You knew them. You loved them. You plastered your walls with their dreamy faces and voraciously read anything you could about them in Tiger Beat, Sassy, YM, or Teen People, as the case may be. You knew the names of their family members, their favorite ice cream flavor, and what job they would have done if they had never become famous. Yes, they are the biggest heartthrobs to ever capture our hearts. Here’s a look back at our favorites over the last few decades.
Who made you swoon? Let us know!
1. David Cassidy
Cassidy could do it all, it seemed. He could sing, act, play guitar, and even write songs. Growing up, you probably fell hard for him as his character Keith Partridge on The Partridge Family. He started off on Broadway before hitting it big in Los Angeles. Once his career was launched on the beloved musical sitcom, he became one of the biggest teen idols of the 1970s. He remained in the spotlight for years and passed away in 2017 of liver failure.
2. Davy Jones
Was it the accent or those big doe eyes that first made you notice Davy? He was, of course, the lead singer of The Monkees, and then starred in the show of the same name along with his bandmates. Not many people realized that Jones was nominated for a Tony award in the Broadway musical Oliver! (He also appeared in the show in London.) He died of a massive heart attack in 2012 at the age of 66.
3. Bobby Sherman
It’s not too hard to fall for a guy with a guitar — especially a guy as dreamy as Sherman. In high school, this heartthrob was multi-talented: he played football, joined a dance band, and began to learn how to play an incredible 16 instruments. He, of course, went on to sing the hit “Little Woman” in 1969. Later in his life, he left the limelight to pursue a career as a paramedic and police officer.
4. Barry Williams
Oh Greg Brady, we loved you so. Obviously, everyone knew Williams for his role on the notorious show The Brady Bunch. And while he went on to play several roles over the years after the conclusion of the series, he never really could get away from the part that gave him his fame. He reprised the role of Greg over and over again throughout the years in various spin-offs and made-for-TV movies based on the original show.
5. Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe might as well still be a teen heartthrob because the man apparently never ages — he still looks as good as he did in St. Elmo’s Fire. He also never seemed to stop working. After seeing much success in the ’80s, Lowe went on to do other notable projects, like Wayne’s World, The West Wing, and Parks and Recreation.
6. Joey Lawrence
Whoa! (You know you can’t think of him without saying this in your head.) Lawrence saw his star rise when he appeared opposite Mayim Bialik in the ’90s hit Blossom. He went on to star in the shows Brotherly Love and Melissa & Joey as well. As a singer-songwriter, he has also recorded several singles.
7. Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Saved by the Bell was the show that seemed to go on for eternity. The cast only went on to college when it was no longer plausible that they could still be in high school. But we didn’t care, because that meant we got to enjoy more Zack Morris. Gosselaar ended up playing more serious roles as he matured, including detective John Clark in NYPD Blue.
8. Jared Leto
Looking at Leto’s Oscar-winning role in Dallas Buyers Club in 2013, you would never think that he had been a heartthrob when he was younger. But was he ever. The world got to know Leto when he played aloof grunge kid Jordan Catalano opposite Claire Danes in My So-Called Life. He’ll forever be clad in a flannel shirt in my mind.
9. Luke Perry
You were either on Team Dylan or Team Brandon. (Clearly I was on the former, since Jason Priestley is not on this list.) Perry played the bad boy on Beverly Hills: 90210. We loved every squint of those eyes, and every smirk on those lips as Perry hung out with his closest rich pals in the country’s most famous zip code.
10. Jonathan Taylor Thomas
While adults enjoyed Tim Allen’s jokes on Home Improvement, the younger generation tuned in every week to catch a glimpse of Thomas, who played one of Allen’s three sons on the show. He was the dreamy, adorably cute middle brother and he soaked up the attention thrown at him by teen girls by appearing in countless mags at the time. He went on to play the voice of Simba in The Lion King.
11. Justin Timberlake
Timberlake made his debut on The All New Mickey Mouse Club. If you didn’t catch him there, you would have been hard-pressed to miss him when he joined the uber-popular boy band In Sync. He stood out among the four other singer/dancers and went on to have one of the most successful and lucrative careers ever. He has also held his own as an actor, appearing in several movies including The Social Network, as Sean Parker.
12. Justin Bieber
Bieber was discovered on YouTube, of all places. But once teen girls caught wind of what he could do, that was the end of it. The Canadian singer-songwriter has had his share of bad press, but he turned his squeaky clean good boy image into a bad boy full of tattoos, and the crowd went wild again.