Disney has made countless young wannabees into big stars, both in movies and on television. But the thing about child actors is this: Sometimes their childhood gets left behind by punishing work schedules. Britney Spears first auditioned to be a Musketeer when she was only eight. In some cases, it is a case of having your fifteen minutes of fame that leads to not much. Musketeer Jennifer McGill of The All New Mickey Mouse Club comes to mind. Sometimes it’s just too much too soon and young stars like Lindsay Lohan end up alternating binging on drink and drugs with stints in rehab. We look at those cute pictures of the stars in their Disney prime next to what they have become and just shake our heads and wonder how it could have happened. Well, sometimes, like Orlando Brown or our Lindsay, it’s drinks and/or drugs. Sometimes there are issues with weight, mental problems, or maybe life just gets in the way of happiness. Raven Symone knows all about that one. Some have had run-ins with the law and done jail time. But former teenage heartthrobs Frankie Muniz and Michael J. Fox, have just been very unlucky and had to contend with some major life-threatening health issues.
For whatever reason, here are 15 once hot Disney stars that have not aged well. As you will see, it can be hard to reconcile the young stars with their current selves. Read on.
15. Lindsay Lohan
For a long time, she’s been a trainwreck of a girl. Lindsay Lohan became a (sweet little girl with adorable freckles) star in Disney’s The Parent Trap in 1998. There were other hits, most notably in 2003 when she starred opposite perky Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday. But a few years later, the skid had begun. There were rumors of drugs and drinking and endless stints in rehab. And then there were all those run-ins with the law and court appearances and jail time. And her increasingly erratic behavior and on-set clashes with fellow actors and crew have caused her career more or less to skid to a halt. She talks of a comeback, but the hard life shows on that once beautiful face. And she is still only thirty years old. She just can’t seem to get it right. For our Lindsay, it seems to be one step forward and two steps back.
14. Britney Spears
Britney Spears has been way up and she has been totally down. Alongside stars such as Justin Timberlake, she was a happy Musketeer on The All New Mickey Mouse Club. Then in 1999, the still-only-a-teenager Britney hit the pop charts with ‘Baby One More Time’ and had pulses racing with her sexy bod and dance moves. But, there have been problems, talk of mental instability, and a failed marriage or two. Perhaps her friend Miley Cyrus gave us all a clue to what has been going on when she recently said she is not certain Britney wants to keep making music. Maybe, Miley said, she just wants to chill. But, when you are making lots of money, for yourself and others, and you are worth a cool $170 million, it’s hard to just walk away. So, over the years we’ve seen Britney hot and we’ve seen Britney not so hot. And who can forget that shaved head? Maybe it’s time to chill out and enjoy.
13. Jennifer McGill
She had a few years of success on television. At the tender age of ten, this Texas lass became a Mouseketeer on Disney Channel’s The All New Mickey Mouse Club. From 1989 through 1995, she sang and danced her way into kiddie stardom alongside Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake. Back then, she exuded a cute, slightly sexy, All-American girl vibe. Since then, she’s studied at New York University, had issues with her weight, done things to her hair (which don’t help matters), and moved into the lucrative Christian “praise leader” market. You can catch her doing her stuff at a nearby church or conference center. But, once a Musketeer, always a Musketeer. You do still get the occasional Musketeer pictures on her Facebook page.
12. Dutch Elijah Whitlock
From still shots to mugshots. In 2006, Dutch Elijah Whitlock was a too funky star who played Skater Dude #1 in Disney’s High School Musical. As one of the Skater Dudes, he was a little nerdy, but also a little cool. Those masses of blonde curls had female fans lining up for autographs of his “I play the cello!” picture. Two years later he was posing for a mugshot after being arrested for the attempted robbery of a Utah pizza business at gunpoint. The former Skater Dude looked so bad, it was hard to believe it was the same guy. Plus, he totally should make a “Dumbest Criminals List”, because he had previously worked at the store he tried to rob. Like, hey man, we all know it’s you Dutch. He served a year in prison and has kept a pretty low profile since then. No word on whether he really can play the cello.
Sometimes life just gets in the way. She’s only thirty, but some say that over the last few years she has aged quite a lot. As a kid, she was the totally adorable Olivia Kendall on The Cosby Show, before doing That’s So Raven for Disney. She played Raven, a psychic teenager who spent most of her time trying to hide her gifts. Life has been a mixed bag for Raven as of late. Last year she ended her three year relationship with female partner, the model and actress AzMarie Livingston. Things seemed to improve for her when she joined The View. Then, according to Huffington Post, she started spouting really insane things. Then there came those rumors of tension on the set and feuds that led to speculation that Raven might leave the show. The question is: Will she jump or will she be pushed? Fans will keep turning on The View in hopes of seeing Raven. But who knows?
10. Orlando Brown
Maybe Orlando Brown has burned out on fame. He was Eddie Thomas in That’s So Raven from 2003 to 2007. Back then, Brown was boy next door cute, a talented actor, singer and rapper, who seemed to have a brilliant career ahead of him. Then in 2011 and 2013, he was arrested for DUI. Things were clearly not going well for the star. Then in early 2016, he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend and then added to his rap sheet by bringing drugs into the police station. His mugshot shows a guy who looks a lot older than his twenty-eight years. Maybe that was the idea behind his short 2016 film Orlando Brown: F**k My Fame. Let’s hope the Straight Outta Compton actor is getting his act together. We say, maybe, maybe not.
9. Mischa Barton
Trouble just seems to follow this girl around. Mischa Barton was a winsome British-American actress and occasional model who was on The O.C. and starred in the 2002 Disney Channel Original Movie, A Ring of Endless Light. The thirty year old looks like a shadow of her younger self. Granted, she’s had her problems, with an arrest for DUI and driving without a license, and a suit by a landlord for unpaid rent on a New York apartment. Mischa has even sued her own mother for “theft” over a house they own together in Beverly Hills, California. And perhaps worst of all, in July of 2009, she was sectioned for two weeks, meaning she was involuntarily confined by a psychiatrist who believed she had a mental disorder that made her a danger to herself and others. Her version? She was terrified when she sought treatment for a toothache and a nurse wanted to give her an injection, and a “fight” ensued. Right, we hear you. That would make you a danger, wouldn’t it?
8. Lark Voorhies
My word, girl. What happened? She was a cheeky child star and a regular on Disney’s Good Morning, Miss Bliss. Fans find it hard to recognize the old Lark in recent pictures of her. But like a lot of former Disney stars on this list, Lark Voorhies has had her problems. To begin with, her mother has claimed that she suffers from bipolar disorder. Backing that up, fellow actors describe her as disconnecting and simply staring into space on occasion. In 2006, she sued The National Enquirer for libel over their article that claimed she had a drug problem. But the case was dropped only a couple of months after it was filed. Some say her drastically altered look is the result of bad plastic surgery. Gossip Magazine said that the surgery had made her “practically unrecognizable”. And many would agree. And it’s no surprise that her career seems to have come to a screeching halt. It’s hard to believe she’s only forty-two.
7. Haley Joel Osment
From cute boy to an overweight gangster? Some have said Haley Joel Osment does indeed look like an overweight gangster, a million miles away from the cute kid who played Tom Hanks’ son in 1994’s Forrest Gump. And it astounds some people when they learn he is only twenty-eight years old. He has done a lot of voice work for Disney, including being the voice of Chip in Beauty and the Beast and Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story. He’s continued to work, but 2016’s Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town seems a bit of a let down after accolades such as his Critics Choice Award for his performance alongside Bruce Willis in the spooky 2002 movie The Sixth Sense. And he’s had run-ins with the cops, having pleaded no contest to a DUI and drug possession charges. Our advice? Man, you need to lose the slicked back hair and gangster threads fast.
6. Sean Astin
Sean Astin is overweight and happy. Which makes a nice change from the others. The happy bit, anyway. OK, he’s forty-five, but he is the son of legendary actress Patty Duke. So, the genes are good. But despite that and a pretty healthy lifestyle (he’s competed in the Ironman World Championships), he just has not aged well at all. Astin played Oso in the Disney Junior show Special Agent Oso. And he is proud of his portrayal of Sam Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings. But playing that portly Hobbit meant he had to gain weight. According to IMDB, he has said, “I don’t care if I’m 5’7″ and pretty heavy, weight-wise… I still see myself as [swashbuckling actor] Errol Flynn. Even when I was a little boy, playing war games in the backyard, I pictured myself as the hero”. Hero? But at least he’s a happy camper.
5. Frankie Muniz
The twenty-something has had two mini-strokes. As a youngster, he was Malcolm in Malcolm in the Middle, Cody Banks in the successful film franchise, and starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie Miracle in Lane 2. Frankie Muniz was one of Hollywood’s most bankable teenage stars and, until fairly recently, it seemed the guy would go on looking youthful into old age. But then came the tragedy of two mini-strokes; and the thirty year old is clearly feeling the effects of his medical emergencies. Having had his first stroke when he was only twenty-six, he kind of knew what was going on when the second one came on suddenly as he was riding his motorcycle. He has said it was dead scary for him and his fiance, as he was talking gibberish and lost his vision in one eye. He went public and reassured his loyal fans. Despite his setbacks, he continues to work in movies and television.
4. Brian Bonsall
Good lord. What has he done? It’s hard to reconcile the smiling, fresh-faced young actor with the tattooed and pierced adult. But both are Brian Bonsall. Back in the early 1980’s, he was only five years old when he won the role of Andy Keaton in the long-running hit TV show Family Ties. Later, he starred in the Disney film Blank Check. His career came to an end in 1995, when he and his family moved from California to Colorado. According to his IMDB biography, he’s had a number of run-ins with the law in Colorado, including DUI, assault, and false imprisonment charges. He’s gone punk, in look and music, playing the guitar and singing in bands. He has said that he has no interest in returning to acting. But maybe he and his tattoos and piercings would jump at the chance of playing a punk rocker. Sid Vicious maybe?
3. Moises Arias
Moises Arias has gone from cheeky to weird. He played the loud, brash Rico Suave on Hannah Montana, back when Miley Cyrus was fresh-faced and not prone to sticking her tongue out and baring her nipples all the time. And lately, he had a part in Ben-Hur, one of the biggest film flops of all time. But would anybody guess this guy is now only twenty-two? Most remember his yukky nude Instagram selfie and that picture of him in bed with young Willow Smith. Creepy, big time. Many thought it was inappropriate for a twenty year old to take a shirtless picture of himself in bed with a thirteen year old. The guy nearly broke the Internet with that one. There’s just something weird about the guy. And it shows in his looks, big time. We want Rico back, please.
2. Donna Pescow
Hot to not? She was John Travolta‘s hot Italian-American girlfriend in the 70’s disco blockbuster Saturday Night Fever. She ended up auditioning six times before she landed the role. Later, she became super-mom and California politician Eileen Stevens on the popular TV show Even Stevens. Eileen Stevens was momsy cute and funny and Donna Pescow nailed the character big time. Her acting portfolio is diverse, to say the least: In 1970, she became the first female lesbian character on daytime TV. She even did a commercial for Glock firearms. Now in her sixties and having issues with her weight, her career has sort of fizzled out. Having won a Golden Globe and amassed a big fan following, she still shows up for the odd conference or autograph sessions for fans who remember her TV heyday.
1. Michael J. Fox
He starred in Disney’s Homeward Bound films and also has done a lot of voice work for the studio. But his most famous role was undoubtedly as 80’s heartthrob Marty McFly in the hugely successful Back to the Future films. Then back in the 1990’s he and his family were devastated when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, a disorder of the central nervous system that progressively affects speech and movement. He has fought back hard and has continued to work in both film and TV. And he’s become a crusader to raise awareness about and promote research into a cure for the disease. But the disease has slowly progressed and caused major physical changes. And there is yet no cure. We really hope he battles on.