Turns out, child stars are just like us. They go through awkward growth spurts, crash their moms’ cars and screw up to epic proportions, just like we do. The only difference? When we mess up, it doesn’t end up on the cover of USWeekly. Here are the top ten childhood stars and role models gone bad, past and present. Some have long since recovered from their falls from grace… others have not.
I’m sure I’ll be hearing from their publicists either way.
10. Michael Phelps
Claim to Fame: Olympic Swimming phenom
Offense: Pothead For a while, Michael Phelps could do no wrong.
America’s golden boy won our hearts along with eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, swimming laps around Mark Spitz’s seven gold medal record. Appearances on “SNL” and “The Top Ten Most Fascinating People of 2008” with Barbara Walters ensued and then… it all went to pot.
Like most young men with too much fame on their hands, our hero eventually swam on over to the dark side with incriminating photos surfacing everywhere of Michael phelping pot from a bong at a South Carolina frat party. Boys will be boys, even when they’re golden boys, and Mikey made his share of public apologies, while feeling the backsplash of losing several high paying endorsement deals.
Michael is still working through his issues and took a vacation to the Caribbean to clear his head. While there he got busted once again, this time for possession of coral reefer.
9. Vanessa Hudgens
Birth Name: Vanessa Anne Hudgens
Claim to Fame: Gabriella Montez from High School Musical
Offense: Nudie pics “High School Musical” sweetheart Vanessa Hudgens was screwed by her ex-boyfriend (not in a biblical sense) when provocative photos she sent him were mysteriously leaked online. Poor Nessa ended up showing off a lot more than her vocal instrument with a full frontal shot revealing her tambourines and triangle for all the world to see. Hudgens later apologized, claiming that she was “embarrassed over the situation” and regretted having taken the photos in the first place. The incident, however, had no effect on Vanessa’s Disney contract or her relationship with boy toy and “High School Musical” co-star Zac Efron.
In honor of Vanessa, teens across the country have convinced their drama teachers to stage all nude revivals of “Hair” for their annual High School Musicals.
8. Haley Joel Osment
Claim to Fame: The Kid from The Sixth Sense
Offense: Drunk driver
Actor Haley Joel Osment was at one time the male equivalent of female child star Dakota Fanning, appearing in every film requiring the presence of a rosy cheeked man-child who could act circles around his blockbuster adult co-stars. Sadly, an 18-year old Haley was charged with drunk driving and marijuana possession after he crashed his car while returning home from an LA concert in 2006. He suffered minor injuries physically, but the impact on his Saturn station wagon wasn’t nearly as bad as the impact on his career. It could have been the accident, it could have been puberty or it could have been his sissy girl name… I guess we’ll never know.
Thankfully Haley didn’t “See dead people” that night. If he had, he’d be looking at some serious manslaughter charges… and dead people are a lot friendlier than convicted people behind bars.
7. Jodie Sweetin
Birth Name: Jodie Lee Ann Sweetin
Claim to Fame: Stephanie Tanner on Full House
Offense: Meth Addict We were all jealous of curly-blond haired cherubic Jodie Sweetin, the outspoken middle sis from the popular nineties sit-com Full House. At least I was. Jodie got to play full house every day with John Stamos (have mercy) and boss around both of the Olsen twins. Stephanie taught me that whenever I didn’t get my way, I only had to puff out my bottom lip and cross my arms to achieve success. Unfortunately, once the full house tenants were evicted, Jodie faced a nasty meth addiction, two divorces and a bitter custody battle with her 2nd ex husband who is desperately trying to keep Jodie away from their baby daughter Zoie. I only have two words for you Mister-
6. Danny Bonaduce
Claim to Fame: As Danny Partridge on The Partridge family
Carrot topped, freckle-faced 70’s child star Danny Bonaduce had it made as the smart-alecky, wisecracking Danny Partridge on “The Partridge Family”. David Cassidy got the chicks while Danny got the zingers and every week he greeted the world with the song he was singing, beckoning us all to c’mon get happy.
I used to love you Danny, but when the Partridges stopped touring you continued to get happy, but not by singing and wearing patterned bell-bottoms. After an arrest in 1985 for possession of 50 grams of cocaine and another in 1990 when you were found at a Daytona Beach crack house, you are now biding your time as an on-air radio personality, taking steroids, weight lifting, wrestling and beating up trannies you think are female prostitutes. It may be time for another Partridge intervention.
4. Dustin Diamond
Claim to Fame: Samuel “Screech” Powers from Saved by the Bell
Offense: Sex tape scandal Let’s face it, we never had high expectations for you Screech. We weren’t fans of your perm, your testicles-have-yet-to-drop vocalizations or the clownish shirt/suspender combos you donned so proudly on “Saved By the Bell”. Silly Screech, we weren’t running home from school every day to see you, we simply tolerated you while we tuned in to enjoy the escapades of Zach, Kelly, Slater, Jessie, Lisa and your other pretty peers at Bayside High School.
After Saved you found little work, tried to boost your career with a lame sex tape and only succeeded at alienating yourself even more with embarrassing appearances on B level reality joints like Celebrity Fit Club and Celebrity Boxing 2. I didn’t think you could sink any lower than selling autographed tees online in a campaign to save your home from foreclosure. Apparently you can.
Funny, I always figured Slater for the porn star.
3. Lindsay Lohan
Birth Name: Lindsay Dee LohanPoor Lindsay. No one will hire you, you’re still confused about your sexuality, and your Mom and little sis are out pursuing embarrassingly sad reality television opportunities instead of spending quality family time with you. You wowed us all when you reprised the Haley Mills double role in “The Parent Trap” as a pair of separated identical twins that meet up at summer camp. Your British accent was commendable, your freckles adorable and a the tender age of 11, you were one redhead to watch.
Claim to Fame: The Parent Trap
Offense: Moving Violations
Fast forward seven years and you’ve sunk pretty Lo-han. You are now notorious for being a Mean Girl behind the wheel, a regular at rehab, and pissing off your directors on set.
The Beverly Hills PD recently issued a warrant for Lindsay’s arrest in connection with her May 2007 hit-and-run and DUI allegations, but it was eventually dismissed. Lindsay claims they had the wrong girl, her British twin did it.
2. Chris Brown
Claim to Fame: Double Platinum Recording Artist at 16
Offense: Girlfriend beater
The day the music died for Chris Brown was ironically the day after the 2009 Grammy Awards, the day he allegedly beat and bit his girlfriend and fellow R&B artist Rihanna. Charged with felony assault and making criminal threats against the former beauty queen of Barbados, Brown says “Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired.” Following his arrest, several of his commercials were suspended, radio stations stopped playing his songs, and he withdrew from public appearances including the 2009 Grammy Awards where he was nominated for two awards and scheduled to perform.
Instead of making records you’re going to spend the rest of your life trying to clear your record Chris. If it was up to me, you’d never have another hit again. In the words of Joey Ramone, I’d like to beat on your brat with a baseball bat. Oh yeah, oh yeah, uh-oh.
1. Cast of Diff’rent Strokes
Claim to Fame: As Kimberly, Willis and Arnold from Diff’rent Strokes
These ebony and ivory siblings were living the high life in a New York penthouse with Big Daddy Mr. Drummond, but found themselves back in the slumps once they moved out of their deluxe apartment in the sky. Their combined rap sheet is more impressive than Mr. D’s stock portfolio.
Dana Plato: Posed for Playboy and porn, was busted for armed robbery and forging a Valium prescription. Died from a drug overdose.
Todd Bridges: Avoided Mr. T and Nancy Reagan’s warnings and found himself doing drugs for many years. He hates it when people ask him what he’s talkin’ bout.
Gary Coleman: Sued his folks and former manager for over one million smackers, filed for bankruptcy, charged with assault for punching a woman while working as a mall security guard, videotaped behaving badly, cited for disorderly conduct for hitting a pedestrian with his truck. The only think he hates more than being called Arnold, is being called Webster.
Insiders say it all went wrong for the Diff’rent Stroke triple threats to society when Mrs. Garret ditched them for the boarding school brats from The Facts of Life.