Here's What Aly & AJ Michalka Are Up To Now

In the early 2000s, Disney Channel stars were as famous to teens as Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were to adults. Actors and musicians like Raven-Symoné, Zac Efron, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and the Jonas Brothers all had a major influence on the youth of America, and all of those former Disney stars are still very much part of the entertainment industry today. The Disney machine has sent many who can successfully navigate the rocky waters of child stardom onto robust performance careers in adulthood.

Not all Disney stars are quite so successful, though. Some remain best known for their work as child stars, while others step away from the industry altogether. Aly and AJ Michalka, the sisters behind the band Aly & AJ (known for their work on the movie "Cow Belles") are a unique example. They've been successful in acting and music since leaving Disney, but they're not superstars like some of their peers. Fans following their careers might have seen some of their acting projects or streamed one of their new albums, but for most people, this duo has likely faded into a distant, albeit pleasant, memory. For everyone wondering where their favorite teen pop duo went, here's what Aly and AJ Michalka are up to today.

Aly and AJ changed their band name

If it seemed as though Aly & AJ fell off the face of the earth in the early 2010s, it's not because the band wasn't active — quite the contrary. In 2009, the sisters changed their band name from Aly & AJ to 78violet, perhaps in an effort to show that they, and their sound, had matured. 

Unfortunately, the band didn't release much music under their new band name, and ultimately an album that was supposed to be produced under Hollywood Records was shelved. The sisters later left Hollywood Records. "Now that it's official, we can tell you we're no longer a part of Hollywood Records ... Now we have the freedom to take 78violet in the direction we want. We're writing and recording new music and are really excited on what's next," Aly and AJ shared on Facebook.

About four years later, 78violet returned with the promise of new music and some live shows. "We couldn't be more ready or excited to introduce our amazing fans to the new and evolved sound behind 78Violet. These two upcoming shows will allow us to share a small taste of the alternative pop vibe that you'll hear on the album in an organic and up close and personal setting," the girls shared in a press release, as reported by Billboard. However, it would be a few more years before fans saw significant new work from the duo.

The sisters had a second stalking incident

Being a celebrity can be dangerous. In 2010, a 25-year-old man was arrested in California after he reportedly came to Aly and AJ's home, violating his restraining order (per TMZ). According to Aly, the man wanted to marry her "no matter what." The stalker pleaded not guilty at his subsequent court appearance.

That wasn't the first incident of stalking the sisters had faced, however. In 2008, while Aly Michalka and AJ Michalka were still very prominent figures in the Disney world, a 42-year-old man from Lancaster, Ohio, was charged with a felony count of stalking. "[The stalker] displayed a pattern of activity over that time that reflected multiple attempts, if not numerous attempts, at stalking these females," Detective Nick Snyder said, as reported by Knox News. At the time, Aly & AJ were on tour with Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana. 

Aly Michalka co-starred in an Emma Stone film

As a Disney actor, Aly Michalka appeared in the series "Phil of the Future," as well as the films "Now You See It..." and "Cow Belles." Like many teen stars, however, she started taking on roles outside the Disney machine as an adult, shedding her adolescent persona in favor of a more mature image. Among these projects were the CW series "Hellcats" and the Leighton Meester-Minka Kelly horror film "The Roommate."

Of all Aly's projects from that time, however, the one that stands out most is the 2010 teen comedy "Easy A," starring Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, and Amanda Bynes. The film was met with critical acclaim and served as one of Stone's breakout roles. "Easy A" was loved by AJ, too. "I remember really enjoying being on the set because A, I liked the people a lot. Like all the cast was really fun. And B, I also liked seeing Aly exercise her comedy chops as much as she was able to in that movie, which [she] hadn't fully done yet in a film," AJ said to E! News about her sister's work on the film.

AJ Michalka was cast in a popular sitcom

Although AJ and Aly Michalka are involved in many aspects of each other's careers, they also have separate projects, particularly in the acting world. AJ's acting career began before her sister's, with some of her earliest work including parts on soap operas and eventually, of course, "Cow Belles." 

In 2014, AJ's acting career hit a new high when she landed a part in the sitcom "The Goldbergs." She was cast as Lainey Lewis, the girlfriend of another character in the series. The part proved successful for AJ as she was a recurring character throughout the show's run, and even reprised her role for the spin-off series "Schooled."

AJ was happy to join the cast for more work when she was asked, she told Screen Rant. "Whenever they ask me to come back, I always say yes if I can do it ... My dream is that I'll be in the show finale. I hope that Alex and Chris and the whole team of The Goldbergs family can really honor that and make my dream come true. I would at least want to be in the final moments," AJ said. Unfortunately, that dream wasn't realized as AJ wasn't featured in the series finale – but she did get to appear in one episode in the final season.

Aly Michalka got married

In 2015, Aly Michalka experienced a major change in her personal life. The actor and musician married Stephen Ringer, a cinematographer, one year after announcing their engagement. Michalka was fairly coy about her engagement when it first happened, initially posting a series of subtle photos of herself wearing the engagement ring on Instagram, before later prominently showing off the ring in its own post

The couple wed in Portofino, Italy, surrounded by family and friends, with Aly wearing a lavender wedding gown designed by Monique Lhuillier. "I never would have imagined I'd be wearing a non traditional wedding dress color on my special day....I LOVED every minute of it!" Michalka wrote on Instagram.

Nearly 10 years later, Michalka and Ringer are still together. Michalka marked their seventh anniversary with a special tribute to her husband on social media. "7 Years ago I married my Best Friend & Muse....I still remember our wedding day like it was yesterday[.] I still remember falling in love with you like it was yesterday[.] I still remember our first encounter that made you laugh like it was yesterday[.] There is no one I adore more in this world than you," Michalka wrote on Instagram.

They returned to the music scene under their old band name

In 2015, Aly Michalka and AJ Michalka returned to the music scene as Aly & AJ, resurrecting their original band name. "To be completely honest, I think we were trying to figure out what our voice was as adult women," Aly said to CBS News of the change, noting that the two had to find their identities after leaving Disney.

A couple of years after their name change announcement, Aly & AJ revealed that they were ready to reenter the music scene, starting by releasing their single "Take Me." "Aly and I felt personally discouraged by music in general. We still had so much to prove to people, even though we had made a mark in the industry. It honestly was overwhelming," AJ stated in a press release, as reported by Entertainment Weekly

Shortly afterward, Aly & AJ dropped their first music compilation in over 10 years, an EP aptly named "Ten Years," "I'm just really happy that people still care after ten years," AJ said to DuJour of their return to music. "I think our souls would've been crushed if we didn't have the positive response we've gotten," Aly said.

They opened up about mental health

According to Mental Health America, nearly 20% of adult Americans experience mental illness. Both Aly Michalka and AJ Michalka fall into that statistic. The women detailed their experiences in a 2019 interview, with Aly sharing that she had first struggled with her mental health while she was on the set of the Disney Channel series "Phil of the Future." 

"After describing my symptoms in detail, taking a mental health assessment test, speaking about my overall daily routine and sleep habits we came to the conclusion that going on a low dose of anti-depressants might help. What followed was a breakthrough. The following months felt like the sun was finally shining on me for the first time in ages," Aly said to Paper Magazine.

AJ noted that in the following year, she began experiencing similar symptoms, and that with the help of their parents, she was able to find a treatment that works for her, too. AJ further explained that the sisters have found solace in each other. "We consider ourselves very blessed to have come out the other side. But it is a continual and daily struggle for us both," she said.

Aly & AJ got political

Some artists are afraid to get involved in politics, but Aly and AJ Michalka aren't. In 2020, the sisters got very political, and they used their music to further the causes they believed in. 

That year, Aly & AJ compiled a full-length album, "We Don't Stop." The final song, which served as the album's second single, "Joan of Arc on the Dance Floor," had a message important to the band. "We wanted to write something that felt very anthemic and would be able to lift people up, make them feel like they could be warriors, in whatever way that is — whether that's standing up for their religious beliefs, their sexuality, their rights," Aly said of the song (via Lithium Magazine).

Before recording the song, the sisters had already shown their support for causes like GLAAD, The Trevor Project, The Red Cross, and more, and that same year, they showed support for Black Lives Matter and threw their names behind Joe Biden in the presidential election. In 2021, Aly & AJ encouraged youth in Georgia to vote in the run-off election. "They always kind of say, 'We don't need to hear from you, shut up, you're just a singer, go back to what you do well.' But I think that what our duty is, as musicians, is to speak about [political causes]. That is our art, that is our art form, and we're citizens in society, just like anyone else," Aly said.

They re-recorded one of their old hits

Although Aly and AJ Michalka both started as actors, they've been just as well-known for their music throughout their careers in entertainment. Their debut album, "Into the Rush," was released in 2005, and their 2007 album, "Insomniatic," featured hits that Aly & AJ are still known for to this day, including "Like Whoa," "Chemicals React," and "Potential Breakup Song." 

The duo had an especially unique relationship with "Potential Breakup Song," as it became their defining hit. For a while, Aly & AJ steered clear of the song, but in 2021, they re-recorded it after it surged in popularity on TikTok. "In our early twenties, if you said, 'Hey, will you sing the song?' We'd kind of be like — roll our eyes. And we've kind of revamped it in this new way. So, it's actually really cool," Aly said to CBS News.

The re-recording included some production changes and a few new song lyrics, making it explicit, and it led to Aly & AJ re-recording "Like Whoa" and "Chemicals React," as well. "It's been a blessing that "Potential Breakup Song" has gotten this new moment. Like that happened authentically and in a really cool way," AJ said to Entertainment Weekly about the renewed interest in their old hit.

Aly & AJ released two new albums

2021 and 2023 were busy years for Aly and AJ Michalka. The sisters released two albums in three years, starting with 2021's "a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun." Aly & AJ recorded the album at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they credit the album's creation with giving them a sense of normalcy during an unusual couple of years.

The sisters also noted that their care for political and social causes was imbued into the album. "There are love songs on the album, but the record is really authentic and carries a lot of depth and weight that I think people are going to feel refreshed listening to. Also a lot of positivity and optimism behind it," AJ told Entertainment Weekly ahead of the album's release.

In 2023, Aly & AJ released "With Love From," their fifth studio album. "It feels like we never left, in a way, but it also feels like a rebirth. It's been a very long road for us to get our flowers in a way, but I think we're receiving them now, and we're very grateful for it," Aly said to People. The band also went on multiple tours, one after their 2021 album and another after their 2023 album.

Aly Michalka announced her pregnancy

In early 2024, after nearly nine years of marriage, Aly Michalka announced via social media that she's expecting her first child with her husband, Stephen Ringer. "We found out the morning of our sold-out show at The Greek Theatre back in September. Our little one has been on stage with me across three states already and has even done some international traveling!" Aly said on Instagram

Plenty of fans and friends sent Aly well wishes via her post, including former Disney star Ashley Tisdale, while Aly's sister, AJ Michalka, shared her good wishes on her own page. "The moments captured on this stage now mean even more to me than they did before ... I already know you're going to be the most loving, dedicated and encouraging parents to this little one. I can't wait to be an auntie," AJ wrote on Instagram.

As for the duo's professional lives, both sisters appeared on an episode of "The Good Doctor" in 2022, and Aly has a role in the film "Killing Winston Jones" alongside Danny Glover, Richard Dreyfuss, and Jon Heder that, as of this writing, is not yet released. Aly & AJ's most recent tour concluded in September 2023, and as of now, the band does not have any upcoming shows. However, given their renewed dedication to their music careers, it's likely it won't be long before fans hear from them again.