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Top 10 Child Stars Who Ruined Their Careers

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp

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Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Child Stars Who Ruined Their Careers

Way to spoil a good thing. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Child Stars Who Ruined Their Careers.

For this list, we’ll be looking at 10 child stars who went down a dark path, and sabotaged their careers as a result. We’ll only be considering child stars whose careers suffered due to the bad choices they made, so actors who retired or suffered a setback through no fault of their own will not be included.

#10: Shia LaBeouf

For a while, it looked like Shia LaBeouf would be one of the few child actors to come up on the other side. From 2000 to 2003, he portrayed Louis on the Disney Channel’s “Even Stevens” before transitioning into more mature roles. His success continued into the early 2010s before hitting a brick wall. In 2013, he was caught plagiarizing a comic for his short film. The next year, he was arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct at Studio 54, and subsequently entered a 12-step program. Unfortunately, alcohol has continued to plague his life, but he did earn acclaim for his role in “Borg vs. McEnroe” in 2018, so hopefully his career is on the upswing.

#9: Jeremy Jackson

This actor is best known for his role as Hobie Buchannon on “Baywatch.” Jackson took over the role in season 2, which began airing when he was 10 years old. Yes, a 10-year-old was on “Baywatch.” It was during his time on the show that began using drugs, which, paired with an inflated ego, led to him quitting the series. He was later arrested for having a meth lab in his house, but he received help and seemingly cleaned himself up. Unfortunately, this story doesn’t end there. In 2015, Jackson was arrested for stabbing a woman after he’d allegedly tried to steal her boyfriend’s car, and was sentenced to 270 days in jail.

#8: Orlando Brown

Orlando Brown was quite prevalent on TV in the 2000s, starring as 3J on “Family Matters” and Eddie on “That’s So Raven”. He dropped off the map after “That’s So Raven”, and unfortunately has only recently made headlines for his numerous legal issues. In 2016 he was arrested for hitting his girlfriend in a police station parking lot (seriously), and arresting officers found him in possession of meth. He was subsequently arrested four times in 2018 alone. The first was for a family dispute, the second for an outstanding warrant, the third for possessing a bag of crack, and the fourth for breaking into a friend’s Las Vegas restaurant and changing the locks. So, yeah, not a great year.

#7: Haley Joel Osment

Yeah, remember this guy? His adorable little face was everywhere in the early 2000s. Osment became known the world over for his role in “The Sixth Sense”, and rode that wave into other high-profile movies like “Pay It Forward” and “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.” However, like many child actors, he soon fell into substance abuse. In 2006, he was in a significant car accident that left him with a fractured shoulder and a broken rib. He was later charged with drunk driving and marijuana possession, sentenced to three years probation, and forced to enter a rehabilitation program. Sure, he’s still acting, but his career just isn’t what it once was.

#6: Jaimee Foxworth

Jaimee Foxworth became a household name in the early ‘90s for portraying Judy Winslow during the first four seasons of “Family Matters.” However, her role was cut for budgetary reasons, and the other characters acted as if she never existed. It was truly bizarre. Unfortunately, her career never recovered. In the following years, she battled depression and alcoholism, and soon entered the porn industry. She has since regretted her choices, telling Oprah that she resorted to porn for some quick cash and soon felt degraded. Luckily, she has seemingly made a recovery and has since had a child with her long-time boyfriend.

#5: Adam Rich

You may not be familiar with Adam Rich. But if you were alive in the ‘70s, you certainly knew the name. Rich starred as Nicholas Bradford on the ABC comedy-drama “Eight Is Enough.” Rich became a national treasure, and his signature pageboy haircut influenced thousands to get the same ‘do. Unfortunately, Rich discovered alcohol at 11, and moved on to various drugs soon after. He then dropped out of high school and basically just partied. In 1989, he overdosed on valium and slipped into a coma. Two years later, in 1991, he robbed a pharmacy. Apart from a DUI in 2002, he hasn’t been seen much since.

#4: Tatum O’Neal

Yes, Tatum O’Neal is the youngest person to ever win an Oscar, but her life hasn’t exactly been enviable. She has alleged that she was beaten by her mother’s boyfriend and molested when she was six, and that she constantly suffered her father’s temper. Though she managed to carve out a solid acting career for herself despite her upbringing, trouble and hardship would continue to follow her. At the age of 14, she became romantically involved with a stuntman who was already married. She had a widely publicized and long-running struggle with narcotics, and was arrested for buying crack in 2008. Thankfully, she seems to have recovered since.

#3: Macaulay Culkin

While Macaulay Culkin is obviously known for the “Home Alone” movies, he also starred in numerous others during the ”˜90s; including “My Girl,” “The Pagemaster,” and “Richie Rich.” Suffering burnout, he briefly retired in 1994 before returning to the business in the early 2000s. However, a career resurgence wasn‘t on the cards. In 2004, he was arrested for possession of marijuana and various downers like clonazepam and alprazolam. It was around this time that he also starred in a number of oddball movies like “Party Monster”. In 2013, he recaptured public attention by eating pizza, and starting a pizza-themed band called The Pizza Underground. Avant-garde performance artist, or odd, washed up child actor? You be the judge.

#2: Edward Furlong

Edward Furlong was not like other child actors. While most would play suitably childish roles, Furlong was always a bit of a bad boy. He played the juvenile John Connor in “Terminator 2,” a criminal‘s young son in “American Heart,” and a neo-Nazi in “American History X.” However, drugs and alcohol quickly derailed his career, and he suffered from cocaine and heroin addictions throughout much of his 20s, significantly impacting his acting prospects. He has appeared in numerous movies since then, but most have been low budget affairs. Maybe he just needs that one movie to bring his career back on track.

#1: Lindsay Lohan

We hate to say it, but Lindsay Lohan has become the poster girl for failed child stars. Lohan charmed audiences in “The Parent Trap” and then perfectly transitioned into a successful teen actress. Then, in the mid 2000s, her career took a major hit when she became embroiled in countless DUI convictions, drug possessions, rehab stays, and jail sentences. Her reputation took a tumble, and Hollywood insiders declared that she was unemployable for insurance reasons. To make matters worse, any hope of a comeback seems to be over after she defended Harvey Weinstein on social media following multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against him. She‘ll be hard-pressed to find work again after that.

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