Child Stars Gone Bad (and Occasionally Good Again)

So many young actors who are cast into the spotlight at an early age wind up going down a dark path. We look back at those who have managed to revive their careers ... and the ones who sadly haven't

No matter how glamorous life in Hollywood may seem, there are plenty of well-documented downfalls. But perhaps none are more disappointing than those of our favorite childhood stars.

It's likely you grew up watching or singing along with these young VIPs, some of whom have come out on top (like Drew Barrymore), others who've turned out okay (Jodi Sweetin), and others still who continue to struggle (we're looking at you, Amanda Bynes -- this is no way to celebrate your birthday!). Here, see some of Hollywood’s brightest young talents who have gone from adored to abjection -- and sometimes back again.

Amanda Bynes

Child Stars Gone Bad

Steve Granitz Archive/WireImage; Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

Once a beloved '90s Nickelodeon star, Bynes is now best known for her nutty behavior. It all began in April 2012, when she was arrested and charged with driving under the influence after side-swiping -- of all things -- a police car. In September of that same year, she was accused of leaving the scene of two separate hit-and-runs, and ultimately lost her driving privileges (she was later busted for driving with a suspended license). While the actress, who turns 27 on April 3, was able to escape jail time, she has been unable to avoid bad press. Since moving to New York in late 2012 to start a clothing line, the “retired” starlet has been threatened with eviction, and recently blew up the Internet when she tweeted at singer Drake to “murder” her lady parts. Bynes, who clearly has comedic talent, hasn't acted since 2010's Easy A, and we hope she has us laughing for all the right reasons again soon.

Lindsay Lohan

Child Stars Gone Bad

Steve Granitz Archive/WireImage; Santa Monica Police Department via WireImage

It seems no list of “child stars gone bad” is complete without Lohan. The adorable actress who first wowed us in 1998's Parent Trap has seen her once-promising career stagnated by multiple arrests and legal troubles. (We could recount it all for you, but, well, that would take a while, and you can find a pretty exhaustive list of her trouble through 2010 here.) Since then, the 26-year-old has been charged with theft, violating her probation, and eluding the tax man. In spite of it all, Linds, we're rooting for you.

Edward Furlong

Child Stars Gone Bad

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage; Splash News

We had high hopes for the dreamy Furlong, who won an MTV Award for Best Breakthrough Performance in 1992 for his role as John Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. But these days, the 35-year-old's rap sheet is longer than his roster of film roles. Furlong entered rehab in 2000, but a year later was hospitalized for a suspected drug overdose. What followed were multiple arrests for driving without a license, driving under the influence, and public intoxication. In 2006, now a married man and a new father, Furlong gave an interview to People magazine where he admitted to abusing drugs. “Lots of money and lots of free coke will turn anybody into a cokehead,” he said. “I was a heroin and cocaine addict. It was really scary.” However, Furlong's story is still without a Hollywood ending. Since 2009, he's been arrested for domestic violence three times, gotten divorced, been dropped from several film projects, and is currently subject to supervised visits with his son following an incident where the child tested positive for cocaine while in his father's care.

Drew Barrymore

Child Stars Gone Bad


At age 38, Barrymore is an A-list star famous for acting, directing, producing, screenwriting, wine-making and being a new mom to daughter Olive, who was born in October 2012. But as a kid, Barrymore was making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Though she starred as the adorable Gertie in E.T. at age 7, she was smoking cigarettes at 9, drinking alcohol at 11, smoking pot at 12 and abusing cocaine at 13 (also the age she first entered rehab). She attempted suicide at 14, followed by a second stint in rehab. By 1992, Barrymore had cleaned up her act, but not necessarily her image -- she appeared in the risque film Poison Ivy, and posed nude for Interview and Playboy. But after a cameo in 1996's Scream, things seemed to turn around for the actress, who found box office success with the likes of 1998's The Wedding Singer and 2000's Charlie's Angels (produced by her own film company, Flower Films). In June 2012 Barrymore married art consultant Will Kopelman, with whom she had little Olive. “I really wanted a wonderful traditional home for my kid,” she told People. “Will comes from a strong family, he provides a strong family. ... It just makes me so emotional because it's like a miracle.”

Danny Bonaduce

Child Stars Gone Bad

Silver Screen Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images; Tom Briglia/FilmMagic

Since The Partridge Family ended in 1974, the actor behind Danny Partridge, the family's wisecracking middle child, has seen the inside of a jail cell several times. (Most notably, he was charged with beating and robbing a transvestite prostitute.) He openly struggled with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as a suicide attempt, on his 2005 VH1 reality show Breaking Bonaduce. The 53-year-old is now married to his third wife and hosting a radio show out of Seattle.

Brian Bonsall

Child Stars Gone Bad

Paramount/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images; Graeme Massie/Splash News

The adorable Andy who admired Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) on Family Ties has come a long way -- in the wrong direction. Since retiring from acting in 1995, Bonsall has been in trouble with the law for driving under the influence and assault. He was arrested for hitting his best friend in the face with a broken stool in 2009; the police report of the incident sheds some light on Bonsall's current condition: “Bonsall then said that he and Trujillo [the friend Bonsall hit] both are bipolar and like drugs,” the report reads. “Bonsall said that he takes a lot of drugs and sometimes those drugs make him forget things.”

Dana Plato, Todd Bridges and Gary Coleman

Child Stars Gone Bad

Courtesy of NBC; Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

The child stars of Diff'rent Strokes made a name for themselves, but not always for the right reasons. Dana Plato, who played Kimberly Drummond, died of a drug overdose in 1999. Gary Coleman, who played Arnold, faced multiple charges of assault and disorderly conduct, as well as financial issues, before his death in 2010. Meanwhile, Todd Bridges, who played Arnold's older brother Willis, struggled with an addiction to crack cocaine and was arrested several times; he even faced charges of attempted murder (he was later acquitted). He chronicled it all in his 2010 memoir, Killing Willis: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted. Now sober for close to 20 years, the 47-year-old hosts TruTV Presents: World's Dumbest....

Corey Haim and Corey Feldman

Child Stars Gone Bad

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Corey Feldman and Corey Haim shot to fame in the '80s, pairing up in movies like The Lost Boys, License to Drive and Dream a Little Dream. Both boys battled drug addiction, but it was Haim who was still struggling with his demons when they starred in a reality show together, The Two Coreys, in 2007. Haim passed away in 2010, and though the official cause of death was pneumonia, police say four pill bottles in Haim's name were found at the scene. “He shaped up. He got his act together,” Feldman told Larry King, attributing Haim's attempt at sobriety to his mother's breast cancer diagnosis. "When his mom got ill, it was the first time I ever saw Corey grow up."

Tatum O'Neal

Child Stars Gone Bad

PARAMOUNT / THE KOBAL COLLECTION; Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

O'Neal is known for being the youngest person to ever win an Academy Award for best actress (for her role as Addie in Paper Moon at the age of 10). But her tempestuous relationships with men (like her father Ryan O'Neal and ex-husband John McEnroe), as well as an early addiction to drugs, have overshadowed that accomplishment. Of her 2004 autobiography A Paper Life, which details the parental neglect she experienced and her subsequent draw to drugs, O’Neal says, “I think [the book is] a chance to say, you know, things don't just happen by accident. One doesn't just fall off the edge of a cliff for nothing." In 2008, she was arrested for buying crack cocaine, and in late 2012, the 49-year-old voluntarily checked herself into rehab, allegedly after a fight with her father. “These two have gotten into arguments before, but this one was an epic one,” a source told Radar Online. “Tatum accused him of being a narcissist, and he got in her face and told her to get the f--k out of his house. He accused her of being a horrible mother and that just pushed her over the edge.”

Jodi Sweetin

Child Stars Gone bad

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage; Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

After Full House ended in 1995, the girl who played sweet Stephanie Tanner succumbed to a drug and alcohol addiction, which she details in her memoir, unSweetined. “It wasn't so much the allure of [drugs], but the people I was hanging out with," she told People in 2008. "They didn't look like the people in commercials with no teeth. They looked normal and had what I thought were normal lives. It didn't seem scary." Now married for the second time and the mother of two, the 31-year-old says she is “100 percent sober.”

Jaimee Foxworth

Child Stars Gone Bad

Courtesy of ABC; Jesse Grant/WireImage

Family Matters' youngest daughter Judy is all grown up: She's 33 years old and all the wiser. After she was let go from the family comedy, she turned to porn in order to financially support her family. “It was, to me, the quickest money," Foxworth told Oprah. "I was so naïve, and I was drinking." In 2009, she welcomed a son with longtime boyfriend Michael Shaw.

Leif Garrett

Child Stars Gone Bad

Chris Walter/WireImage; Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

The “I Was Made for Dancing” singer’s career has been plagued by trouble with drugs and the law. Three days before his 18th birthday, Garrett crashed his car while under the influence, leaving his passenger, Roland Winkler, a paraplegic. The friends remained estranged until 1999, when Winkler appeared on an episode of VH1's Behind the Music dedicated to the former pop star. “I got past the accident through time, which heals everything,” Garrett said in 2005. “Meeting with Roland was quite healing.” But Garrett's legal troubles have persisted. Since then, he's been arrested multiple times for trying to buy drugs or having them in his possession, most recently in February 2010.

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