5 Child Stars Gone (Very) Bad
It’s not breaking news that a staggering amount of money, power, and fame at a very young age can cause child stars to feel invincible and, as a result, make some not-so-good decisions. We’ve seen it happen with promising young talents like Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Justin Bieber and—most recently—Shia LaBoeuf, who’s been making headlines for some very disturbing behavior.
READ: Celebs Who Went From Disney to the Dark Side
After a few previous erratic episodes (like walking around with a paper bag over his head at at movie premiere), the 28-year-old actor—a former star of Disney Channel’s “Even Stevens”—was arrested last week and charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass after disrupting a performance of ‘Cabaret’ on Broadway. According to reports, Shia was slapping performers on their bottoms, smoking a joint in the theater, falling out of his chair, and screaming at cops who came to escort him out. Before the show, Shia chased after a homeless man, demanding he hand over a McDonald’s bag in Times Square. So yeah, not so normal.
Obviously, Shia and the modern-day stars mentioned above are only a few in an extensive history of child stars gone bad (and by “bad,” we’re talking real-deal falls from grace thanks to legal issues and substance abuse, not simply making over their image like Miley Cyrus.)
READ: Racy Lingerie Selfies of Nickelodeon's 'iCarly' Star Jennette McCurdy Hit the Web
Here, we’ve compiled 12 child stars gone bad—some of whom managed to conquer their demons and emerge triumphant, some that we’re still watching with concern, and some who passed away before their time.
After a few previous erratic episodes (like walking around with a paper bag over his head at a movie premiere), the 28-year-old actor—a former star of Disney Channel's "Even Stevens"—was arrested in June 2014 and charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass after disrupting a performance of 'Cabaret' on Broadway. According to reports, Shia was slapping performers on their bottoms, smoking a joint in the theater, falling out of his chair, and screaming at cops who came to escort him out. Before the show, Shia chased after a homeless man, demanding he hand over a McDonald’s bag in Times Square.
Once a promising comedic actress who rose to fame for starring in Nickelodeon's "All That" and "The Amanda Show," Bynes seemed to have flipped out in 2012. During the course of a year, she got in multiple car accidents, got nabbed for DUI, wore numerous ratty wigs, called a number of celebrities "ugly" on Twitter, was arrested for criminal possession of marijuana, tampering with evidence, and reckless endangerment. (She allegedly threw a bong out the window of her NYC apartment.) She also, memorably, stripped down to her strapless push-up bra in a spin class, and started putting on makeup before leaving after 10 minutes.
The former "Full House" cutie—she played middle child Stephanie Tanner—became a meth addict after the sitcom wrapped (she's said she started using drugs because she was "bored.") In 2009, she wrote a memoir called “unSweetined,” which details her alcohol and drug addictions. In one passage, Sweetin talks about bursting into tears while addressing a crowd at Wisconsin's Marquette University—while coming down from a two-day bender of meth, cocaine, and ecstasy.
There aren’t enough hours in the day to detail every one of this former child star's infractions. The "Mean Girls" actress started making headlines in 2004 for her partying, stealing, car wrecks, DUI arrests, rehab stints, drug charges, and erratic relationship with her family—and hasn't stopped.
This pop star—who first got famous at 12 years old thanks to a video of himself singing on YouTube—clearly has been suffering from a case of "too much, too soon." During the course of a year, he'd demonstrated erratic behavior (making his bodyguards carry him up the Great Wall of China, illegally bringing a monkey into Germany before promptly abandoning him with the authorities, an alleged brothel scandal, and a string of Twitter rants. The 19-year-old also had some real legal troubles, such as getting attested for drag racing and DUI in Miami earlier this year, and getting his house raided in a search for surveillance footage to prove he was involved in an egg-tossing vandalism case. Sadly, there was even a petition circulating earlier this year to get the Canadian deported from the U.S.