Have you noticed there’s a new breed of celeb in town? They seem to pop up everywhere; on the red carpet at events, on TV, some even have their own TV shows. We wonder why they’re famous as they have no discernible talent. What they do have is a connection to some of the biggest names in Hollywood. We’re talking about the emerging breed of celebrity managers, parents who manage the careers of their children.
Long before Kris Jenner tried to trademark the word “momager”, there had been many before her that rocked the title. Shirley Temple, Judy Garland and Jackie Coogan were all managed by their parents, and one thing they had in common was the cruddy way their own parents treated them.
Thanks to Coogan’s Law a.k.a the California Child Actor’s Bill, it’s become harder to steal from child entertainers. However, the law doesn’t stop exploitative parents from milking their kid’s fame for what it’s worth. Kris Jenner, Joe Jackson and Kit Culkin have all had a hand in managing their kids and the results leave much to be desired.
From writing tell-all books to making questionable career decisions to suing the child for their share of earnings, celebrity parents have shown how douchey they can be. Let’s take a look at some of the outrageous things “momagers” – and “dadagers”, too – have done to their kids.
10. Drew Barrymore
America’s sweetheart Drew Barrymore made her very first appearance in a TV ad at only 11 months, but she went on to play memorable roles including the adorable Gertie in E.T. But by the time she was 8, Drew was introduced to the night life at the infamous Studio 54, by her mother, Jaid.
Barrymore was smoking cigarettes by the time she was nine, drinking alcohol by 11, and doing hard drugs by 13. The child star ended up in rehab for the first time in 1988 and did another stint in 1989, after a suicide attempt.
A year after that stint, Barrymore filed for emancipation from her mother. Clean from rehab, she soon had hits like The Wedding Singer and Charlie’s Angels. Till date, she’s estranged from her mother, admitting in an interview that “we can’t really be in each other’s lives at this point.”
9. Judy Garland
Judy Garland became popular for her role as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, but she’d been a child star long before then. She had been on stage from the age of two, first appearing in vaudeville with her sisters.
Traveling around the country, performing at auditions, her singing soon caught the ear of a Hollywood scout. At 13, she was signed to MGM and as she appeared in more movies, the studio began to worry about her weight. To counter her teenage weight gain, the star was reportedly put on a regimen of diet pills and pep pills, then sleeping pills.
Enduring this regimen as a child performer did a number on Garland, and over the years, she blamed Hollywood and her momager for her addiction. Garland died of an accidental overdose of barbiturates in 1969; her dependency on drugs stemmed from the early exposure she had to drugs.
8. LeAnn Rimes
With her pitch-perfect singing voice, LeAnn Rimes won talent shows, appeared on Star Search and sang the national anthem at football games, all before her teen years. By the time she was 13, she had her first hit with the song, Blue, and the awards soon came rolling in. At 14, Rimes picked up at five Billboard Music Awards and two Grammys and her song was named Song of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.
Everything seemed rosy for the teen superstar, but in 2000, Rimes filed a lawsuit against her father, Wilbur C. Rimes, and her former manager, Lyle Walker for cheating her of $7 million over five years. The suit alleged that Rimes Senior helped himself to more than his agreed salary. The case dragged on for two years before both parties being settled out of court.
7. Lindsay Lohan
Dina Lohan is accused of allowing sexualization of her daughters from a young age. When the former child model landed the role on Mean Girls, her career seemed on track for success. But she had also become a paparazzi magnet, often photographed intoxicated in clubs. At this point, you’d expect her management a.k.a momager Dina, to intervene. But instead, Dina was caught by cameras many times, drinking and partying with Lindsay!
Over time, LiLo slipped into drug addiction, stints in rehab, house arrest and more. Through all this, Dina appeared to be the enabling force behind LiLo’s downward spiral. Dina who was more interested in being in the limelight, refused to take any blame. She insisted that all of Lindsay’s problems are as a result of personal choices.
She landed a reality show, Living Lohan, in 2008. The show chronicled the attempts of her second daughter, Alli to make it in showbiz, with Dina managing her, of course.
6. Miley & Noah Cyrus
Miley Cyrus‘ “metamorphosis” surprised and outraged many parents; they saw it as a young girl growing up too fast. Her parents and managers, Tish and Billy Ray Cyrus, took a lot of flak for the career decisions she made. In 2008, when she was 15, she appeared topless on the cover of Vanity Fair. Parents reacted with outrage, and the child star was forced to apologize for the racy pictures.
In 2010, there were reports that Miley’s younger sister, Noah, was going to promote a line of clothing from Ooh! La La Couture. Targeted at young girls (Noah was 10 at the time), the line included French maid outfits, fish net stockings, lace tights and bondage boots. Not exactly what you would expect pre-teen girls to wear, right? Once again, Tish & Billy Ray were blamed for allowing their younger daughter to be exploited for profit.
5. Courtney Stodden
Known for her eye-popping outfits, Stodden had, apparently, been dressing provocatively since she was 12. What started with a pair of heels soon snowballed into much racier outfits. Being a supportive mum (and manager), Krista Stodden allowed her dress exactly how she wanted to.
Krista claimed Courtney’s hyper-sexual outfits didn’t bother her because she felt she needed to ‘express herself.’ At 12? Most people didn’t buy her explanation; she seemed to encourage such behavior to ‘jumpstart’ her career.
At 16, Krista allowed her daughter to marry 51 year old actor, Doug Hutchison. Hutchison and Courtney had met five weeks before, via an online acting class he was teaching. Krista said she approved of their union but a few years later, when Courtney relived her of her duties as manager, she changed her tune. A bitter Krista gave interviews where she expressed regret about allowing her daughter get married at a young age. Courtney fired back saying “My mom’s desire to be famous interfered with her ability to manage me effectively.”
4. Leighton Meester
Starring as the evil Blair Waldorf isn’t all Meester is ‘infamous’ for; at the time of her birth, her mother was in prison for her involvement in smuggling marijuana. She gave birth to Meester at a halfway house, nurtured her for three months and had to go back in the slammer.
The young Meester went on to model for Ralph Lauren, shot ads for Tamagotchi and Clearasil, all before age 12. By the time she was 19, she had appeared in Law & Order, Crossing Jordan, 7th Heaven, Veronica Mars, 24, and Entourage. Meester seemed to be successful at all her ventures, whether it was singing or endorsements.
But in 2011, she filed a lawsuit against her mother (also her ex-manager) over the care her brother was receiving. Meester claimed she had been sending money to support him, but her mother was diverting it to pay for cosmetic procedures.
Her mother counter-sued for an alleged breach of contract and physical abuse. Her suit also claims she’s entitled to a larger monthly payment in return for “sacrificing her own happiness for Meester’s success.” Meester won the ugly legal battle when the presiding judge rejected all her mother’s claims.
3. Ariel Winter
Before landing her part on Modern Family, Ariel Winter had been hard at her craft since she was 6. Whether it was behind the scenes as a voice-over artist or bit parts on ER and Bones, Winter was always at work. By the time she landed the role of Alex Dunphy, she reportedly started earning $75,000 per week.
Getting paid handsomely to do what you love must be nice. In 2012, the teen accused her mother, Workman of physical and emotional abuse. The alleged abuse included hitting, slapping, insults about her weight etc. Workman was temporarily stripped of her guardianship and the teen actress moved out of the family home. Winter moved in with her older sister, Shanelle Gray. Gray had accused Workman of the same offenses 20 years ago, and had since been removed by DCFS.
In her defense, Workman claims the teen star is upset because she forced to break off a relationship with an 18 year old actor. In the trial that followed, Workman produced evidence designed to cast doubt on whether Gray is fit to be the guardian of a teenager.
In May, all the drama ended when Winter was granted legal emancipation from her mother.
2. Scarlett Johansson
Scar-Jo‘s another child actor who has had her mom managing her since her first role at 9, as John Ritter’s daughter in the comedy, North. With standout performances in The Horse Whisperer, Lost in Translation, and even appearing nude on the cover of Vogue, Johansson quickly became a very bankable star. All through this, she retained her mother, Melanie Sloan as her manager.
Well, until 2009, when she fired her momager for allegedly misappropriating her earnings. Sloan had received 10% for every appearance and endorsement the actress ever made since she was 9. Sources close to the family say Johanssen was “fed up with her momager’s extravagant lifestyle.”
Case in point, in 2012, Sloan put down a $130,000 deposit for a $1.4 million apartment in Manhattan. She was denied a mortgage at the bank so she attempted to back out of the deal, citing poor finances. The property owners declined refunding her down payment, as they said it was in breach of the contract they had. Losing her daughter as a client seemed to have put a huge dent in her earning power.
1. Mischa Barton
In August, the British-born actress joined the long list of celebs who had gotten the short end of the stick from their own parents. She’s always shown her talent, from her debut in 1995’s Broadway hit, Slavs!, to her spooky ghost in The Sixth Sense, then Notting Hill and The OC. She modeled for Calvin Klein jeans and was described as “a triple threat: in entertainment, fashion and beauty” by Women’s Wear Daily. Barton even parlayed her rep as a fashion ‘icon’ into becoming a spokeswoman for Keds sneakers in 2005. But after a string of not-so-great relationships, she had a two-week ‘stay’ in Cedars-Sinai.
After her stay in hospital, her parents moved into her Beverly Hills home to keep an eye on her. But in April 2015, she filed a suit claiming her mother, Nuala, stole money from her when she was her manager. She claims her mother lied to her about how much money she was making on 2013’s The Hoarder and pocketed the difference. This was on top of the 10% management fee that she was paid. The suit also claims Barton has been forcefully evicted from her Beverly Hills home by her parents.
The lawsuit came as a surprise to many, as unlike many Hollywood momagers, Nuala is rarely in the spotlight and is reported to be a calming influence on the star.