Celebrities Sharing Their Stories Of Hardship As Being A Child Star

Hollywood's flash and glamour aren't always what they seem to be. Everybody has heard the terrifying tales regarding what happens to several kid stars when the lights go out. As they got older, many of them battled with life, and their traumatic tales were used as tabloid fodder. Both children and adults are subjected to the same brutal treatment by the film business. However, some famous people who were child stars have succeeded in staying in the Entertainment industry and managed to survive.
Take Mara Wilson for example, the star of "Matilda" discovered early on that it was a mistake to look herself up online. When she initially looked for her identity, she wasn't yet a teenager and discovered websites that falsely claimed to have naked images of her as well as individuals describing her body in gruesome detail. Later, she saw pictures of her feet together with those of other young performers floating around the internet.
Wilson, now 30 years old, recently said over the phone, "I actually came to laugh it off," And it's really sad that you're laughing off the fact that you're on a foot fetish website when you're 14 or 15 years old.
For more similar stories relating to the hardship of being a child star, read more below.

#1 Miley Cyrus

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On CBS Sunday Morning, Miley Cyrus spoke candidly about the challenges of balancing her dual lives as Hannah Montana and a celebrity: "What was hard for me was balancing everything. I think it got harder when I started touring as both Hannah Montana and as myself. [...] I think that's probably what's a little bit wrong with me now. I mark that up as doing some extreme damage in my psyche as an adult person. [...] America feels like my aunt. 'You know you've grown up so much and we don't wanna see you grow up!'

#2 Beyoncé

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Beyoncé discussed competing as a young Black girl in an interview with Harper's Bazaar "At the age of seven, I started participating in singing and dancing competitions. I felt secure while I was on stage. I began to understand that I had to dance and sing twice as hard because I was frequently the only Black girl. If I wanted to win, I needed charm, wit, and stage presence."

#3 Daniel Radcliffe

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Although Radcliffe has said that his parents were incredibly supportive and that his time on the Harry Potter set was wonderful, he fell into alcoholism after having to deal with "real life" after filming was finished, as he revealed to Marc Maron on the WTF podcast:
"There was definitely a time when I was coming out of 'Potter' and I was into the real world, suddenly I was in a world where I'm not going to have that consistency anymore. I'm not going to see all those people every year. I'm not going to have my friends around me all the time. [...] I drank a lot but that was more to do with going out in public and having a battle in me to be like 'No, I can have a totally normal life.'"

#4 Drew Barrymore

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Drew Barrymore said to The Guardian that she did feel as though her parents were taking advantage of her "Noooo. It was obviously too out there with my mum, I mean, well, sure. My father, however, was just inaccessible."
Barrymore's mother committed her to a mental health facility when she was a teenager. Barrymore did have trouble finding employment after leaving the facility, despite the fact that she does not regret her time there (they assisted in her separation from her mother):
"To have such a big career at such a young age, then nothing for years — people going, you're an unemployable disaster — that's a tough trip to have by the time you're 14. To have access to so many things, then to nothing."

#5 Aaron Carter

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Carter said on Oprah the following about how his parents handled his money: "I made over $200 million in my career before I even turned 18 years old. We had this massive compound, with, like, 12 houses on it. It was worth over $10 million, and I had paid a lot of that money. I had done a lot of that stuff, and I never got any of those returns back or anything like that. Even at this point, I've never even owned my own home. There was a lot of neglect on my parents' part. They didn't do a lot of things right."

#6 Jennette McCurdy

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Jenette McCurdy discussed her mother in her book, I'm Glad My Mom Died and stated the following: "My mother emotionally, physically, and mentally abused me in ways that will forever impact me. [...] She wanted this. And I wanted her to have it. I wanted her to be happy. But now that I have it, I realize that she's happy and I'm not. Her happiness came at the cost of mine. I feel robbed and exploited."
Miranda Cosgrove, a former co-star of Jenette's, responded to the publication of her book in the New York Times: "When you're young, you're so in your own head. You can't imagine that people around you are having much harder struggles. You don't expect things like that from the person in the room who's making everyone laugh."

#7 Raven-Symoné

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On a The View broadcast, Raven-Symoné talked about growing up being fat shamed: "It was definitely hard. I remember not being able to have the bagel or anything at – we would call it crafty, where it's just a table of food, ready for you to eat whatever you want. And I remember people would be like, 'You can’t eat that. You're getting fat!’ I’m like, ‘I’m 7! I’m hungry!'"'
Raven-Symoné also stated: "[They said] I was too big to be doing an hour and a half concert. 'I don't know how she can dance being that big.' And I was like, 'I still did it!' I was on tour forever because it’s not about your size, it’s about what you have to say, if you can sing or dance, and performing. It's not about your size. I love embracing your body. In this day and age you have all kinds, and it’s funny, it’s serious, it’s every color, it’s every head shape, it’s every hair. And there’s androgyny, and there’s LGBT coming in, and it feels good. We didn’t have it enough last time and I guess that’s what the past is for — to make sure the present is what it needs to be. The world is too big to have one sort of view to show beauty, because then you are literally destroying society. You are literally destroying it. And then you want to talk about how we are judgmental to each other and this and this. But it’s being created in the industry that we’re in. So why not break the mold?"

#8 Macaulay Culkin

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Culkin shared personal details on a WTF with Marc Maron episode, similar to Daniel Radcliffe. The father of the Home Alone actor would say to Macaulay, "Do good or I’ll hit you."
Culkin added the following in the episode: "My father was such a crazy person that I had to do [a] whole episode [of Saturday Night Live] without cue cards. That meant that every other person in the cast couldn’t use cue cards, either. That’s insane. That’s completely insane."
He continued, saying: "After I did Richie Rich in ’93 or ’94, my father and mother called it quits, which is one of the best things to ever happen to me. I was able to walk away from the business. I was able to say, 'I hope you made all your money because there’s no more coming from me.' "He was a bad man. He was abusive. Physically and mentally. He was just a bad dude. A bad abusive man. He was a piece of work."

#9 Ariel Winter

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Ariel Winter's mother was mentioned in an extensive interview with The Hollywood Reporter by Modern Family co-creator Steven Levitan:  "I would order a couple lunches in my name so Ariel could eat one of them. I could tell she was hungry. Boiled chicken and cucumbers isn’t going to do it for a growing kid. Her mother kept her out late at night at these ridiculous parties. She was 12 and 13 years old and had to be on set at 6:30, 7."
Ariel Winter experienced puberty exactly like every other adolescent, with the exception that she was also a star of one of the most popular shows in the country. She wore loose clothing and occasionally had a strap over her chest. Due to the mentality of her character, Winter can only comprehend this choice to a certain extent, but she still feels "very torn."
She discussed being objectified by the age of 11 in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:  "The first season I was very thin, no breasts, no hips. The next year, I had huge boobs and a butt. It was automatically 'You’re a fat slut.' 'You're a whore.'"

#10 Rivkah Reyes

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School of Rock's Katie the bass player, played by Rivkah Reyes, opened up to the New York Post about life after the film's success.Reyes stated the following in a piece they wrote titled Confessions of an Obsolete Child Actor: "From the age of 14, I used drugs, alcohol, sex, food, and self-harm to numb all of this pain. I’ve survived dozens of toxic relationships and three suicide attempts. I’m not saying all of this is because I played bass in a movie when I was a kid but because I spent over a decade terrified that I’d peaked at 10 years old."
They went on to say: "On message boards (what a time 2003 was), grown men would sexualize me, commenting, 'The bassist is going to grow up to be hot' and 'Can’t wait 'til she's 18.'"

#11 Shirley Temple

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Shirley Temple discussed her parents in an interview on The Diane Rehm Show. Shirley Temple said:
Shirley Temple was nevertheless exposed to an industry that viewed her as less than human, even though it is heartening to hear that she had such positive recollections of her mother in the aforementioned 1988 interview. She was exposed to an MGM producer when she was just 12 years old. She experienced sexual harassment and appalling working conditions on sets.
The working conditions for Baby Burlesks, Temple's first film, are described in author and historian John Kassan's book The Cultural Turn in U.S. History: Past, Present, and Future:
"To threaten and punish uncooperative child actors, the director, Charles Lamont, kept a soundproof black box, six feet on each side, containing a block of ice. An offending child was locked within this dark, cramped interior and either stood uncomfortably in the cold, humid air or had to sit on the ice. Those who told their parents about this torture were threatened with further punishment."
Moreover, Baby Burlesks (as in, "baby burlesques") sexualizes its child stars throughout the film. Shirley Temple called it "a cynical exploitation of our childish innocence that occasionally were racist or sexist."

#12 Selena Gomez

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Gomez told Business of Fashion: "My whole childhood and adolescence were very exploited. It still gives my nervous system a reaction to say it. There were cases where people had the best intentions and maybe didn't know what they were doing. And also cases where they did — they knew exactly what they were doing."
She also said: "I remember just feeling really violated when I was younger, even just being on the beach. I was maybe 15 or 16 and people were taking pictures, photographers. I felt very violated and I didn't like it or understand it, and that felt very weird because I was a young girl and they were grown men. I didn't like that feeling."

#13 Regina King

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Regina King discussed her mother's decision to keep her enrolled in a public school even as her fame grew with People magazine: "It was instrumental in me becoming a person who can find balance on shaky ground. It's not an easy thing, to live your life on display, and it's particularly hard when you're young. But participating in those social situations as a teen gave me an understanding of how different people can be, which has been very helpful when navigating Hollywood."

#14 Kirsten Dunst

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With Reuters, Kirsten Dunst discussed how she managed to juggle her life and career for so long: "It's hard to be a child actress and make sure it's balanced with school and friends and all that stuff. And I always had that, so I got lucky with growing up in that way. But there’s a point with any job you do if you do it that long, where you question whether it is you want to continue doing that."

#15 Mara Wilson

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Matilda actress Mara Wilson stated the following in a piece she wrote for The New York Times: "People had been asking me, 'Do you have a boyfriend?' in interviews since I was 6. Reporters asked me who I thought the sexiest actor was and about Hugh Grant's arrest for soliciting a prostitute. It was cute when 10-year-olds sent me letters saying they were in love with me. It was not when 50-year-old men did. Before I even turned 12, there were images of me on foot fetish websites and photoshopped into child pornography. Every time, I felt ashamed. Hollywood has resolved to tackle harassment in the industry, but I was never sexually harassed on a film set. My sexual harassment always came at the hands of the media and the public."

#16 Natalie Portman

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Portman stated: "Being sexualized as a child took away from my own sexuality because it made me afraid. When I was in my teens I was like, 'I don't wanna have any love scenes or make-out scenes.' I would start choosing parts that were less sexy because it made me worried about the way I was perceived and how safe I felt. It made me feel like the way I could be safe was to be like, 'I'm conservative,' and 'I'm serious and you should respect me,' and 'I'm smart,' and 'Don't look at me that way.' But at that age, you do have your own sexuality, and you do have your own desire. You do want to explore things, and you do want to be open."

#17 Amanda Bynes

Hardship As Being A Child StarSource: Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic

For over nine years, Amanda Bynes has been under her mother's guardianship. As the conservatorship comes to an end, she has been working hard to regain her health. She struggled with strict beauty standards when she was at the height of her fame:
Bynes' co-star in All That, Chelsea Brummet, discussed the pressures of appearance for the teen star: "[She] was always self-conscious. On red carpets, if there was Lindsay Lohan or someone else, she would always look at herself and fix her hair. You could just tell she was self-conscious once her career started not being so great. I don’t think she liked not being in the spotlight and not being number one. I think she became so addicted to it, it became a lifestyle."
According to Amanda Bynes, she is currently concentrating on her own well-being: "Following today's decision by the judge to terminate my conservatorship, I would like to thank my fans for their love and well wishes during this time. I would also like to thank my lawyer and my parents for their support over the last nine years. In the last several years, I have been working hard to improve my health so that I can live and work independently, and I will continue to prioritize my well-being in this next chapter."

#18 Lindsay Lohan

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During their interview, when Oprah referred to Lindsay Lohan as a "child star gone wrong," Lohan responded: "I hate that label and that title. That's not what I ever aspired to be."
Lohan explained her journey to Oprah, saying: "When I moved to LA after filming Mean Girls, I was 17 or 18. I was around people so I wasn't lonely, and I didn't pay close enough attention to people being around for the wrong reasons. I was making too much. I wasted so much money; I was living at a hotel, and I had an apartment. I wasn't really being guided. I didn't think about it, and I didn't listen to my family when they told me, 'Come back to New York.'"

#19 Hilary Duff

Hardship As Being A Child StarSource: Adam Knott / Corbis via Getty Images

In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Hilary Duff was asked if she had any regrets about her early fame: "I wouldn’t do it all exactly the same, but I can’t look at my life and be like, 'I wish this was different,' because I don’t know if it would get me to where I am right now. I wish I had a little bit of better education. I wish I had a little bit of a college experience. But what would that look like? The thing that I crave out of it wouldn’t look the way I pictured it because of who I am and how I came up. I feel smart, but there are certain things that people talk about where it literally isn’t in my brain because I didn’t experience it. I learned other things that people don’t have a clue about. But I don’t sit and harp on that."
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