20s. Whatever the case may be, these 15 actors were much older than their on-screen teenage characters. We can’t believe that some of them were in their 30s.


Cory Monteith - Glee

Cory Monteith, Glee

In 2009, when Glee premiered on FOX, Cory Monteith was 27-years-old portraying high school sophomore Finn Hudson.


Paul Wesley The Vampire Diaries

Paul Wesley, The Vampire Diaries
The CW

When he first began portraying Stefan Salvatore (who is actually a vampire that is really close to 200-years-old), Paul Wesley was 26. The Vampire Diaries has a complicated timeline of their characters ages, but as a vampire Salavatore is meant to look like a high school student, yet the now 32-year-old actor is still going strong on this show.

Jason Earles - Hannah Montana
Jason Earles, Hannah Montana
Disney Channel

Jason Earles played Hannah’s older brother Jackson on Hannah Montana, who was supposed to be a 16-year-old. At the time of the show’s premiere, Earles was 29.

article continues below ad
Bianca Lawson - Pretty Little Liars
Bianca Lawson, Pretty Little Liars
ABC Family

Bianca Lawson has looked the same since her days on Dawson’s Creek. It’s no wonder she was able to pull off playing a high school sophomore when she was 31-years-old.


Stacey Dash – Clueless

Stacey Dash, Clueless
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection

Stacey Dash was 10+ years older than her classic Clueless character at the time of the film’s release. She was 28-years-old when the film released in 1995.

Eric Christian Olsen - The Hot Chick
Eric Christian Olsen, The Hot Chick
Buena Vista Pictures

Like Bianca Lawson, Eric Christian Olsen had a long-running habit of playing a high school student years after he was out of high school. Back in 2002 when The Hot Chick premiered, he was 25-years-old.

article continues below ad
Troian Bellisario - Pretty Little Liars
Troian Bellisario, Pretty Little Liars
ABC Family

Later this year Troian Bellasario will turn 30. But she still hasn’t even graduated from high school on Pretty Little Liars (after 5 seasons of being in school). Maybe that’s why there is a rumored 5 year time jump coming in this new season of PLL?


Charisma Carpenter - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Charisma Carpenter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The WB

Originally Charisma Carpenter auditioned for the role on Buffy, but she was cast as the snobby Cordelia Chase. She managed to pull off high school student well, even though she was 27 when the show began.

Ben Mckenzie - The O.C.
Ben Mckenzie, The OC

Ben Mckenzie played the misunderstood new student Ryan Atwood on The O.C. years after he graduated high school. He was 25 when the first season premiered in 2003.

article continues below ad
Minka Kelly - Friday Night Lights
Minka Kelly, Friday Night Lights
When Minka Kelly took the role of high school cheerleader Lyla Garrity, she was actually 26-years-old.
Gabrielle Carteris - Beverly Hills 90210
Gabrielle Carteris, Beverly Hills 90210Gabrielle Carteris, Beverly Hills 90210
Gabrielle Cateris was the oldest cast member playing a teenager on BH, 90210. At the time she portrayed Andera Zuckerman, who was 16, she was actually 29.

Henry Winkler - Happy Days

Henry Winkler, Happy Days

Actors playing characters much younger than them is nothing new. Henry Winkler might be one of the first to set this trend. When he portrayed ultra cool high-schooler “The Fonz”, he was 29-years-old.

article continues below ad

Meredith Monroe - Dawson's Creek

Meredith Monroe, Dawson's Creek
The WB

You might not have realized that when Meredith Monroe began portraying Pacey Witter’s girlfriend Andie McPhee, she was really 29-years-old.


Tom Welling - Smallville

Tom Welling, Smallville
The WB

Smallville begins with Clark Kent’s freshman year of high school. However, Tom Welling was actually 24-years-old. We guess being from planet Krypton is enough explanation of why he looked so old (and so hot).


Keiko Agena - Gilmore Girls

Keiko Agena, Gilmore Girls
The WB

Keiko Agena played Rory Gilmore’s best friend Lane Kim, even though she was significantly older than her character’s beginning age of 16. She was 27 when she show began filming.

Which actor was/is the most surprising? We can’t believe how young PLL‘s Troian Bellasrio looks! It’s no wonder she’s able to pull off playing Spencer Hastings with ease.


20 Years Later – See The Cast of Clueless Now

Beverly Hills, 90210: Where Are They Now?

The Cast of Friday Night Lights: Where Are They Now?