Former Child Stars Who Went Off The Deep End

Imagine being your family's breadwinner. A lot of pressure, right? Now imagine being the breadwinner before you even hit puberty—then hitting puberty, with all its acne and awkwardness, in the public eye, then being unemployed by the time you're a teenager and wondering if anyone will ever take you seriously again. Now does it make sense that these child stars hit rock bottom? Thankfully, most of them were able to, at least somewhat, claw their way back to a happy and healthy life.

Corey Feldman

Corey Feldman became a child star at just 3 years old after appearing in more than 100 commercials, but he wasn't happy about it, describing the experience to the A.V. Club as "child slavery."

Feldman's father was mostly absent, and his mother was reportedly abusive. He claimed that his need to numb the pain led him to try marijuana and alcohol for the first time on the set of Stand By Me (1986). It was the beginning of a long battle with substance abuse. Feldman also alleged that an assistant his father hired to look after him on film sets, whom he called "Ron," often plied the young actor with drugs and molested him—and that "Ron" was one of many in an alleged pedophilia ring in Hollywood.

When he was 15, Feldman became legally emancipated from his parents, but they'd already allegedly squandered his earnings, leaving him a measly $40,000. People reported that Feldman moved into his own apartment at the time and began to climb the Hollywood ladder once more with hit movies such as The Lost Boys (1987), but his troubles had not vanished. He developed a cocaine habit followed by heroin, was arrested three times, and sent to rehab in December 1990. He claimed that other than one relapse in 1995, he has not used a hard drug since.

Even without drugs, Feldman's adult life hasn't been entirely smooth sailing. He went viral in 2013 when Vice documented a paid birthday party at his home with his "Angels"—think of a really depressing, low budget Playboy Mansion celebration. He made the wrong kind of headlines again in September 2016 with a really awkward musical performance with his Angels on Today. Faced with public ridicule, Feldman wrote on Facebook, "We put ourselves out there and we did the best that we could, and, like, I've never had such mean things said about me. Like constantly. Public shaming should not be accepted, no matter who you are."

A bright spot in Feldman's life? He married his longtime girlfriend (and Angel), Courtney Anne, in November 2016.

Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan rose to fame through Disney flicks The Parent Trap (1998) and became one of the biggest stars on the planet through her lead role in Mean Girls (2004). Unfortunately, her fall was as fast as her climb. According to Vanity Fair, she was hospitalized for "exhaustion" and asked to curb her partying in 2005, and revealed that she was bulimic and used drugs "a little" in 2006. (Lohan later claimed she was misquoted.)

In 2007, she got two DUIs, was sentenced to three years of probation, and served 84 minutes in jail. In 2008, she went to rehab. In 2010, she was sentenced to 90 days in jail for violating her probation, though she only served 14 days behind bars. As soon as she left jail, she went to rehab again. In 2011, she was charged with felony grand theft for allegedly stealing a $2,500 necklace and sentenced to 120 days in jail and 480 days of community service for violating her probation; she served most of her sentence under house arrest.

In November 2012, Lohan was charged with four criminal charges in two states on the same day. First, in California, she was charged with three crimes in relation to a minor car crash that June: giving false information to police, resisting arrest, and reckless driving. In the wee hours of the same day, she allegedly got into a physical fight with a woman at a nightclub in New York.

In 2014, Lohan stayed out of legal trouble, but still attracted drama: a list of hookups she wrote about in rehab went public, and she revealed that she'd suffered a miscarriage. She stayed out of the tabloids for most of 2015, but 2016 brought more personal challenges, including a nasty split from Russian businessman Egor Tarabasov, whom she accused him of physically abusing her.

At the time of this writing, Lohan is splitting her time between London and Dubai, and continuing to tease her ever-forthcoming big comeback.

Macaulay Culkin

Home Alone (1989) star Macaulay Culkin retired from the spotlight, but it still finds him occasionally, and not for the best reasons. In 2004, at age 24, Culkin was arrested when cops reportedly busted him with 17.3 grams of marijuana, eight Xanax pills, 16 clonazepam pills, and no prescription. He was later rumored to be on heroin, an allegation he vehemently denied. At the time of this writing, Culkin is enjoying a new relationship with former Disney star, Brenda Song, so hopefully she can help keep him on the straight and narrow.

Amanda Bynes

In September 2012, after a series of minor accidents and an alleged DUI, former Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes lost her driver's license, though that was reportedly due to unpaid tickets and fines. After that, her behavior grew even more bizarre. Bynes' Twitter rants became the stuff of legends, and she revealed she had severe body image issues. In May 2013, she was arrested for allegedly throwing a bong out the window of her New York apartment. Two months later, she was placed under a 5150 psychiatric hold after she allegedly set fire to a neighbor's driveway and nearly injured a dog in the process. She spent nearly six months in residential treatment, and her outpatient treatment is reportedly ongoing. At the time of this writing, she claims to be three years sober and is ready to return to Hollywood.

Leif Garrett

One-time teen idol Leif Garrett went from a heartthrob to a harrowing case study in addiction. In 1979, the singer-actor was allegedly driving while under the influence when he crashed his Porsche. His passenger was paralyzed in the accident. Two decades later, Garrett was busted for allegedly trying to buy narcotics from undercover police officers. In 2006, he was nabbed for heroin possession. The Outsiders (1983) star's troubles continued in 2010, when he was arrested for possession of a controlled substance.

At the time of this writing, Garrett seems to be working hard to overcome his past and build resiliency. He even offered some words of wisdom to wildly successful (and wildly controversial) pop star Justin Bieber. "Do not believe your own publicity," he told the Biebs, via Fox News. "Sussing out who your real friends are is full-time work. Every scum bag, every drug dealer, every chicken hawk wants a piece of you."

Danny Bonaduce

Danny Bonaduce played a ginger cousin on The Partridge Family, but when the show ended, his troubles with addiction began. In 2013, he opened up to talk show host Oprah Winfrey on Where Are They Now about becoming homeless as a teenager. Bonaduce was arrested multiple times for drug-related offenses, and in one incident in 1991, he allegedly beat and robbed a transvestite prostitute. He documented his struggles with alcohol on the reality show Breaking Bonaduce from 2005 to 2006 and claimed he took his last drink on Jan. 10, 2011. At the time of this writing, he is hosting a successful syndicated radio show.

Dustin Diamond

Saved by the Bell (1989-92) star Dustin Diamond was arrested in December 2014 for allegedly stabbing a man during a bar fight. He was sentenced to four months in jail but released early for good behavior. Unfortunately, that good behavior didn't last long. In May 2016, "Screech" was arrested again after testing positive for Oxycodone, the use of which was a violation of his probation. One month later, news broke that Diamond owed $94,000 in back taxes.

In November 2016, Diamond apologized to his former SBTB castmates for his behavior during and after the show and expressed remorse for publishing his scandalous 2009 tell-all, Behind the Bell.

Jodie Sweetin

Full House (1987-95) star Jodie Sweetin had a tough time adjusting to adulthood and reportedly turned to substance abuse and really hard partying as a means to cope. In her 2009 memoir, Unsweetined (via Today), she provides harrowing accounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, and alcohol abuse. She even writes about abusing substances while giving speaking tours about her own sobriety. Sweetin went on to marry three times, become a mom to two daughters (one by her first husband and one by her third), and get clean.

In 2016, she reprised her role as Stephanie Tanner on the Fuller House reboot and got engaged to her fourth husband-to-be, Justin Hodak. But that romance fizzled as well after Hodak, a convicted felon, became abusive, started allegedly abusing drugs and alcohol, and was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm in March 2017.

Mackenzie Phillips

In September 2009, former One Day at a Time (1975-84) star Mackenzie Phillips, daughter of The Mamas & the Papas rocker John Phillips, confessed on Oprah (via ABC News) that she'd had a consensual, incestuous relationship with her father for 10 years. (She alleged that John first raped her when she was 18, but that she chose to continue the relationship afterward.) Mackenzie claimed that when she became pregnant at 19, she wasn't sure if the baby was her father's or her husband's, and said her father paid for her to have an abortion. Mackenzie said she spiraled into drug use but forgave her father on his deathbed in 2001. She was arrested for cocaine possession at the Los Angeles International Airport in 2005.

As for the validity of her troubling life story, Mackenzie's sisters, Bijou and Chynna, and stepmother Michelle Phillips, have all expressed anger and doubt about her claims, with Michelle alleging Mackenzie has a history of mental illness in addition to her struggles with substance abuse. Mackenzie has made peace with that criticism as well, telling Oprah: Where Are They Now—Extra (via The Huffington Post), "I love my family. I'm sorry that they were so wounded by my truth. It was really hard for all of us."

Aaron Carter

Pop star Aaron Carter opened up about his struggles on Oprah's Where Are They Now, revealing long battles with depression and alcoholism that he believes began when his parents divorced—announcing their split an hour before he had to tape his MTV Cribs episode. "I had to show all the cameras my life that I was losing and nobody ever knew it. With everything that was happening, I started losing all my money," he said. "I went broke." He explained, "The depression was brought on because I loved my family being together. I did not want to see them divorced. I couldn't dwell on it. I couldn't think about it too much. I kind of had to block it out. I started partying [and] getting into a lot of trouble."

Carter went on to compete in Dancing with the Stars in 2009 in an effort to revive his career, but the reality competition didn't pan out. "[My manager] started having record label people come in, the big guys, the heavy hitters...and they just were not interested in me...The guys didn't even damn near want to look at me, like, they would just walk past me in the compound...Nothing ever came to fruition," he told Oprah. "I started getting really heavy into drinking. I was telling people, 'I'm on a very bad path right now, I need help.' I called my mother. She took me down to her house. The next day I was at Betty Ford Center."

Carter has since focused on releasing new music with more creative control, but what many viewed as a comeback was derailed yet again in July 2017, when Carter was arrested on charges of DUI refusal, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug-related objects. Three days after the arrest, he told Entertainment Tonight that he has an eating disorder; not a drug problem. "I am not a meth head," he said. "I have a stress condition of an 80-year-old man. I am also lactose intolerant."

Jake Lloyd

Jake Lloyd, who starred as young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace (1999), led police on a high-speed car chase in June 2015, when he was 24 years old. The pursuit ended in a crash and a prison sentence. In April 2016, Lloyd's mother told TMZ he was being transferred from jail to a mental hospital to treat schizophrenia. She also alleged he'd attacked her weeks before the car chase while off his medication. At the time of this writing, there was no reported timetable for his release. His family just wants him to get better.

Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf was successful from a very young age, landing a starring role on Disney's Even Stevens (2000-03) when he was just 10 years old. LaBeouf matured into movies, headlining the blockbuster Transformers (2007-) franchise, but as his fame increased, so too did his infamy. In 2005, he allegedly pulled a knife out during a fight in his apartment complex. In 2007, he was arrested for trespassing in a drug store. In 2008, he was involved in a fender bender and refused a Breathalyzer test. No charges were filed, but his license was suspended. In 2011, LaBeouf got into a bar brawl when a fellow patron reportedly tried stealing his hat.

After a relatively quiet two years, LaBeouf was accused in 2013 of plagiarizing elements of his short film,, from cartoonist Daniel Clowes. LaBeouf apologized in a series of tweets that were also plagiarized. A year later, he allegedly headbutted a fellow bar patron over a comment about someone's mom and went to rehab after being arrested for being drunk and disorderly during a Broadway performance of Cabaret. In the summer of 2015, LaBeouf got into a brutal argument with then-girlfriend Mia Goth, telling bystanders he "would have killed her." That October, he was arrested for public intoxication.

For a while, LaBeouf seemed to be getting better. In September 2016, he told Variety he hadn't had a drink in nearly a year, and he married Goth a month later. However, in July 2017, he was reportedly arrested for public drunkenness in Georgia and unleashed a verbal tirade against the police. LaBeouf later apologized via Twitter. "It is a new low. A low I hope is the bottom," he said. "I have been struggling with addiction publicly for too long, and I am actively taking steps toward securing my sobriety and hope I can be forgiven for my mistakes."

Jaimee Foxworth

Jaimee Foxworth starred as Judy Winslow on Family Matters (1989-98) until the show wrote off her character, with no explanation, four seasons into the series. By the time she was 19, Foxworth was broke and reportedly turned to adult films to make ends meet—and to support her substance abuse habits. After leaving porn, she still suffered from her addictions and joined the cast of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. She reportedly achieved sobriety in 2008 when she became pregnant.

In 2009, after her son was born, Foxworth alleged that her baby's daddy, Michael Shaw, was verbally and physically abusive toward her. The pair later reconciled. She even told Oprah's Where Are They Now (via The Huffington Post) that Shaw is a financially and emotionally supportive partner—and that she's budgeting her residuals from the show and is in a much better place.

In 2017, Foxworth was dragged into another Family Matters controversy when she was conspicuously left out of a reunion photo of the cast on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Speaking with The Root, Foxworth indicated she wasn't surprised by the snub, but she also had this to say: "It was a slap in the face from Entertainment Weekly. I don't think there's any good explanation. If they want to use adult films as the reason, I'm not the first person to do adult films and won't be the last."

Brian Bonsall

Child star Brian Bonsall, who appeared in Family Ties (1982-89) and Blank Check (1994), got into some trouble as an adult. According to the Daily Camera, he was accused of throwing alcohol in his then-girlfriend's face and throwing her on a bed when she tried leaving their apartment in 2007. In 2010, Bonsall, then 28, pleaded guilty to felony menacing and third degree assault after he attacked a friend with a broken stool.

Bonsall has reportedly suffered from mental illness, as well as addictions to alcohol and painkillers, but after receiving treatment, he has stayed out of the news until February 2017 when an alleged serial rapist known to impersonate him was finally brought to justice. According to The New York Daily News, Bonsall was aware of the creep and even warned fans about him in 2011 via Twitter, writing, "I have an impersonator, his name is Nathan Loebe. He has copied alot of my tattoos and he preys on young women online and everywhere else."

Tatum O'Neal

Tatum O'Neal became the youngest Academy Award winner in history at just 10 years old for Paper Moon (1973), in which she starred opposite her father, Ryan O'Neal. According to her own 2004 memoir (via the Daily Beast), she suffered emotional and physical abuse from her father and began smoking marijuana two years after her Oscar win. Cocaine abuse, Quaaludes, and hard partying followed. Tatum claimed her dad abandoned her at 15 when he married actress Farrah Fawcett, and that by 16, she'd been molested by two men (one of whom she claimed was a good friend of Ryan's) and two women. Her father denied all of the allegations. By age 18, Tatum claimed she was using cocaine to stay thin, and in 1995, when her marriage to tennis pro John McEnroe collapsed, she got hooked on heroin. In June 2008, she was arrested for allegedly trying to buy crack cocaine in New York City. She later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to treatment.

In 2015, Tatum penned a piece for Harper's Bazaar, discussing sobriety and her evolving sexual identity. "Now I've had a number of years of being present and clear, and that has changed everything in my life," she said. "It's changed my relationships with my children, my relationship with work, my relationships with people, my relationship with myself. Now I'm clean and aware and alive and interested in the world, saying, 'Dating women is exciting to me, and this is turning me on.'"

Jeremy Jackson

Baywatch (1989-2001) star Jeremy Jackson played surfer kid Hobie Buchannon on the series from 1991 to 1999. He was 9 years old when he started working on the show, but says he left to cope with an addiction to methamphetamines, ecstasy, marijuana, and GHB. In 2011, he appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew to recover from an addiction to steroids. In early 2015, he was accused of allegedly trying to murder his then-wife, fitness model Loni Willison, and he was booted from Celebrity Big Brother for allegedly groping a co-star in a drunken stupor and exposing her breasts. In April 2015, Jackson was accused of allegedly stabbing a man at a party, but no charges were filed. Six months later, he was accused of allegedly stabbing a woman multiple times. Upon his release from jail in October 2015, he went to rehab.

Lalaine Vergara Paras

Lalaine Vergara Paras, who played Hilary Duff's BFF on Lizzie McGuire (2001-04), was busted for possession of crystal meth in 2007. She was a no-show for her court appearance in the case, prompting a judge to issue a $50,000 bench warrant for her arrest, which was recalled when she finally showed up to a court appearance. She pleaded guilty, went to rehab, and had her record expunged after completing the program. She told The Huffington Post (via AOL) in November 2015, "I'm just more on the relaxed side of things. I hold a job down to pay the bills, and I've been doing all these random little projects."

Taran Noah Smith

Taran Noah Smith, the youngest son on Home Improvement (1991-99), married vegan chef Heidi Van Pelt in 2001, when he was just 17 years old and she was 33. Shortly after they wed, he accused his parents of squandering his earnings. In 2007, Smith and Van Pelt split, leaving their once-shared home in squalor. In 2012, Smith was charged with a DUI and possession of hash and sentenced to three years of probation, a 12-hour program for his DUI charge, and a six-week diversion program for the hash possession. Smith has since reconciled with his family and even helped his mom write a book about child stardom.

Edward Furlong

Edward Furlong got his big break as the young John Connor in Terminator 2 (1991), but within a decade, he was already in big trouble. He was hospitalized for a suspected drug overdose in April 2001, and five months later got busted for driving without a license and driving under the influence in two separate stops within four hours. That led to the first in a series of rehab stints. In 2004, Furlong was arrested and booked for misdemeanor public intoxication in Kentucky after taking lobsters out of a store display case, perhaps in order to "liberate" them.

Furlong married The Ring (2002) actress Rachael Bella and welcomed a son in 2006, but their marriage crumbled just three years later when Bella filed for divorce. A series of disturbing court appearances and multiple restraining orders followed. In January 2011, Furlong was even put behind bars for violating Bella's restraining order. In 2012, he was accused of exposing his then-6-year-old son to cocaine. The couple's divorce was reportedly not finalized until 2014, but by 2013, he'd already faced legal trouble with another woman. Furlong was sentenced to five years of probation, 90 days of rehab, and a year of domestic violence counseling after he allegedly attacked an ex-girlfriend and broke her laptop.

In October 2016, Furlong was spotted looking "bloated and unkempt" with actress Monica Keena, with whom he'd had a volatile relationship involving multiple domestic abuse charges for years, reported the Daily Mail.

Orlando Brown

In September 2013, That's So Raven (2003-07) star Orlando Brown was sentenced to 180 days behind bars for a DUI charge stemming from an arrest in 2011. Four bench warrants had reportedly been issued for his arrest for failing to appear in court for the charge, and he reportedly disobeyed a slew of court orders in the case. In 2014, he was charged with public intoxication and disturbing the peace after allegedly threatening to murder a woman and her child. After a fight with a girlfriend in January 2016, he was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery, obstruction of justice, felony drug possession (for meth) with intent to sell, and having contraband in jail.

In November 2016, he made vulgar comments about former co-star Raven-Symone, which triggered a massive backlash on Twitter. In 2017, he doubled-down on his new tell-all approach to interviews with even more bizarre revelations about his "past" drug use, a sex tape, and even more trash talk about Raven-Symone, so it would appear that Brown is not only still off the deep end, he's headed fast for rock bottom.

Harvey Spencer Stephens

Harvey Spencer Stephens, who starred as Damien in the original version of The Omen (1976), took longer than his onscreen counterpart to show his dark side. It wasn't until August 2016 that he went bad during a reported road rage incident. Stephens allegedly cut off two bicyclists, then violently attacked them, knocking one of them unconscious. He was charged with two counts of actual bodily harm and one charge of criminal damage. On Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 (spooky!) he was sentenced to a year in jail for the bodily harm charge, plus two months for the criminal damage charge.

Every kid from Diff'rent Strokes

We're not sure what it was about being fake-raised in the fictional Drummond family, but not a single child star from that show made it out okay. Going in order by oldest first, we'll start with Dana Plato. According to People, Plato left the show in 1984 after becoming pregnant, and she never managed to make her way back into mainstream show business again. She committed suicide in 1999 by overdosing on painkillers, and in the 15 years between her TV heyday and her death, there was nothing but tragedy.

In that time, Plato struggled with addictions to alcohol and pills, gave up custody of her son, posed for Playboy, starred in a soft-core porn parody of Diff'rent Strokes, and even committed a laughably pathetic robbery at a video store that landed her in jail until Wayne Newton, who had never even met her, bailed her out after no one else would.

Todd Bridges went down a similar path of drugs and crime, hitting a definitive low point after a string of arrests throughout the '80s when he was charged with the attempted murder of a drug dealer in 1989. He was acquitted of the charges, but spent almost a year in jail awaiting trial, during which time he had run-ins with famed murderers Lyle Menendez and Richard Ramirez. After his acquittal, Bridges still struggled for a few more years years with drugs and petty crime before finally getting sober in the early '90s.

That brings us to Gary Coleman, the youngest of the Drummonds, who like Plato, also died young— after an accidental fall in his Utah home in 2010. He was 42 years old. According to ABC News, prior to his death, Coleman was plagued with financial issues, had multiple run-ins with the law relating to bizarre fan encounters gone horribly wrong, and a reported 20 police calls logged over the course five years, mostly due to the volatile relationship he had with his live-in ex-wife, Shannon Price.

Brad Renfro

The life of promising young actor, Brad Renfro, was cut short at the age of 25 when he died of "acute heroin/morphine intoxication" in 2008. For as much success as he had in movies, it was constantly overshadowed by the troubles of his private life, starting at just 16-years-old when he was busted for possession of cocaine and marijuana. He followed that two years later by trying to steal a yacht with his friend, earning him a grand theft charge and two years probation, according to ABC News.

Three years before his death, Renfro hit another bad streak with a DUI and a bust in connection with a heroin sting operation just one month later. He was once again placed on probation and went to rehab, although the treatment obviously didn't stick.

Director Larry Clark, himself a former addict, who worked with Renfro on the film, Bully, in 2000 once told South Coast Today, "I've been around a lot of addicts and alcoholics, and I remember thinking at the time, this is one of the worst cases I've ever seen."

Mischa Barton

Instead of capitalizing on her star turn in The O.C., Mischa Barton left the show a year early in 2006 and embarked on a decade of increasingly bizarre diva behavior, according to E! News. Following a 2007 DUI, Barton posed for Maxim and teased a pivot to "the big screen," which never panned out. She then attracted the wrong kind of attention in 2009 when she had a meltdown at New York Fashion Week and was subsequently hospitalized for an apparent suicide attempt, which she explained away as a mix-up with pain medication she was taking for a "tooth infection" combined with being "completely overwhelmed" with her life.

In 2016, Barton briefly returned to mainstream relevance by appearing on Dancing With The Stars, but she was eliminated in the second round of cuts. She didn't exactly take her exit gracefully, telling The Ringer she was "glad to get kicked off" after not being able to exercise the creative control she was promised. "I was so confused by it," Barton said, also comparing the dancing competition to The Hunger Games. "It was all a popularity contest. It was awful."

Barton was hospitalized a second time following a strange incident in January 2017 in which she was recorded outside her Los Angeles home appearing to be intoxicated and rambling incoherently. She then voluntarily checked into the hospital for a mental health check and later claimed she'd been given the date rape drug, GHB. As of this writing, Barton recently wrapped up a legal battle she waged with two ex-boyfriends over their alleged attempts to sell illicitly obtained intimate photos and videos of Barton to various web outlets.