After years on a hit TV series and having his face plastered on the walls of teenage girls everywhere, Jonathan Taylor Thomas made a conscious decision to walk away from fame.
"I'd been going nonstop since I was 8-years-old," the 31-year-old former "Home Improvement" star told People. "I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break."
Thomas played Randy Taylor on the top-rated ABC series from 1991 to 1998, and enrolled in Harvard University in 2000, where he studied philosophy and history, and would eventually go on to finally complete his degree, graduating from Columbia University in 2010.
"To sit in a big library amongst books and students, that was pretty cool. It was a novel experience for me," he told People of his educational experience, saying that he has "no regrets" about taking time away from the spotlight.
"I never took the fame too seriously. It was a great period in my life, but it doesn't define me. When I think back on the time, I look at it with a wink. I focus on the good moments I had, not that I was on a lot of magazine covers," he said.
After leaving "Home Improvement," Thomas didn't completely walk away from acting, as he made time for various guest appearances on TV shows, including "Ally McBeal" and "Smallville." Until recently, his last credit was a 2005 guest spot on "Veronica Mars."
These days, Thomas says he's focused on directing and writing scripts. And he'll be reunited with his TV dad, Tim Allen, as he guest stars on the season finale of "Last Man Standing," airing March 22.
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In the 1990s there were a lot of heartthrobs named Jonathan -- Brandis, Taylor Thomas and Jackson. Jackson played a clever teen who tricked his parents into sending him to a fake camp alongside Andrew Keegan and Christopher Lloyd in "Camp Nowhere." Fans of Jackson will know him from his long-time role on "General Hospital."
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Daniel Johns of Australian rock band Silverchair always made it into those teen magazines. At 14 he and his bandmates hit it big with their debut album "Frogstomp." As the teenage frontman who kinda looked like Kurt Cobain, it's no wonder he ended up in Tiger Beat.
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Luke Perry shot to fame playing bad boy Dylan McKay on "Beverley Hills: 90210," and starred in the '90s classic movie "Buffy The Vampire Slayer."
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Two words: "Home Alone." Macaulay Culkin was a child star turned pre-teen idol. With hits like the "Home Alone" series and "The Good Son," Culkin was the golden boy of the early '90s. His star burned out quickly, as his teen years were nothing but box office bombs -- "The Pagemaster," "Getting Even With Dad" and "Richie Rich." Culkin married actress Rachel Miner in 1998 and divorced her two years later.
At 31 years old, Culkin's days as a child star are long behind him. After a nine year break from acting, Culkin began taking small roles in TV and movies. He currently is the voice of several characters on the cartoon show "Robot Chicken." And perhaps most notably, he ended a seven-year relationship with actress Mila Kunis in early 2011.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Who didn't have a crush on JTT in the '90s? As the smart-aleck Randy Taylor on "Home Improvement," teen and tween girls would tune in just to see him each week. When he left the show in 1998 to attend Columbia University, we stopped watching.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
At <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/08/jonathan-taylor-thomas-bi_n_953913.html#s353765" target="_hplink">30 years old</a>, JTT hasn't appeared in anything since 2006, but Patricia Richardson, who played his mother on "Home Improvement," <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/prichardsonla/status/105342300481257473" target="_hplink">tweeted last month</a> that JTT currently wants to direct.
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As Steve Urkel on "Family Matters," Jaleel White was no teen idol, but as his alter ego, Stephan, he made ladies swoon.
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Even before the success of teen soap opera "Dawson's Creek," Joshua Jackson was known for his role in "The Mighty Ducks" franchise. Jackson stole hearts as snarky Pacey Witter on "Dawson's Creek" and parlayed his TV success into a decent film career, starring in movies like "The Skulls" and "Gossip."
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James Van Der Beek
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James Van Der Beek
Unable to escape being seen as Dawson, James Van Der Beek has seen considerably less success than any of his co-stars. The 34-year-old will play a womanizing version of himself on the new show "Apartment 23" later this year.
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Rider Strong was best known for his role as lovable troublemaker Shawn Hunter on "Boy Meets World." Though he was never a big name in film, his seven-year run on "Boy Meets World" and his dreamy good looks meant his poster was on every girl's wall.
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