Lights, camera, destruction! Growing up on a Hollywood set is no easy business. Many child stars simply can’t handle the pressure, eventually succumbing instead to alternative methods to de-stress. It’s only when either the law or their own parents and friends became involved that they finally received the help they needed via rehabilitation centers.
Forget Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan, Drew Barrymore, Corey Feldman, and Haley Joel Osment whose stints in rehab have all been covered relentlessly.
Have a look instead at the 15 child stars who ended up in rehab centers, some more than once. Most of them are sure to come as a shock as despite their carefully crafted careers when they were still underage, many of our favorite stars spiraled out of control once they hit 18, with some even beginning their journey downwards before then.
And yes, Daniel Radcliffe is indeed on this list, as is new mom Kristen Dunst, who recently gave birth to her first baby.
It might be easy to assume that these child stars had their lives made for them. All they had to do was stay on the path set out before them to rake in millions. It’s true, they could have. But as many of them have tried to explain over the years, it’s not as easy as that. Many of them have had troubled parents on top of everything and only found one way to let loose. For others, rehab became instead as a place to better themselves mentally.
15 With A Chance Of Relapse Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato is another Disney starlet with a troubled life, but luckily for her, it looks like rehab may have been her saving grace in 2013. She later told Access Online about her troubles with a certain white substance: “Something I've never talked about before, but […] I could hide it to where I would sneak […]. I couldn't go without 30 minutes to an hour without […] and I would bring it on airplanes."
At the time, she had also sought help for self-harm, bipolar disorder, and bulimia.
The tables have massively turned and she now co-owns the rehab center that treated her, but life wasn’t always as great for her as it is now. However, she does take everything in strides and doesn’t hesitate to seek help when she feels herself relapsing. As People reported, she left the 2016 Met Gala to go to an AA meeting, while still wearing all of her expensive jewelry, because of a bad interaction with another celebrity. She explained: “I had a terrible experience. This one celebrity […] was miserable to be around. It was very cliquey. I remember being so uncomfortable that I wanted to drink.”
She is now a huge spokesperson for getting help and doesn’t hesitate to talk about her struggles often.
14 Candy-Loving Aaron Carter
As it turns out, the “I Want Candy” loves “candy” a little more than he let one when he was singing about it relentlessly in 2000. Granted, Aaron Carter was just 13 years old at the time that the annoyingly catchy song peaked in popularity, but although fans forgot about it quickly enough, it looks like the words stuck with him.
Although it wasn’t much of a surprise given his hollowed out appearance, fans were nonetheless shocked in September 2017 when Aaron announced on Twitter that he would be “disappearing for a while”. This decision came on the heels of a tumultuous couple of months, which began with the sudden passing of his dad and then cumulated in his arrest for possessing certain substances. Right before making the decision to check himself into rehab, US Magazine reported that the police had also checked on him four times in 34 hours over safety concerns.
Towards the end of the year, he opened up to US Magazine, the very same magazine that had been relentlessly reporting about all of his troubles: “I thought [my life would end by] 30. Even when I was 13, 14, I thought, ‘Oh, my God. I’m [not] going to [make it].”
To give you an idea of how bad it was, he just 115lbs at the time of checking into the rehabilitation facility. Nowadays, Aaron is looking much better. As he said it best recently: “It’s time to act like a frickin’ adult. I have new aspirations. All of those require my attention for music, and I’m telling you, I live in the studio. It’s the safest place for my and very therapeutic.”
13 Night & Day - Macaulay Culkin
As Page Six put it the best: “Macaulay Culkin no longer looks like a slob”.
Brutal but it’s very true. Just compare the two pictures above. Macaulay absolutely shocked fans back in 2012, when he stepped out looking like something a stray cat had chewed, spat out and decided to eat again, only to hack it back up.
The good news is that after changing up his image in 2016 and gaining a bit too much weight, he now appears to be healthier than ever.
His heavy use of certain substances was no secret, but he did defend himself to The Guardian saying it wasn’t as much as the tabloids had made it out to be.
Despite earning a lot of fame for his role in Home Alone, Macaulay opened up in a WTF podcast that growing up, his father would mistreat him, both emotionally and physically. More specifically, he always had the looming threat over his head: “Do good” or there will be physical consequences.
Speaking about his father, he also said: “Everything he tried to do in life, I excelled at before I was 10 years old.” From the way he worded that, we’re willing to bet that he isn’t in contact with him much anymore.
12 Dad's To Blame - Shia LaBeouf
The year 2009 was a monumental one for Shia LaBeouf. It was the year that the second Transformers came out, and it was also the year that kicked off his near-decade of weird antics. After getting arrested for trespassing, he laid somewhat low and it’s actually in 2014 that the real antics started. As reported by Time Magazine, in December 2013, Shia kicked off a weird habit of plagiarizing and stealing quotes. Even an apology he eventually tweeted came in the form of “unattributed quotes”.
There are so many more weird instances and arrests, but they all pretty much ended with a court-ordered rehab in the fall of 2017. For the first time in nearly a decade, he finally appears to be stable. He recently told Esquire magazine: “I’ve got to look at my failures in the face for a while. I need to take ownership of my [problems] and clean up my side of the street a bit before I can go out there and work again, so I’m trying to stay creative and learn from my mistakes. I’ve been falling forward for a long time. Most of my life. The truth is, in my desperation, I lost the plot.”
"My dad handed me a lot, and his legacy was an emotional one. And it wasn’t scarring. He handed me texture. My dad blessed me that way,” he also explained.
11 New Mom Kristen Dunst
Although not talked about often, Kristen Dunst did indeed go to rehab. As she told Us Weekly though, she almost didn’t get back into acting after going to rehab because of all of the negative publicity that she received. It also didn’t help matters that fans falsely thought that she went to rehab for substance problems. As it turns out, she actually went because of depression.
An insider told People at the time:
“She does drink and she does have wild nights, but that was never the root of her issues. She couldn’t control her depression.”
Kristen later revealed that seeking treatment better prepared her for her role in All Good Things. "I was ready to play something like that. I had been living life on the surface, emotionally, and I was feeling really vulnerable, so I was prepared to do anything at that point," she told US Magazine.
Luckily, she also had the support of her friends and family when she checked herself into the same rehab facility that both Lindsay Lohan and Eva Mendes previously frequented. "I used to assume that I'd [continue acting] forever, and then there came a point in my life when I was like, 'Why am I doing this at all? My friends and family were put in a position where they had to defend me, and it was an awful time," she also said.
Let's just hope that she hasn't been hit with postpartum depression as she gave birth to her first baby in May 2018.
10 Wizard Of Hiding - Selena Gomez
Just what exactly did Selena Gomez go to rehab for? The fact that she has been more than once in her young life already is something in of itself, but it’s the fact that the whole thing has been incredibly hush-hush. Back in 2014, her PR rep said that she was headed to rehab for her addiction problems, but the moment that Selena emerged from rehab, she promptly went to town getting rid of the weeds in her life. As GQ summed it up the best, saying that she: “promptly parted ways with her manager (her mother), her record label (Disney subsidiary Hollywood Records), and her landlord (also her mother). At some point during the year, she also dropped her boyfriend, Justin Bieber.”
That’s one way to clean house! But that also wasn’t her first and last time at rehab. She went in 2016 and again towards the end of 2017. She had previously told Vogue: “My self-esteem was shot. I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting onstage, or right after . . . Basically I felt I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t capable.”
“I wish more people would talk about therapy. We girls, we’re taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who’s down. We also need to feel allowed to fall apart,” she also added.
Balancing trying to have a high-profile singing career, alongside having to deal with chemo for lupus obviously wouldn’t have been easy. But the fact that she has been to rehab this many times is enough to make any wonder if there isn’t more to the story, as her initial PR rep divulged.
9 More Than Meets The Eye For Mary-Kate Olsen
She may have entered rehab for an eating disorder, but is that really the only reason? If there is one thing that we have learned from child stars gone rogue is that there is rarely just one issue. All too often, there are a slew of problems, usually spurred by certain substances that are much easier for them to get their hands on in Tinseltown – not to mention, all easier to pay for when you are raking in a fair deal of cash!
It’s not exactly a far stretch to assume that there was more to Mary-Kate’s rehab stint than meets the eye, especially since the twins were known to party at the time. An insider had told People:
“They are young girls, they have money, and they like to party. I wouldn’t call them out of control, but I’ve seen them get pretty wild.”
Whether that time in rehab is what changed her or not, one thing is clear: Mary Kate is definitely on the clean and narrow now. And although they don’t spend every minute of the day together anymore, the twins remain as close as ever.
8 Living Life Zac Efron
Although he looks like a fitness freak, he was also a freak for a whole other dark reason back in 2014. He eventually sought treatment, when as he told Glamour: ”You spend a lot of time in your house going crazy, you know pretty soon you need a social lubricant ... It was getting to the point where I was caring less about the work and waiting for the weekend, where I couldn't wait to go out and sort of let loose and have fun. But then when Monday and Tuesday were too difficult to get through, then I was like, 'Oh, this is bad.'"
Luckily, all is good for Zac Efron now, who told Elle:
“What I found is structure. That led me to a balance of opposites: You get out of life what you put in. There was a moment when my morning routine was, like, Get up and Google yourself.
But that stopped, dramatically and instantly, probably three years ago. I realized that viewing yourself through other people's pictures is not living your own life. I wasn't really being myself. A lot of my hobbies had gone out the window. I couldn't skateboard or surf for fear of being followed. Crossing the line of fear is what leads to greatness.”
7 Die Hard Willis Sisters
Not one, not two, but all three of Willis’ daughters have been to rehab. It all started the eldest, Rumer, who announced on July 1st 2017 that she was celebrating 6 months of sobriety. In an Instagram post, she had written: “I will be the first one to say I'm not perfect and I mess up sometimes and every once in a while I get it right but I wanted to share this because I am really proud of myself […] It's not something I planned on but after the long journey of getting here I can honestly say I have never been more proud of myself in my entire life.”
Assumingly, she should be celebrating a year and a half of sobriety by the summer of 2018. That’s assuming that she succeeded, but given that we haven’t heard anything about her going back to rehab, then we’re going to safely venture to guess that she will indeed be celebrating this year.
Just a couple of days after Rumer’s admission, middle sister Scout also shared that she had “marked one year of being fully present with ma self, no filters, no chemical relaxation, no short cuts. I am meeting the best version of myself every day.”
One day later, Tallulah, the youngest Willis posted saying that “3 years ago [she] was a malnourished string bean with aches that echoes throughout [her soul],” also adding: “I don’t push any agenda. I can only speak for my path and staying sober has been far and beyond the most important thing I’ve done”.
6 Mad-Eye Daniel Radcliffe
Hate to break it to you but our favorite child wizard has indeed landed in rehab. Not currently, but it’s still a stint that he will never be able to erase for his celeb record. The only slight positive is that it wasn’t quite for the usual problems.
Back in 2014, an insider close to the star revealed to International Business Times that Daniel was headed to a “residential treatment programme, involving counseling, both individual and group stress management and herbal treatments to help withdrawal symptoms.”
The insider, who we’re guessing isn’t friends with the former Harry Potter actor also added: “Daniel knows he has an addictive personality, and he's been open in the past about his drinking demons. Thankfully he managed to kick the bottle. So now he sees cigarettes as his last major vice to conquer and he is confident he'll succeed once again.''
News of Daniel going to rehab or even having a drinking problem haven’t made headlines in a while, so it’s safe to say that he succeeded in kicking those bad habits to the curb.
At the time, Daniel himself had said: “The drinking was unhealthy and damaging to my body and my social life. That's beyond question,” also adding, “'I was a recluse at 20. It was pathetic -- it wasn't me. I'm a fun, polite person and it turned me into a rude bore.”
According to The Telegraph, he also admitted to having been intoxicated in a number of Harry Potter film sets, but he has yet to reveal which ones.
5 Major Turn Around - Joshua Jackson
Long before you knew him as Pacey Witter on Dawson’s Creek, Joshua Jackson was Charlie Conway in one of our most favorite childhood movies, The Mighty Ducks. Despite his clean-cut Dawson’s Creek look, there is more to this actor than meets the eye. Back when he was 25 years old marched himself over to rehab. According to Glamour, this happened after he was arrested for getting aggressive with a security guard at a Carolina Hurricanes hockey game. Not too surprisingly, there was also alcohol involved – lots of it.
A good reason why we haven’t heard much about this little stint in rehab is probably because it wasn’t entirely voluntary. Although he did complete it, he was actually ordered by the court to “attend 15 hours of alcohol and substance abuse education – at a cost of $150 – and complete 24 hours of community service.”
All this might have had something to do with how he felt burnt out after Dawson’s Creek. He told Elle Magazine: “Actually at that time in my life what I wanted to do was not be an actor. I was quite burnt out. It's a lot of work. And on that show we were doing 22 episodes a year. It's a grind. Truthfully, the process of making 22 episode of television a year is not very pleasant. I just wanted to stop. It wasn't until the following year when I went and did a play in London that I actually enjoyed being an actor again.”
4 Like Mom & Dad - Osbourne Siblings
Just like the Willis sisters, so do the Osborne siblings share a troubled connection to each other. Although they have other siblings, Kelly and Jack Osbourne are the particularly troubled ones. By this year, Jack should be celebrating 15 years of “clean living”. Whether he has achieved it or not is unknown yet.
The most shocking part about him going to rehab was that unlike most celebs who go when they are adults, he actually entered rehab when he was just 17 years old.
As reported by the Daily Mail, he had a dependency on painkillers. After he finally got clean, he told MTV that seeing all the people at the center, some of whom were “30, unemployed, living off their parents [and were] the world’s biggest couch potatoes” served as a wake-up call for him.
Kelly has a similar story, but hers began when she was just 16 years old, but with a different kind of painkiller. As she confided to People, her mom Sharon Osbourne even had her committed to a mental institution once. “Mum once locked me in a mental institution for three days, and it scared the [heck] out of me. … I had to wear paper shoes, since I could potentially [hurt] myself with a shoelace, and wasn’t allowed to have anything metal, not even a spoon […] I heard Mum’s message loud and clear: stop using […] before I was gone for good,” she wrote in her book, according to People.
3 Not-So-Simple Life's Nicole Richie
Out of the two former The Simple Life co-stars, it might be easy to peg a stint in rehab on Paris Hilton and yet, it’s Nicole Richie who holds the honor. Although, we’re willing to bet that Paris’ parents’ $300 million estimated net worth (according to The Wall Street Journal) probably has a lot to do with her name being out of the process with regards to that little black spot on her resume that is undoubtedly sealed in some medical records somewhere. For Nicole’s part, Lionel Richie’s net worth might be at an estimated $200 million, as estimated by Forbes, but it likely doesn’t help matters that he reportedly owes quite a bit of money to the tax man.
In an interview with 20/20, she explained: “I kind of took matters into my own hands and was creating drama in a very dangerous way, I think I was just bored, and I had seen everything – especially when you’re young, you just want more.”
After going to rehab and kicking one dependency to the curb, she actually got addicted to a completely different substance. She sought help for that one as well and has been clean for over a decade now.
2 Not-So-Sweet Jodie Sweetin
Believe it or not, sweet little Stephanie Tanner didn’t make it out as a child star unscathed. As most do, she resorted to a not-so-good path and ended up in rehab. Even worst is that although there’s now a Fuller House on Netflix, she wasn’t the only one from the original cast to be full of controversy. Even John Stamos, who played Jesse, has been to rehab and Candace Cameron-Bure, who played DJ Tanner, is known for her questionable parenting methods, which involve physical force.
Jodie has two kids, but her parenting was called into question for an entirely different reason. As reported by MSN, she wrote in her book that her much-needed wake-up call came after CPS did an investigation as a result of her driving her with her baby in the car while she was intoxicated.
According to E Online, she also wrote that by the age of 14, she was having two bottles of wine. Although it initially gave her a boost of confidence, she quickly fell into a pattern of dependency. By her 20s, she had already been to rehab a couple of times, but it took her a good decade to really kick the problem to the curb.
1 Former 'It' Girl Misha Barton
Much like Amanda Bynes, Misha Barton hasn’t been able to clean up her tarnished good girl image. To this day, her name continues to get thrown into the media whenever she is spotted out too late or with a drink in hand. In 2017, The Sun reported that she was spotted partying until 3am, “just two weeks after claiming her drink” had been spiked.
Her life has pretty much been on a downward spiral ever since of the end of The O.C. She was arrested in 2007 for a DUI and placed in a 5150 psychiatric hold in 2009.
She told People, “It was terrifying. Straight out of Girl, Interrupted. Story of my life.”
It probably didn’t help that she was cast into the spotlight too fast at too young of an age. In a different interview with People, she said: “I was living a jet-set lifestyle. There were a lot of enablers around, people to fly you around and to make it all possible It was a train I could not get off of,” she admitted. “When you’re young, you can do it, but after a while, it’s going to come crashing down on you.”
References: International Business Times, US Magazine, Time, ET Online, The Guardian, News.com.au, MSN, Page Six, GQ, Access Online, People, Glamour, Instagram, Mercury News, People, Glamour, Elle, Daily Mail, People, WSJ, Forbes, People, US Magazine, People.