It’s been several years since Eva Longoria and her precocious TV daughter graced our screens in iconic ABC drama, Desperate Housewives. Yet, while Longoria (Gabrielle Solis) has managed to stay in the spotlight with roles in Empire and Dora and the Lost City of Gold, her on-set kiddo has largely avoided the public eye — despite some huge ties to the entertainment industry. Desperate Housewives came to an uncharacteristically low-key end way back in 2012, and the actress that portrayed the defiant, often hilarious Juanita Solis has grown up a whole lot since then.
Dallas-born actress Madison De La Garza is still best-known for her time on Wisteria Lane, but if she has her way, that won’t be the case for much longer. The ambitious starlet has big plans, and she’s determined to make them a reality in the near future. She now sports a whole new look and has become almost unrecognizable to her former fans. Keep reading to peep De La Garza’s changed appearance and to find out just what she’s been up to since saying goodbye to Desperate Housewives. What you learn may surprise you.
Desperate Housewives changed Madison De La Garza’s life
Desperate Housewives had already been on the air for four years when Madison De La Garza was added to the cast in 2008. By that time the show was a genuine cultural phenomenon, and joining the show was a big deal for the unknown actress. "[It] changed my life in a huge way," De La Garza, whose family had to leave Texas for California after she won the part of Juanita Solis, told My San Antonio. "People would walk up to me and ask, ‘Are you that girl in Desperate Housewives?’ It freaked me out at first."
Being approached by random strangers in the street will freak most children out, but De La Garza soon got used to the ebb and flow of celebrity life. "Now I know how lucky I am to have people recognize me like that," she said just before the last ever episode of Desperate Housewives aired. "It makes me feel warm and fuzzy."
Leaving Wisteria Lane was emotional for Madison De La Garza
Madison De La Garza spent so long pretending to be the daughter of Eva Longoria and her on-screen husband Ricardo Chavira (reformed ex-con Carlos Solis) that she felt a genuine bond with them by the time the curtain came down on Desperate Housewives. When she spoke with My San Antonio in 2012, De La Garza said that playing Juanita Solis wasn’t always easy (one particular scene in which her character got stuck on a rooftop was "so intense" that it actually left her "shaking"), but for the most part it was a pleasure — and she puts that down to Longoria and Chavira.
"I have so many good memories, but probably the best times were joking around with Eva and Ricardo," the actress said. "Ricardo — he’s so sweet to me. I always looked forward to working with him. He talks to me like a daughter." When the last ever episode of Desperate Housewives wrapped, De La Garza and her on-screen parents were barely able to contain their emotions. "I looked over and Eva was trying not to cry, and Ricardo was trying not to cry. Then I lost it [and] started crying so hard."
Demi Lovato is Madison De La Garza’s half-sister
If Madison De La Garza looks familiar to you, here’s why — the bubbly actress and pop star Demi Lovato are half-sisters. There’s a nine-year age gap between the two, but they couldn’t be closer. Speaking to Seventeen back in 2013, the Desperate Housewives alum revealed that, at the time, she and Lovato texted each other "constantly" and often shared jokes via their family group chat. "Whenever she sees a funny tweet, she’ll screenshot it and send it to our family group message, which includes our mom and our sister, Dallas," De La Garza said. "My phone is constantly going off just from that."
Despite the fact that they’re both famous, De La Garza and Lovato are actually just like regular sisters. "We get fro-yo and watch the ID channel — we’re obsessed — and we talk about anything and everything," De La Garza said. "I know I can trust her with it all." We absolutely love how close they are, but De La Garza was quick to remind Seventeen readers that having a pop star for a half-sibling does have its drawbacks. "I think when people say they wish Demi Lovato was their sister, they don’t realize how hard it is to be related to someone who’s constantly away on tour," she said. "But she’s good at making time for me."
Madison De La Garza been targeted by cruel cyber bullies
Criticism comes with the territory when you’re famous, but not every celebrity is willing to let online abuse slide. Demi Lovato is known for pulling no punches when it comes to cyber bullies, especially those who target her half-sister. During her interview with Seventeen, Madison De La Garza revealed that the "Skyscraper" singer lost it when cruel trolls started making fun of her online. "I got a ton of negative comments after I posted a Vine on Twitter where I was cooking with Demi," she said. "People made fun of me, saying I had a hunchback. Demi freaked and direct-messaged people to yell at them, and she tweeted at her followers to stand up for me."
De La Garza has scoliosis, a condition that causes a curvature of the spine. When one so-called fan of Lovato created a new Twitter handle that made fun of her half-sister’s appearance, the singer went on a NSFW rant (via Oh No They Didn’t), telling the offending user that she didn’t want to see their "piece of s*** a**" at her upcoming show. "Sometimes I wish she wouldn’t give people attention — I’ve learned not to — but when people hate on me, she can’t really hold back," De La Garza told Seventeen, adding, "She’s strong and she’s a free spirit, and that’s what I love about her."
How Madison De La Garza learned to love her body
Her famous half-sister is always in her corner when haters come after her, but according to Madison De La Garza, it’s hard not to take harsh words to heart. In a personal essay published by Latina, the actress revealed that she started getting awful insults like "fat," "ugly," and "slut" when she was as young as 6. "Once you start questioning the reality of vicious words, it’s hard to stop," De La Garza wrote (via HuffPost). "No matter how strong you are, repetition inevitably takes its toll on you. At an extremely young age, I started to think maybe the cruel voices were right."
De La Garza almost gave in to her insecurities, but with the help of Demi Lovato, she was able to rise above the hate and learn to love her body. "Like Demi told me, ‘At the end of the day, what others say about you doesn’t matter, what matters is how you cope with it and how you come out on the other side,’" the Desperate Housewives star said. "You are the only person who has to love you. After all, you only get one body — other people’s opinions shouldn’t interfere with the love you have for it." Amen to that. We can’t help but wonder how De La Garza would have coped if she didn’t have Lovato to lean on, but then again, that relationship has worked both ways…
Madison De La Garza was a Belieber
Even though Madison De La Garza was already a celebrity in her own right, that didn’t stop her from adorably fangirling over pop star Justin Bieber during a red carpet interview at the premiere of Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (2010). In the adorable moment, De La Garza tried to keep it professional, stressing how impressed she is with Bieber’s talent before finally giving in and agreeing with the interviewer that, yes, he is, indeed, "super cute."
It’s nice to know even celebrities aren’t immune to having an embarrassing stash of childhood videos for a parent to whip out at just the right moment for maximum humiliation, and no, we’re not speaking from experience about our 15th birthday party. Why would you ask that?
Madison De La Garza uses social media wisely
With more than a million followers between her Instagram and Twitter pages, De La Garza has cultivated her stardom into a loyal fanbase. Like any teen, her pages are filled with selfies and group photos with friends, and of course, adorable throwback family pics like the one of her and Demi (above) that she posted to celebrate her big sis’ birthday. De La Garza also uses her platform to promote causes she supports, such as The National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Surprisingly, she doesn’t seem to have an official Facebook page, as of this writing, so either kids are too cool for that now, or she reads all of her grumpy older relatives’ political gripes elsewhere.
Madison De La Garza flexes her industry muscles on YouTube
When Desperate Housewives concluded in 2012, Madison De La Garza moved on to roles on a few short-lived show, including Bad Teacher (2014), a TV adaptation of the 2011 movie; and Muertoons (2014-15), a cartoon that takes place in a world where "every day is Día de los Muertos [The Day of the Dead]."
She also staked a claim in the emerging world of new media. She relaunched her YouTube channel, declaring aspirations in many fields: acting, directing, producing, writing, as even special effects makeup. Her videos range from makeup tutorials, to Q&As, to confessional-style stories, to The Imbalancing Act, a short film that De La Garza wrote — at just 15-years-old, which is all kinds of impressive.
Though she didn’t get the music bug, De La Garza is following in the footsteps of both her TV family–actor/director/producer Longoria–and her real family — triple-threat Lovato — to create her own multi-faceted path in the entertainment biz.
Madison De La Garza helped Demi Lovato turn her life around
Demi Lovato’s problems with addiction have been well documented. It’s been a rocky road for the singer, but her little half-sis has been a light for her in dark times. Back in 2013 (the same year Lovato’s book Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year was released), the pop star revealed the vital role Madison De La Garza played in helping her kick the drink and the drugs. "The last time that I had an intervention, it was my management, my entire team, manager, lawyers, everyone and my parents coming into a room saying if you don’t get sober — my mom specifically said, ‘You know, we’re going to move back to Texas and you’re not going to be able to be around your little sister,’" Demi told Access in a joint interview with her mom, Dianna De La Garza.
Drugs and alcohol weren’t the only problems — Demi was also dealing with an eating disorder and suffering from depression. It got to the point where her mom decided she was no longer fit to be in the company of her younger half-sister. "I had to set an example for Madison," Dianna told the outlet. "I had to protect her and [Demi] knew that. […] That’s when the big turnaround happened. It happened that night, that very night." Demi was able to sort herself out for a while but, sadly, her big turnaround didn’t last.
Madison De La Garza’s heartwarming response to Demi Lovato’s apparent overdose
In 2018, Demi Lovato released "Sober," a track that revealed she’d fallen off the wagon after six years of sobriety. In July of that year, law enforcement sources revealed to TMZ that the troubled star had been "rushed to an L.A. hospital after suffering what appears to be a heroin overdose." The apparent overdose took place just weeks before Lovato’s 26th birthday. A grateful De La Garza took to Instagram on Lovato’s big day and told her followers how happy she was that she didn’t have to spend the day grieving her half-sister.
"Today could have been one of the worst days of my life, but instead I get to spend it thanking God, the incredible doctors, Demi’s team, and everyone across the world who offered their support — without all of these people I wouldn’t have my big sister anymore," she captioned an adorable childhood pic of the pair. "I’ve been thinking about how I wish that everyone could see the silly little things that she does […], those little things make up my sister — not a singer, not a celebrity, and definitely not what she’s been described as in the media," De La Garza continued. "She’s a daughter, a friend, and my big sister… and I am so, so thankful that I can tell her happy birthday." They may be half-sisters, but the love they share couldn’t be more whole.
Madison De La Garza had a stylish Sweet 16
In December 2017, De La Garza celebrated her birthday with a sweet 16 bash attended by her closest friends and family, including, of course, big sis Demi Lovato. According to People, Lovato shared the festivities on Snapchat, which included "a three-tiered blue confection from Cold Stone Creamery," as well as dancing to the hottest current tunes.
The starlet sisters used the occasion to show off their hip fashion sense with Lovato sporting "a lacy black bra-top and navy and gold-striped blazer," and De La Garza rocking "a sleeveless silk white romper with plunging neckline and removable sheer skirt." Teen Vogue also reported that De La Garza kept it very on-trend by pairing her twinkling tiara with Millennial Pink eyeshadow.
De La Garza commemorated the occasion with a bunch of Instagram photos that she captioned, "i’ve never felt so blessed having all the people i love in one big room… thank you for the best Sweet 16 ever!" Aw!
Demi Lovato showed up at Madison De La Garza’s high school graduation
Madison De La Garza celebrated Lovato’s 26th birthday on social media, and the singer returned the favor when her little half-sibling graduated from high school in 2019, calling it a "proud sister moment" in her Instagram stories. The "Sorry Not Sorry" singer cheered De La Garza on as she was handed her diploma, though, surprisingly, not many people seemed to notice that she was there. "Imagine going to a graduation and seeing Demi Lovato yelling at her sister who’s graduating and STILL not freaking out that DEMI F****** LOVATO is right over there?" one bemused fan tweeted along with a since-deleted video from the event. "Do all those people be living under rocks?"
The day was an extra special one for De La Garza because her "popo" also turned up to mark the occasion. "I’m still in shock," she said in a tweet. "My popo surprised me and flew out all the way from Texas to see me graduate. He hasn’t been back in LA for over 60 years. I’ve never felt so loved and so blessed."
Does Madison De La Garza have a future with Cirque du Soleil?
What exactly is aerial gymnastics? Good question. It’s that Cirque du Soleil-type of stuff where people use big drapes hanging from the ceiling to flip around and spin, all while somehow not barfing everywhere. It’s very impressive, and Madison De La Garza definitely loves it. Of her acrobatic pastime, she said, "No. 1: I just have a passion for it. It’s so fun, and it’s a great workout, and No. 2: it’s awesome. No one says that they’re a circus performer. That’s just so cool."
Technically, circus performers would say that they’re circus performers, but that’s beside the point. De La Garza has been at this for years. Her mom even posted a video of her performing a routine set to big sis Demi Lovato’s "Nightengale" to YouTube in 2013.
In May 2018, Madison De La Garza marked another teenage milestone when she attended the prom with her classmate and fellow actor, Reed Shannon (above). According to the Daily Mail, the two aspiring star teens attend Brighton Hall, an exclusive, "private college preparatory school in Burbank" that costs $14,500 per year to attend and only has "98 students and eight teachers."
While De La Garza is an active member of the Brighton Hall’s student council, even using her large social media presence to promote the student government’s awareness efforts and fundraiser for global clean water, on prom night it was all fun. De La Garza shared several cute moments from the evening on her Instagram, like traditional group photos of friends all snazzed up for the occasion, while Shannon got a little risque when he shared a video of himself stealing a smooch on the cheek from his date. Sounds like these two had a blast!
Madison De La Garza is studying scriptwriting
With high school out of the way, Madison De La Garza is began the next chapter of her life — university. The former Desperate Housewives star enrolled at Chapman University, which accepted her into its scriptwriting program. "I started writing scripts at a really young age, and I tried a lot of different avenues," De La Garza told the Chapman Prowl. "It hit me when I applied to college: the best way for me to make any kind of difference or social change was to be a screenwriter, so that was the avenue I had to take."
De La Garza told the university publication that she wants to write science fiction (she called Black Mirror and The Twilight Zone her "biggest inspirations"), but her main goal is to make films about mental health. "That’s the best way to get rid of stereotypes," she said. "The industry is guilty for creating a lot of stereotypes, but the industry can also break them."
The actress-turned-writer has already pitched an idea for a children’s TV show to a network, and even though it didn’t end up getting greenlit, she enjoyed the process a lot more than auditioning for roles. "That’s when I knew this was the path for me," she added. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with. Desperate Housewives in space, anyone? Eva Longoria told Fox News that she’s totally game for a reboot, so you never know.
You don’t have to worry about Madison De La Garza post child stardom
More than a few child stars have gone off the rails once they’ve reached adulthood (look no further than Demi Lovato), but that certainly hasn’t been the case for Madison De La Garza. She’s done everything a regular teenager would do, and she’s handled the pressures of growing up in the industry with real grace. During her candid chat with the Chapman Prowl, the nose-ring sporting young woman said that getting into acting as a kid actually made her a better person. "Some of my favorite qualities I attribute to the industry," she said. "I’ve always been mature, I take direction pretty easily, I’m well behaved when I need to be, and I’m also very comfortable on a set. If I wasn’t working on a set, then I was visiting my sister on her set, and so that environment is very comforting to me."
The down-to-earth Texan revealed her best memory from her time on Desperate Housewives during the interview, and it goes to show just how close a bond she had with her on-screen mother. "We all kind of knew that the end was coming and I’ll never forget, Eva said, ‘Thank you for being the best daughter I could have ever had.’ She whispered that into my ear and that was her goodbye. That’s my favorite memory, I’ll never forget that." How sweet is that? Admit it, you want that Desperate Housewives reboot as much as we do!