1. Lindsay Lohan

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A child sensation, Lindsay was catapulted to stardom after the ‘The Parent Trap’ and the classic ‘Mean Girls’.  Fame at the highest level meant her partying ways led to hospitalization and rehab.  Miss Lohan became unreliable in turning up to filming on time which led executives to drop her.  Only the last few years have seen her make a comeback.

2. Tatum O’Neil

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Daughter of Hollywood heart throb Ryan O’Neil, Tatum started early.  At only 10 years old she starred in ‘Paper Moon’ and gained an Academy Award for her performance.  She crumbled with the constant spotlight on her and her once squeaky clean image disappeared and she fell into drugs and being constantly arrested for violent behaviour.  Tatum never fully recovered.

3. Dana Plato

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You might not recognise the name right away but you will surely remember ‘Diff’rent Strokes’, the sitcom where 2 American/African boys are adopted by a wealthy widower.  Dana played Philip Drummond’s daughter in the show. The popularity of ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ was huge, attracting 18 million viewers every week and the success and fame took its toll on Dana.  She got hooked on drugs and eventually took a fatal overdose.

4. Edward Furlong

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Everyone remembers Edward Furlong, 3 of the many classics to his name being ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’, ‘Brainscan’ and ‘Ameran History X’.  Not easy to write this but, at the age of 13, he started a relationship with his ‘stand in’, a woman of 26.  The so called ‘relationship’ lasted for many years and totally messed with his head.  He spent may years battling booze and hard drugs and turned is back on acting for good.

5.  The Olsen Twins

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Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen appeared to have it all – fame, money and being adored by millions of other kids.  However, the twins’ parents divorced when they were 8 years of age and they took it very badly, blaming themselves (as children often do).  Growing up as teens they became very insecure.  Mary-Kate was admitted to hospital with anorexia and her sister was arrested for going off the rails with a drug abuse problem.  Luckily, they have changed their lives around and both have successful careers in fashion.

6. Jake Lloyd

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Jake Lloyd, best known as Anakin Skywalker, says his role in ‘The Phantom Menace’ turned his life upside down and into a ‘living hell’.  The ‘Star Wars’ sequel was not well received and he couldn’t cope with the backlash.  Well, at only 10, it’s not surprising!  Jake tried, unsuccessfully, for years to attain normality and anonymity.  I suppose a high speed chase by police, endangering the life of others, was not the way forward.  Sadly, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.  Jake now lives a quiet life supported by his family.

7. Mara Wilson

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Mara Wilson was catapulted to stardom when she featured in ‘Mrs Doubtfire’, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ and, of course, ‘Matilda’.  She had acted from 6 years of age and felt totally supported throughout her childhood career.  As she got older she struggled with anxiety and mental health issues, mainly brought on because she was hiding the fact she was gay.  She came out after her mother’s death in 1996 and turned to writing.

8. Dustin Diamond

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As the quirky character ‘Screech’ in ‘Saved By The Bell’, Dustin Diamond encountered fame of the highest degree.  Everyone knew his character, parents and kids alike.  What we didn’t know was that Dustin had his inner demons that came out after the reboots of the show ended.  He stabbed a man with a flick knife and was jailed.  He also admitted that the autobiography he had published contained many lies about his time in the show.  He said he was ‘getting his own back’.  Dustin embarked on a fairly successful music career but ill health sadly took him from us in 2021.

9. Haley Joel Osment

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Haley was the adorable little kid in ‘Forest Gump’ and made many tv and movie appearances before the age of 12.  He was a big talent and ‘one of the best young actors of our generation’ said Tom Hanks.  Who could forget him in ‘Sixth Sense’ where he sees dead people?  Haley grew up with his own demons and purposely overturned his motor vehicle whilst speeding on the highway.  After a good few years out of the spotlight, he has since made a comeback and is doing well.

10. Britney Spears

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Britney had been famous long before ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’.  She had starred in The Mickey Mouse Club with some names you may recognise  – Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling and Christina Aguilera and was already a household name.  An earlier mental health issue came back to haunt her and the Press actually snapped her getting her hair shaved and being as high as a kite.  Miss Spears spent time in rehab and recovered, although with no help from her father.  She went on to have hit after hit and has just got remarried for the second time.

11. Corey Feldman

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Cory Feldman first appeared in a Macdonald’s advert at the age of 3 but was best known in his teens for his roles in ‘The Goonies’, ‘The Lost Boys’ and ‘Stand By Me’.  Corey famously wanted to ‘divorce’ his parents after accusing them of physically abusing him.  His life then spiralled out of control and he fell into drug addiction.  More recently, he has turned his talents to music.

12. Miley Cyrus

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The career of Miley Cyrus took off before her feet could touch the ground when she played the lead in Disney’s ‘Hannah Montana’ at the age of 11.    She had an amazing singing voice and a squeaky clean image.  That image came to haunt her and she was desperate to shake it off.  At 15 she was caught on camera smoking a bong and she had her her long hair cut off.  Her music videos became very raunchy – she was determined to shock and redefine herself.  Despite this very different image, there’s no escaping talent and she still has it in droves!

13. Jonathan Brandis

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Jonathan Brandis had a very successful movie and tv career at an early age, including a much talked about performance in ‘Sidekicks’ with Chuck Norris and ‘Never Ending Story 2’.  Casting agents were eager to hire him, the talented boy who acted far beyond his years.  After failing an audition for the part of Anakin Skywalker, Jonathan fell into a very dark hole and tragically took his own life at only 27.

14. Macaulay Culkin

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Macaulay Culkin was one of the most famous child actors in the world after the ‘Home Alone’ franchaise, ‘Richie Rich’, ‘Pagemaster’ and ‘My Girl’.  He was also famous for being a close friend of Michael Jackson. As he got older, he wasn’t flavour of the month any more and his career nose dived, with a string of film flops.  He legally separated from his parents as he felt controlled by them and turned to drugs.  He was photographed looking very frail and dishevelled and his future was bleak.  Fortunately, he found his life partner and they recently welcomed a baby.

15. Shia Labeouf

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Very popular with his Disney audience, Shia Labeouf was a well known face on this channel.  Like Britney and Christina, it was the start of a long and successful career in front of the camera.  Because Shia was so young when he started, he felt he had missed out on a ‘normal’ childhood and his frustration manifested itself into violence.  His fans became very concerned at his bizarre behaviour, especially when he appeared at an awards ceremony with a bag over his head with the words ‘I am not famous’ written on it.  At 36, he prefers to stay under the radar.

16. Kelly Osbourne

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Part of the famous Osbourne clan, headed by dad Ozzy and mum Sharon, Kelly was brought up in a strange world of being in a goldfish bowl.  The Osbournes was the first reality show, aired on MTV, following the family around 24/7 in their home and it wasn’t all domestic bliss!  Kelly became addicted to prescription drugs at 13 and then bouts of alcohol abuse followed.  Over the years she has relapsed but managed to recover with the help of her very close knit family.

17. Leif Garrett

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Teen idol of the 70s and 80s, Leif Garrett made scores of film and tv appearances.  He ventured into music and his popularity soared even higher.  Posters of his handsome face adorned his fans’ bedroom walls and he was mobbed wherever he went.  As with so many of his peers, he couldn’t handle the constant intrusion of his privacy and went down the drugs path, leading to him being arrested multiple times.  Now in a good place, Leif concentrates on his music.

18. Daniel Radcliffe

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Daniel Radcliffe first played ‘Harry Potter’ when he was 8 years old and his life changed overnight.  The popularity of the books and films made him a household name with adults and children alike.  He said he never expected it to happen so quickly and the only way he could cope was by taking to the bottle.  He admitted he was drunk when filming the last two ‘Potter’ movies.  Daniel has learned to handle it better, now he’s the grand old age of 32!

19. Peter Robbins

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You may recognise Peter Robbins from his voice rather than his appearance.  He was the original voice of ‘Charlie Brown’ in the animated ‘Peanuts’ series.  He also appeared in a number of American sitcoms.  Peter struggled with his mental health and suffered with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  He sadly passed away this year at the age of 65.

20. Justin Bieber

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With over 102 million followers, what can be said about Justin Bieber that we don’t already know?  Every single and album he’s released has gone to the top of the charts, he’s married to the stunning Hilary Baldwin and has more money than you could ever dream of.  Well, Justin is only human and has had his battles along the way.  Before settling down his life was a mixture of ‘drag racing, drink and drugs’.  His huge entourage were hesitant to tame him as he was paying them fortunes to be his ‘yes’ men.  Now, at the grand old age of 24, he has become a much nicer person!

21. Felix Dean

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Felix Dean played V.J.Patterson in ‘Home and Away’ and life was great for this 10 year old.  He loved acting and the attention it brought him with being part of a very successful tv show.  After leaving the soap he failed to secure work and his mental health became severely affected.  He found himself homeless and turned violent, getting arrested and charged for beating up a man.  He has never been seen in front of a camera again, except for his mugshot in jail.

22. Demi Lovato

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Demi Lovato teamed with the Jonas Brothers in ‘Camp Rock’ besides appearing in her own series on Disney.  She went on to launch a successful pop career, churning out hit after hit.  Demi’s drug abuse struggles in her teens have been well documented and she also suffered with an eating disorder.  After 6 years of staying clean she relapsed and, once back to good health, cut her long locks off and announced she was non-binary.

23. Robert Downey Jnr.

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Robert Downey Jnr (Iron Man) admitted to trying drugs at a mere 6 years old.  He had already become famous at the age of 5, starring alongside his father in ‘Pound’.  Like so many other child stars he fell into a bad drug habit and got arrested several times.  He cleaned up his act though and has since become one of Hollywood’s greatest.

24. Drew Barrymore

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No one could forget Drew Barrymore in ‘E.T.’ back in 1982.  By the time she reached her teens, drugs were part of her daily diet and she was admitted to rehab many times.  Drew got herself good again and returned to the screen to star in some crackers  She went on to become a successful film producer and host her own prime time tv show.

25. Gary Coleman

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Gary Coleman was the funny 10 year old kid who starred in ‘Diff’rent Strokes’.  He was earning $100,000 an episode but when the series ended he had nothing.  His family and advisers were helping themselves to his fortune and a former manager stole over a million dollars from him.  Gary found it hard to get cast in any decent roles and so made ends meet working as a security guard in a shopping mall.  He was sent to prison for punching a woman.  Gary passed away at 42 from a brain haemorrhage.

27.  Lillo Brancato Jnr.

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Lillo Brancato Jnr. starred as Calogero ‘C’ Anello in ‘A Bronx Tale’.  It was the first movie that Robert De Niro had directed and it was an absolute smash at the box office.  Lilo received critical acclaim for his part and others such as ‘Renaissance Man’ and ‘The Sopranos’.  Intense media interest took its toll and Lillo was caught in a burglary and got 10 years for attempted robbery.  He has now returned to acting.

28. River Phoenix

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Film star looks and immense acting ability made River Phoenix the whole package.  He was destined for greatness and admired by many.  He worked hard but started partying even harder and soft drug use turned to hard drugs. He became a different person and lost interest in acting. Phoenix took his own life at the age of 23.  So very sad.

29. Nick Stahl

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Nick Stahl was known in the 1990s and 2000s for his high profile roles in “My One and Only,” “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” and “The Man Without a Face.” The constant feeling of everyone wanting a bit of him forced him into drug and alcohol abuse.  He spent a long time getting sober and his love of acting has returned with a new movie on the way.

30. Michael Jackson

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Well, what can we say about Michael Jackson that hasn’t already been written?  ‘The Jackson 5’ first performed on the Ed Sullivan show in 1969 and 11 year old Michael’s unique vocals grabbed the most attention. A bullying father and comments about his appearance led Michael to change his looks, bleach his skin tone and remain private about his inner circle of ‘young friends’.  Whispers became louder about his private life and the only way he could get any peace was by using strong anaesthetics (provided by his private doctor) to help him sleep.  The saddest thing of all is that the last time he took the medication, he never woke up.