Patrick Swayze ignited my hormones, Robin Hood stole my heart, but it was a certain adorable child star in the ‘90s that will always have the title of my first official celebrity crush and that is Jonathan Taylor Thomas. He is also known to those my age as simply JTT.
A few years before Backstreet Boys basically became my reason for breathing, my Tiger Beat and Bop buying was for one guy and that’s JTT. Around that same time, I was watching the likes of ‘Saved by the Bell’ and ‘90210’ and while all those men were attractive, my crush on JTT seemed bigger to me because he wasn’t this grown-ass man. JTT was a kid my age and it felt like I was just crushing on the cutest boy at school as opposed to someone like Zack Morris and Dylan McKay…both of which could have been my legal guardian at the time.
So I watched ‘Home Improvement’ with little hearts in my eyes for years, and I religiously tuned in every week until Randy Taylor decided to up and leave early in the final season.
Can I just say 1998 was NOT a great year for my generation? Ginger Spice fucking left us hanging in May when she announced she was leaving the Spice Girls, and then come September, Randy Taylor decided a year-long environmental study program was worth breaking the hearts of millions. Clearly, THIS was the year millennials’ trust and abandonment issues began.
Anyways, trauma aside, JTT was 100% the first celebrity I was a little obsessive over in terms of crushes and it wasn’t just Randy Taylor. Oh no, I sat through some Mark Twain when he was in ‘Tom and Huck’ and watched the horrors of ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio.’ All his movie choices obviously weren’t weird though as he was possibly the cutest boy to have ever existed in ‘Man of the House,’ and then teamed up with another ‘90s Tiger Beat Centerfold Icon, Devon Sawa, for ‘Wild America.’ And yes, he was motherfucking Simba but I’m going to be real, it was Jason Weaver singing for Simba that made that character pop.
Aside from the content, JTT left the world with, what I love about my crush on him is that it’s in no way unique. Having a crush on JTT is as normal to a ‘90s kid as collecting the asinine things known as Pogs. JTT was an iconic first crush for many, a moment, and three letters that instantly mean something to people my age.