Former teen idol Debbie Gibson says a solid family structure and efforts to take care of herself helped her from potentially suffering the same fate as troubled actress Lindsay Lohan, who began serving a 90-day prison sentence Tuesday for violating her probation.
In an appearance on FoxNews.com’s “The Strategy Room,” Gibson said she was able to stay grounded amid the “juggling act” of fame because she and her inner circle put her emotional well-being at the top of the priorities list.
“Growing up, there’s this weird thing when you start as a child actor or teen star that you’re constantly getting praised for being poised and together so you can tend to mask a lot of emotional stuff and at some point, the lid’s going to blow off the pot,” Gibson said. “I went through all that. Luckily, I didn’t go through by way of drugs, alcohol or public meltdowns … I had my meltdowns in private, in a therapist’s office.”
Gibson, whose mother played a large role in her career, said she had parents who kept her best interests in mind. But while she credits her mother with helping her stay grounded, Lohan’s parents have come under intense scrutiny for poor decisions made when she was just a teen star, including allowing Lindsay to begin partying at a young age.
“Luckily, my mom managed me and she always said ‘I want a sane, happy, healthy daughter who goes on to have a normal personal life and kids if you want and I don’t want you to be exhausted and burnt out by 25,’” she said.
“The [paparazzi] would not have caught me stumbling out of a club drunk at two in the morning,” Gibson said, comparing herself to today’s stars. “They might have gotten me coming out of a bowling alley with a diet coke, if they were lucky.”
Still, she did admit to struggling with the pressures of being a teen star and high demands from the entertainment industry.
“The industry people will work you to death and they have a short-term vision for you,” she said. “They’re like, ‘this is our teen star of the moment and we’re going to use you up and throw you out and on to the next’ and they do not care if you are a whole, happy, sane human being at the end of that trip.”
Gibson, now 39, also credits therapy, good nutrition and clear boundaries for keeping her out of trouble at the height of her fame.
She can be seen in the upcoming Syfy film "Mega Python vs. Gatoroid" and in "Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy" on Broadway.