Maybe it is the attention or the money and fame at an early age, but for many, becoming a child star doesn’t mean a prosperous or happy future awaits. Some have had their earnings stolen from them by their parents or shady agents/managers (who are sometimes also their parents) while others have the having-it-all syndrome leading them to drugs, alcohol or run-ins with the law.
Whatever the cause, judging by these 10 examples, being famous when young is probably not the best thing to happen. Maybe the old wisdom of “don’t peak too fast” is true.
We all have a friend that was super-popular in high school and is now frozen in that place and unable to move on. Ironically, often the most-popular or coolest people aren’t doing much that is awesome now.
This ultimate 1980s star of decade classics like “The Lost Boys,” “Stand By Me” and “The Goonies” had a tortured relationship with mega popstar Michael Jackson and claims to have begun the trend of child actors emancipating from their greedy parents. At age 15, Feldman was granted his freedom, but it came at a price. After claiming he had earned more than $1 million, it turned out only about $40,000 was left. Feldman has since recovered from his rocky Hollywood saga and used his experiences to help others by bringing to light the common abuse of child stars by adults.
“The Parent Trap,” “Mean Girls” and “Herbie: Fully Loaded” starlet is no stranger to getting loaded herself. After two DUI arrests and several stints in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, Lohan is now maybe getting the message. As of May 28, Lohan completed 125 hours of community service per a judge’s orders for her conviction on a reckless driving charge in Los Angeles in 2012.
Talk about going from cute child star to just plain weird. The “Home Alone” star has gone from charming America as the little boy left at home, twice somehow, to retiring from acting in 1994. Most recently, Culkin began headlining a cheese-themed band called The Pizza Underground and walked off stage during a show last year while performing a kazoo solo.
Her role in “American Graffiti” sadly came true for Phillips as she just seemed to grow up too fast. She later appeared in the sitcom “One Day At A Time,” but her personal life has haunted her as she struggled with drug addiction and abuse. Phillips also wrote in her 2009 memoir that she carried on a 10-year sexual relationship with her father, The Mamas & The Papas musician John Phillips, after originally calling it consensual.
LILLO BRANCATO JR.
This child actor obviously never saw his first movie “A Bronx Tale” or listened to its famous line and message that “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” Brancato later appeared on the HBO drama “The Sopranos,” but was arrested and served prison time for a 2005 shooting in the Bronx that left an off-duty police officer dead.
This former television and movie actress has struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. She also accused her father of sexual abuse on Twitter and was arrested for a second DUI in 2014. Shortly after the tweet, Bynes admitted her father had not, in fact, molested her — but that he had planted a microchip in her brain that forced the accusation.
This child star was the constant foil in several incarnations of the teen television sitcom “Saved By the Bell,” as Samuel “Screech” Powers. Since then, Diamond has made a sex tape called “Screeched: Saved By the Smell” — though he claimed it was not his body in the tryst but that of a stunt double. He also released an inside-dish book called “Behind the Bell” on the naughty behaviors of the “SBTB” cast and crew and in 2014 was arrested for possession of a switchblade he is accused of pulling during a bar fight in Wisconsin in which a man was stabbed.
This former “Baywatch” actor, who played David Hasselhoff’s son on the show, became addicted to methamphetamine and was arrested in a raid on a lab he was connected to. Jackson has claimed he’s been totally sober since 2000. In 2008, he, too, released a sex tape, though he said he was forced into giving up the the recording by men who allegedly represented his costar Sky Lopez so it could be sold.
Another really cute young kid who turned out pretty weird, Muniz was the eponymous protagonist of the television sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle.” Not only did he turn out weird-looking as an adult, in 2011, Muniz was also accused of hitting his girlfriend, and police removed a pistol from his home after a domestic violence call.
Bonaduce became famous as Danny Partridge in the 1970s sitcom “The Partridge Family.” Though his high-profile arrests — which include being picked up for buying cocaine prior to a D.A.R.E. anti-drug event — did little to keep him out of the spotlight. He has since made many other TV appearances and now is a radio host.
Another child star gone from cute to weird, Cyrus appeared on Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana.” Since she has gone from adorable to just plain odd with her increasingly bizarre public behavior and outbursts … not to mention crazy and reveling costumes and crazy hairstyles.
Noah Zuss is a reporter for TheBlot Magazine.