Being a child star is a double edged sword. On one hand it’s kind of fun, you get to enter the Hollywood business at an early stage, learn a lot of things about working as an actor and you get the benefit of being more or less financially secure. On the other hand you miss out on proper school, socialization with peers and all sorts of regular childhood experiences. You become basically a working child, and the pressure to succeed at such an early age can do a lot of damage to a kid’s psyche. Not to mention that, depending on what sets you work, you get exposed to things kids shouldn’t be exposed to.
There are quite a few examples of child actors who managed to do well and transition into successful grownup working actors or even huge Hollywood stars. Scarlett Johansson, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Ryan Reynolds, Leonardo DiCaprio and Natalie Portman all started out as child actors and as you know they’re doing more than well now, they’re all very successful.
But unfortunately that’s not the case for every child actor. A lot of them end up growing out of their cute kids stage and can no longer get parts. Others fall in with the wrong crowd and go down very dark paths. There are even those who’s downward spiral leads them to commit crimes.
You probably know him best as the kid from “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”. Edward was quite a promising child actor. He got A Saturn Award and an MTV Movie Award for his performance alongside Arnold Schwarznegger in Terminator 2. He also won awards for his parts in “Pet Sematary Two”, “American Hearts”, “A Home of Our Own” and “American History X”. But eventually he got addicted to drugs and that led to a series of run-ins with the law. Edward got in trouble for possession of illegal substances, domestic violence, assaulting his ex-girlfriend, which got him in jail for 3 months. Eventually he went into rehab and kicked the habit but his downward spiral basically ended his career and it never quite recovered.
Ryan’s famous for his role in “Diary of the Wimpy Kid”. He also appeared in hit shows like “Supernatural”, “iZombie”, and “Riverdale”. His career path looked very promising until he committed a horrible crime. He shot his 64 year old mother, filmed himself next to her body and had plans to kill the Prime Minister of Canada, but ended up going to the police department and confessing his crimes. He’s been sentenced to life imprisonment, which is the standard punishment for murder in Canada.
Jeremy got his big breakthrough thanks to his role of Hobie Buchannon in “Baywatch”. He made a few million dollars off of that and started living the fast life. He got addicted to crystal-meth and ended up stabbing a woman multiple times, stealing a vehicle and attempting to flee from the police. In the end he was sentenced to 270 days in jail and a few years of probation, and of course he had to go to rehab. Jeremy says that basically he was young, had money and no one to look out for him so he just made a lot of bad choices that he ended up regretting.
You’ve seen Joey act opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in “Flight of the Navigator”, which seemed like a great start for a child actor. But he grew up and his life took quite a turn. He robbed a bank in British Columbia. Joy was sentenced to 2 years of jail and said that in retrospect it saved his life and gave him a chance to start over. He says he came out of jail a changed man.
You probably recognize Orlando as Eddie Thomas from Disney Channel’s hit show “That’s So Raven”. In the early 2000’s he really was popular thanks to his role on the show. But a decade later his life took a turn. He was arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, and having methamphetamine on him with the intention of selling. He was also caught on a security camera robbing a restaurant in Las Vegas. And there were some allegations of him threatening to kill people. All in all it was a christian rehab that apparently helped him overcome drug addiction.
Brian’s big break as a child actor was the role of Andy Keaton on the 80’s sitcom “Family Ties”. His part on the show was mainly to add some cuteness after the other kids on the show grew up. But the cute kid grew up and became quite a violent adult. He was accused of third-degree assault twice. First he assaulted his girlfriend who claimed he poured water on her face while she slept and choked her. And later he beat up his friend with a broken stool in a bar. Both times he pleaded guilty and received two years of probation and the second time he also was ordered to complete a treatment to deal with his mental health issues and drug problem.