It’s not breaking news that a staggering amount of money, power, and fame at a very young age can cause child stars to feel invincible and, as a result, make some not-so-good decisions. We’ve seen it happen with promising young talents like Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Justin Bieber and—most recently—Shia LaBoeuf, who’s been making headlines for some very disturbing behavior.
After a few previous erratic episodes (like walking around with a paper bag over his head at movie premiere), the 28-year-old actor—a former star of Disney Channel’s “Even Stevens”—was arrested last week and charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass after disrupting a performance of ‘Cabaret’ on Broadway. According to reports, Shia was slapping performers on their bottoms, smoking a joint in the theater, falling out of his chair, and screaming at cops who came to escort him out. Before the show, Shia chased after a homeless man, demanding he hand over a McDonald’s bag in Times Square. So yeah, not so normal.
Obviously, Shia and the modern-day stars mentioned above are only a few in an extensive history of child stars gone bad (and by “bad,” we’re talking real-deal falls from grace thanks to legal issues and substance abuse, not simply making over their image like Miley Cyrus.)
Here, we’ve compiled 12 child stars gone bad—some of whom managed to conquer their demons and emerge triumphant, some that we’re still watching with concern, and some who passed away before their time.
Shia LaBeouf. After a few previous erratic episodes (like walking around with a paper bag over his head at at movie premiere), the 28-year-old actor—a former star of Disney Channel's "Even Stevens"—was arrested in June 2014 and charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing after disrupting a performance of "Cabaret" on Broadway. According to reports, Shia was slapping perfomers on their bottoms, smoking a joint in the theater, falling out of his chair, and screaming at cops who came to escort him out. Before the show, Shia chased after a homeless man, demanding he hand over a McDonald’s bag in Times Square.
In 2014, LaBeouf attended a movie premiere during a Berlin film festival wearing a paper bag over his head that read "I'm not famous anymore."
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Amanda Bynes. Once a promising comedic actress who rose to fame for starring in Nickelodeon's "All That" and "The Amanda Show," Bynes seemed to have flipped out in 2012. During the course of a year, she got in multiple car accidents, got nabbed for DUI, wore numerous ratty wigs, called a number of celebrities "ugly" on Twitter, was arrested for criminal possession of marijuana, tampering with evidence, and reckless endangerment. (She allegedly threw a bong out the window of her NYC apartment.) She also, memorably, stripped down to her strapless push-up bra in a spin class, and started putting on makeup before leaving after 10 minutes.
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Jodie Sweetin. The former "Full House" cutie—she played middle child Stephanie Tanner—became a meth addict after the sitcom wrapped. (she's said she started using drugs because she was "bored.") In 2009, she wrote a memoir called unSweetined, which details her alcohol and drug addictions. In one passage, Sweetin talks about bursting into tears while addressing a crowd at Wisconsin's Marquette University while coming down from a two-day bender of meth, cocaine, and ecstasy.
Lindsay Lohan. There's not enough hours in the day to detail every one of this former child star's infractions. The "Mean Girls" actress started making headlines in 2004 for her partying, stealing, car wrecks, DUI arrests, rehab stints, drug charges, and erratic relationship with her family—and hasn't stopped.
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Justin Bieber. This pop star—who first got famous at 12 years old thanks to a video of himself singing on YouTube—clearly has been suffering from a case of "too much, too soon." During the course of a year, he'd demonstrated erratic behavior (making his bodyguards carry him up the Great Wall of China, illegally bringing a monkey into Germany before promptly abandoning him with the authorities, an alleged brothel scandal, and a string of Twitter rants). The 19-year-old also had some real legal troubles, such as getting arrested for drag racing and a DUI in Miami earlier this year, and getting his house raided in a search for surveillance footage to prove he was involved in an egg-tossing vandalism case. Sadly, there was even a petition circulating earlier this year to get the Canadian deported from the U.S.
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Drew Barrymore. The actress—who became famous in 1982 for her portrayal of Gertie in "ET"—has made no secret of her rocky past, which was detailed in her memoir, "Little Girl Lost." Barrymore admitted to smoking cigarettes at 9 years old, drinking at 11, smoking pot at 12, and doing cocaine by 13—the age that she first went to rehab. After falling back into partying, Drew attempted suicide and returned to rehab at the age of 14. Luckily, she's cleaned up her act and has since become a successful actress and producer. She now has two children with husband Will Kopelman.
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Demi Lovato. Lovato got her start at the age of seven, when she was cast alongside Selena Gomez on "Barney & Friends," which led to her starring role as Sonny on the Disney Channel series "Sonny With a Chance." In 2010, Lovato sought treatment for a "physical and emotional issue." After three months, Demi publicly opened up about her battles with bulimia, cutting, bipolar disorder, and drug abuse.
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Macaulay Culkin. The "Home Alone" star was arrested for marijuana possession in Oklahoma in 2004. When he appeared in court the following year, he also pleaded guilty to charges of having medication without a prescription.
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Edward Furlong. Furlong—who first rose to fame playing John Connor in 1991's "Terminator 2: Judgement Day"—is no stranger to problems. After getting a taste of fame at a young age, the actor took to heroin and cocaine, and has been the subject of restraining orders filed by both his ex-wife and former girlfriend. Furlong avoided a jail sentence in 2013 for an arrest after agreeing to go to rehab for drug addiction for 90 days, as well as agreeing to undergo 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling.
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Corey Haim. The ultimate '80s teen idol, Haim's early success led to staggering levels of fame, and—obviously—money, and he began using drugs at 15. He had difficulties breaking away from his experience as a young heartthrob, and struggled by drug addiction throughout his later career, doing 15 stints in rehab.
During the last few years of his life, Haim was best known for teaming up with Corey Feldman, his Lost Boys costar, in a reality show called The Two Coreys. Here, Haim revealed that, like Feldman, he had been sexually abused as a child. Shortly after, he suffered a relapse. He died in 2010 at age 38.
Gary Coleman. The former "Diff'rent Strokes" actor couldn't escape the stigma of being an adorable child star, and as a result faced some very adult problems, including various financial and legal entanglements. He was arrested in 1999 for punching a female fan, and he also had a number of disorderly conduct, domestic abuse, and reckless driving charges brought against him. According to IMDB, by 1999, Coleman had to declare bankruptcy, finding work outside the Hollywood industry as a security guard. Coleman died in 2010 at the age of 42 of a brain hemorrhage after suffering an epidural hematoma from a fall at home.
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