The Disney Channel is a basic cable network that airs original programming aimed at children between the ages of 10-16. Since the late 1980s, Disney has been a catalyst for launching child actors and artists into the spotlight, giving them a platform to perform. Many Disney stars have parlayed their child stardom into adult stardom, while others fell short of maintaining the fame after their youth ended. However, whether they were able to preserve their celebrity status or not, countless Disney stars have fallen victim to a number of scandals. Here are the ten biggest Disney star scandals.
10. Hilary Duff – Eating Disorder
Hilary Duff became a teen idol after being cast on the Disney Channel television show, Lizzie McGuire in 2000. In 2001, while also filming Lizzie McGuire, Duff began her music career with the help of Radio Disney. By 2003, Hilary released her debut album titled ‘Metamorphosis’, which reached number one on the Billboard 200. Lizzie McGuire ended in 2004, but Duff had already established herself as an artist and a film actor, starring in the films, A Cinderella Story, Agent Cody Banks and Raise Your Voice. By 2004, fame and criticism of her weight got the best of the 17-year-old star. Although it went mostly under the radar, Duff has admitted to having an eating disorder. The young star dropped down to 100 lbs from 130 lbs, in less six months, due to binge exercising and anorexia – in which Duff would only consume vegetables and once in a while, grilled chicken. In 2005, Duff’s older sister, Haylie, intervened and helped Hilary to increase her food intake and cut down on the constant exercise.
9. Vanessa Hudgens – Nude Photos Leaked
Vanessa Hudgens rose to fame by playing Gabriella Montez, in Disney‘s High School Musical films starting in 2005. After much success with the first High School Musical film, Hudgens released her debut album in 2006. High School Musical 2 was released in 2007 and Vanessa debuted her second album in 2008, which was a commercial failure. Despite her unsuccessful music career, High School Musical 2 was a huge success and Vanessa went on to reprise her role as Gabriella Montez for High School Musical 3, in 2008. Vanessa’s squeaky clean image took a hit in 2007, when nude photos of the 18-year-old Disney star surfaced on the internet. Hudgens claimed that she, “…was embarrassed over the situation.” Another set of nude photos leaked online in 2009 and later that year, Vanessa sued moejackson.com for posting the nude self-portrait photographs. In 2011, another set of nude photos of Vanessa Hudgens were posted online.
8. Lalaine Vergara-Paras – Possession of Meth
Lalaine Vergara-Paras is best known for her role as Miranda, on the Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire. Lalaine got her sweet girl image by playing the best friend of McGuire on the show. She also worked with Radio Disney to start her own music career. Her debut album, ‘Inside Story’ was released in 2003. In 2005, Lalaine signed a record deal with Warner Bros. Records, but her album was never released. Lizzie McGuire ended in 2004, and by 2006, Lalaine Vergara-Paras had fallen off the grid. The young actress resurfaced in 2007, when news leaked that she had been charged with felony possession of methamphetamine. Lalaine plead guilty to the crystal meth charge and was sent to a drug treatment program.
7. Orlando Brown – DUI’s & Drug Possession
Orlando Brown played Eddie Thomas on the Disney Channel sitcom, That’s So Raven, from 2003-2007. In April 2007, Brown was arrested for possessing nine grams of marijuana, which was found in his car during a routine traffic stop. Brown claimed that the car did not belong to him, and that he was unaware of the drugs. The legal problems continued when Brown was arrested in 2011 for a DUI, while driving with his pregnant girlfriend in the car. In May 2012, he was arrested again for failing to complete conditions of his probation from his 2011 DUI arrest. Brown was arrested a third time in July 2012 for not showing in court. In April 2013, Orlando was arrested for a second DUI and five months later, the former That’s So Raven star was sentenced to 180 days in jail.
6. Zac Efron – Cocaine, Molly & Alcohol Addiction
Zac Efron became a teen idol thanks to his lead role in the Disney Channel’s, High School Musical films. In 2006, Efron became Troy Bolton, the popular captain of the East High Wildcats basketball team – which gained him recognition as an actor. Zac also had a bit of a music career, until it was revealed that another singer’s voice was blended with his for the songs on the HSM soundtrack. HSM 2 was released in 2007 and HSM 3 was released the following year. Efron has been very successful with transitioning from a Disney star to an adult star, but not without a couple of scandals on the way. In April 2013, the former Disney star quietly checked into rehab for a cocaine, Molly and alcohol addiction – but this wasn’t his first stint in rehab. Reportedly, Zac had went to rehab earlier in 2013, but went back in April, due to a relapse. Efron also reportedly missed several days of filming for the movie Neighbors, due to his relapse. Zac had been using cocaine and other drugs since 2011. Recently, Zac Efron has been open about his past struggles with addiction, and he reports that he is now sober.
5. Selena Gomez – Rehab
Selena Gomez got her big break in 2007, when she landed the lead role on the Disney Channel Original Series, Wizards of Waverly Place. The show was a commercial hit and made Selena Gomez an instant star. Like most other Disney Channel stars, Gomez started a music career in 2009, which has been commercially successful. In 2010, she landed her first film role outside of Disney, in the movie Ramona and Beezus. However, her tumultuous on and off relationship with Justin Bieber, which began in 2011, seems to have gotten the best of her. In January 2014, Selena checked herself into rehab for problems with alcohol, marijuana and Ambien. Two weeks into the 45-day program, she checked herself out because she felt she was better. Her reps have denied her reasoning for going to rehab, instead saying that Selena went in order to get away and take a break. Although, Selena Gomez swears she’s fine, time will tell, if this is all apart of her master plan or if it’s just a very public breakdown.
4. Britney Spears – 2007 Mental Breakdown
Britney Spears actually got her start at the age of twelve on the Disney produced television show, The Mickey Mouse Club. The show allowed her to act, dance and sing. Spears was on the show from 1993 to 1995. Two years after The Mickey Mouse Club ended, Britney had a record deal with Jive Records and in 1999, her debut album, ‘…Baby One More Time’ was released. The album went 14x platinum and was followed by a string of certified platinum albums. In 2007, fame and Hollywood finally caught up to Britney Spears and she suffered a very public breakdown. Drugs, alcohol and mental illness were at the root of the breakdown, which resulted in Britney losing custody of her children, going to rehab, being committed to a psych ward and shaving her own head. Despite the issues Britney was dealing with, her fifth album ‘Blackout’ released in October 2007, was a commercial success. By July 2008, Britney Spears was back to her old self and had successfully survived her extremely long and very public mental breakdown.
3. Miley Cyrus- Twerking, Drugs & Bizarre Behavior
Miley Cyrus became Hannah Montana in 2006 and was instantly a Disney teen idol. She began her music career in 2007 with her debut album, ‘Meet Miley Cyrus’. The album went 4x platinum and due to it’s success, Miley released her second album the following year. Hannah Montana aired until 2012, but by 2009, Miley was itching to transition into an adult. She filmed, The Last Song in 2009 and released her third album, ‘Can’t Be Tamed’ in 2010, which was edgy compared to her previous albums. The release of her ‘Bangerz’ album in October 2013 changed everything and it was just the beginning of Miley’s bizarre behavior. In August 2013, Miley put on a cringe worthy and raunchy performance at the VMA‘s, which included Miley twerking, thrusting, humping and sticking out her tongue. Her ‘Bangerz’ tour has been even more shocking. Miley has simulated masturbation on stage, made out with female fans, put concert attendees’ underwear in her mouth and has licked nearly everything she’s come into contact with.
2. Demi Lovato – Cocaine, Alcohol, Self-injury, Assault & Bulimia
Demi Lovato became a full on Disney star when she was cast as the lead role in Camp Rock and given her own Disney series, Sonny with a Chance in the summer of 2007. In 2008, Lovato debuted her first album, ‘Don’t Forget’ and her second album, ‘Here We Go Again’ was released in 2009. Lovato toured for a few months in 2009 and in 2010 she toured with the Jonas Brothers. After punching a backup dancer in the face in November 2010, Lovato withdrew from the tour and entered a treatment facility. Demi suffered from bulimia, self-injury and bipolar disorder. She was also addicted to cocaine and alcohol. Lovato decided to depart from Sonny with a Chance, which ended the series in 2011. Since leaving rehab, Lovato claims she has fully recovered.
1. Lindsay Lohan – DUI’s, Drugs, Jail & Rehab
Lindsay Lohan got her start playing dual roles of twins in Disney‘s 1998 film, The Parent Trap. The film’s success landed Lohan a three film contract with Disney. The three films Lohan starred in were Life-Size (2000), Get a Clue (2002) and Freaky Friday (2003). Her commercial success landed her two more leading roles in the films, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and Mean Girls – which both released in 2004. Lindsay was on top of the world and her fame and fortune grew exponentially. She continued to land lead film roles and even started a music career. Lohan’s bright future began to dim in 2007 with a cocaine possession charge, two DUI arrests and three failed stints in rehab. The once promising Hollywood star was on a slippery slope. Lohan’s legal troubles continue to this day and she has not been able to get a handle on her addictions nor her diminshing career.