Child stars, as amazing as they are, can have plenty of problems that surround them in full view of the public. Many from an early age grow up on camera right in front of our eyes. Famous kids are sadly vulnerable if you consider the past! Everything from their first relationships, to publicly aired contract disputes, are fair game for news outlets all over the globe. Details of what the media, and fans, learn about child stars appear to be without limits. That would be a tough way to grow up, wouldn't you say?
Studies as far back as 2012 show that over 20% of kids "just want to be rich" and 19% "want to be famous". Those were the answers 1,300 parents received when they asked their kids the question, "What would you like to be when you grow up?" Obviously, a ton of youngsters will never see their wish come true. While others in this article did, so to speak.
What about kids that beat the odds and become famous? Filthy rich and exceedingly famous at that? Well, there are parts of their dreams that didn't come true for them, either. Kids don't usually have a plan "B" for when things get heavy in their life. That's especially true when their parents become a big part of their everyday problems. Sound like too much for a youngster to handle? Not for these childhood stars. That's when these few kids took matters into their own hands and sued their crappy parents and won.
15 Aaron Carter: Never Saw The $200 Million He Made
The story of Aaron Carter and his brother Nick is all too common these days. Now 30 years old, Aaron looks back and wonders what could have happened to all of the money he earned as a kid. Aaron, much like his older brother Nick, had an illustrious singing career and claims that by the age of 18 he had earned more than 200 million dollars. Sadly, though, his parents only gave him 2 million dollars on his 18th birthday; a fraction of what the young singer was owed. That wasn't the first time Aaron's parents had taken more money from him then what they deserved. In 2003, the pop-star sued his mother for 100,000 dollars, saying she had the stolen money from him. No surprise there.
14 Leighton Meester: How Low Can Your Mother Go?
How low can your parents go? Just ask Leighton Meester's mother, Constance. It's a shame to see a guardian take advantage of their offspring the way Constance did back in 2012. As the story goes, Leighton's brother needed his medical treatments paid for. That's not how Leighton's mother was using the money ($7,500 a month), though. Instead, Constance Meester was using the excess cash her daughter thought was for medical bills on her own wants and needs. That is, if you consider botox a legit need. Apparently, Leighton's mother did, and that's when the Gossip Girl star decided it was time to sue. Leighton Meester filed suit against her mother so she never had to give her money again, as well as gain primary custody of her brother.
13 Drew Barrymore: Sued Both Of Her Parents
Drew Barrymore's life story about the ups and downs of being a child star is fascinating. She was barely ten months old when she filmed her first commercial. That was just the beginning for Drew, who was born into acting as most of you know. Her success or lack thereof has been reported to the public ever since. In 2015, Drew's book Wildflower was published. The book tells a little bit of Drew's story, both past, and present, and gets solid reviews from readers. It's no secret that the famous child star had personal problems galore when she was young, including her biological parents. At 15 years old, Drew Barrymore sued her parents for emancipation and won despite her age.
12 LeAnn Rimes: Sued Her Father And Co-Manager
In 1996, LeAnn Rimes was a child star at just 13 years old. That was the year she released her smash hit album "Blue" that would go on to sell over 6 million records worldwide. That's a lot of cash for a teenager, so naturally, her father took care of managing her money and took control of her singing career. Wilbur Rimes thoughtlessly set his daughter on a path of personal and financial destruction; booking her to perform at 500 shows in just over three years back in the mid-90s. That makes a person wonder whether or not Mr. Rimes was hoping to see LeAnn succeed or pad his wallet along the way. In 1998, LeAnn filed suit against her father, and co-manager Lyle Walker, claiming they stole 7 million dollars from her over a 5 year period. The matter was settled out of court years later.
11 Mike Sorrentino: Sued His Dad For $75,000
Whoever thought talking trash to Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino was a good thing to do? Funny, well, yes, but smart not so much. Apparently, his father thought it would be a good idea, and did just that. Mike rose to fame in 2009 on the MTV reality show Jersey Shore. In his mid-20s Mike's star rose quickly — if you can imagine his star rising quickly — and by 2012 he was the second highest paid reality TV star behind Kim Kardashian. In 2011, the "Sitch's" father decided to put him on Blast via his website. Mike neglected to return his father's phone calls and Frank angrily disapproved. That turned out to be a bad idea for Frank because his son filed suit for copyright infringement and later sued him for $75,000.
10 Macaulay Culkin: Took What Was Left And Ran
Not only is it hard to imagine pressing charges against your parents, but it's even harder to understand having to sue them when you're 15 years old. There aren't many people who were tossed into the spotlight the way Macaulay Culkin was at an early age. Fame came knocking at the actor's door with the release of Home Alone, a Christmas time favorite movie. Tension amongst Macaulay's family members got so bad that the only way to settle their disputes was in court. After a bitter custody battle between Macaulay's mother and father, the childhood star sued his parents to relieve them as sole guardians of the 17 million dollar fortune the young actor had acquired by the tender age of 15.
9 Jena Malone: Barred Her Mother From Future Earnings
In an interview, Jena Malone is quoted saying, "I started acting as a child because I loved stories and wanted to be part of them. I thought it would be something I could do for a few years, but it shows no sign of going away." That certainly seems to be the case, doesn't it? Jena's success on screen is no secret around the world. Few of her fans may remember Jena had her struggles as a young child star, too. In 2000, Jena Malone sued her mom in a court of law to keep her away from her assets and for good reason. It's too bad that a girl who saw success in her acting career so early would have to worry about her mother taking her money.
8 Ariel Winter: Divorced Her Bad Mother
It's hard to imagine a young actress suing her mother, but in the case of famous Modern Family co-star Ariel Winter, that appears to be the skinny. No pun intended. Ariel Winter was removed from her mother's care in 2012. The actress filed a lawsuit filing for emancipation from her overbearing mother. Allegations by Winter included neglect and abuse. Conversely, her mother claimed those allegations stemmed from tough love, saying, "I caught my daughter with her boyfriend in bed. She’s 14 – he’s 18. And I threw him out, and I broke them up,” she claimed. “And ever since I did that, I’ve paid. And, you know, I had to do it." Courts ruled in Winter's favor, though, granting her emancipation in 2015.
7 Mischa Barton: Sued Her Mom For Stealing
Mischa Barton, the famous O.C. television star, brought a lawsuit against her mother back in 2015 accusing her of stealing her money. Swirling stories reported that Mischa's mother wouldn't let her into the 7 million dollar mansion that the two owned together. The former child star fell delinquent on the payments to the tune of 100 thousand dollars and needed to sell the mansion. Mischa, at the time, claimed her mother was impeding the sale of the property and filed a suit. After the lawsuit was filed against Nuala Barton, her mother had a change of heart and went back to the negotiating table. The charges were later dropped in 2016. That may not go down as a win in the court system, but it was a win for Mischa Barton.
6 Corey Feldman: Parents Blew Through His Money
Who doesn't remember a movie they loved to watch as a kid with Corey Feldman? The vast majority of us all do. In an interview with Bankrate, Feldman discussed divorcing his parents at just 15 years old. The interview began with Bankrate asking Corey about his early acting success and any financial gains he may have acquired.
"Financially, did you save enough from your early successes to keep you well-cushioned?" asked Bankrate. Corey Feldman replied, "It’s an ongoing process. When I was young, my parents severely abused the financial responsibility that was given to them. They devoured all that was mine. So when I was 15 years old, I became legally emancipated. I fought them in court for the right to control my own finances."
5 Dominique Moceanu: Sued Her Parents At 17
Dominique Moceanu, a member of the 1998 gold medal-winning United States gymnastics team, sued her parents at the young age of 17. The gymnast claimed that her parents had squandered away her hard-earned money. In 1998, Dominique's lawyer said, ''She (Jena) is diametrically opposed to what her parents think is good for them and her,'' said Roy W. Moore, Moceanu's Houston-based lawyer. ''As much money as she's made since age 10, to have little or nothing doesn't seem right to me.'' Jena adds, "I never had a childhood, my parents fueled an Olympic dream starting when I was 3." That's a long time to work for your parents only to find out they spent all your money, don't you agree?
4 Gary Coleman: Got $1.3 Million From His Lawsuit
In 1989, Diff’'rent Strokes star Gary Coleman sued his business manager and parents for the misappropriation of his assets. In 1993, Coleman was awarded 1.3 million dollars by the courts, but that wasn't even a drop in the bucket compared to what his parents had taken from him. His settlement was sadly divided up between lawyers. Coleman's parents had disregarded the Jackie Coogan law. A law that was passed in 1939 that protects child actors.
"The California Child Actor's Bill (also known as Coogan Act or Coogan Bill) is a law applicable to child performers, designed to safeguard a portion of their earnings for when they enter adulthood. ... Under the current law, the court may also approve contracts that involve the transfer of intellectual property."
3 Billy Unger: Sued His Father For Breach Of Contract
Disney's Lab Rats star Billy Unger decided to sue his father in 2015 for breach of contract, fraud, and negligent representation. That's a mouth full of accusations, wouldn't you say? Billy claims, "William Unger mishandled nearly $400K of his earnings. He also said his dad was gouging him for a 33.3% commission when the industry standard is between 10% and 20%." Billy's suit also claimed, "His dad siphoned away $120K to whisk away his girlfriend on lavish vacations, and bankroll her living expenses." Not bad enough? Billy's suit also said, "His dad despicably took out a $1 million life insurance policy on him and made himself the sole beneficiary." Taking out a million dollar life insurance policy on your kid has to be the bottom of the barrel.
2 Chris Warren: Had His Day In Court In 2013
High School Musical childhood star Chris Warren decided to take control of his financial affairs in 2013, when he sued his mom and dad. Chris Warren believed his parents were frivolously spending his money without his knowledge when they were supposed to be setting up a trust fund account for him. It seems like this is a story we hear all too often out of Hollywood, but Chris did have his day in court. Not only did he appear to plead his case, but he won some of his money back as well. According to reports, a judge awarded Chris 330,000 dollars of the money his parents had taken from him. Hopefully, that's just the beginning because it doesn't seem like enough.
1 Tiffany Darwish: Sued Her Mother When She Was 16
Do you remember the song "I Think We're Alone Now" by the artist known as Tiffany? That song catapulted the teenage singer to superstardom in the late 80s. Her album Tiffany went on to sell over 4 million records, making the child star an overnight success. But as the Notorious B.I.G. used to say, "More money, more problems". That seemed to be the case for Tiffany Darwish too. At 16 years old, Tiffany sued her mother for emancipation. Why? Because as her legal guardian, her mother had the rights to 70% of what the young singer made as a minor according to her contract. That left a measly 30% to be held in a trust for Tiffany to have on her 18th birthday. Doesn't seem fair, does it?