Child stars always seem to have difficulties in their lives, regardless of whether or not they stay in the spotlight. While fans love to see those adorable little faces on the small screen and at the movie theater, the celebrity way of life isn’t exactly the healthiest environment for someone to be raised or have their childhood.
With child actors often bringing in far more money than their parents, there is sometimes a skewed relationship between parent and child that becomes quite dysfunctional. On a number of occasions, this has led to many guardians mismanaging funds and even disregarding their child’s best interests in search of the almighty dollar. A number of former child stars went through bitter lawsuits and emancipation cases to get out from under their parent’s rule, which further added to the difficulty since these stars then had to learn how to raise themselves.
Yet, we can’t always blame the parents when a child actor starts to make their own decisions in life. Ultimately, everyone has a right to make their own choices in life, regardless of what those choices might be. Whether it’s the pressure to maintain their fame, the temptation of drugs and alcohol, or some serious insecurities that come from the need to want to continue to prove their worth as an adult and actor, some child actors start to exhibit mental instabilities later in life.
The list of unsavory behavior that they then often exhibit can be more than a little unsettling and it seems they only have themselves to blame for their oddities. So check out our list of 15 former child stars who have become creepers, and see which ones freak you out the most.
15. Lark Voorhies
Although Saved by the Bell was very short-lived (only lasting three years and ending in 1992), it spawned the careers of many of its lead characters. Mark-Paul Gosselaar went on to a successful television career, Tiffani Thiessen became a Cooking Channel star, Mario Lopez became a hugely popular television host, and even Elizabeth Berkley went on to star in feature films. However, Lark Voorhies wasn’t so lucky on or off screen after the end of the show. From speculated botched plastic surgery to clown-like makeup, her look was much creepier than the sweet Lisa Turtle character fans remembered from the show. By creating such a shocking transformation, many have inquired about her mental health in recent years.
14. Edward Furlong
People had high hopes for Edward Furlong, since his performances early on in his career were in hit films like the Terminator film series. Playing John Connor and becoming a teen heartthrob, people likened him with other bad boy celebrities like River Phoenix. His personal life seemed to be filled with typical drama associated with a child star, from being emancipated at the age of 16 to numerous stints in rehab to battling alcohol and drug addiction. While other child stars may have dealt with similar demons, Furlong has reached creeper status due to his tendency to violate civil protection orders from ex-girlfriends. Many of his former girlfriends have alleged domestic violence, and he has been arrested more than once with domestic-related issues.
13. Jeremy Jackson
Introduced to audiences as the young heartthrob on Baywatch, Jackson played Hobie Buchannon, but left the show in 1999. While most actors wouldn’t dare leave a hit television series, Jackson opened up on E!’s Child Star Confidential by saying he left due to a “severe drug addiction.” In 2011, Jackson appeared on television again, but this time through Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew for a steroid addiction. While all this was bad enough, Jackson was again in the headlines when he was arrested after a resident called about a “prowler” in the neighborhood. He was wanted in a stabbing case where he was identified by the victim as “Hobie” from Baywatch.
12. Taran Noah Smith
Taran Noah Smith starred as the youngest son of Tim and Jill Taylor on the hit television series, Home Improvement. After the series wrapped, Smith seemed to unravel with some strange behavior. While the arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana wouldn’t cause too many to bat an eye, it was his marriage to Heidi Van Pelt that really had people wondering about this once adorable child actor. At just 17 years old, Smith married a woman in her thirties, which ultimately led to divorce. While Hollywood has always celebrated “cougars” and their hot boy toys, it gets super creepy once the boy is still in his teens and can be remembered as growing up on TV.
11. Jaime Foxworth
While other hit family sitcoms spawned the careers of some prominent actors, that wasn’t the case for Family Matters. The older sister, played by Kellie Shanygne Williams, served a prison sentence due to her city councilman husband’s plot to steal money from Washington, D.C., but it was Jaime Foxworth’s plight that was perhaps the saddest.
Playing the youngest child, Judy Winslow, when she was just ten years old, the show chose to get rid of her character once they realized the true draw was the Steve Urkel character. After a stint on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, Foxworth became known under a different name: Crave. Proving that some people will do anything to try and stay in the limelight, Foxworth turned to adult films rather than get a regular job.
10. Brian Bonsall
Playing the fourth child of the Keaton clan in Family Ties, Brian Bonsall was the ever so cute blonde-haired little brother everyone fell in love with. While fans will undoubtedly always remember him as little Andy, it was his off-screen character that made the most profound effect on the public. Although he dabbled in some punk rock music bands and had a string of arrests, it was the dramatic transformation in appearance that was most jarring. Starting off with just a few tattoos, he now looks like a stereotypical tattoo artist. The arrests range from felony second degree assault charges on a “friend” to an alleged assault charge on a then-girlfriend. Along with many court hearings, Bonsall tested positive for drug use in a court-ordered urine sample.
9. Blake McIver Ewing
When Blake McIver Ewing was first introduced to audiences, he was the super cute glasses-wearing kid in The Little Rascals. Playing Waldo, he was always clean cut with the look of an all-American Republican about him. Nowadays, he can be seen on The People’s Couch as one of the three gay men in the most flamboyant group on the show. In an attempt to hit it big in the music industry, Ewing released an album entitled, The Time Manipulator. We don’t know which is freakier, seeing Waldo as a gay man wearing skinny jeans or a struggling pop star with better contouring than Kim Kardashian?
8. Dustin Diamond
In the late ’80s and early ’90s, the show to watch was Saved by the Bell. Bringing in male viewers because of Tiffany Thiessen and even Elizabeth Berkley, female viewers all swooned over Mario Lopez and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. However, Dustin Diamond got the short end of the stick with his “Screech” character. Unlike Family Matters (that at least gave Steve Urkel a super suave and much better looking alter ego), Screech had to endure the ridicule until the end of the series. His self-released sex tape in 2006, Screeched – Saved by the Smell, may have been a way to revamp his career, but really it was just super creepy and definitely not worth listing for hottest celebrity sex tapes.
7. Danny Bonaduce
Introduced to audiences in the ’70s through his role on The Partridge Family, Danny Bonaduce quickly changed his image through his new career ventures into everything from comedy to professional boxing. Typical of a child star, Bonaduce began battling intense drug addiction which ultimately resulted in him becoming homeless and living behind a dumpster. Revealing his seedy past on an episode of Oprah’s Where Are They Now?, Bonaduce said, “I was probably legally drunk for about 25 years.” While he has since seemed to get his addiction under control, he still hasn’t been able to shed his creepy past (which seems to dominate his former persona on The Partridge Family).
6. Gary Coleman
Gary Coleman is probably best remembered for his television role on Diff’rent Strokes, but he also appeared in a number of other roles as a child. From The Jeffersons to The Little Rascals, Coleman had quite a career as a child actor. However, the child-like face and small stature that made him famous early on in his career became stifling later on in his career, especially with his serious health issues that caused him to take harsh medication that further attributed to the side effects of his condition. Although he passed at the age of 42, Coleman definitely added some unique experiences in his later life. It was the music video in 2005 where he played the creepiest version of himself, kidnapping Michael Jackson and Madonna, that proved it doesn’t get stranger than that.
5. Todd Bridges
As another casualty from the ’80s show, Diff’rent Strokes, Todd Bridges played Willis, the eldest brother. Bridges had other roles as a child actor on such hit shows like The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie, but the resolution of Diff’rent Strokes brought the first start of Bridges’ downfall. In 2010, Bridges released the book, Killing Willis, where he discussed his addiction to crack cocaine and having to wear a diaper in rehab. There were also a number of legal issues in his past, including an arrest for attempted murder. While he has since cleaned up his life, the image of Bridges in a diaper is enough creepiness to last a lifetime.
4. Joey Cramer
Joey Cramer first gained celebrity in the ’80s as a Disney star with the cute pre-teen face. Starring in a number of different ’80s acting roles, Cramer went the route of many child actors that have difficulty maintaining a level of fame and celebrity. While other child actors that have been removed from the limelight tend to go back to school or navigate through regular life, Cramer chose to become a bank robber instead. In May 2016, Cramer donned a shoulder-length wig (not a very good disguise) and robbed a Scotiabank in British Columbia. He was arrested and charged, and fans were left wondering why he would think he would get away with such a poorly executed plan.
3. Mary-Kate Olsen
While it was nearly impossible to tell Ashley apart from her twin sister Mary-Kate during their time playing the same role on Full House, it’s pretty simple to tell them apart nowadays. When Mary-Kate started dating Olivier Sarkozy, the half-brother to the former President of France, people looked at them with odd curiosity since he was 18 years her senior. While it isn’t abnormal for a man to date a younger woman, it was made even stranger by the fact that she still has the baby face and the small size of a child. Conversely, he has a receding hairline and is freakishly tall, so they look more like father and daughter. The two married in 2015, and seem to be going on strong – no matter how creepy it still looks!
2. Jake Lloyd
When filmmakers were looking for the perfect actor to play a young Anakin Skywalker for the Star Wars film series, Jake Lloyd was the perfect choice. The adorable round face, blonde hair, and bright eyes made fans fall in love with Lloyd through a film series that became iconic. However, Lloyd made comments about how this role made his childhood a “living hell.” Whether it was choosing to rebel or just another child actor lashing out, Lloyd went on a 25-mile car chase with police officers while he plowed through a wooded area and a fence. Arrested with a number of different charges, the creepiest thing about the joyride was the intense mug shot that was anything other than cute.
1. Macaulay Culkin
Macaulay Culkin captured the hearts of the world through the ’90s film series, Home Alone. From the impish looks to the infamous aftershave scene, even the child killer role he played in The Good Son showcased a super cute Culkin to fans. Yet, Culkin donned a completely different look as he aged. While he is essentially retired from the business, there have been drug addiction rumors circulating around him for years. While things seemed to be going well for Culkin while he was romantically linked to Mila Kunis, things went downhill fast. In 2004, he was arrested for marijuana and Xanax, but it was the rumors regarding methadone that many people wondered about.