Just uttering the words “child stars” conjures up images of sloppy, washed up, addicted young people who have more money than they do good sense. Apparently, it’s really tough to be rich and famous at such an early age and the pressure can get to you. We’ve all heard the story a million times. A kid skyrockets to fame for being in a popular show or blockbuster movie and all of a sudden, they are being treated like they’re the most important person in the world. For some of these stars, that kind of scrutiny and pressure proved to be too much to handle. Although some went on to do great things (and they are still problematic guests, believe me) others took a downward spiral that was hard to watch.
Below is a list of child stars that, for one reason or another, would make terrible houseguests. These folks wouldn’t fit in at your family gathering, nor would you be comfortable asking them to come home with you. Some are delightful people with skills beyond our own, others are miserable trainwrecks that couldn’t find themselves out of a paper bag. Either way, it’s NOT a good idea to bring them home to meet the fam.
Here are 16 child stars that you wouldn’t dare bring home.
16. Amanda Bynes
Poor Amanda Bynes. She had a rough couple of years there, and things really took a turn for the weird. Best known for her show on Nickelodeon, The Amanda Show, and The WB hit, What I Like About You, Bynes was a teen sweetheart and role model for a lot of young girls. She took a hard left turn a few years ago.
Never one to make light of mental illness, we are really glad to see Bynes get the help she needed. She seems to be doing okay now, but if she had asked to come home with us for Christmas in the years of 2013 or 2014, we would politely declined.
Bynes went off the rails, starting fires, retiring from acting (then coming back), and most notably, asking Drake, the rapper, to“murder [her] vagina.” Needless to say, she’s a wildcard, at best. I can’t imagine a scenario in which my mother would be happy to host a guest that could possibly commit arson or talk about her genitals in front of my grandmother.
15. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus might be a pop culture icon these days, killing it on The Voice and being in love with total hottie Liam Hemsworth. She’s an outspoken advocate for equality and civil rights, so she’s mostly a productive human. Back when she was the megastar and jewel in Disney’s crown playing Hannah Montana, it seemed like she was heading in the right direction.
Fast forward a few years later to the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards when she was in that nude bikini, having her way with a foam finger and Robin Thicke. It definitely wasn’t Hannah Montana up on stage gyrating and writhing. Our senses became confused as to what we were seeing and how to process all these new visual messages.
Imagine forcing these confusing feelings on your family. Your poor family wouldn’t know what to do with her. Besides, she’d probably ruin every single family picture with her signature tongue move and penchant for wearing pasties. You can’t put THAT on the Christmas card, now can you?
14. Britney Spears
We all know Britney Spears for being the queen of pop, that sexy snake video, and having a a career that is pretty much indestructible. However, Brit’s career didn’t begin with that school girl outfit in “…Baby One More Time” it began way back on The Mickey Mouse Club (which, incidentally, is also where she met former boyfriend Justin Timberlake) and has seen its fair share of ups and downs.
2007 was a particularly tough year for the pop star, and those pics of her shaving her head and smashing a window with an umbrella are everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. She’s since recovered and gone on to a pretty successful career on The X-Factor and her residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, but she’ll never live down those moments in 2007 when she went completely bonkers and lost her shit.
Do yourself a favor and spare this woman the humiliation of having to relive the worst year of her life. Because you know your bratty cousin Taylor is going to pull those pictures up on her phone to remind all the aunts and uncles about it, and it will just make it weird for everyone.
13. Macaulay Culkin
Remember when Macaulay Culkin was the most famous kid on the planet? His character from Home Alone is probably one of the most iconic of all time. It shot Culkin into fame and he was hobnobbing with A-list celebrities. In fact, he’s the godfather to Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris. Just a few years ago, he and Ryan Gosling did this t-shirt bit that sent Twitter into a frenzy.
Bringing this hipster, too-cool-for-anything-you-have-to-offer version of Macaulay Culkin would just bring the whole vibe down. Suddenly, everybody is feeling bad that they’ve never heard of the bands he’s talking about and conscious about their pleated khakis. It’s a self-image disaster.
12. Mayim Bialick
You know Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler, Sheldon’s long-suffering scientist girlfriend on The Big Bang Theory. But long before she was trying to coax Sheldon into a more intimate relationship, she was playing the lead character in the ’90s show, Blossom.
In between Blossom and The Big Bang Theory, she was only getting an actual degree in neuroscience. Yes… she’s a friggin’ brain scientist. According to her website, her PhD studies “examined the role of oxytocin and vasopressin in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in adolescents with Prader-Willi syndrome.” Those are a lot of words I don’t know.
This means if you bring her home, chances are, she’s going to be the smartest, most well-read, most articulate person in the room. This is NOT a bad thing if you can hold your own. If not, bringing home an actual neuroscientist is going to make you look super dumb. You better get to reading.
11. Mischa Barton
You could have totally taken Mischa Barton home way back in 2005. Back then she was an attractive, level-headed (as far as we knew) teen star with a hit show and a fair amount of fame and celebrity. But after The O.C. went off the air, Barton had a rough go of it.
Her physical appearance started to wane as her behavior become more and more strange. She fought with nurses in the dentist’s office resulting in an involuntary psychiatric hold, was sued by her landlord for not paying her rent, and was arrested for a DUI all in the span of a few years. If you bring this woman home, she would definitely wind up out back with your shady cousin, smoking weed behind the shed and then picking a fight with him for trying to kiss her. If you bring this woman home, y’all both deserve to get punched in the throat.
10. Shia LeBeouf
Depending on your sense of artistry or humor, bringing Shia LeBeouf home might be the greatest thing you’ve ever done or your biggest mistake. Lately considered a “performance artist” his mischief has run the gamut from just a little kooky, to downright awful. He’s sat through an entire screening of his own movies while filming himself, he’s attacked photographers, and he’s claimed sexual assault while sitting for a live art installation. He’s a gamble, to say the least.
In the best case scenario, he’d hang out with your annoying brother-in-law and swap stories about their drum circle and glass pipe collection. At the worst, he’ll strip naked to protest the unethical treatment of animals and pee in the dinner because there were no vegan options. You just never know what you’re gonna get— he could show up with a bag on his head, or, you know, just eat dinner like a regular human.
9. Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez has become quite the pop star over the last few years. Of late, she’s had a handful of hits on the charts and she’s become a staple in the ubiquitous Taylor Swift “squad.” But her beginnings were a little more humble. She’s started as part of the squad of a purple dinosaur in Barney and Friends, and then went on to be the cutest little witch on the Disney Channel on Wizards of Waverly Place. From there she went on to be one half of the world’s most annoying on again/off again couples with Justin Bieber.
These days she’s popping up in a thong on her Instagram and making out with The Weeknd. Amidst all of this celebrity and fame, she’s evolved into a tad bit of a brat, antagonizing fans who probably think she’s as sweet as her Wizards character, Alex Russo. Not as much of a sweetheart IRL as on TV, Gomez’s visit home would be disastrous, at best.
Not only would she probably demand a fancy sparkling water that they don’t sell at your local supermarket, she’d turn her nose up at mom’s meatloaf and demand nobody look her in the eye. It would just be a giant hassle— not to mention you’d have to contend with Bieber and The Weeknd turning up, holding boom boxes in the lawn, demanding she give them another shot. That’s just too much Hollywood drama for anybody to have to deal with.
8. The Olsen Twins
The good thing about taking Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen home to meet your fam is that you probably won’t have to feed them. The bad thing is that the most you can expect from them is wide-eyed stares, long silences, and clothes that are way too big for them.
If you need a double date to a somber affair— a funeral, a baptism, a hospital bedside— they might be just the guests to invite. But you definitely shouldn’t expect either of these girls to be the life of the party, ready with a raucous joke or funny anecdote. Also, they seem to be joined at the head and hip, so if you ask for one, you’re probably going to get both. Who can even tell where one of these women stops and the other starts?
On a good day, they might have a couple of glasses of champagne and talk about their overpriced clothing line or the string of billionaires they’ve dated over the course of their young lives. If not, you’ll be stuck with two lumps, staring at you like they just landed here from Mars.
7. Lindsay Lohan
Sweet, sweet Lindsay. She’s seen more professional hills and valleys than actors twice her age. She started out as the cute, freckle-faced kid on The Parent Trap who was precocious beyond her years. She got older and more successful with the smash hit Mean Girls, and it looked like she was gonna take over the world with her all-American smile. Maybe she was gonna be the one to break the child actor curse?
That went very wrong as Lohan became more and more troubled. Giving Tara Reid a run for her money as pretty party girl of the year, Lindsay never met a club opening she didn’t like. She got DUI after DUI and picked up a coke and spray tan habit along the way. If you brought Lindsay Lohan to your high school reunion, there’s a good chance she’d be voted “most likely to flash her vagina getting out of a limo and passing out in a stall of the men’s restroom.”
6. Edward Furlong
When ranking “super hot dudes from the ’90s” Edward Furlong was never what we considered “conventionally attractive.” But as a younger man he had a kind of rebellious vibe to him, and he became a sort of unlikely heartthrob after his successful run in the Terminator franchise.
These days, Furlong is a little longer in the tooth and looks far less like a rebellious dreamboat, and more like the single dad at the end of the bar drinking whiskey at 2pm on a Tuesday. If there was ever a face for hard partying, it would look like a modern-day Edward Furlong. He’s likely to show up at any family function reeking like a seedy barroom floor and probably still drunk from the night before.
Aside from his drastic physical changes, he just hasn’t made some good lifestyle choices. Perhaps it’s substance or just hard living (or a combination of both) but if you want to turn up with someone who looks like a hangover feels, then he’s your guy. Guess that’s what happens when you treat your body like a honky tonk.
5. Raven Symone
We had high hopes for Raven-Symone. From her days on The Cosby Show as the cutesy Olivia, to headlining her own Disney show, That’s So Raven, she seemed like she was on a promising trajectory.
However, as she got older, her politics started to skew a little to the mystifying side. She shocked fans a few years ago when she told Oprah she doesn’t identify as black or gay— although both her parents are African-American and she was dating a woman at the time. We totally respect Raven’s right to keep her personal life her own, but her penchant for heated rhetoric makes it hard to reconcile these two ideas.
4. Jodie Sweetin
Jodie Sweetin has had a long road from fame to addiction and back. In the height of her fame, she played middle daughter Stephanie Tanner on the family sitcom, Full House, alongside the comedic stylings of John Stamos and Bob Saget. Stephanie was sassy and cute, and really held her own against the adorable Olsen twins. If you said the phrase, “How rude,” between the years of 1987 and 1995, it was probably because you heard it on Full House.
But once the show stopped airing, Sweetin became addicted to drugs. Thankfully, she’s happy, healthy, and back at acting these days. In fact, she’s reprising her role as Stephanie Tanner on the Netflix reboot, Fuller House.
You have to know that if you bring Jodie Sweetin home to meet your family, she will inevitably talk about that turd of a show she is on, and, God forbid, she might actually make everyone watch it. Trust me, you’d much rather hear about her days as an addict than sit through one second of that dreck.
3. Jaimee Foxworth
Your folks might recognize her mainly from her stint on Family Matters as the little sister to Steve Erkell’s love interest. However, there’s a chance that the more… ahem… adventurous family members might recognize her from her later performances in More Black Dirty Debutantes 32 or Adventures of Peeping Tom No. 28.
Foxworth’s career took a turn for the naughty, and she quickly left behind her squeaky-clean girl next door image as Judy Winslow. Bringing one of these “stars” to to your sister’s birthday party may give you a certain amount of street cred among your squad, but you’re gonna have to do a lot more explaining to Grandpa. But then again, maybe Grandpa should be the one explaining how he recognized an adult actress?
2. Juliette Lewis
Bless her heart, Juliette Lewis has played more serial killers and psychopaths than most actresses her age put together. Best known for her work in the ’90s with Robert De Niro in Cape Fear and then with Woody Harrelson in Natural Born Killers, she’s gotten quite a reputation.
But contrary to popular opinion, many folks who’ve interviewed her say she’s quite delightful (pleasant even) and nothing like the nutso characters she’s played in her movies. Except for one pesky little detail. She’s an outspoken scientologist and has come to the religion’s defense in years past.
Yeah, yeah this is America and free speech and all. So sure, practice any kind of religion you want, but when it comes time for me to find a date to my cousin’s wedding, I certainly don’t want to bring someone who is going to get into an argument about aliens and Leah Remini.
1. Dustin Diamond
I guess it really depends on what your family culture is, but it might get a little awkward if you bring home a person who has sexual aids moulded after his junk. I mean… you could take a chance that nobody at Cousin Brad’s graduation owns any of his products, and you could probably get away with it. Nobody is going to admit to owning a sex toy in the likeness of Screech Powers.
But that leftover Saved By The Bell chip on his shoulder is enough to make him volatile as a guest. What if somebody asks him to “do Screech?” Or asks him what Zach Morris was like in real life? You would have to be responsible for the ensuing hissy fit and possible destruction of property. He’s been known to lose his shit and get a little out of control. Is that really something you want to take on?