It may sound fun being a child star and growing up in the spotlight, but many of these celebrities who have been in Hollywood since they were kids have found it hard to make a comeback as adults. So what can a former child star do to become relevant again?
Former child stars have had difficulty becoming A-list stars in Hollywood because people usually remember them as the character they played when they were kids. Stars like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Melissa Joan Hart, who were both pretty much America’s sweethearts, decided it was time to show off more skin by posing in magazines like Maxim. These stars needed more attention, and they used their good looks as an advantage. Suddenly, people started noticing them more, and it’s even helped them get roles in television shows and films.
The fifteen former child stars on this list have ended up begging for attention because they were just not relevant anymore. From Bella Throne to Justin Bieber, these child stars found a different way to gain more attention. Sadly, some of the stars ended up gaining more attention by getting in trouble with the law, while others went off the deep end and ended up in rehab. Check out these former child stars who did whatever they could to gain more attention.
15. Miley Cyrus – Grew Up Way Too Fast After Hannah Montana
Miley Cyrus was a sweetheart in her role on the Disney television series Hannah Montana. She gained fame fast and quickly signed a record deal with Hollywood Records to start her music career. However, gaining fame at a young age hurt the star. At the age of fifteen, she posed for a provocative spread for Vanity Fair shot by Annie Leibovitz. When she was just sixteen, she performed her hit song, “Party in the USA,” on the Teen Choice Awards on a stripper pole. The singer was growing up way too fast. Cyrus seemed to be getting more wild when a video surfaced of her taking a bong hit, she chopped off all her hair to look “edgy” and released the ever so famous “We Can’t Stop” music video which featured Miley twerking for the cameras. However, this past summer, she’s admitted that she’s done with smoking for good and is putting away her teddy bear costumes.
14. Danielle Fishel – Didn’t Want To Just Be Known As Topanga Of Boy Meets World
Everyone loved Danielle Fishel when she played the spunky character named Topanga on Boy Meets World. But after the hit 90’s show was over, Fishel did not have any major roles in film or television. She hosted Style Network’s The Dish and became a spokesperson for Nutrisystem, but Fishel needed something more to get her name back in the spotlight. Using her good looks, the star decided to pose for the very sexy Maxim magazine in 2013. At the age of 31, Fishel never looked better and it had many people saying, “Hello, Topanga!” In the mag, Fishel poses in nothing but a bra and underwear and looks nothing like the girl we use to know on the kid television show. Thankfully for her, she was able to continue to work as an actress, landing the role as Topanga again for the 2014 TV show Girl Meets World.
13. Abigail Breslin – No Longer That Cute Girl From Little Miss Sunshine
You might remember actress Abigail Breslin as the young and cute beauty pageant queen Olivia Hoover from the film Little Miss Sunshine. Abigail was only ten years old when she starred in that movie, which actually got her nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The young star was doing quite well for herself, but it appeared that Abigail needed more attention. The star wanted to make sure that she wasn’t the same little girl from the movies, and at seventeen, she posed without a shirt for very risqué photos with photographer Tyler Shields. The provocative photos showed Abigail in a bubble bath with heavy black eyeliner on while she was sucking on a lollipop. The photos definitely showed the star in another light.
12. Melissa Joan Hart – Poses For Risky Photoshoot
Melissa Joan Hart was the ultimate child star and your favorite teenager when she starred in shows like Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina The Teenage Witch. Every girl wanted to be Melissa Joan Hart at the time. But the actress didn’t want to always be known as that fun and loving teenage witch for the rest of her life, so she decided it was time to get raunchier. Like Danielle Fishel, the star went on to pose in a very sexy photo shoot for Maxim magazine. In the 1999 cover shoot, Melissa just covers herself in a sheet and gives us a side of her we never would have imagined. Later, in 2013, the actress admitted in her book some deep dark secrets of her youth, which included a past filled with drugs and how she was still high on ecstasy when she posed for that Maxim shoot. Yikes!
11. Amanda Bynes – Went Off The Deep End
Amanda Bynes started acting at a very young age and appeared on Nickelodeon’s All That and even got her own show named The Amanda Show in the early 2000’s where we got to see the star’s charming and very funny personality. She’s been in a number of movies including What A Girl Wants, She’s The Man, and Hairspray. Sadly, in 2010, Bynes announced an indefinite hiatus from acting, and we all know what happened to the star there on after. In 2012, she was charged with driving while under the influence, and in 2013, police detained the star after she allegedly started a small fire in a stranger’s driveway. Bynes was hospitalized and put under a mental health evaluation hold. From her awkward tweets to Drake to those nasty piercings, we hope Amanda Bynes turns herself around.
10. Lindsay Lohan – Hollywood Spotlight Led To Multiple Stints In…
Lindsay Lohan started modeling at the age of three and has literally spent her entire life in the Hollywood spotlight. She became a teen idol sensation after appearing in a number of successful movies we all watched as kids, including The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, Herbie: Fully Loaded, and everyone’s favorite film Mean Girls. Lohan even went on to release two albums—her first album actually debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 certifying it platinum, and her second album was certified gold. However, something wasn’t right with the star and the Hollywood spotlight got the best of her. In 2007, Lohan had two DUIs and lost a ton of movie deals. Lohan checked into rehab a number of times from her driving incidents and went in again for a bunch of legal problems, misdemeanors, and probation violations. In 2015, Lohan was completely probation free for the first time after nearly eight years.
9. Danny Bonaduce – Will Always Be Known As Danny Partridge From The Partridge Family
Danny Bonaduce is best known as Danny Partridge on the comedy series The Partridge Family and was one of the most famous child actors of the 1970’s. The show only lasted four seasons, but Danny continued to work in Hollywood making films like Corvette Summer, which was one of his most memorable, and guest-starred on several TV shows. Not everything was glamorous for this child star. Bonaduce admitted that following the end of The Partridge Family, he was involved in drugs and even experienced being homeless. In the 90’s, the actor was arrested while trying to buy cocaine and was arrested again in 1991 for beating and robbing Darius Barney. Danny kept busy by hosting a music/talk show in the 2000’s, but it was confirmed to be off the air in 2011.
8. Britney Spears – Wore Less To Gain More Attention
Britney Spears was and is still known as the “Princess of Pop,” coming into the music scene as a teenager. She’s extremely successful and became the bestselling teenage artist of all time. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Spears is listed as the eighth top-selling female artist in the United States, selling a whopping 150 million records worldwide. Spears has had the spotlight on her throughout most of her life. During her career, Spears began dressing and dancing more provocatively to gain more attention, and it actually worked to her advantage. Her music video for “I’m A Slave 4 U” was definitely something we never saw from the star at the time. However, the limelight was getting to her, and she experienced some personal hardships. We all can’t forget when she shaved her entire head and later admitted herself to treatment facilities. Thankfully, the star made a comeback, releasing new music and her ninth studio album.
7. Macaulay Culkin – Quit Acting At Fourteen
Macaulay Culkin rose to international fame playing Kevin McCallister in everyone’s favorite holiday films, Home Alone and Home Alone 2:Lost in New York. He played the cool kid who got to eat pizza, come up with mischievous tactics to scare away burglars, and get lost in a big city. He also owned his own roller coaster and a private branch of McDonald’s in the film Richie Rich. This child star was definitely living the life. At the young age of fourteen, he made the decision to quit acting. After this, he dropped out of high school to marry his childhood sweetheart. However, that relationship came to an end and he would star in a couple of other films, but nothing really stood out. Sadly, he fell into a tough drug addiction for years. Today, it appears that the star has turned his life around and has released some tongue-in-cheek projects.
6. Justin Bieber – Wanted To Get Rid Of Pretty Boy Image
Justin Bieber was discovered on YouTube when he was just a young teen and became an overnight success in the music world. He has spent most of his life in the public eye with paparazzi on him 24/7, watching his every move and gossip magazines and online publications always writing something about him whether good or bad. Bieber has had it tough—with no privacy whatsoever; being a child star can have its downfalls. He’s had several run-ins with the law before his first arrest in 2014. During that time, Bieber was being reckless, throwing eggs at his neighbor’s home, driving under the influence, and resisting arrest. Being in the spotlight, it seemed as if Bieber wanted his pretty boy image to go away and acted out in ways that ended up hurting him in the long run.
5. Shia LaBeouf – Wacky Behavior Is The Only Thing Getting Him Media Attention
We loved watching Shia LaBeouf in the Disney Channel series Even Stevens, and we can’t forget when he played Stanley Yelnats in the film Holes. His acting career took off as he grew older, starring in Disturbia, Surf’s Up, and the very popular and successful Transformers movies. However, it appeared that LaBeouf was struggling in the acting world and in his personal life, was facing legal trouble and controversy. In 2009, he was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass at a New York theater. Shia ended up seeking treatment for alcoholism at the time. In 2017, the star was arrested in Georgia for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. That resulted in Shia having to attend anger management counseling. Since then, Shia’s career has taken some twists and turns, wearing a paper bag over his head at a red carpet event and setting up a live stream of his heartbeat.
4. Jennifer Love Hewitt – No Longer Wanted To Be America’s Sweetheart
Jennifer Love Hewitt went from being America’s sweetheart, posing on the cover of Seventeen magazine to wearing barely anything at all for the cover of Maxim. Just like Danielle Fishel and Melissa Joan Hart, Hewitt needed people to know that she wasn’t that cute little girl anymore. Hewitt started her acting career by appearing on television commercials and the Disney Channel series Kids Incorporated. She continued seeing success in her young career when she starred as Sarah Reeves Merrin in Party of Five and then later starring in the horror films I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel. But Hewitt wanted something more than just being a pretty face and bared it all for Maxim magazine, wearing nothing more than lingerie and an opened coat. She definitely got a lot of attention for that cover shoot and spread.
3. Danica McKellar – Posed In A Bikini At The Age Of 40
Danica McKellar is best known for playing Winnie Cooper in the television series The Wonder Years. She didn’t do much after the show was over, even stating herself that she found it “difficult” to move on from being a child actress to an adult actress. She starred in a few Hallmark films and had guest appearances on other shows, but she didn’t really have a successful acting career. Danica did use her degree in Mathematics to write five nonfiction books, which encourage young women to have confidence in math. To gain more attention in Hollywood, Danica did what many other childhood stars do—she posed in a small bikini for Maxim when she was 40 years old. Winnie who?
2. Keisha Knight Pulliam – Couldn’t Get Away From Rudy Huxtable Role
Keisha Knight Pulliam played the lovable Rudy Huxtable and the youngest child of Claire and Cliff Huxtable in The Cosby Show. Keisha played the role of Rudy from ages five to thirteen. She became the youngest actress to be nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Since then, she’s appeared in commercials, TV shows, and even in rapper Chingy’s music video for the song “One Call Away.” Keisha was one of the celebrities that became a victim to the nasty nude photo leak scandal. She also went through a very public divorce with Ed Hartwell when rumors spread that she was pregnant with another man’s child.
1. Bella Thorne – Begging For Attention With Trashy Outfits And Weird Behavior
Bella Thorne is the ultimate child star that is just begging for any kind of attention she can find. Whether it’s wearing tacky colorful clothing or being spotted “canoodling” with Kourtney Kardashian’s ex, Scott Disick, the former Disney star has gone off the deep end. She accepts being “weird,” but it just seems like she’s doing it all so that she can stay relevant in Hollywood. We all know Bella from Disney’s TV series Shake It Up, but she put her Disney past way behind her. In 2016, she told all of her Twitter followers that she was bisexual and even posted a photo on her Instagram of her kissing another woman. Her outrageous behavior, whether it’s on her Snapchat or in real life, gets a lot of attention, and we’re sure she’s pleased about that.
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