Say what you want about 1980s fashion, but the decade was a fantastic one for the entertainment industry. Whether you were a “Back To The Future” fan or loved singing along to Madonna’s “Material Girl” in the car, the decade of big shoulder pads and even bigger hair gave us iconic music, TV shows and films that are still very much relevant today.
And while we have lost some of the icons of that era (RIP, Michael Jackson) there are still plenty of ’80s celebrities around to make us feel nostalgic for that bygone decade. Read on to see what some ’80s stars look like today and have been up to in recent years.
Since starring in ’80s hits like the “Back to the Future” trilogy and “Howard the Duck,” actress Lea Thompson has led a fairly quiet life. She married director Howard Deutch in 1989 after meeting on the set of “Some Kind of Wonderful,” and the couple has two daughters together, Madelyn and Zoey, both of whom have followed in their mom’s footsteps and are now actresses.
Pop icon and activist Cyndi Lauper has come a long way since her “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” days. The singer won best new artist at the 1985 Grammy Awards and went on to release more than 12 albums so far. More recently, she wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway hit “Kinky Boots.” She married actor David Thornton in 1991 and has a son named Declyn.
Since breaking out in ’80s movies like “Risky Business” and “Top Gun,” Tom Cruise’s star has not dimmed a bit — with him starring in more than 40 movies during his career. Cruise has been married and divorced three times and has three children: Connor and Isabella (with ex-wife Nicole Kidman) and a daughter, Suri (with ex-wife Katie Holmes).
Back in her “Like A Virgin” days, it might have been hard to envision the edgy and controversial Madonna as the mom and philanthropist she would someday be, but the singer now has six kids as well as a continuing career in music. Her eldest daughter, Lourdes, is 21 years old. Her other kids include Rocco (with ex-husband Guy Richie), David, Mercy, and twins Estere and Stelle.
Standing at 6-feet tall with long, blonde hair, Jerry Hall was one of the most famous models in the 1980s and was made even more famous by her relationship with Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger. The couple had four children together (Georgia May, Elizabeth, James and Gabriel) before splitting in 1999. Hall is now married to business mogul Rupert Murdoch.
“Dynasty” was one of the most popular shows of the mid-1980s, and British actress Joan Collins was its star. Since then, she’s continued to act on TV and in films, including a memorable guest-starring role on “Will and Grace.” She has been married five times and has two children and three grandchildren.
Winona Ryder’s acting career took off in the ‘80s with starring roles in “Heathers,” “Edward Scissorhands” and “Beetlejuice” and is still going strong today. She currently stars in the spooky Netflix show “Stranger Things.” In her personal life, she has been in several long-term relationships, including with Johnny Depp, Matt Damon and Scott Mackinlay Hahn (since 2011), but has never been married.
With roles on the hit ’80s TV show “Married… with Children” and guest spots on “Charles in Charge” and “The New Leave It To Beaver,” Christina Applegate proved she was more than just a pretty face. Most recently, she starred on the TV show “Up All Night.” Off-screen, she’s publicly battled breast cancer, opting for a double mastectomy in 2008, and having her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as a preventative measure. She has been married twice and has one daughter, Sadie Grace, with her husband Martyn LeNoble.
Unlike some other child actors, “Who’s the Boss” actress Alyssa Milano has carved out a career in Hollywood for herself as an adult. She has acted in recent movies like “Hall Pass” and “New Year’s Eve” and has written two books. She is also an activist and a mother of two with spouse, David Bugliari.
Molly Ringwald appeared in some of the decade’s most popular teen flicks, including “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty In Pink.” In the ’90s, she decided to move to France and lead a simpler life. She married writer Panio Gianopoulos (her second husband) in 2007. They have three children together.
Like Ringwald, Ally Sheedy was a member of the ‘80s “Brat Pack” group of actors and starred in movies like “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “The Breakfast Club,” in which she famously played the outcast Allison Reynolds. She has a daughter with ex-husband David Lansbury, whom she split from in 2008.
As the lead singer of the groundbreaking band Blondie, Debbie Harry was a prominent figure in the ’80s punk rock scene as well as a sex symbol of the era. Although the band broke up in 1982 (and later reunited in 1997), Harry never stopped making music and continued her music career in the interim years, releasing several solo albums and also acting in several shows and movies. Harry had a relationship with bandmate Chris Stein, but she’s never been married or had children.
Capitalizing on her celebrity status that resulted from her musical movies “Grease” and “Xanadu,” actress and singer Olivia Newton-John spent the 1980s mostly focused on pop music and had chart-topping hits like “Physical” and “Can’t We Talk It Over In Bed.” She’s battled cancer twice and has also been married twice. She has a daughter, Chloe, with her first husband, Matt Lattanzi, from whom she split in 1995.
The 1980s were a period of revelation for pop star Elton John. Although the singer was at the top of his career with hits like “Little Jeannie” and “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” he struggled with a drug addiction and had married and divorced a woman, Renate Blauel, before coming out. He’s now been married to David Furnish since 2014. They have two sons, Zachary and Elijah.
Michael J. Fox
Between “Family Ties” and movies like “Back To The Future” and “Teen Wolf,” Michael J. Fox was one of the most in-demand actors of the 1980s. In 1991, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and ultimately retired from acting in 2000. He married actress Tracy Pollan in 1988, and they have four children.
In 1987, rock band Guns N’ Roses released its debut album, “Appetite for Destruction,” and quickly made a star of its lead singer, Axl Rose. By 1989, Rose had appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone and was one of the most famous musicians in the world. These days, Rose still performs — but as the lead singer of the band AC/DC, which he joined in 2016. He was briefly married from 1990-1991 to Erin Everly, the inspiration behind the song “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”
As a member of the “Brat Pack,” Emilio Estevez starred in ’80s movies like “The Breakfast Club,” “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “The Outsiders” and was one of the most famous actors in Hollywood. Nowadays, he has mostly retired from acting and focuses on his directing career. He has been married and divorced twice, including a brief marriage to singer Paula Abdul, and has two children with his first wife, model Carey Salley.
Ralph Macchio found professional success early in his career as “The Karate Kid.” The actor played the title character in the 1984 movie as well as two sequels. In 2017, he reprised his most famous role in the YouTube Red TV series “Cobra Kai.” Macchio first met his wife, Phyllis Fierro, at a young age, after being introduced to her by his grandmother. Many years later, when Macchio was 26, he and Fierro were married. They now have two children together.
Thanks to his baby-blue eyes and feathered hair, actor Rob Lowe became an ’80s heartthrob with roles in movies like “The Outsiders” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.” Since the early 2000s, he’s primarily worked on TV, including regular roles on “Parks and Recreation” and “The West Wing.” He married Sheryl Berkoff in 1991 and has two sons with her.
In 1987, Jennifer Grey was at the height of her celebrity. She had starred in “Dirty Dancing” that year and had played a memorable role in the 1986 film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” She has continued to act and even won “Dancing With the Stars” in 2010. She has been married to husband, Clark Gregg, since 2001. They have a daughter together, actress Stella Gregg.
As an ’80s heartthrob, actor Mickey Rourke starred in films like “Barfly” and “9½ Weeks.” In the ’90s, Rourke retired from acting and became a professional boxer for a time before returning to acting in acclaimed movies like “Sin City” and “The Wrestler.” He has been married and divorced twice, both times to co-stars he met while on set.
If there’s a movie image that could sum up the ’80s, it might be John Cusack holding a boombox over his head in the 1989 film “Say Anything…” Since then, he’s continued to have parts in other high-profile movies like “Being John Malkovich” and “High Fidelity.” Cusack has never been married or had children.
In the often-quoted classic ’80s teen movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” Matthew Broderick starred as a clever high school slacker, a role that made him into a star. He has been married to actress Sarah Jessica Parker since 2001. The couple has three children, son James and twins Marion and Tabitha.
The ’80s sitcom “Family Ties” was Justine Bateman’s first acting role and it catapulted her to fame as a teen. Since then, she’s done a variety of other things, including writing and directing a movie, starring in the film “Satisfaction,” and earning an undergraduate degree in computer science from UCLA. She’s been married to real-estate developer Mark Fluent since 2001, and they have two children.
Best known for her role as the eldest daughter on the ’80s sitcom “The Cosby Show” and its spin-off “A Different World,” actress Lisa Bonet was only 20 years old when she eloped with singer Lenny Kravitz. The two had a daughter together, actress Zoe Kravitz, but split in 1993. In 2005, Bonet and “Game of Thrones” actor Jason Momoa began a relationship. They have two children together, daughter Lola and son Nakoa. They married in 2017 and announced their divorce in 2022.