Why Hollywood Won't Cast These Child Stars Anymore

Once upon a time, these child stars had it made. Some had just starred in mega Hollywood productions next to legendary A-listers. Others had their very own shows they'd secured simply based on their magnetic charisma and all-too-relatable comedic charm. And there were even a select few who dominated multiple lanes at once, mastering music, movies, and/or TV. It seemed like the only direction they could go in was up — but then life happened, and they instead faded into the background.

Whose acting career went left after sharing a hurtful misconception about sexual assault? Who nearly self-destructed after a secret battle with anorexia? What rapper-turned-actor derailed his career after one too many social media stunts gone wrong? We'll talk about it all as we explore why Hollywood won't cast these former child stars anymore. Keep reading to find out the shocking moments that changed their careers in the entertainment biz forever.

Jonathan Lipnicki

Back in the late '90s and early 2000s, you couldn't turn on a family film without seeing Jonathan Lipnicki on your screen. His roles in blockbuster hits like Jerry Maguire (1996) and Stuart Little (1999) catapulted him to superstardom. And don't even get us started on The Little Vampire (2001). But his career has taken quite a nosedive ever since, partly due to his battles with bullying and depression.

"As a kid/teen I was made fun of relentlessly by some people who are now even my friends on FB," Lipnicki revealed on Instagram in 2017. "I was told I was a has-been and would never book a job again. I was made to feel like garbage every day of middle school to the point where I had a panic attack every night before school, because I wondered how I would get through the next day ... It was humiliating."

But the actor told E! News that same year that he's managed to quell his attacks with the help of extracurricular activities and therapy, so there's still a chance his career could get back on track in the near future. Fingers crossed.

Kyla Pratt

Kyla Pratt got her big break in 1998 when she was cast as a nerdy pre-teen in Dr. Dolittle. The movie was a commercial success and helped springboard her into starring roles in The Proud Family and One on One. But she just couldn't manage to build on top of her success, and, after three Dr. Dolittle installments flopped, she decided to take a break from the spotlight to focus on building a family — partly because of relentless judgment and criticism she'd received over the years.

In fact, Pratt keeps her life so private now that she even successfully managed to keep two of her pregnancies — with daughters Lyric and Liyah Kilpatrick — under wraps completely. She opened up about her decision to focus on family life in a 2014 interview with Ebony, telling the publication she preferred to "nurture each of those relationships and give those relationships a great amount of time," rather than putting all her time and energy into the entertainment industry.

She could be gearing up for a major comeback, though, as she starred in a play adaptation of the 1996 cult classic Set It Off in March 2018, which debuted to favorable reviews.

Macaulay Culkin

Macaulay Culkin gained worldwide fame due to his breakout performance in 1990's Home Alone. But — like his character in the film — Culkin got left behind after dealing with a personal struggle at home.

In a 2018 interview with Marc Maron on his WTF podcast, Culkin revealed that he'd suffered physical and mental abuse from his father, Kit, who the actor said was morbidly "jealous" of his success. He also told Maron that his parents' split was "one of the best things that's ever happened" because he was "able to actually walk away from the business," which he did for nearly a decade (via The Blast).

He explained, "I even wanted to take a break for a while and eventually I was like 'I'm done guys, hope you all made your money because there is no more coming from me.'"

Eventually, Culkin made a return to entertainment, but his career never really recovered from the lengthy stint.

Andrew Keegan

Andrew Keegan was America's collective #MCM before it was even a thing. But these days, instead of attracting fans, he's attracting converts.

According to Vice, Keegan leads a spiritual movement called Full Circle, based in Venice Beach, Calif., whose reported goal is to promote individuality rather than societal standards.

"I very much speak what comes through [while] in the collective. We create a resonance of balance and equality of the crew," the 10 Things I Hate About You actor explained to the outlet in 2015. "When you feel those chakras aligned, there's guided messaging coming in. If there is something of spiritual ego within that, it must not exist."

He might've chosen his beliefs over Hollywood, but in 2017 Keegan told Page Six he was gearing up to take his movement to the next level. He said his fans can continue to look forward to "sound healing, educational, medical type practices, food and health."

Kirsten Dunst

To be frank, Kirsten Dunst turned everyone off in April 2014 when her interview with W Magazine went viral. After being asked if she'd ever been sexually harassed in the industry by a director, Dunst obtusely replied by saying she doesn't provoke that kind of behavior.

She specifically told the publication, "I don't give off that vibe. I think that you court that stuff, and to me it's crossing a boundary that would hinder the trust in your working relationship."

Cue the record scratch.

Needless to say, Dunst immediately came under fire for her statement, with many sexual misconduct survivors and advocates deeming it as hurtful and demeaning. And the fact that the actress had just gone through a round of bad press didn't necessarily help anything, either.

Dunst had made anti-feminist comments in an interview with Harper's Bazaar earlier that same month, telling the outlet that women should allow men to be men and that traditional roles of women are "undervalued." She later attempted to clarify her comments after receiving massive backlash, but, well, you know how that goes.

Tatyana Ali

Tatyana Ali was poised for superstardom back in the '90s, thanks to her role as Ashley Banks in the hit TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Her time on the show even launched her into a successful singing career, but, when the show finished, the demand for Ali dwindled. So she opted to pursue education instead.

She enrolled in Harvard University, graduating in 2002 with a reported degree in Afro-American history and government. After taking an interest in politics, Ali went on to travel the United States for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign — and then she seemingly dropped off the radar. Again.

Ali again reemerged for BET's series Second Generation Wayans in 2013, but her comeback was cut short, as the show was canceled after the first season. However, she appears to be doing just fine without the spotlight these days. She married Stanford University English professor Vaughn Rasberry in 2016, and the pair welcomed their first child that same year.

Bow Wow

From establishing himself as an urban phenomenon in the music industry to landing a starring role in Like Mike, Bow Wow seemed destined for Hollywood acclaim in the early to mid-2000s. But lately, he's carved out a bad name for himself after a slew of controversies on social media.

Let's look at March 2017, for example. Bow Wow had attempted to defend his friend and mentor Snoop Dogg against President Donald Trump amid their months-long beef, but it didn't go as well as he'd probably anticipated. The "Shortie like Mine" rapper dragged Melania Trump into the feud, tweeting that he would pimp out the first lady and "make her work for [them]" (via Complex).

Although you might think the artist couldn't get shadier, he proved otherwise just two months later in May 2017 when attempting to flaunt for his social media followers. Bow Wow posted a photo of a fancy car and a private plane on an airport tarmac, writing that he was on his way to do press for the WE tv reality series Growing Up Hip Hop. However, it was soon revealed that he was actually on a commercial plane — according to a Twitter user who shared a photo on social media of the rapper on his flight. So it'd seem that Bow Wow had actually used a stock photo in attempts to impress his fans. TBH, we're not sure if the internet has stopped roasting him for it yet.

Jaleel White

After Family Matters wrapped in 1998, Jaleel White's career faltered. Although he returned to television just a year later for UPN's comedy series Grown Ups, the show received poor reviews and was canceled just a year later. Fans presumably just didn't want to see White star as anyone other than Steve Urkel — the googly-eyed nerd that pretty much stole every scene in Family Matters.

Even so, White made it clear that he wouldn't be picking up another role that was similar to the one that made him famous, telling a reporter when the show wrapped (per The New York Times), ”If you ever see me do that character again, take me out and put a bullet in my head and put me out of my misery.”

It was pretty sad news for all of White's loyalists, especially for anyone who thought there was a chance he'd reconsider. The former child star echoed the comment in 2011 and — even though he told Vanity Fair he'd "never say never" to reprising the legendary role — he said he couldn't imagine doing it in a way that would be fun for both him and his fans. Oh well.


Despite Raven-Symoné's early success in productions like The Cosby Show and The Cheetah Girls, she seemingly fell off the face of the earth for a few years. She did, however, reemerge in 2015, when she landed a spot on the hit daytime show The View, but the ways she chose to use the platform inspired major scrutiny.

For instance, in October 2015, the actress admitted that she would discriminate against someone with a "ghetto" name during a segment. Symoné said, "I'm not going to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea. That's just not going to happen. I'm not going to hire you."

Symoné was pelted with insults following the controversial remarks, which prompted her to issue an apology via Facebook. However, she just couldn't shake her offensive patterns, and she ultimately decided to salvage her likability (or what was left of it, at least) by leaving the show the following year. At the time of this writing, she stars on the Disney Channel's Raven's Home, a spinoff of her career-boosting show That's So Raven — but she hasn't yet been booked for anything as paramount as she did in her earlier days.

Hilary Duff

Hilary Duff's downfall in Hollywood can be attributed to a slew of box office bombs, including 2004's Raise Your Voice, 2005's Cheaper by the Dozen 2, and 2006's Material Girls. But instead of plotting ways to return to Hollywood's good graces, she's opted to try her hand at independent movies, including the 2018 film The Haunting of Sharon Tate.

Tate was only 26 years old when she was viciously killed at the hands of cult leader Charles Manson. In addition to covering her untimely death, the film will reportedly focus on a quote the slain actress gave a year before she passed away, in which she reveals having dreams of being haunted by ghosts and premonitions of her own murder. It seemed like just the role Duff needed to revitalize her career as an actress. However, people were already upset over the film before it even released, including Tate's own sister, Debra.

Debra called the movie "classless" and "exploitative" in a February 2018 interview with People. And as for the dream? Debra said "it's a total fabrication."

Evidently, Duff just can't catch a break. At least she's got TV Land's Younger. Still, maybe she should take a page out of Raven-Symoné's book and push for a Lizzie McGuire spin-off.

Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci became a teen icon due to her role as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family movies, but a battle with anorexia almost soured her reputation for good.

"I was a teenager going through adolescence and at one point I had a little anorexia phase and then I kind of ballooned," she explained to Entertainment Tonight in 2007 (via OK! Magazine). Her obsession with her body image apparently got so bad that it left her with overwhelming feelings of "hopelessness" and made Ricci "become afraid of [herself]," as she explained to BlackBook magazine in 2010.

Although she eventually managed to finally kick the illness, making a major return to Hollywood hasn't seemed to be at the top of Ricci's to-do list. She's been busy living life as a wife and a mother, telling People in January 2017 that the experience has made her a better person more than anything else. We wouldn't trade that for anything else, either, Christina.

Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes was the undisputed queen of Nickelodeon in the late '90s and 2000s, but those days are long gone. Unfortunately, Bynes weathered a very public mental breakdown in 2013, which brought her career to a grinding halt.

Bynes' erratic behavior began in March of that year, when she tweeted that she wanted Drake to "murder [her] vagina." The "Crew Love" rapper didn't appear to reply to Bynes' advances, which is likely why she targeted Drake's on-again, off-again fling Rihanna on social just two months later. The comedian lashed out against the Barbadian singer, tweeting a hurtful take on Rihanna's 2009 domestic violence incident with singer Chris Brown. Bynes wrote, "Chris Brown beat you because you're not pretty enough" (via Entertainment Weekly).

And it didn't stop there. Bynes hit rock bottom in October 2014 when she was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold after exhibiting increasingly strange behavior, including the time she allegedly threw a bong from her apartment window.

Luckily though, she appeared to have done a complete 180 shortly after completing her stint, opting to sober up and shift her life's path to a more "wholesome" career: fashion. But don't turn your back on her yet. In June 2017, Bynes told The Lowdown host Diana Madison that she might get back into acting really, really soon.

Frankie Muniz

Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz was forced to take a hiatus from Hollywood after suffering from an unexplainable string of strokes.

"First, I lose my peripheral vision," the actor said of his health struggles in a 2017 interview with People. "And I can see people but I can't recognize them. I can see words but I can't tell what they say. Then I start going numb. It's a gross feeling. But I know now when it's going to come. I usually go lay down and wait [for it to be over]."

Noting that he'd had nearly every test performed by neurologists, he continued, "I have no answers as to why it happens. I got so tired of trying to find an answer that I don't think I'll search for an answer anymore. I've accepted it."

Sadly, Muniz has even suffered severe memory loss due to his condition. The former child star hasn't let it damper his dreams of getting back to work, though. And with such a positive outlook, who knows — he could be back on the big screen in no time.