Growing up, just about every kid dreams of being on Disney Channel. The child stars that are lucky enough to find their big break early on in life appear to be living the dream. They have tons of fans, they get to work on super cool projects, and their life is idolized by so many. However, oftentimes parents want to keep their children as far away from Hollywood as possible.
Although Disney Channel and the Disney brand work hard to keep a squeaky-clean image, usually their stars go crazy once their time on Disney has come to an end. We’ve all heard of child stars going crazy, and it just seems like a lot of them got their start on Disney. Whether it is an active choice to rebrand yourself like Miley Cyrus or a mental breakdown like Demi Lovato, their squeaky clean images never seem to last long.
Unfortunately, some celebrities push the boundaries a little too far and find themselves in some serious legal trouble. It is truly heartbreaking to see these people who were once so sweet and innocent ruining their lives. Eventually, poor decision making will catch up to you, and the law doesn’t change simply because you are famous. For some child stars, being arrested was a huge wakeup call, and for others, it seems like they will never learn their lesson. As sad as it is to see our favorite childhood stars break the law and make very poor decisions, here are 15 child stars that have been arrested.
Shia Labeouf got his big break back in 2000 when he landed the lead role in the Disney Channel series ‘Even Stevens’. Shia played a 7th-grade misfit and even went on to the big screen to star in ‘Holes’ in 2003. Shia started facing legal trouble in 2007, shortly after his 21st birthday. He was arrested at a Walgreens in Chicago after appearing drunk and refusing to leave the store.
As the years went on, Shia got in bar fights, car accidents, refused to take a breathalyzer, and refused to appear in court for an unlawful smoking ticket. He has been charged with trespassing and even plagiarism. Shia keeps making the same mistakes over and over again and is truly the perfect example of a Disney child star who went crazy and continues to get in legal trouble. It is truly unfortunate for all of his fans, who only want the best for him.
I’m sure everybody remembers Britney Spears’s wild faze where she shaved all of her hair off. However, before things started to go downhill, Britney Spears was an adorable girl on Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club House. She sang her heart and rose to fame after starring in stage productions and television shows. She signed with Jive Records in 1997 and quickly became an international sensation.
Flash forward to 2007, and Britney’s actions were noticeably off. Some claim they were even a cry for help. She drove to the pharmacy to get vitamins and ended up hitting another car. She left without leaving a note. Eventually, she was charged with a hit-and-run. She faced jail time and was later investigated for child abuse and neglect charges that arose during her custody battle. Britney eventually sought treatment for substance abuse and with the help of her family, has been able to get back on her feet.
Lindsay Lohan is a very sad case of a Disney child star who royally screwed up. It is really unfortunate because Lindsay was such an amazing actress and singer. Her talent was so effortless, and yet now it is completely overshadowed by a countless number of mugshots and scandalous stories.
In 2007, Lindsay Lohan was taken into custody in Santa Monica on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, and possession of cocaine. She plead guilty to these charges and was sentenced to one day in jail, ten days of community service, and was placed on three years’ probation. Luckily, Lindsay Lohan's time in the Lynwood, California jail was cut short. She only spent 84 minutes out of her 1-day sentence behind bars due to overcrowding. It may appear like Lindsay was given an easier punishment because she was famous, but her run-ins with the law have made her life anything but easy.
Kirsten Storm rose to fame on Disney Channel when she was cast as Zenon. The movie series ran on Disney Channel for five years, from 1999 until 2004 and was a major success. Kirsten Storm played the main character, Zenon, in the movie series, and was a very relatable young teenager who was curious about the world. After Kirsten’s time in front of the camera on Disney Channel, she went on to be the voice of Bonnie Rockwaller in Disney’s animated series Kim Possible.
In 2007, when Kirsten was 23 years old, she was caught throwing a lit cigarette out of her car window while driving down a Los Angeles freeway in the early hours of the morning. She was pulled over in her Mercedes and issued a sobriety test which she failed. She was booked at the Van Nuys Jail, and released eight hours later, on $5,000 bail.
Most people know Lalaine as Miranda Sanchez, who played Hilary Duff’s sidekick and best friend in the Disney series Lizzie McGuire. The show skyrocketed the cast into fame, and it appeared like the world was at their fingertips. However, not long after ‘Lizzie McGuire’ stopped airing, Lalaine seemingly vanished from the public eye. She didn’t even appear in the big screen release of ‘The Lizzie McGuire Movie’.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Lalaine refers to the years following her time on Disney Channel as her “dark years.” She claims she went nuts and just made stupid decisions, one of which led to her getting arrested for possession of methamphetamine. She was a no-show for her court appearance, and the judge issued a $50,000 bench warrant for her arrest. Lalaine claims that being arrested was the slap in the face that she needed in order to turn her perspective around.
Most people know Orlando Brown as ‘Eddie’ from the Disney Channel Original series, ‘That’s So Raven.’ However, following Orlando’s years as a Disney star, he got himself into some hot water when it came to legal troubles. Unfortunately, he went down hill and made a series of bad decisions that eventually led to his arrest.
In 2016, Orlando Brown was arrested in California on domestic violence charges during an argument he had with his girlfriend. Apparently, while in a police parking lot, Brown began arguing with his girlfriend, and eyewitnesses called to report the alleged argument. While booking him in jail for hitting his girlfriend, police found methamphetamine on him, which led to two more drug charges as well. Two years prior, in 2014, a woman told police that brown had threatened to kill her and her daughter. It appears that Brown has a history of getting in trouble with the law.
I’m sure most of us remember sweet little Oliver on Disney’s ‘Hannah Montana.’ Mitchel Musso co-starred on the show and played Miley Cyrus’s best friend. His goofy and relatable personality made everyone fall in love with him, and his singing voice added another level to his stardom. However, it appears that his squeaky-clean Disney image was short lived.
The same year that he finished filming ‘Hannah Montana’, Mitchel Musso found himself getting arrested for drinking and driving. He was charged with two counts of drunk driving and faced jail time over the incident. Mitchel Musso was only 20 years old when the incident occurred, so besides having a blood alcohol level over .08, which is the legal limit for people over 21, Musso could have faced more charges due to the fact that he was under the legal drinking age. Although the charges were misdemeanors, he faced up to six months in jail.
Ryan Merriman may be known now for his starring role in the movie, ‘Final Destination 3’, however, before that Ryan was a star on Disney Channel. He appeared in original movies such as ‘Smart House’, ‘The Luck of the Irish’, and ‘A Ring of Endless Light.’ He was quite the Disney star back in the day, but like many Disney child stars, Ryan Merriman found himself in trouble with the law.
Back in 2011, Merriman was arrested in Newport Beach, after police suspected he was driving under the influence. According to TMZ he was originally pulled over for not stopping behind the solid line at a red light, and it was then that cops suspected he was not sober. He was arrested on suspicion of a DUI and booked at a nearby police station. It appears that the actor has stayed out of trouble since the incident occurred, so maybe spending some time in a jail cell caused him to make safer decisions.
Drinking and driving appear to be a theme with these Disney actors. Did nobody teach them the importance of a designated driver? Anneliese van der Pol joins the list of child stars that had her run-in with the law due to a driving citation. Sadly, the sweet, innocent Chelsea Daniels that all of us knew from ‘That’s So Raven’ appears to be long gone.
In 2006, Anneliese was arrested after colliding with a parked car. The incident caused a multi-vehicle crash and was a very dangerous situation. Anneliese van der Pol was driving with a blood-alcohol level of .19, which is more than double the legal driving limit of .08. The Disney star ended up pleading no contest to driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08. Both of the charges were misdemeanors, but fortunately for her, the judge offered her 36 months of probation, along with a hefty fine.
At the young age of 17, Mischa Barton was thrown into the spotlight, after starring in the Disney Channel Original Movie, ‘A Ring Of Endless Light.’ What most teenage girls would kill for, Mischa looks back on as a turn for the worse. She claims her mentality at the time was ‘work hard, play hard.’ However, after feeling the immense pressure that came with her popularity, she felt like she was headed for a mental breakdown.
Her partying ways led to her being arrested in 2007 for a DUI, and then two years later she apparently blacked out while taking a sedative, and ended up in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center psychiatric ward. The star began threatening suicide, and couldn’t handle all of the criticism she was receiving. It’s truly unfortunate that child stars have to deal with so much negativity at such a young age, but it appears like Mischa is working on herself and doing better.
As sad as it is when Disney stars go crazy, sometimes it is not super unexpected. Usually, fans can somewhat tell which stars are going to go off the deep end and get arrested. However, ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ star David Henrie, never seemed like the actor that would wind up going to jail. He always presented himself in a mature and responsible manner, but then again, he is an actor.
In April 2010, David and his younger brother Lorenzo were arrested and held for questioning after allegedly challenging a person to a fight. However, two eye-witnesses at the Universal Citywalk scene claim the Disney star was attacked when he tried to protect his younger brother. Apparently, many security guards overreacted when Lorenzo was acting silly, and pinned him to the ground, David began yelling and acting very concerned over the safety of his brother, which caused security guards to punch him in the face multiple times. After being arrested and questioned for over an hour, David and his brother were released without charges. This may be the only instance where this Disney star actually didn’t do anything wrong.
Debby Ryan stole our hearts when she joined the cast of ‘The Suite Life on Deck’ and became the newest Disney darling. She starred alongside Dylan and Cole Sprouse until that series ended and she landed the starring role in her own Disney Channel Original Series, ‘Jessie’. Debby Ryan had always clung to her innocent and clean image, but that went out the window when she got arrested for drinking and driving.
Back in 2016, TMZ reported that a 22-year-old Debby Ryan was driving in Los Angeles, around 11 pm when she made a left turn and slammed into a Mercedes. The driver in the other car claimed injury, which caused cops to arrest Ryan for a felony DUI. It’s standard procedure for cops to arrest for a felony when there is injury, but since the injury was minor, and Debby blew a .11 which isn’t that much over the legal limit of .08, her charge was bumped down to a misdemeanor. However, she was still charged with two criminal offenses and took to Twitter to apologize for her actions, saying, “Over the last few days I have had the chance to think about my actions, and I wish I had used better judgment. I recognize that I am a role model and have always worked hard to set a good example for my millions of fans. I am so sorry to disappoint everyone."
Jake T. Austin became a fan favorite on Disney Channel’s ‘Wizards Of Waverly Place’, as Alex Russo’s younger brother. However, Max Russo appears to have grown up and left us for good because Jake T. Austin is getting into trouble that Max would never have. Unfortunately, Jake’s crimes are much worse than his co-star David Henrie’s. According to TMZ, Jake T. Austin was arrested for a DUI in 2013. The then 18-year-old was pulled over for not using headlights and then failed a sobriety test after cops claimed they smelled alcohol in the car. He was then arrested and charged with a DUI.
Apparently, Jake did not learn his lesson because he used the same car in a hit-and-run that involved four different vehicles, just a month later. Jake fled the scene of the car accident, but apparently reported it in enough time to not face any more legal trouble.
Kelli Berglund was the star of Disney XD’s ‘Lab Rats’ but she tarnished her Disney image just a little bit back in 2016. The child actor was arrested back in April after trying to use a fake I.D. at Coachella, before the party even started. Sources close to the Disney Channel actress claim that the 20-year-old was trying to use a fake I.D. to get into a restricted area, in order to meet up with friends. When security spotted the fake I.D. that she was trying to use, they alerted the cops.
Kelli Berglund was then arrested on the spot, and taken into custody. Police then fingerprinted her and took a teary-eyed mugshot, before giving her a citation and releasing her to enjoy the festival. From the looks of it, her little run-in with the law did not stop her from having a fabulous time partying it up at Coachella 2016.
Although Justin Bieber used to continuously claim that he was no Disney star, he got his big break when his albums started playing endlessly on Radio Disney. As far as fans were concerned, he was basically a part of the Disney family. Of course, Justin did not like this title because with the fame of being a Disney star, comes the pressure and responsibility of living up to that name.
Everybody knows that Justin went through a crazy few years where he had multiple run ins with the law. He faced legal troubles in over five different countries, but somehow was able to resolve most of them. In January 2014, Justin Bieber was charged with driving under the influence, and after failing multiple sobriety tests, he was taken into police custody, searched for weapons, and then locked up. After being placed in his jail cell, Bieber immediately started doing push ups. Perhaps to pass the time.
Sources: MTV.com, USAToday, eonline, TheHuffingtonPost, People.com, Dailymail.co.uk, TMZ, nydailynews, Hollywoodlife.com,