BySarah Gibson, writer at
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Sarah Gibson

Crazy celebrity behavior and our obsession with watching train-wrecks has been a thing since as far back as Marilyn Monroe, whose lack of control provided a unique attraction from which we couldn't turn away. And as these days we demand more access to celebrities' private lives (JLaw naked, anyone!?) and the distance between the stars and the audience becomes smaller and smaller, people want the personalized treatment; ultimately, we are pushing the stars to be at the center of their own narratives, because this both fascinates and satisfies in a way the controlled acting of their careers cannot.

At the center of this compulsion are not the Robert Downey Jr.s of Hollywood - whose years of substance abuse, arrests, rehab, and relapse were regarded as humanizing obstacles for the charismatic hero, the "loveable tornado", to overcome - no, at the center of this perverted limelight are child actors destroying themselves; Amanda Bynes, Edward Furlong, Lindsay Lohan.

It's not breaking news that massive amounts of money and fame at a young age can cause child stars to feel invincible and, as a result, make some poor decisions... But these are seven child actors that have really tested the limits of sanity.

Edward Furlong

A long way from his Terminator 2 days, poor old Eddie Furlong has a list of convictions longer than all of Arnie's guns put together. The actor's life spiraled out of control after his role as John Connor in the Terminator sequel catapulted him to Hollywood stardom.

He became an alcoholic and drug addict, has had numerous stints in rehab, and has been hospitalized after suffering suspected overdoses. Last year he was even slapped with a six-month jail sentence for violating his probation terms.

But among the weirdest is his arrest for public intoxication that saw him liberating lobsters from a Kentucky grocery store's tank. At the time, some tabloids tried to link the incident to Furlong's PETA membership, but I have my doubts...

And this is the man who is supposedly meant to lead us into war against the machines? Thank god for Batman.


Amanda Bynes

Bynes is a child actor who lost her way. Known once as a Nickelodeon star with a stance against the party scene, she's now identified with hit and runs, DUI charges, and even a night in the slammer.

The girl went bonkers throwing bongs out of windows and tweeting to other celebs ("I want @drake to murder my vagina" and "@Rihanna Chris brown beat you because you're not pretty enough").

If you wrote a movie script of Bynes' life, people would protest "this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read!" But, look! There she was, legitimately standing in court with the worst blonde wig she could muster the strength to find.


Lindsay Lohan

LiLo, now soaked in tarnished glamor, started her career on a high note...and proceeded to stay high. Now, the redhead's tabloid trials are more entertaining than most of her movies - which says as much about us as it does about her.

She's barely been able to keep a steady job since it all went sideways - not to mention the car crash, the ankle monitor, the rehab, the assault, the numerous arrests, and the prison sentence...

On my watch, Lohan's now on her fourth release from rehab, and she's made celebrating her release with a bottle of bubbly a bit of a regrettable ritual in the past. That said, no Hollywood career is ever really over (looking at you, RDJ!) and Lindsay is certainly still young enough to turn her's around.


Shia LaBeouf

After a few erratic episodes, like attending a movie premiere during 2014's Berlin Film Festival wearing a paper bag over his head that read "I'm not famous anymore", the former star of Disney Channel's Even Stevens was finally arrested earlier this year.

LaBeouf apparently accosted a homeless man and demanded that he hand over the McDonald's bag he was holding. The homeless man refused and sort of taunted LaBeouf with it, then ran away, prompting LaBeouf to chase him through traffic...

Shia was later dragged out of his Broadway production of Cabaret in handcuffs and arrested for disruptive behavior. According to reports, Shia was also slapping performers on their asses, smoking joints in the theater, falling off of his chair, and screaming at cops who came to escort him out.


Macauley Culkin

Macaulay's star rose to fame playing the adorable eight-year-old child Kevin McCallister in the massively successful Home Alone films. But his career as a child star later became overshadowed by a highly-publicized dispute with his parents, whom he sued amid allegations that they had mishandled his fortune.

Culkin got married at the young age of 18 to Rachel Mine but got divorced by the age of 20 and has since been seen on the streets of NYC, woozy from Coke-tinted wine. Damn, Kevin - what happened!?


Jeremy Jackson

Jeremy's situation has gone from sad to funny and back again more times than I can remember. In his difficult moments, it seemed like no one was reaching out to him and offering him a path to reclaiming what he once had. What he once had, of course, was promise...

In the nineties, the young thesp was best known for his role as Hobie Buchanan, the son of David Hasselhoff's character Mitch Buchanan on everyone's favorite Saturday evening show, Baywatch.

But the success of Baywatch eventually went to Jackson's head. He became heavily involved with crystal meth, and remained so for several years. In 2005 he was arrested for setting up an illegal meth lab in his home and sentenced to six months in rehab.

Thankfully, Jackson's drug days appear to be over. Sadly, he has still not recovered from his plastic surgery/fake tan addiction.


Drew Barrymore

Even now when I hear the words "Drew Barrymore", I think "oh yeah, that little girl from ET who totally f*cked up her life with drugs as, like, a 12-year old, then cleaned up her life and started making a lot of chick flicks.

Born in 1975 into a lineage of actors, Drew was destined for an acting career. She appeared in commercials at the age of 11 months and by the time she was 11-years-old she was smoking cigarettes, drinking regularly, smoking weed at 12 and doing cocaine at 13.

When she was 14, Barrymore went to rehab, after which she attempted suicide. But she cleaned up her act in her twenties, and while she says she still drinks moderately, she is now a successful movie actress and producer.


Do these seven celebrities have the power to stay out of trouble after being exposed from such a young age? I'm unsure, but it's clear that our interest in the stars' personal affairs will remain at a Hollywood high. They're part of our abstract obsession with Tinseltown and each embody a psychological attraction that we just can't let go of...


Are we to blame for these child stars going completely off the rails?


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