by Jacklyn Moore
Unfortunately, living in the spotlight is not always an ideal place. Over the years, there has been no shortage of child star scandals and here you will read about some of the most outrageous stories involving young celebrities, all of which have been displayed on the pages of popular magazines and TV shows.
Lindsay Lohan began her acting career as a child, making it big at age 11 when she starred in the remake of The Parent Trap. Not only did she pursue her movie career, but she also embarked on a singing career. However, Lohan would be in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Lohan has had several car accidents and stints in rehab. In November 2006, while paparazzi were tailing her, she got into a minor accident. In 2007, Lohan continued her downward spiral, checking into rehab in January for one month. In May of that year, she was arrested after crashing her car and was charged with having an unknown amount of cocaine not only in her car, but also in her blood. Once again, she entered rehab.
Shortly after her time in rehab, Lohan was stopped after arguing with a former assistant, and was found to have a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, as well as a small amount of cocaine on her person. Again, she was arrested for possession and a misdemeanor. She entered rehab for a third time.
Over the years, Lohan’s feuds with her parents and her love life have managed to make the headlines. Her most recent scandal consists of missing jewelry from a photo shoot she was doing for Elle magazine in the UK. See here for more of Lindsay Lohan’s Biography.
Miley Cyrus is best known as Hannah Montana to the tween crowd. She was thrown into the spotlight after a Vanity Fair photo shoot with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.
In April 2008, reports stated that she posed topless; the photos were later released showing her back uncovered and her front covered with a sheet. Of course, parents were upset since the then 15 year old teenage idol, who was a role model for their children, had now become the talk of the town in a child star scandal. According to reports, Cyrus’ parents and/or guardians were present at this shoot. Soon after, Cyrus released a statement regarding the event, saying, “I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ … I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about” (New York Times, April 2008). See here for more of Miley Cyrus’ Biography.
Britney Spears, once a member of the Mickey Mouse Club, seems to be constantly involved in scandals.
Spears started her career as an innocent school girl. However, public opinion soon changed when headlines revealed a quickie Vegas wedding in January 2004, another wedding to Kevin Federline that same year, and a baby in 2005. In 2006, she had her second child with Federline and a few months later, filed for divorce.
A driving incident, in which Spears had her son on her lap while driving, brought her much negative attention from the media. But perhaps 2007 is the year she really made bold headlines. She entered rehab, attacked a paparazzi van with an umbrella, shaved her head, and lost custody of her two sons. And at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, Spears gave one of the worst performances ever.
Despite her odd behaviour, Spears continues to make music and is currently on tour promoting her 6th album. See here for more of Britney Spears’ Biography.
Vanessa Hudgens is best known for her role in the hit tween franchise High School Musical. A child star scandal emerged in September 2007 when controversial photos of Hudgens came out, showing her posing in evocative lingerie and nude. Statements from the star’s camp said the photos were taken privately and never meant to be released. There have been apologies from all sides regarding the situation.
Child star scandals seem to have really hit those involved in hit shows of the 80′s. Full House star Jodie Sweetin, who played cute Stephanie Tanner, was, in real life, the complete opposite of her tv character as she struggled with drugs.
At age 22, while in college, Sweetin first tried crystal meth and quickly formed a habit which she kept secret from her husband. But her addiction was revealed after she was hospitalized in 2005. She later divorced after being released from treatment. Since then, Sweetin is known to be clean and sober.
Another star of the 80′s is Tracey Gold who was on the popular tv show Growing Pains. Diagnosed at the young age of 11 with the early stages of anorexia, the disease almost took her life, and also thrust her into the spotlight.
Obsessed with food and dieting, Gold tried group therapy to resolve her body image issues. Unfortunately, her weight loss continued, and in 1992 she was admitted to the hospital. Consequently, she was left out of the majority of the episodes of the final season of Growing Pains due to her physical appearance. Gold struggled for several years but eventually recovered and now maintains a normal body weight.
The show Different Strokes aired from 1978 to 1986 and produced three young, talented celebrities, each one involved in child star scandals.
Todd Bridges, who played Willis, had a cocaine habit for several years and was arrested for the attempted murder of a drug dealer in 1988. His defense attorney said Bridges had been steered towards drugs because of the entertainment industry.
In 1993, Bridges entered into an argument with a tenant and stabbed the man, but no charges were laid. He was arrested again in 1997 for hitting someone’s car after a dispute.
Bridges started traveling across the U.S., giving lectures in churches and schools on the perils of drugs and peer pressure.
Gary Coleman became an instant child star in the role of Arnold. But the monetary success Coleman garnered from the show was soon lost. In 1989, he sued both his parents and ex-manager for stealing his trust fund. By 1999, he had filed for bankruptcy.
In 1998, he was charged with assault for punching a woman who asked for his autograph. He was also involved in a car accident in 2008 when he hit a man in a parking lot; apparently the two of them had argued over a photo that was taken of Coleman. See here for more of Gary Coleman’s Biography.
Dana Plato may be the saddest story of the three child stars on Different Strokes. After she left the show, her career dropped, and she appeared in low-budget films and soft-core pornography.
At an early age, she had developed drug and alcohol problems, and at 14, she overdosed on Valium. She was on the show till 1984, when producers let her go because she became pregnant.
In 1988, her life was a mess; her mother passed away and her marriage started to fall apart. She was arrested in Las Vegas after attempting a hold-up, and was arrested again in 1992 for violating her probation.
Plato’s troubles came to an end when she died of an overdose at the age of 35.
River Phoenix is another young celebrity whose life was cut short. His image was clean because his use of drugs was relatively unknown. When he died, the media cited it as shocking and tragic. Phoenix once said during an interview that “…drugs aren’t just done by bad guys and sleaze-bags; it’s a universal disease” (People Magazine, Nov. 1993).
On the evening of October 30, 1993, Phoenix became ill after reportedly taking a combination of drugs. He collapsed outside The Viper Room in Hollywood. He was taken to the hospital but could not be revived. He was only 23 years old.
Complete biographies of these and other child stars can be found at www.child-stars.com.