20 Childhood Stars We Grew Up Watching Who Have Since Fallen On Hard Times

To some, life in Hollywood sounds like the greatest thing in the world. They crave the lights, the cameras, the recognition, and the money.

Not just adults either, a lot of children put themselves through the wringer with acting classes, different auditions, headshots, singing lessons, and more, all in the hopes of getting noticed by someone big.

Unfortunately, although Hollywood is known to make some people’s dreams come true, it also can be a dream breaker.

For a childhood star, there is a lot of pressure put on them to be the best that they can be. Not only from their employers and talent agents either, but from their parents. Some childhood actors are blessed with talent and find it easy to move up through the ranks of fame quickly, while others are not so lucky and end up not being able to handle all the stress — especially if they do not have the support they need from their family.

It is not uncommon for a childhood star to take the wrong path in order to help deal with the stress.

Here are 20 young stars a lot of us grew up watching that could not handle the stress of being a childhood actor and ended up falling on some pretty hard times thanks to the paths they took.

20 Macaulay Culkin (Stolen Fortune, Shoved In Middle Of Parents' Divorce, And A Path Of Bad Habits)

ticketsmove & DailyMail

Macaulay Culkin started his professionalism back in 1988 when he was hired for the role as Cy Blue Black in the movie Rocket Gibraltar. Two years later, and he was on top of the world after his dreams took off due to his role as the darling Kevin McCallister in the 1990 movie Home Alone.

According to boxofficesccop.com, around the time Macaulay was hitting adolescence in 1995, his life took a turn for the worse when he was shoved in the middle of his parent’s messy divorce as they battled for not only custody of him, but control of his fortune, which supposedly his father was mismanaging.

To deal with the stress, Macaulay turned down a wrong path of bad vices, which led to being locked up in 2004. Being who he was, he was demonized for his choices.

19 Edward Furlong (Marriage, Divorce, And Anger Issues)

Daily Star & Celebs Net Worth Today

At the young age of 14, Edward Furlong was cast as the role of John Connor in the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

According to boxofficesccop.com, at the age of 15, Edward became romantically involved with a woman hired to tutor him... a woman that was 14 years his senior. By the age of 16, Edward filed for emancipation from his parents.

After six years together, the two called it quits. Soon after, Edwards stardom and life started to tank due to multiple allegations that he was partaking in different vices, multiple arrests, a marriage that turned to divorce three years later, a few restraining order violations, and an almost trip to jail that ended up just being a few months in a treatment facility.

18 Lindsay Lohan (Various Bad Habits, Multiple Treatment Facilities, And Even A Few Days In Jail)

International Business Times & Wikimedia Commons

Lindsay Lohan was three when she began her stardom as a fashion model. At 11, she moved from modeling to acting and was cast as both the twins in the movie The Parent Trap. It wasn’t long before she became not only a household name, but an acclaimed actress.

According to boxofficescoop.com, in 2006 she had her first 30-day stay in a treatment facility. That same year she was arrested for driving when she shouldn't have been. Two weeks later, she paid the consequences again for similar matters but this time had no license.

It only got worse from there.

Since then she has done multiple trips to different treatment facilities, has served jail time on numerous occasions, been on probation for years at a time, and even was on home arrest for a while.

17 Jaimee Foxworth (Fired And Turned To Vices And Alternative Methods To Make Ends Meet)

forums.rivals.com & Twitter

Jaimee Foxworth rose to fame after being cast as Judy Winslow in the '90s TV sitcom Family Matters. Sadly, she was written off the show after the fourth season when she asked for a raise, even though her part on the show was only a minor part.

According to boxofficescoop.com, before the age of 20, Jaimee became desperate to make ends meet and so she decided to go into the other industry of film. In 2008, after appearing on a show for people recovering, she became pregnant, which was a huge turning point for her.

In May 2009, Jaimee received a second chance at life when she gave birth to a healthy baby boy with her longtime boyfriend, Michael Shaw.

16 Jeremy Jackson (Bad Habits That Gave Him A Crazed Sense Of Self-Importance)

Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore

Jeremy Jackson’s stardom started at the age of six when he was cast in a Mattel commercial. After many more commercials, he beat not only Leonardo DiCaprio, but 3,000 other children for the role of Hobie Buchannon in the '90s TV hit Baywatch.

According to boxofficescoop.com, during his nine-year stint on the show, Jeremy also released two full-length albums that became huge hits. It wasn’t soon after that he got into the wrong crowd and did stuff a person his age shouldn't ever do. Doing so gave him a crazed sense of self-importance, which caused him to also leave the show.

Luckily for Jeremy though, he realized he needed help, and in 2000, he checked himself into a treatment facility. He now devotes his time to fitness, helping others to overcome their different vices.

15 Amanda Bynes (Retirement, Bad Decisions, And Mental Health Facilities)

TravelFuntu & E! Online

Amanda Bynes was seven when she was cast in a TV commercial for Buncha Crunch. Soon after, her stardom started to take off and before she knew it, she had her own show, The Amanda Show.

After staring in a few movies, she decided to retire in 2012 and that’s when things took a turn for the worse.

According to boxofficescoop.com, the next two years involved bad run-ins, twoaccidents, driving without a license (twice), a three-year probation, consequences for throwing something out of her window, and a whole bunch more. Poor Amanda, what went wrong?

After being released, she moved in with her parents and enrolled in the Fashion Institute for Design & Merchandising.

14 Taran Noah Smith (Marriage, Divorce, Lawsuits, And Counseling)


Many might remember Taran Noah Smith for his role as Mark Taylor in the long-running series Home Improvement, which he starred in from the age of seven until the age of 16, which is when the show ended. After the last episode aired, Taran had no idea what to do next. The show was all he knew.

According to boxofficescoop.com, at the age of 17, Taran met and married a 33-year old woman, which lasted six years. When Taran turned 18, he sued his parents for control over his trust fund, which they had been using to enjoy luxuries such as a new mansion.

In 2012, Taran was stopped for partaking in some unsavory acts, for which he was sentenced to three years probation and had to attend a six-month counseling program.

13 Britney Spears (Questionable Decisions And Treatment Facilities)

Refinery29 & TMZ

Britney Spears, just like Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera, started her stardom at the young age of 11 when she was cast on The New Mickey Mouse Club.

At the age of 17, she was signed for Jive Records, where she released her first single "Baby One More Time." She became an instant legend soon after.

According to boxofficescoop.com, after her divorce with her second husband and losing custody of her children, she went through a well-publicized party girl stage that ended with her performing horribly at the MTV Music Awards, a few trips to different treatment centers, and even had a break down that led to her shaving her head.

Luckily, it seems she has wised up and moved out of her turbulent lifestyle.

12 Matthew Underwood (Trouble With The Law)

J-14 & Famous People

 Matthew Underwood, known for playing the role of Logan Reese on the worldwide hit Zoey 101, started his stardom at the age of six months when he received a modeling gig.

After his time on Zoey 101, Matthew packed up and moved back to his home state of Florida. It wasn’t long afterward that he was stopped after police sent out a search warrant and found certain items in his house.

According to boxofficescoop.com, Matthew luckily smarted up, shed his negative ways and became an acting teacher who traveled the world teaching future stars how to be the best.

For a while there, he kept his body clean and his head above the water. That is, until he was busted for similar things again. Tut, Tut.

11 Jodie Sweeten (Partying, Marriage, Divorce, And Treatment Facilities)

Entertainment Weekly

Jodie Sweetin first started her acting profession at the young age of five when she acquired the role of Stephanie Tanner on the iconic '90s series Full House.

According to boxofficescoop.com, after Full House was canceled in 1995, Jodie’s life headed down a dark path. Her partying continued to get worse even through college, which led to her having a .9 GPA.

In 2002, she married a police officer by the name of Shaun Holguin, which is when her dependency issues got worse. Luckily, after three years, Jodie entered a treatment facility.

Since getting clean, Jodie had been married three times and now has two beautiful little girls. In 2009, she released an autobiography called, UnSweetined, which was a story about her many years dealing with her dependency issues.

10 Corey Haim (Bad Habits, Lack Of Work, and Treatment Facilities)

New York Post & Your Stupid Minds

Corey Haim was an '80s teen heartthrob that skyrocketed to fame when he appeared in the 1987 movie The Lost Boys.

According to boxofficescoop.com, at the age of 15, Corey started dabbling with bad vices due to stress and his struggle with trying to break free of being a childhood actor. Sadly, due to his negative vices and the negative public image he acquired, Corey found it hard to find any work. The few movies he did find work in went straight to video.

Over the years, he entered different treatment centers more than 15 times. They never helped sadly and even made things worse for him. On March 10, 2010, Corey's vices finally got the best of him and passed away at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.

9 Corey Feldman (Treatment Facilities And Lots Of Bills)

New York Post & NBC News

Like Corey Haim, Corey Feldman also stared in the 1987 movie The Lost Boys. In fact, the two were actually longtime friends and even had a show together called The Two Coreys.

According to boxofficescoop.com, Corey’s vices started at the young age of 14 during his time on set of the film Stand by Me. And although he started doing harsh things at a young age, it soon became a full-blown problem.

By 1990, he was arrested three times due to having things he shouldn't have, and the following year entered a 10-month stay at a treatment center.

While clean and sober, Corey took any part he could to pay off his legal fees and tax bills before turning to his real passion, music. By 1994 he started the band Truth Movement.

8 Dana Plato (Pregnancy, Bad Habits, Time, And Treatment Facilities)

fanpop.com & Pinterest

When it comes to child stars who had a rough time, Dana Plato is the poster girl for them.

By age 13, she was given two choices: compete for a spot on a U.S. Olympic Figure Skating team or star in the TV sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. She chose to do the TV show and that is when she started a long list of bad things.

By 1984 she became pregnant and was kicked off the show. She later lost custody of her child due to her bad habits.

Desperate for cash, she tried to rob a video store and was sentenced to five years probation, which she violated and ended up doing 30 days and a trip to the treatment center.

At the age of 34, Dana was found unresponsive in her RV.

7 Gary Coleman (Stolen Fortune, Lawsuits, Depression, And Anger Issues)

Throwbacks & StraightFromTheA.com

At age 10, Gary was cast as Arnold on the show Diff’rent Strokes, which is when he decided to form his own management company, Gary Coleman Productions, and his parents became his manager.

After the show ended, Gary learned that his parents had stolen most of his money from his trust fund. Instead of having $18 million, he was left with $220,000.

According to boxofficescoop.com, due to the lawsuit he filed against his parents, he began to suffer from depression, which led to multiple attempts to end his life.

Throughout the years, Gary was arrested multiple times due to his temper. In 2010, he even fell in his home which resulted in him having to go to the hospital. He passed away two days later at the age of 42.

6 Brian Bonsall (Retirement, Bad Choices, Anger Issues, Probation)

TeenIdols4You.com & CultureHook

When Brian Bonsall first entered the spotlight, it was at the young age of five when he was cast for the role of Andrew Keaton in the TV series Family Ties.

At age 14, Brian retired from showbiz and instead decided he wanted to go to high school like a normal teenager. He even started a band a punk rock band called Thruster in 1998.

According to boxofficescoop.com, Brian graduated in the year 2000, and it was a year later that his problems started. It all started with an arrest while driving with a suspended license. It soon escalated to different periods of downward spirals and a rap sheet.

5 Tatum O'Neal (Became Dependent On Different Vices, Arrests, And Treatment Programs)

Pinterest & Los Angeles Times

Tatum O’Neal is a legend. At just 10 years old, she earned the title of Best Actress for her performance as Addie Loggins in Paper Moon and would go down in history as the youngest person to win an Academy Award.

Sadly, according to boxofficescoop.com, Tatum fell down the same path as her father and at the young age of nine, she began doing illegal things.

In 1994, Tatum ended up divorcing her husband, tennis pro John McEnroe, after eight years together and three children, whom she lost custody of due to her dependency on different vices.

In 2008, her dependency got her in trouble with the law and she was arrested and forced to enter a treatment center. A source close to the actress told RadarOnline that she is in denial about her problems.

4 Drew Barrymore (Partying, Became Dependent On Different Vices, Treatment Facilities)

Child Starlets. & E! Online

Drew Barrymore started acting at just 11 months old, but it wasn’t until her role as Gertie in Stephan Spielberg’s ET that her stardom started to soar, and she became the most famous child actress of the time.

According to boxofficescoop.com, Drew’s father left when she was young, which resulted in her tagging along with her party-hard mother. That is when her life got a little crazy.

At 13, she was hooked on things no 13-year-old should even be around. By 14, she put herself into a treatment facility and by 15 she was working and living on her own after filing for emancipation.

It wasn’t until her 20's that she really cleaned up her act though and became the highly successful actress she is today.

3 Aaron Carter (Arrests, Bad Habits, Treatment Facilities, And Financial Issues)

E! Online & TMZ

Aaron Carter knew at a young age he wanted to be a musician. By the age of seven, he had started his own band, Dead End, and at 10, he was opening as a solo artist for The Backstreet Boys.

According to boxofficescoop.com, Aaron was arrested back in 2010 due to speeding and that was when police found banned things in the car with him. The following year he won fifth place in the dancing show, Dancing with the Stars. Sadly, to help battle stage fright, he had turned to different vices for relief while on the show.

Three years later, his brother Nick Carter—along with his mother—forced him to enter a treatment facility, which he exited clean and sober.

2 Shia LaBeouf (Charges, Arrest, Plagiarism)

Factinate & Esquire

Shia LaBeouf had a rocky childhood. For years, he suffered constant mental and verbal negative treatment from his father. To try and escape his homelife, he took to the stage and started performing at comedy clubs at the age of 10.

According to boxofficescoop.com, Shia’s troubles began two years after the release of his first movie in 2003, Holes. He ended up having multiple different charges, some including ramming his car into his neighbors and trespassing at a Walgreens.

Soon after, he was involved in a car accident that left his hand crushed. He ended up need three surgeries and although the accident was not his fault, he was charged.

His problems didn’t end there though and in 2013 he was accused of plagiarism after he released three graphic novels.

1 Demi Lovato (Dependent On Different Vices, Treatment Facilities, And Bipolar Disorder)

ZM & People

Demi Lovato first acting role came when she was seven years old and she was cast alongside Selena Gomez in Barney and Friends.

According to boxofficescoop.com, it was during her tour with The Jonas Brothers in 2008 that she started doing unsavory things. Her dependency issues grew so bad that she later admitted she couldn’t go an hour without it.

In 2010, Demi finally wised up and realized she had a big problem. That is when she decided to put herself into a treatment facility where she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

She emerged clean and sober and wrote an autobiography, Staying Strong, which was released in 2013.

Sadly in 2018, she was rushed to the hospital after an incident with self-sabotaging behavior. She entered a treatment facility again and so far, has been doing well.

Source: boxofficescoop.com

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