I don't think there was a kid alive during the '90s who wasn't jealous of Macaulay Culkin — after all, he bagged parts in the coolest movies and through these was able to do the things we could only dream of. Living alone, chowing unlimited pizza deliveries in Home Alone — check. Owning a rollercoaster and a private branch of McDonald's in Ri¢hie Ri¢h — check! Adventuring into the pages of bangin' fiction in The Pagemaster — check!
He literally lived every kid's dream for the entire decade — with the exception of being stung to death in My Girl, obvs — but what happened to Macaulay during his life off screen? Here's the story of the former child star's bittersweet life after the cameras stopped rolling.
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Macaulay Culkin's Golden Days
Born August 26, 1980 in New York, the super cute Macaulay was the third of eventually seven children. He began acting at the age of four, but got his big break at nine in the John Hughes movie Uncle Buck opposite the legendary John Candy, before moving on to star as Kevin McCallister in the best Christmas movie of all time a year later:
It was around this time too that Macaulay started his well-publicized friendship with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, even starring in his music video for the single "Black or White."
After Michael was accused of child molestation, Macauley went to the pop star's trial stating they slept in the same bedroom at the singer's estate, Neverland. However, he has always strongly emphasized that nothing sexual ever happened between the two and he continued to show nothing but support for his friend.
From his appearance in "Black or White," he went from banger to banger, reeling off the childhood hits with ease: My Girl, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Good Son, The Nutcracker, The Pagemaster, Richie Rich — it almost didn't matter if the movies garnered critical acclaim or banked at the box office, he was now a household name. Yet unfortunately, his successful career couldn't have been more of a stark contrast to his miserable family life.
At the breaking point, he announced he was quitting acting at the ripe old age of 14. A huge part of his decision was to spite his — for want of a better word — crap father Kit who, despite using Macauley's money to buy pretty much everything, was never entirely satisfied.
Culkin once said of his difficult father:
"My father was overbearing. Very controlling. He was always the way he is, even before my success. He’d play mind games to make sure I knew my place."
His parents finally divorced, both filing for custody, and both wanting control over Macaulay's $11 million dollar fortune. Knowing this, the young child managed to stop his parents from getting their hands on his hard earned cash, a move that led to his father no longer wanting to communicate with him. How charming.
A Move From The Limelight
Moving out of the limelight, Macaulay dropped out of school before finishing his senior year to marry his childhood sweetheart, Rachel Miner.
They married when they were both just 17 in 1998 but, as unfortunately happens in most young marriages, separated in 2000, with their divorce finalized in 2002.
From there he entered what would become a longterm relationship with actress Mila Kunis, a Hollywood pairing people tend to forget! During their relationship, which would sadly come to an end eight years later in 2011, Macauley starred in the brightly colored, drug-fueled, party hard movie Party Monster, and by 2004 he'd been arrested for possession of controlled substances, including marijuana and Xanax.
After the demise of his relationship with Mila, which seemed to equal no stabilizing influence, Macaulay began a dangerous descent into what for all intents and purposes came across as a debilitating drug addiction, leaving him looking gaunt and completely strung out:
And with his new look, the rumors began to fly. Did he have a heroin addiction? Was he purchasing hundreds of Vicodin pills, among other prescription meds every couple of days? Splurging hundreds of dollars at a time? Of course the above picture, taken in New York in 2012, only added fuel to the fire.
Shortly before this, he took part in the movie The Wrong Ferrari — a movie shot entirely on an iPhone by Adam Green, once a member of the band Moldy Peaches, and who openly advocates the use of drugs. The movie also starred musician Pete Doherty, a British musician who at the time was in the middle of a very public addiction to narcotics. Nothing quite like good friends in the right places and all that, eh.
From Drug Days To The High Priest Of Pizza
Fast forward one year to 2013 and a video was uploaded to YouTube showing off a healthier looking Macaulay munching a slice of pizza, which may seem arbitrary until you learn that not only was it a nod to Andy Warhol, but also the introduction to Culkin's next project, his band The Pizza Underground.
Focusing on covering songs by The Velvet Underground but with a pizza based theme — because why TF not — the band toured extensively. If you're curious, watch the video below (but perhaps don't if you're hungry, for it contains hundreds of slices of cheesy goodness):
What's The Latest?
Since cleaning up his act completely — ignoring the odd internet death hoax — over the last few years, Macauley seems to have done a complete 360, to the point he's even released some tongue-in-cheek spoofs of the projects that sparked his fame. For example, in 2015 he released the short Home Alone Sequel that depicted a mentally damaged Kevin McCallister taking revenge on the burglars who slighted him all those years ago. It's hilarious, check it out:
And this year, he stepped into a baffling avant-garde adaptation of Aladdin, which included a corrupt sultan, some soviet imagery and a flying duvet.
He was also in a Compare the Meerlat ad, but let's ignore that part.
Whatever dear Macauley Culkin goes on to do next, here's hoping his life is as happy as an 8-year-old is when they watch Home Alone for the first time, which, let's face it, is the happiest a person could ever be!
What's your favorite Culkin movie?