Hilary Duff is what every child star hopes to become. The actress was thrust into the spotlight in 2001 when she landed the titular role in the original series Lizzie McGuire on Disney Channel. Hilary’s three years on the show set her up to star in movies and release several albums.
Many child stars, particularly those who started on Disney Channel, oftentimes lose themselves to alcohol and drugs at the peak of their fame. Hilary Duff managed to sidestep that ordeal and focus on her work. Because of this, she has stayed in the good graces of the entertainment industry. From iconic films to hit songs to clothing lines, let’s explore what has gone into being the Hilary Duff we know and love!
The 34-year-old actress (her birthday is September 28, 1987) was born in Texas to a film and music producer mother and a father who owned several convenience stores across Texas. From a very young age, Hilary and her sister Haylie showed interest in the performing arts. One of the biggest sources of inspiration for their interest in performance, even talks of Hollywood fame, came from watching their mother’s work.
Starting from when they were as young as three years old, the Duff sisters enrolled in dance classes, singing lessons, and tried out for local theater shows. Hilary later reflected that one of the reasons she wanted to enroll in all of these activities was that her sister was doing it.
When Haylie was eight and Hilary was six, the sisters were cast alongside each other in a San Antonio production of The Nutcracker Suite. The ballet dancing was fun, but both of them realized just how much they liked the acting aspect of the performance. After that experience came to an end, both girls wanted to give professional acting a chance.
In 1993, Haylie and Hilary moved to California to try and make their dreams a reality. Their mom came with them and served as their manager. During those first few years in Hollywood, Hilary and Haylie were booking a good number of commercials before either one of them landed more notable or credited roles in a television show or movies.
Despite the fact that most people know her for playing Lizzie McGuire, Hilary Duff would say that her first big break in show business was when she booked the part of Wendy in 1998’s Casper Meets Wendy. The story was the second prequel/spin-off to the classic Casper 1995 feature film that starred Christina Ricci.
Hilary was only ten years old when the movie featured big-name actors like Shelley Duvall, Cathy Moriarty, Teri Garr, and George Hamilton. Despite the stacked supporting cast, the movie didn’t receive many positive reviews but was considered better than the other spin-offs. Despite Hilary’s costar being an animated ghost and the movie being made-for-TV, the movie still gets airtime whenever Halloween rolls around.
After a not-so-successful movie like Casper Meets Wendy, Hilary Duff was ready for something better received. In the year following that project, she took on a couple of smaller roles. In 2000, she landed a role on the NBC sitcom Daddio with Anita Barone and Michael Chiklis. Unfortunately, producers let Hilary go shortly before the show started airing.
After getting dropped from a show and only picking up small roles, Hilary considered moving back to Texas and giving up on acting. We are so grateful that her mother encouraged her to keep trying because only one week after Hilary had been let go from Daddio, she got a call. Hilary Duff had gotten the lead role on Disney Channel’s new original series, Lizzie McGuire.
Lizzie McGuire was an instant hit with Disney Channel viewers. From 2001 until 2004, Hilary Duff embodied the titular role of the series and connected with viewers of all ages. Hilary Duff led the cast to stellar reviews and became a household name because of the show.
After the first season, she starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) Cadet Kelly in 2002. Her newfound popularity with Lizzie McGuire set records for viewership of this DCOM, which became the most-watched movie that the network had released up to that point.
After she finished with Cadet Kelly, Hilary returned to shoot the second season of Lizzie McGuire. After two seasons and 65 episodes, the show came to an end as Hilary’s character Lizzie graduated from junior high school.
The show’s cast (besides Lalaine, who was filming the Disney Channel Original Movie You Wish!) reprised their roles in the 2003 feature film The Lizzie McGuire Movie. The movie was meant to serve as an extension of the TV show’s series finale. That same year, between the series finale and the film, Hilary starred opposite Frankie Muniz in Agent Cody Banks.
Moving the characters of Lizzie McGuire from television to a feature-length movie marked the first time that a film based on a Disney Channel show was shown in theaters. The critics’ reviews were pretty neutral overall; they seemed to agree that the movie was simply a way to give fans of the TV series a sense of closure.
Even more than the series, The Lizzie McGuire movie has continued to be shown on television and debatably garnered more fans than the TV show that inspired it in the first place. The movie definitely inspired more Italy-trip Instagram captions than the show!
With the Lizzie McGuire saga behind her, Hilary Duff used that momentum to land several film roles in the early 2000s. Some of these projects were endearing and well-received, while others got some not-so-nice reviews. First up was Hilary’s role as Lorraine Baker in the 2003 film Cheaper by the Dozen.
She starred alongside an all-star cast including Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Piper Perabo, and Tom Welling. The film became her highest-grossing project to date, although Hilary was cast in more of a supporting role as the Bakers’ teenage daughter.
Perhaps Hilary Duff’s most classic role, apart from the Lizzie McGuire franchise, came after Cheaper by the Dozen. In 2004, it was announced that Hilary would be starring opposite Chad Michael Murray in A Cinderella Story. The movie was a modern retelling of the classic fairytale, with Hilary playing Sam Montgomery, the Cinderella-esque character in the film.
After a successful box office release, the movie earned cult classic status. The film inspired a straight-to-video sequel that starred Selena Gomez, which eventually became the first installment of many sequels in the series.
A Cinderella Story wasn’t Hilary’s only big-budget project in 2004. Once again, she landed the lead role in a project entitled Raise Your Voice. Hilary Duff played Terri Fletcher, a teenager who wants to become a professional singer and secretly attends a summer music program in Los Angeles in the hopes of winning a hefty scholarship.
The movie had a lackluster performance at the box office and did even worse with critics. Though the film was another chance for Hilary to show her musical talents, it was largely considered a flop.
After starring in two teen romantic comedies in one year, Hilary was eager to pivot her public image so that people would take her more seriously as an actor. The following year, 2005, she starred in The Perfect Man alongside Heather Locklear and Cheaper by the Dozen 2 with the rest of the original cast.
Reviews said that Hilary’s role in The Perfect Man wasn’t a departure from what she had previously done, but the film was a box office success nonetheless. Cheaper by the Dozen 2 wasn’t as well-received as the first one, just like Hilary’s reprisal of Lorraine Baker.
Obviously, if they moved to Hollywood together to become actors, it was only a matter of time before Hilary, and Haylie Duff starred in a movie together! The two sisters, along with Anjelica Huston, headlined 2006’s Material Girls, a loose reimagining of Jane Austen’s book Sense and Sensibility.
The movie was also inspired by the cover version of Madonna’s “Material Girls” that Hilary and Haylie had recorded. Out of all of the productions she was part of in her TV and film career; this movie was Hilary’s most negatively reviewed project.
Many actors attempt to make the jump from acting to releasing music, and Hilary Duff was no different, except she became uber successful with the release of her album. Metamorphosis was released in 2003 and was perfectly timed to coincide with the peak of Hilary’s Lizzie McGuire fame.
The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard Charts and broke into the top spot the following week. It was the eighth best-selling record of that entire year and significantly helped Hollywood Records get back on its feet. Every teenager seemed to own this CD.
With hit songs like “So Yesterday,” “Why Not,” and “Come Clean,” Metamorphosis was Hilary’s first taste of commercial success that wasn’t connected to Disney (as her first album, Santa Claus Lane, was a Christmas album for Disney). The album went triple platinum and earned Hilary Duff numerous award nominations.
In more recent years, she has reflected on the success of her Metamorphosis album. Hilary admitted that there are several tracks on that record that make her incredibly embarrassed, namely “The Math,” but that she was still thankful for what it did for her career.
After the success of Metamorphosis, Hilary Duff released her follow-up album in 2004, appropriately named Hilary Duff. She recorded the album between filming Raise Your Voice and The Perfect Man. The same production team that collaborated with Hilary on Metamorphosis worked with her on this album.
The Hilary Duff album did not reach anywhere near the level of success that its predecessor did. The year after it was released, Hilary Duff admitted to reporters that the album’s sound wasn’t exactly what she wanted, but she had to follow what her record label wanted.
In 2007, Hilary Duff fought hard to be given a chance to showcase a different musical side. Her album Dignity was filled with nearly all songs that were co-written by Hilary and her longtime musical collaborator Kara DioGuardi. The album was a true departure from other music that Hilary had released in the past, and critics noticed.
It came at a pivotal time in her personal life, and the song content certainly reflected that. She received generally positive reviews that commended her choice to make a dance-pop album that catered primarily to an older audience.
After an eight-year hiatus, Hilary Duff released her fifth studio album, Breathe In. Breathe Out. This marked her first time releasing an album with RCA Records. A mix of dance-pop, folk-pop, and EDM genres garnered praise from critics who also gave the album positive reviews.
The album debuted at #5 on the Billboard chart and included the singles “All About You,” “Chasing the Sun,” and “Sparks.” In 2016, and as recent as 2020, Hilary has released additional singles that have yet to be connected to any formal projects or records.
Hilary Duff, like any teen on Disney Channel, had her earlier romantic relationships heavily publicized by the press. As early as 2001, Hilary was in the tabloids for dating teen singer Aaron Carter. He would later appear opposite Hilary in an episode of Lizzie McGuire.
Over their three-year relationship, they got the most media attention when there were rumors that Carter was dating Lindsay Lohan at the same time that he was dating Hilary Duff. After Carter and Hilary officially broke up, the next guy she would enter into a relationship with would raise some eyebrows.
Hilary Duff started going out with Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden in 2004. Now, actresses and musicians forming a romantic relationship isn’t anything new. However, Hilary was only 16 when she dated the 25-year-old musician. After two years together and one compilation album, they broke up in 2006.
It’s worth noting that at no point during their relationship did the press or tabloids label their relationship illegal despite Hilary being under the legal age of consent. Only years after the fact did media outlets start commenting on the controversial age difference.
In 2007, Hilary Duff started going out with Mike Comrie, who played in the NHL for the Ottawa Senators. The two dated for three years before announcing their engagement in early 2010. Later that same year, Hilary and Comrie were married.
After one and a half years of married life, the couple welcomed a son named Luca in March 2012. Hilary was only 22 when she got married and 24 years old when she became a mother. She told reporters that being the first of her friends to have children did isolate her a bit.
But it had always been a dream of Hilary’s to be a mom, and after having been in show business since the age of 10, it felt like the right time. A couple of years after the birth of their son, Hilary and Comrie came out with a public statement announcing that they were separating.
Their separation lasted a year and focused on co-parenting their son. In early 2015, Hilary filed for divorce due to irreconcilable differences. She also requested primary custody of Luca, which she was granted when it was finalized in 2016.
After some brief flings, newly single mom Hilary Duff started seeing singer-songwriter Matthew Koma in 2017 after having worked together on her 2015 album, “Breathe In. Breathe Out.” After dating for nearly two years, the couple welcomed their first child together (and Hilary’s second), a daughter named Banks.
Hilary and Koma got engaged less than a year after Banks’ birth and were married by December 2019. Hilary gave birth to her third child (she and Koma’s second daughter together) in March 2021 at her own home. The couple named her Mae and announced her arrival on Instagram.
Hilary has been acting for more than two decades and has accumulated 78 total award nominations from both domestic and international outlets. The nominations honored her acting roles and her music career. Of the 78 nominations, Hilary has gone on to win 44 of them.
The majority of her wins were between 2003-2007, which is when she had the success of Lizzie McGuire, Metamorphosis, and a number of movies out all at the same time. Hilary has won four Teen Choice Awards, two Nickelodeon Kid Choice Awards, a Young Hollywood Award, and a Young Artist Award.
Hilary Duff was not always based out of Hollywood, California! She was born in Houston, Texas, which is still a big city! Growing up, she and her big sister Haylie shuttled between Houston and San Antonio, Texas, because this is where their father’s convenience stores were located.
As Hilary and Haylie grew older, they wanted to explore acting more seriously. After proving their seriousness and some convincing of their parents, Hilary, Haylie, and their mom relocated to California to break into the business. Hilary still lives in California, specifically Los Angeles, with her husband and three children.
The actress stands only 5 feet 2 inches tall, but her amount of skills measures much higher. Hilary Duff fans know about her long list of acting credits and her music credits, but a girl has got to spread her wings! And that’s exactly what Hilary did when she dived into the world of writing.
She chose to pen a paranormal romance novel for young adults in 2010. Hilary’s book focused on a young woman named Celia searching for her kidnapped father. The book’s title was “Elixir” and made it onto the New York Times best-seller list.
The success of the book prompted Hilary’s publishers to extend her book deal to include two additional installments to Celia’s story! The sequel “Devoted” was released in 2011, and the final book in the series, “True,” was published in 2013.
There were rumors that Hilary would continue writing for the Young Adult genre, but she assured readers that one series was enough for her. Frankly, she had figured that with the release of “True,” her writing career was finished, and what better way to exit the writing game than with a hit series?
But she didn’t anticipate being stuck quarantining at home during a pandemic, which gave her a new perspective. In March 2021, Hilary published her first children’s picture book, “My Little Brave Girl,” which was inspired by her daughter Banks and the end of their breastfeeding journey.
Hilary tried to include themes of love and bravery into the book for mothers to read with their own daughters. The picture book was Hilary’s latest book after she finished her Young Adult series and her second time on the New York Times best-seller list, with a debut at the #8 spot.
Following the release of her movie Raise Your Voice and her Metamorphosis album, Hilary Duff put out her first clothing line in 2004. Aptly named “Stuff by Hilary Duff,” the line was available at Target and Kmart across the United States and other regional stores in Canada and South Africa.
The line included clothes, jewelry, fragrances, and even furniture. The line was eventually discontinued in 2008. According to Hilary, she cut off the line because she felt she no longer had enough creative control but hinted at a follow-up project.
Sure enough, Hilary delivered on her promise, and in early 2009, less than a year after discontinuing “Stuff by Hilary Duff,” she launched a clothing line entitled “Femme for DKNY.” The idea was to design clothes that fit the lifestyle of women who were the same age as Hilary.
This was a short-lived line, and it wouldn’t be until 2021 that Hilary dived back into the fashion world. She collaborated with a Canadian romper brand named Smash + Tess to put out a collection inspired by the clothing needs of a working mom and her own wardrobe.
Lizzie McGuire was the role that thrust Hilary Duff into the spotlight. But it also made getting hired after the show ended a bit of a challenge. As Hilary was going to her first castings post-Lizzie, she found herself having trouble breaking out of the “girl next door” typecasting that casting directors were trying to keep her in.
She had gotten into acting to push herself, and she didn’t want to continue playing the same kinds of parts. In 2008, Hilary was offered the starring role in the reboot of 90210.
In a pivotal move, she decided to decline the offer in an effort to move further away from her high school persona. Hilary decided to explore independent films to expand her job opportunities. The same year that she turned down the 90210 gig, Hilary signed on to play a promiscuous pop star in the satirical political movie War, Inc.
Not only was this a departure for Hilary when it came to the movie’s plot points, but it slated her alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names like John Cusack, Dan Aykroyd, Marisa Tomei, and Ben Kingsley.
Hilary found herself on a roll with several roles in other independent film productions. First up was 2009’s According to Greta. She starred as the titular character Greta who was a rebellious, suicidal teen. Opposite Evan Ross, Hilary impressed many critics with her depiction of such a tortured character.
After a heavier movie plot, Hilary followed up with a more comedic movie in Stay Cool which also featured Chevy Chase, Jon Cryer, and Winona Ryder. Critics were pretty harsh and claimed that it was trying to be like John Hughes’ ‘80s movies but fell really short.
Despite the fact that Hilary had originally turned down the chance to lead the 90210 reboot cast because it was too close to the high school teen persona she was trying to shed, she took a recurring guest star role on Gossip Girl.
In 2010, Hilary landed the lead role of Lane Daniels and was the executive producer of ABC Family’s original movie Beauty & the Briefcase. Hilary also guest-starred in shows like Community in 2010, Raising Hope in 2013, and Two and a Half Men also in 2013.
After Lizzie McGuire, Hilary Duff didn’t star in another series until 2015, when she joined the cast of Younger as Kelsey Peters. She starred opposite Sutton Foster, and the show went on to be one of the longest-running original series on TV Land’s network.
For her performance on the show, Hilary was nominated twice at the People’s Choice Awards. Younger ran on TV for seven seasons from 2015 to 2021. Hilary was very open in interviews about how thankful she was for the chance to play an edgier, adult role like Kelsey.
If two decades wasn’t enough time for Hilary Duff to separate herself from the girl-next-door image she earned from her Disney days, then her role in the 2019 film “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” did the trick. Hilary landed the role of Sharon Tate, the pregnant actress who was famously murdered by Charles Manson’s followers in 1969.
Many were surprised by the casting, but none more than Tate’s real-life sister, who openly criticized the concept of producing a movie that exploited the Manson murders. The Haunting of Sharon Tate won a few Independent Film awards despite its generally poor reviews.
Following in the footsteps of the other beloved ‘90s and early 2000s sitcoms, Lizzie McGuire fans were pushing for a reboot. And their pushing paid off when Disney+ announced that Hilary Duff had signed on to headline a reboot in August 2019.
At the age of thirty, the reboot was to follow Lizzie as she navigates work, relationships, friendship, and her animated alter ego (who didn’t seem to age beyond thirteen years old). The original cast joined Hilary as they took to Instagram to share how excited they were to return to working together and playing these iconic characters.
However, after they had already filmed a couple of episodes, it was clear that the cast wasn’t happy with the direction it was going in. Since audiences were being reintroduced to Lizzie when she’s 30, Hilary felt that the PG rating that came with streaming on Disney+ was too limiting and didn’t do her character justice.
There were discussions between producers, directors, and Disney+ to try and move the reboot over to Hulu to sidestep the rating issue, but in the end, the show was scrapped due to these creative differences.
With the Lizzie McGuire reboot thrown in the garbage, Hilary Duff fans were yearning for her to get picked up by another project. Their prayers were answered when reports came out in May 2020 that the producers had plans to make a spin-off of the show that centered around Hilary’s Younger character, Kelsey Peters.
However, after the series finale in June 2021, it became public that the Kelsey-centered spin-off was no longer on the table. But Hilary wasn’t too worried since the real reason the Kelsey spin-off never took off was that she had landed a role for a different spin-off!
The loyal fanbase of How I Met Your Mother was ecstatic to learn that the show was getting a long-awaited spin-off in 2021. And Hilary Duff’s fans were excited to see the actress join the famous franchise as the lead character Sophie.
The spin-off project, How I Met Your Father, will follow a similar setup as the original show, with Hilary’s character explaining to her kids through flashbacks how she met their dad. Filming began in August 2021 but was paused because Hilary tested positive for the COVID-19 Delta variant. It will resume when she finishes quarantine.