Ever since Walt Disney cast Bobby Driscol to star in “The Song of the South” waaay back in 1946, the studio’s roster of juvenile talent has always had an unusual knack for getting into trouble. Whether it was bitter rivalries, nude photo scandals, drugs, homelessness–or just being a plain, big ol’ mess, the Disney kids have seen and done it all. Here are some of the big scandals that made Mickey Mouse blush:
1. Bobby Driscol
A prolific child actor, Bobby Driscol was considered Disney’s “first child star” and headlined classics like “Treasure Island” and “Peter Pan.” He even received a Juvenile Oscar in 1950 for an “outstanding performance in feature films.” By the mid-'50s, Bobby had become addicted to drugs and his contract with Disney was terminated. In 1956, he was arrested on a felony narcotic charge. "I was 17 when I first experimented with the stuff,” Bobby explained to the LA Times. “In no time I was using whatever was available... mostly heroin, because I had the money to pay for it.” He was found dead at the age of 31 in an abandoned apartment building on New York’s Lower East Side in 1968. Bobby’s body wasn’t claimed for almost two years.
2. Annette Funicello
Annette Funicello was actually a good girl in a body born to be bad. Viewers across America instantly fell in love with the Italian-American tween, whose obvious onset of puberty troubled Walt Disney–and delighted countless teen-age boys. Well past the age of consent, Walt Disney insisted that Annette cover up her navel in 1963’s “Beach Party,” wearing what may be the most modest two-piece ever designed. By 1964’s “Muscle Beach Party,” Annette had thrown caution to the wind, her belly button finally liberated for the world to see.
3. Johnny Crawford
While Annette may have been forced to keep her not-so-naughty bits covered-up by Uncle Walt, another original Mouseketeer, Johnny Crawford, had no qualms about taking it ALL off in front of the cameras in the 1973 quasi-porn flick, “The Naked Ape.” Produced by Hugh Hefner and co-starring Victoria Principal, “The Naked Ape” is described by Turner Classic Movies as “the evolution of mankind, with a primary focus on sexuality… examined through various stories, sketches, and animated sequences.” Johnny also holds the dubious honor of being the first man to be appear 100 percent buck-naked in Playboy magazine.
4. Monet Monico
With a promising singing career and stints on “The Suite Life with Zach and Cody,” teenaged Monet Monico appeared to be living the Disney dream. But by her 21st birthday, Monet had become a homeless heroin addict. “You’re living in a park, bathing in a public bathroom,” Dr. Phil chided her during an appearance on his show. But Monet was unmoved. “All I care about is getting high.” Monet’s mother, who hadn’t seen her in six months, broke down in tears as she watched a videotape of her daughter smoking and shooting up heroin in the backseat of a car.
5. Lindsay Lohan
Once one of the brightest stars to ever come out of the Disney roster, Lindsay Lohan has spent much of the past decade in and out of jail, rehab, and bad movies. With at least six mug shots to her credit, and hoping to get her life back on track, the “Mean Girls” star has finally–desperately–reached out to Oprah Winfrey for help. But even Oprah has her limits. “You need to cut the bullsh-t, you really do,” Oprah told a drawn-looking Lindsay after she failed to cooperate with the documentary’s production crew. “Just cut the f--king bullsh-t.”
6. Joe Jonas
Taylor Swift has (allegedly) written at least three songs about Joe Jonas’ caddish behavior, but that’s the least worrisome of his misdeeds. He ratted-- or moused-- out fellow Disney stars Demi Lavato and Miley Cyrus for smoking marijuana with him when he was “17 or 18.” Joe made the pot-puffing declaration in an interview with New York magazine, where he also blamed the Disney marketing machine for insisting on perfection and purity. “We didn’t want to disappoint anyone—our parents, our fans, our employers—so we put incredible pressure on ourselves, the kind of pressure that no teenager should be under.”
7. Demi Lovato
One of Disney’s busiest stars, Demi Lovato starred in both “Camp Rock” and her own sitcom, “Sunny with a Chance,” and has sold over 8 million albums worldwide. Yet in 2010, she withdrew from her tour with the Jonas Brothers, citing “physical and emotional issues.” She later admitted to a host of problems, including bulimia, cutting, “self-medicating,” and “a nervous breakdown.” But Demi, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, has rebounded nicely. Since getting treatment, she landed a gig as a contributing editor of Seventeen and served as a judge on “X Factor."
8. Dylan Sprouse
Dylan Sprouse, a self-described “laid-back” kind of guy, went from being best known as one half of the towheaded twin tweens on the wildly popular “Suite Life of Zack and Cody,” to nude selfie king overnight. But Dylan took the scandal in stride, tweeting fans, “Whoops, guess I’m not 14 and fat anymore.” Dylan, whose Twitter bio notes that he’s a “child actor who didn't do meth” and a “n00d pic dealer,” quickly apologized for his overexposure back in December. “I messed up…but I’d be a fool not to own up to it.”
9. Miley Cyrus
In previous years, we have seen Miley Cyrus pose topless for Terry Richardson, smoke salvia on videotape and shamelessly twerk on Robin Thicke. But back in 2008, when she was just 15 and at the height of her “Hanna Montana” fame, Miley told Barbara Walters that she would avoid the same troubles that had plagued fellow mousers Lindsay, Britney Spears and her sister, Jamie-Lynn. “I feel pretty confident that I won’t end up like that,” Miley declared. “I can go out there and be more a light to them and make them want to live the way that I long to live.” We see how that worked out for her.