23 Stars Who Got Their Start on Soap Operas

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Before they were famous, these 23 stars actually got their start on daytime soap operas. 

Did you know, for example, that Leonardo DiCaprio started out on Santa Barbara? Or that Hayden Panettiere was once on Guiding Light?

Find out which other stars got their start on soap operas below! Some of them may even surprise you!


1. Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio
Academy Award winning Actor Leonardo DiCaprio has been acting since he was very young. One of his first roles was on the soap opera, Santa Barbara, in the early 90s.

2. Hayden Panettiere

Hayden Panettiere
You know her now as Juliette on ABC's Nashville, or perhaps as Claire on the original Heroes, but she got her start as Sarah Roberts on One Life to Live. Following that role, she played Lizzie Spaulding on Guiding Light.

3. John Stamos

John Stamos
Before he was Uncle Jesse, John Stamos played Blackie Parrish on General Hospital, the foster child of Rick and Leslie Webber. Now, you can see him as Uncle Jesse yet again on Fuller House, as well as on the FOX comedy, Grandfathered.

4. Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar
Before she was a vampire slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar got her start as Kendall Hart Jackson on All My Children from 1993-1995. The same role was later played by Alicia Minshew.

5. Ming-Na Wen

Ming-Na Wen
Before she was known for her role on Angents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ming-Na Wen played Lien Hughes on the soap oper, As the World Turns.

6. Nathan Fillion

Nathan Fillion
Nathan Fillion played the role of Joey Buchanan on One Life to Live before going on to star on Firefly and then ABC's Castle.

7. Laurence Fishburne

Laurence Fishburne
Even Laurence Fishburne got his start on a soap opera. His first actinging job as playing Joshua Hall on One Life to Live in 1973.

8. Meg Ryan

Meg Ryan
Actress Meg Ryan is known for many roles, but she actually got her start as Betsy Stewart on As the World Turns.

9. Jensen Ackles

Jensen Ackles
Before Jensen Ackles was Dean Winchester on Supernatural, he played Eric Roman Brady on Days of Our Lives.

10. Demi Moore

Demi Moore
Demi Moore got her start as Jackie Templeton on General Hospital in 1982. That's definitely her sitting next to Anthony Geary's Luke Spencer.

11. Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt
Yep, Brad Pitt got his start on a soap opera too. In fact, Brad Pitt's first speaking role was on the soap opera, Another World in 1987.

12. Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei
Marisa Tomei also got her start on a soap opera, playing th erole of Marcy on As the World Turns in the early 80s.

13. Christian Slater

Christian Slater
Christian Slater got his start on the ABC soap opera Ryan's Hope before making his big screen debut. Now, he stars on USA's hit drama, Mr. Robot.

14. Taye Diggs

Taye Diggs
Before his roles on Rent, Private Practice, and Murder in the First, Taye Diggs played Adrian "Sugar" Hill on Guiding Light.

15. Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan actually got her start on Another World at the age of 10, then moved on a year later to star on the film, The Parent Trap.

16. Courteney Cox

Courteney Cox
Before she was known for her roles on Friends and Cougar Town, Courtney Cox played the role of Bunny on As the World Turns.

17. Calista Flockhart

Calista Flockhart
Before she was Ally McBeal, Calista Flockhart spent some time on Guiding Light. She played the role of Elise in 1989.

18. Ryan Phillippe

Ryan Phillippe
Ryn Phillippe actually got his start on One Life to Live in 1992, playing the role of a gay teenager, Billy Douglas, who came out to his parents.

19. Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore
Actress Julianne Moore also got her start on a soap opera, even winning a daytime Emmy for her performance. She played the dual roles of half-sisters Frannie and Sabrina Hughes

20. Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon
Kavin Bacon got his start on the soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, in 1979. Later, he played the role of Tim Werner on Guiding Light.

21. Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria
Before she was known for her role as Gabrielle Solís on Desperate Housewives, Eva Longoria got her start as Isabella Braña on The Young and the Restless in 2001.

22. Marcia Cross

Marcia Cross
Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross got her start on the soap opera, The Edge of Night, in 1984. She later joined the cast of One Life to Live as Kate Sanders.

23. Kelly Ripa

Kelly Ripa
It's true. Talk show host Kelly Ripa was well-known first for her role as Hayley Vaughan on All My Children from 1990-2002.

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TV, Julianne Moore, Laurence Fishburne, Taye Diggs, Marisa Tomei
Hayden Panettiere, John Stamos, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Meg Ryan, Jensen Ackles, Brad Pitt, Demi Moore, Christian Slater, Lindsay Lohan, Courteney Cox, Calista Flockhart, Ryan Phillippe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Bacon, Marcia Cross, Kelly Ripa, Eva Longoria
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