It seems cruel but it’s true, the odds of a teen actor making it as an adult seem to be improbable at best. Obviously we’re not statisticians, but looking at the seemingly never-ending list of teen actors who were big stars once upon a time, and have now faded into the ether, it just seems self-evident. For every Leonardo DiCaprio, there seems to be way more people like Corey Feldman who would give up a lot for one more shot at superstardom.
While that type of anonymity may be the worst nightmare for a lot of actors in their prime, there is actually a fate they could suffer that is a lot worse: being mostly forgotten and dead broke, too. It makes perfect sense that this happens considering they make money that most teens could only dream of, and virtually everyone that age makes horrible decisions in life. We know that if we were bringing in that kind of money when we were going through puberty it is likely none of it would remain. Furthermore, many young actors put other skills and education on the back-burner so when the acting gigs dry up the life opportunities may be less than apparent. That understanding is what inspired us to put together this list of the 15 teen actors who already have no money left.
In order for someone to be in contention for inclusion on this list, they first off need to have been a successful actor during their teen years and appeared to be making good money as a result. If they went on to some level of success after their teens, that is ok, as long as they went on to be broke. It is also permissible that they have found a light at the end of the tunnel, with a comeback of sorts, as long as it is clear that they hit the skids at one point. Also, in an effort to keep things somewhat current, we only included actors who had success as teen actors during the 1980s or later. We also want to make it clear that we had no contact with anyone on this list so we can’t say for certain if their financial situation is as advertised. However, there is good reason to believe that this is the case from statements made about them or their situations. Finally, they may have a little bit of money in the bank, but in comparison to what they once had, it’s nothing. So without any further ado, let’s get to the list.
15. Jaimee Foxworth
We mentioned in the introduction of this article that one of the outcomes of superstardom as a teen star has to be the possibility of being broke and forgotten. However, we never touched on another life option that has been seen in the past, once you’re no longer an acting star, you can turn to making a living in the p*rnography industry. An option exercised by two people on this list, Jaimee included, it seems like a pretty clear indicator that the money has dried up and they are doing what they must to get a paycheck.
Formerly one of the stars of the nineties sitcom Family Matters, her character went upstairs in one episode and was never seen again. Years later while appearing on a where are they now segment put together by Oprah‘s television crew, she outlined her struggles with sobriety and her X-rated career coming as a result of financial necessity.
14. Jeremy Miller
For those of you who weren’t around at the time, Growing Pains was a hugely popular sitcom during its run in the mid-eighties and early nineties. The show that first brought Leonardo DiCaprio to prominence, one of the other stars of the show, Jeremy Miller, played the character of Ben, the Seaver’s youngest boy. Also remembered for voicing the character of Linus from Charlie Brown in a few projects, he wasn’t able to stay relevant as an actor and the cash stopped rolling in. Also, an admitted addict, that kind of lifestyle is a huge drain on finances which is why we aren’t surprised that there are reports that he has very little left.
13. Jeremy Jackson
One of the most-watched shows on television during its lengthy time on television, Baywatch is mostly remembered for David Hasselhoff and the bevy of beautiful women it featured. We know that when we think back on the series names like Pamela Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth, Gena Lee Nolin, Carmen Electra and Kelly Packard leap to our minds first. However, there were other male stars of the show, including Jeremy Jackson, a teen star who appeared as Hobie, the son of Hasselhoff. Incapable of finding anything beyond a guest appearance on shows since, calling Jeremy an actor these days is a stretch. Especially considering that the majority of the headlines he has received of late is for various criminal acts he is alleged to have committed.
12. Taran Noah Smith
You may not know his name but you know the story of Taran Noah Smith, even if you don’t realize it. That is because his life story is the prototype for what can go wrong for a former child and teen actor. One of the stars of Tim Allen‘s TV hit Home Improvement, he made lots of money over the nine-year run of that series and if his money had been invested properly he should have had a huge advantage in life. However, once his time in the spotlight dried up he was embroiled in a lawsuit with his parents who he claimed had misappropriated his funds and left him with a fraction of his earnings. Next, he and his wife of six years set up a series of businesses that all utterly failed. That left him in a position where he had to sell his main asset, his home which was in severe disrepair on the inside.
11. Natasha Lyonne
Luckily Natasha‘s life is on a huge upswing due to her major role in the hugely successful Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, but things weren’t always so rosy. Appearing in movies like Everyone Says I Love You, Slums of Beverly Hills, and Krippendorf’s Tribe during her teen years, she was also in the American Pie films in her early twenties. A respected actor whose energy was unique, she was adept at creating memorable characters but her career took a downturn due to her struggles with substance abuse. In fact, according to a report put out by the New York Post, at one point she was homeless and battling hepatitis C, a heart infection, a collapsed lung, and addiction. Thankfully, she seems to have conquered her demons and the health issues that she realizes almost took her life from her.
10. Aaron Carter
A former pop prince who first came to prominence as the younger brother of one of the Backstreet Boys, Aaron actually sold a respectable amount of albums himself during his teen years. Best remembered for his song “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)”, the album it appeared on which shared its name, was certified three times platinum the same year he turned thirteen. Never able to reach those heights again, he continued to release music for a while but the results became more and more lackluster. Also working as a sometimes actor in his teen years, Aaron made appearances in shows like Figure It Out, Lizzie McGuire, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and 7th Heaven, to name a few. After appearing in a couple of “reality shows” (House of Carters and Dancing with the Stars), they weren’t enough to keep him afloat. Aaron ended up going bankrupt in 2013 in an attempt to get out from under three and a half million dollars in debt, much of which was in back taxes.
9. Bow Wow
Once known as Lil’ Bow Wow, this rapper released his first album at the age of thirteen and became an international star as a result. Going on to unleash several more records during the remainder of his teen years, many of his tunes became hits and he made efforts to expand his brand further. Appearing in movies including Like Mike, Johnson Family Vacation, Roll Bounce, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and more, Bow Wow seemed to do well in everything he did. Despite that, he has been forced in court to cough up more than two hundred thousand dollars he owed and failed to keep up on car payments he owed. On top of that, when it comes to paying his ex child support he has claimed to have little money left.
8. Gaby Hoffmann
Gaby was a former child and teen star who has a long history of embodying memorable characters in beloved movies. In fact, films she was in like Field of Dreams, Uncle Buck, Sleepless in Seattle, Now and Then, 200 Cigarettes, as well as Black and White all came out before she turned twenty years old. Currently acting on the shows Girls and Transparent, she seems to be making a decent transition to acting as an adult but according to the actress herself, financially she isn’t doing as well. USA Today revealed that at one point she only had a few thousand dollars in her bank account at most and she even joked it could be as low as two dollars.
7. Jodie Sweetin
Known for a single role that she was cast in as a child and continued to play into her teens, Jodie is fortunate that there is a lot of nostalgia for Full House because it is back in her life. Starring in Fuller House these days, the relaunch of the series that was adapted for Netflix, the business side of her life is doing a lot better but it was awful at one point. A former drug addict, she has admitted to using drugs like ecstasy, methamphetamine and crack, which undoubtedly contributed to her previous poor position in life. However, she also put the blame on her ex-husband’s lack of a job for why their home was in foreclosure by the time they divorced.
6. Todd Bridges
A former child and teen star that was seen as the epitome of what could go wrong for his peers over the years, Todd has spent much of his life struggling to get by. One of the stars of television’s Diff’rent Strokes, all three of that show’s young stars stumbled but as the only survivor of the group it is Todd that makes our list. Able to find minor success as a recurring character on Everybody Hates Chris and truTV Presents: World’s Dumbest later in life, he has still gotten the lion’s share of the attention he received by discussing his troubles. Claiming at one point that he only brings in twenty-two and a half thousand dollars a year, he could definitely use some big paydays in his life.
5. Edward Furlong
Made famous due to his starring role as John Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, he played the part of humanity’s salvation in the film that was released when Edward was fourteen-years-old. Going on to play a few more memorable characters, most notably in American History X, Brainscan and American Heart, he had a talent for acting that he failed to take full advantage of. That is due in large part to reportedly severe addiction issues, which even include an incident in which his six-year-old son, who was in his care, tested positive for cocaine. Declaring that he has no money in court during the resulting trial, he also revealed that he has drug and alcohol issues that have resulted in overdoses and multiple arrests.
4. Nicole Eggert
One of the stars of Charles in Charge and Baywatch in her earlier years, Nicole was a beautiful young woman who people flocked to see. Also a guest star on Boy Meets World, she would go on to appear in several minor films, including many that were made for TV before another stab at relevance as a “reality TV” star. None of these efforts resulted in enough money in her pocket to stop her from having to sell her home in order to pay off her mounting debts. Shot by paparazzi selling ice cream out of a truck in order to get by, it is an honest living and we applaud her for working hard to turn things around for herself, however.
3. Dustin Diamond
During the nineties, there were few shows that were more popular with youngsters than Saved by the Bell. A show focused on a group of close-knit friends in high school, Dustin Diamond played the character of Samuel “Screech” Powers, the lovable fool of the group. Often used as the butt of the jokes, it seems like the producers must have known something about the person playing the character because when the show ended Dustin became a joke. Someone who tried his hand at stand-up comedy unsuccessfully, he turned to the p*rnography world in a sad attempt to get by. Coming up with a pretty gross idea, he pretended to take part in an X-rated film but another man did the body work for him. Still hitting poor financial times, he appeared in “reality shows” and even tried to get his fans to help save his house.
2. Amanda Bynes
One of the sadder stories on this list, Amanda seems to be suffering from mental health issues which have contributed greatly to her placement on this list. The former star of multiple television series, including All That, The Amanda Show and What I Like About You, that is the medium that first made her famous. She would then go on to appear in a series of movies seen by millions, including What a Girl Wants, She’s the Man, Hairspray, Sydney White and Easy A. Then she abruptly announced her retirement from acting and seemed to suffer a mental breakdown of sorts that included behavior that saw her in trouble with the law. Eventually put under the control of her parents legally despite being an adult, she apparently has no ability to access any money she has made and claims to be completely broke.
1. Lindsay Lohan
It may be hard to fathom now but there was a time when Lindsay Lohan was a multi-faceted performer who was making huge strides in all aspects of her career. Selling more than a million copies of her debut album, Lindsay released music that caught on with her legions of fans. However, her real claim to fame was an actress as she appeared in a long list of successful films, including Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, Herbie: Fully Loaded and many more. Then some of her personal life choices seemed to catch up with her and the reputation she built up behind the scenes as troubled and unreliable resulted in the roles she was offered drying up. Since then she was the star of a reality TV show that netted her a big money deal but it seems like everything she made has been squandered. In fact, if reports are accurate she has had her credit cards rejected and her friends had to pool their money to cover her bill a few years back.