Everyone goes through rebellious phases. Sometimes, these phases last a week — other times they can last a person’s entire life. There’s something about being forced into a box, where you’re thought of as a goody-two-shoes, that makes a lot of people feel the need to rebel.
For some of the celebrities on this list, it wasn’t their fault that they were branded as good girls. Maybe the public perception of these celebrities was entirely superficial, to begin with; maybe we all associate the roles of actresses and actors too closely with what we think that person will be like in real life. For other celebrities on this list, they struggled to find a career in Hollywood after their time as child stars were up.
It’s sickening how Hollywood treats child actors once they’ve finished maturing — and disgusting how they treat child stars once they hit puberty. As you’ll see from this list, a number of former child stars went bad after their careers went belly up.
Is Hollywood to blame for these good girls turning bad? Or were they bad to begin with?
15. Taylor Momsen
Taylor Momsen entered the entertainment business starring as Cindy Lou Who in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey. She was five years old when she appeared in the film and sang the Christmas classic “Where Are You Christmas?” She went on to appear in We Were Soldiers and Hansel & Gretel and played Jennifer Humphrey in over 66 episodes from 2007-2010, with one guest star appearance in 2012.
While working as an actress, Taylor Momsen sang for the post-grunge band The Pretty Reckless. She told an interviewer, “Music is where I can be me… acting is easy. I’ve been doing it so long, and I totally love it. But you’re playing a character instead of yourself. Music is more personal because you’re writing in it and every step of it.”
14. Vanessa Hudgens
Vanessa Hudgens is almost entirely known for her role as Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical franchise. She was an A-list celebrity in the world of Disney Channel stars — and her career was filled with potential. In 2008, she was listed as number 20 on Forbes’ list of “High Earners Under 30” and was also listed in People‘s “1000 Most Beautiful People” in 2008 and 2009.
Though she was always viewed as a good girl, her public image changed when nude photos of her surfaced online in 2007. Hudgens was posing for the camera either in lingerie or completely nude, and many speculated that she would be dropped from High School Musical 3. Though she said she was embarrassed and regretted taking those photos, more photos were released in 2009 and 2011.
After appearing in High School Musical 3, Hudgens has failed to land another noteworthy gig. She appeared in Spring Breakers alongside Selena Gomez and James Franco and had quite a steamy kissing scene with Ashley Benson.
13. Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes is one of the iconic teen stars to come out of the early 2000s. She starred in her own show, The Amanda Show, before making her movie debut alongside Frankie Muniz in the film Big Fat Liar. She had numerous commercial successes, including What a Girl Wants, Robots, She’s the Man, Hairspray, and Sydney White. Practically every girl growing up in the 2000s saw these films — and there’s a good chance that She’s The Man is on the list of a majority of young women’s favorite movies. The last movie Amanda Bynes appeared in was Easy A (2010), and it was all downhill for her after that.
Following the release of Easy A, Amanda Bynes took a break from acting to pursue a career as a fashion designer. She was a gorgeous young woman at the height of her career, so it seemed strange to a lot of her fans that she was leaving the movie industry.
Over a two-year window, Bynes was arrested for numerous offenses, including driving while impaired, a hit and run, criminal possession of marijuana, and starting a fire in a stranger’s home. She went through a very public battle with mental health. On Twitter, Bynes made wild accusations, stating she had been sexually abused by her father, which she later recanted. She posted a number of selfies online — as seen above — and she doesn’t look anything like she did as an actress.
12. McKayla Maroney
McKayla Maroney was a member of the United States women’s gymnastics team during the 2012 Summer Olympics. The team, known as the furious five, won a gold medal in the team event. She became a common subject of memes when she expressed her dissatisfaction with winning a silver medal in the vault event. In 2016, she opted to stop competing in gymnastics, citing health issues. She was often viewed as a role model to little girls, being a former Olympian and all that jazz.
In May 2017, Maroney posted a video of herself dancing in a thong on Instagram. At first, followers believed that she had been hacked and that she would never post such images of herself. Maroney quickly refuted these claims, stating that she had posted the video herself.
Today, she’s become somewhat of a social media celebrity with over 1.6 million followers on Instagram. A number of her posts are inherently sexual, where she’s showing off her best assets. She addressed her critics on Twitter, saying that they were wrong to consider her a role model for girls because that’s not who she was.
11. Jessica Simpson
Believe it or not, Jessica Simpson wasn’t always a Britney Spears knockoff. She did, however, audition for the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse alongside Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake but was ultimately not chosen for the role. After being rejected from the show, Simpson returned to sing for her church choir and was eventually discovered by a Christian label. She led a brief but successful career in the Christian music industry but had to stop touring because, according to her father, her breasts had gotten too large, making her too “sexual” for the genre.
Jessica Simpson was later signed to a record company that tried to market her as anti-sex appeal. She was promoted as a direct contrast to Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Her debut album sold over 4 million copies. Despite the success and acclaim of her first album, she was rebranded into a Britney Spears knockoff by her record company.
10. Jodie Sweetin
Jodie Sweetin grew up in front of viewers’ eyes as her role as Stephanie Tanner on the sitcom Full House. The show, starring Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen, ran for eight seasons (1987-1995). In 2016, a sequel to the series, Fuller House, was released on Netflix though it wasn’t as well received as the original.
Following her appearance on Full House, Jodie Sweetin, like many child stars, couldn’t find any acting work. The show wrapped when Sweetin was fourteen years old, and she quickly turned to alcohol. Over the next fifteen years, Sweetin used ecstasy, methamphetamine, crack, and other drugs. In her memoir, unSweetined, she discussed coming down from a two-day bender and breaking down into tears while addressing a crowd at Marquette University.
9. Selena Gomez
As a child, Selena Gomez appeared on the children’s television series Barney & Friends, but she really made a name for herself as a star of the Disney Channel series, Wizards of Waverly Place. Gomez was one of the faces of the Disney Channel between 2008-2012, appearing in the Disney Channel Games alongside other Disney Channel stars.
After Wizards of Waverly Place ended, Gomez tried to make a name for herself as a pop star and found limited success. She appeared in the film Spring Breakers (2013) starring James Franco, a movie widely regarded as a critical and commercial failure. Gomez’s appearance in the film was an attempt to mature her image, though she played a goody-two-shoes in the film.
Since the failure of Spring Breakers, Gomez has tried to mature her image further by appearing as sexual characters in Behaving Badly and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. Additionally, she was an executive producer for the hit Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, which has been criticized for its graphic depiction of sexual assault and suicide.
8. Danielle Fishel
You’ll recognize Danielle Fishel for her role as Topanga Lawrence in the 1990s sitcom Boy Meets World. The show was iconic during its seven-year run. The sequel, Girls Meets World (2014), was not nearly as loved as the original and only ran for three seasons. Fishel starred in both and has failed to help her make a name for herself outside of the Boy Meets World series.
In 2007, Fishel was arrested a little after 5 am and charged for driving under the influence. She was released shortly after her arrest.
None of us can imagine Topanga Lawrence — the queen of goody-two-shoes — sitting behind bars after driving under the influence. But considering what the other child stars on this list have done, a DUI doesn’t seem so bad.
7. Jaimee Foxworth
Jaimee Foxworth is best known for her role as Judy Winslow on the sitcom Family Matters. She played the youngest daughter of the Winslow family for four seasons, but the show ran for nine. It was one of the longest-running shows that featured a predominantly African American cast. To say the show is iconic is an understatement. You may be familiar with Steve Urkel, who was initially introduced into the series as a one-off character, though he slowly transitioned into being the star of the show. When he became the star, Foxworth’s role in the program was cut significantly. She was simply written off the show with no explanation. The continuity of the show was that her character, Judy, had never even existed!
Following Family Matters, Jaimee Foxworth struggled to find acting work. She battled substance abuse, depression, and poverty. The only acting work Foxworth was able to find was in a number of pornographic films that are readily available to watch online. She was formerly known as ‘Crave’ in the adult industry. Do with that what you will!
6. Miley Cyrus
When Miley Cyrus was first making a name for herself in the music industry, she was known as Hannah Montana. She was viewed as the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus, rather than as a celebrity on her own. This may have been due to the fact that she starred on the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana, alongside her dad. As a Disney Channel star, Miley Cyrus was wholesome, family friendly, and perceived as a strong role model for little girls who have big dreams. She played the ‘small town country girl’ card numerous times in the early stages of her career.
In 2012, Cyrus changed her look by cutting off her long brown hair, opting to sport a short, blonde, pixie-style haircut. The following year, she hired Larry Rudolph (known for representing Britney Spears) as her manager. This is when Cyrus changed her public persona almost entirely.
We’ve all seen it. She’s posed nude for Terry Richardson, licked construction tools seductively, straddled a giant inflatable penis onstage, and openly talked about how much she loves smoking weed. She also changed the style of her music with her album, Bangerz.
Critics have speculated that Cyrus adopted this personality to mature her persona and distance herself from her dad. And it seemed to work. With the release of Cyrus’s single, “Malibu,” earlier this year, it seems that she’s returning back to her country roots. She’s even grown her hair out again!
5. Christina Aguilera
Anytime Christina Aguilera is mentioned, everyone wants to know what the hell happened to her during the early 2000s. She began her career appearing on The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and sang the song “Reflection” in the Disney film Mulan (1998). The following year, Aguilera released her self-titled album that featured hit singles “Genie in a Bottle,” “What a Girl Wants,” and “Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You).”
At the start of her music career, she was a little sexualized, but that was nothing compared to what happened to her on the album Stripped (2002). It was after the release of this album that Aguilera started doing wacky things with her hair and sporting a bikini with leather chaps. It became an iconic look for all the wrong reasons. That said, it was one of Aguilera’s more modest outfits during that time in her life.
4. Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon is typically associated with wholesome roles. Her most famous films include Pleasantville, Sweet Home Alabama, and of course, Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde. In addition to always playing pleasant characters, she also had a good-girl look about her. The public perception of her, however, changed just a few years ago.
In 2013, while filming The Good Lie, Witherspoon and her husband, Jim Toth, were pulled over after the car was seen weaving across the lines on the road. Toth, the driver, was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.139 and was arrested. Witherspoon, distraught that her husband was being arrested, began arguing with police. She was charged with disorderly conduct for disobeying the officer’s instructions to remain in the vehicle. The ordeal was caught on tape, where Witherspoon is heard arguing with the officer and asking him if he knew who she was. He did!
3. Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore, daughter of actor John Drew Barrymore, waltzed onto Hollywood’s radar when she played Gertie in E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982). She was seven years old when she played the little girl that America loved the second they saw her. Let’s be honest: she was a cute kid. Unbeknownst to a number of people today, though, she was also a troubled kid.
Since she became famous at such a young age, Barrymore was known to hang out at the nightclub Studio 54 at a very young age. She was smoking cigarettes at the age of nine, drinking alcohol when she was 11, smoking marijuana at the age of twelve, and snorting cocaine when she was thirteen. She spent eighteen months at a rehab facility when she was fourteen. At fifteen years old, Barrymore emancipated herself and moved into her own apartment. She struggled with drug abuse for the next few years and tried to commit suicide a number of times.
At the age of seventeen, Barrymore posed nude on the cover of Interview magazine with her then-fiance, Jamie Walters. At the age of nineteen, she posed nude for Playboy. As a twentieth birthday gift, her godfather, Steven Spielberg, gave her a quilt with a note that read, “Cover yourself up.” Enclosed with the note were her Playboy photographs altered by his art department so that she appeared fully clothed.
Despite her rough childhood, Barrymore has made an impact on Hollywood. Her filmography is too long to share in its entirety here, but some of her appearances include those in Poison Ivy, Guncrazy, Wayne’s World 2, Scream, and Charlie’s Angels, and she made her first appearance alongside Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer.
2. Lindsay Lohan
The fall of Lindsay Lohan was every millennial’s first opportunity to see what happens to child stars that Hollywood gets tired of. Lohan’s movie debut, The Parent Trap was well received critically and at the box-office, which set her up for a promising career in Hollywood.
As a teenager, Lohan starred in Freaky Friday and Herbie: Fully Loaded, though she really entered America’s hearts as Cady Heron in the movie Mean Girls. Sadly, Lindsay didn’t grow up in the best of families, and many of her problems as an adult stem from the relationship with her family.
Lohan struggled with drugs and alcohol after the success of Mean Girls. For years, it seemed that all Lohan was doing was bouncing between rehab and the courthouse for her latest DUI. It was a 10-year ordeal that essentially killed Lohan’s career.
She’s tried making a comeback starring in Playboy magazine in 2012, posing as Marilyn Monroe. According to Hugh Hefner, Lohan’s issue was “breaking sales records,” which may have meant that people wanted to see how ‘bad’ this former good girl had become.
1. Dana Plato
Dana Plato played the role of Kimberly Drummond on the sitcom Diff’rent Strokes. She starred alongside Gary Coleman, and her career struggled in the same way that his did. After Diff’rent Strokes ended, both Drummond and Coleman struggled to find work in the acting world.
Plato made an attempt to establish herself as a serious actress but failed in doing so. However, she had the sex appeal needed to succeed in Hollywood, posing for a Playboy pictorial in 1989 after having breast implants put in.
A year later, Plato moved to Las Vegas and struggled with poverty and unemployment. She even resorted to working at a dry-cleaning store in 1990. In 1991, Plato entered a video store with a pellet gun and demanded the money in the register. The clerk phoned 911, stating, “I’ve just been robbed by the girl who played Kimberly on Diff’rent Strokes!” Plato returned to the store fifteen minutes after robbing it, where she was arrested. Plato was also arrested the following year for forging a prescription for Diazepam.
As her career came to a close, Plato appeared in a few softcore p*rn films. The most notable was Different Strokes: The Story of Jack and Jill… and Jill, a movie that changed its name once Plato was cast.
In 1999, a day after appearing on The Howard Stern Show where she said that she was drug-free (aside from painkillers she needed following a dental procedure), Dana Plato died of a drug overdose.
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