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Former teen idols Corey Haim and Corey Feldman shocked the world when they came clean about the molestation they experienced as child stars of the 80s. Shocking as their revelations were, what is even more shocking is that most people already had a feeling that this was par for the course for Hollywood.
Glitzy and glamorous as Hollywood may be, it seems like fame and fortune come at a ridiculously high price. The more you read about the kind of treatment famous child actors have endured through the years, the more you'll realize that the money and notoriety really might not be worth it at all.
Don't believe it? Take a look at these shocking facts about famous child stars from the past and think again.
Shirley Temple had a "casting couch" moment.
Shirley Temple is one of the few child stars who wasn't a cautionary tale. She had made tons of movies in her tenure as America's sweetheart. She cheered people up during the Great Depression, had a great career after her movie-life ended, and even advocated for breast cancer research.
Even though her life was exemplary, she was not exempt from the disgusting side of old school Hollywood. She was once guided into the office of an MGM movie producer with a pretty active "casting couch."
He unzipped his pants and exposed himself to the 12-year-old Shirley Temple. Temple, unaware of what was going on, laughed and pointed at him. She was then escorted off premises.
Normally, this would be a death knell for an actress at the time. Fortunately for her, she had already signed a contract with MGM. So, the pedophile who tried to get with her couldn't actually damage her career!
Judy Garland was forced onto a diet of pills, cigarettes, and soup for her role in 'The Wizard of Oz.'
Few actresses had as rough a time in Hollywood as Judy Garland, which might be why her life was tragically cut short at the age of 47. Her life as an actress involved abuse that was not only inhumane, but downright horrific.
When the 14-year-old was made to play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, studio brass forced her to smoke a pack a day, swallow amphetamines, and subsist on soup to keep her slender enough to look like a young child.
Even with all the seriously unhealthy habits, the director still regularly called her a "fat pig." Way to help a girl's self-esteem, Hollywood!
Jackie Coogan's parents took most of his money.
In the 1920s, few child stars were more famous than Jackie Coogan. The young boy was known for his plucky smile, adorable attitude, and awesome acting skills. He was also very well-paid for every role he played, and he definitely played a bunch!
One can only imagine the shock he felt when he found out that his parents squandered every last penny of his earnings, leaving him absolutely nothing for him.
It was such a scandal, the state actually got involved when he sued his parents. The California Child Actor’s Bill, also known as "the Coogan Act" was then passed to ensure that no other child actor has this fate happen to them.
Susan Olsen's hair fell out due to over-bleaching.
You might not recognize Susan Olsen by name, but you definitely would recognize her as the adorable 8-year-old Cindy Brady of The Brady Bunch fame. Producers who oversaw the show thought that Olsen's already-blonde locks weren't blonde enough for Cindy's hair.
To ensure that Cindy would have that perfectly angelic look that she was so well known for, they set up weekly appointments to bleach her hair. The bleach was so caustic, Olsen's hair began to fall out in clumps by the second season.
Once Olsen's tearful complaints were heard and she started to become noticeably bald, the hair treatments stopped. Even so, that's a high price to pay for a role!
Macaulay Culkin's young life was a nightmare.
Few famous child stars had as much success as Macaulay Culkin. The Home Alone star was one of the very first famous child actors to get a million-dollar paycheck for a supporting role, and quickly became a household name.
Most people assumed that the young actor had everything his heart could want. Behind the scenes, though, it was a bit different. His jealous, controlling, and emotionally abusive father ruled over him with an iron fist.
By the time that he was 15, he was already distancing himself from his family and managed to ask for cessation of their legal guardianship. This quickly led to a lawsuit he launched to gain control of $17 million of his earnings.
Eventually he opened up about the abuse to tabloids, citing his parents' abuse as the reason that he no longer does films. Though he's dabbled in acting as an adult, it seems like his passion was quashed.
Surprisingly, the one person who seemed to be his support in Hollywood was Michael Jackson. Though multiple people claimed that Jackson molested Culkin, Culkin was adamant about Jackson's innocence.
Macaulay Culkin was named as a godfather to Paris Jackson, who remains very close to him.
Lalaine Vergara-Paras got hooked on meth.
If you were a fan of Lizzie Maguire, you know Lalaine as the girl who played Miranda on the hit show. Though she never became as famous as her fellow costars, she did make tabloids shortly after her Lizzie Maguire stint ended.
After her time on the hit TV show, Lalaine had developed a pretty bad crystal meth habit. By 20, she had entered rehab and kept a very low profile in Hollywood since then.
Robert Blake killed his wife.
It seems like many child stars end up losing their minds due to the rough demands of Hollywood, and this tradition continues to stem back to the early days of Tinseltown. If you remember the old Our Gang films with Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla, and the crew, you might remember Robert Blake.
In the 1930s and 1940s Robert Blake was one of the most popular child stars on the scene—and he was a star in the Our Gang film series. No one knows what happened, but the child turned into a troubled adult who later would be recognized as the creepy guy from David Lynch's Lost Highway in the 80s.
Then, he was put on trial for murdering his wife. Was it something that happened all those years ago, or did he just snap?
Tommy Kirk lost everything because he was gay.
Tommy Kirk was one of Disney's most famous child actors in the 50s and 60s. He was the "Golden Boy" that starred in classic heartwarming films like Old Yeller and The Swiss Family Robinson. Yes, if you love old school Disney, then you have seen Tommy Kirk.
Sadly, Kirk's career was hanging on a thread because of a then-major issue Disney executives couldn't tolerate. You see, Tommy Kirk was gay. When the Disney star was caught with men by his side, he was immediately let go from his contract.
This caused Kirk's behavior to spiral out of control, with drug addiction becoming the way that he coped with the loss. Though he eventually managed to pull himself together, his golden years as a Disney star remained the peak of his Hollywood career.
Drew Barrymore was almost another washed-up child star.
Though most people recognize her from her work as an adult, Drew Barrymore was once one of the more famous child stars in the biz. After getting her break from Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Barrymore started to suffer from serious mental illness.
By the time she was 13, Drew Barrymore had to be forcibly institutionalized by her mother. She was treated for mental illness, eating disorders, and, yes, even drug addiction. Needless to say, she was a pretty wild child.
Thankfully, Barrymore has managed to survive the child actor struggles and turned into a very stable, very successful, and very happy adult. You go, Drew!
Tatum O'Neal dealt with molestation and abuse.
Tatum O'Neal made history books by being the youngest Oscar winner in history for her role opposite her father in Paper Moon. Despite the fame she got, she really didn't have a good family life.
According to O'Neal, her father was both physically and emotionally abusive towards her. Eventually, it came to light that her father also let his drug dealer rape her when she was 12 years old.
As she grew older, she turned to drugs to cope with the trauma.
Jake Lloyd's downward spiral.
If you watched all the Star Wars movies or are just a geek for Star Wars, then you might recognize Jake Lloyd as the young actor who ended up playing Anakin on Star Wars: The Phantom Menace... only to get a Raspberry Award for Worst Actor for the infamous role.
Whether you agree with the nomination or disagree with it, one thing's clear: Jake Lloyd did not enjoy his time in the spotlight—at all. He claimed that the movie's success turned his life into "a living hell" that involved little sleep and lots of problems.
Aggravated with the results of his work, he burned all the merchandise he had from the film and never looked back. Recently, he was arrested for evading police during a traffic stop. He tried to use a fake name, but because he was one of the most famous child actors of recent years, he wasn't able to get away with it.