What happened to Jonathan Taylor Thomas?

JTT at ShoWest '96
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

With a face no nineties kid could forget and his poster on several bedroom walls, Jonathan Taylor, also known as JTT, is an actor who made a significant impact at the height of his fame. However, since he departed from the iconic show Home Improvement, Thomas has shied away from the spotlight for quite a long while, and here’s why.

Thomas began his career in the 1990 series The Bradys, which was a spin-off of the extremely popular sitcom The Brady Bunch. The following year, in 1991, he was cast in the sketch comedy series In Living Color, but only appeared in three episodes. His acting career took a turn for the skies later that year when he was cast as Randy Taylor in the sitcom Home Improvement. The show was a massive success across the country, and Thomas, who remained on the show well into his teenage years, had become the nation’s heartthrob.

Thomas’ growing fame eventually landed him the coveted voice role of Young Simba in Disney’s The Lion King. By the late nineties, Taylor was running back and forth between the set of Home Improvement — which ran until 1999 — and every other film he had booked. These films include: Man of The House, Tom and Huck, The Adventures of Pinocchio, and I’ll Be Home for Christmas.

Home Improvement departure

Jonathan Taylor Thomas in Home Improvement
Image via ABC

Thomas made a huge decision in 1998 that left a lot of his fans confused. He announced he was leaving Home Improvement to focus on his education. As the public had watched him grow into a teenager on television, many were upset. In the eighth and final season of the show, he had been reduced to a guest star, appearing only a few times. His decision not to return for the series finale fueled rumors that he had left the show on sour terms.

The New York Post had reported in 1999 that his co-stars Patricia Richardson and Tim Allen were upset at Thomas’ departure from Home Improvement. Richardson said to TV Guide that his exit left a “pretty sore point around here,” while Allen was “confused” about him not returning for the finale, especially since he booked other roles while still in school.

“I was a little confused at why he didn’t want to do this whole year. He said it was about going to school, but then he did some films. Did he want to do films? Did he want to go to school?”

Thomas explained to PEOPLE in 2013 why he made the decision to leave the show, admitting he needed a break, and time to pursue other goals. 

“I’d been going nonstop since I was 8 years old. I wanted to go to school, travel, and have a bit of a break. 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.”

Thomas attended three top universities during his time away from heavy acting; Harvard, St. Andrews, and Columbia University. He graduated with an advanced degree in General Studies at Columbia University in 2010. In the 2010s, he switched gears and took the director’s seat behind the camera, and directed three episodes of Last Man Standing. These were “Haunted House,” “Hard-Ass Teacher,” and “Eve’s Band.” 

What is Jonathan Taylor up to now?

Taylor is reportedly working with his former co-star Zachary Ty Bryan, and Macaulay Culkin on a new project. Bryan revealed this in a chat with Access, claiming they are “moving forward” with the project. 

“We’re in talks of collaborating with Macauley Culkin and his Bunny Ears brand … we kind of came up with a concept, and presented it to them, and it looks like we’re moving forward.”

Although it seemed like leaving Home Improvements was a career-killer for Thomas, who’d all but disappeared from Hollywood, he sits as a Board Member on the SAG-AFTRA Union (The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists).

In 2021, Page Six announced that the former heartthrob had been photographed for the first time in eight years. Nowadays, the 40- year-old actor is taking his private time seriously and is getting all the family time he needs. Since he has no social media accounts, we can only wait till the next time we can catch another glimpse of Taylor.

About the author


Demi Phillips

When he’s not out exploring the underground music scene, Demilade Phillips covers entertainment news and other exciting topics for We Got This Covered. He scored his Bachelor’s in International Relations and has been writing for almost a decade on the things he’s most passionate about: music, black excellence, anime, and pop culture.