Child Stars Then and Now: What Happened?

Hannah Winegar, Feature Editor

Sweet, innocent and “Smiley” Miley Cyrus won her way into the hearts of now teenage girls in the 2006 premier of her television show Hannah Montana. Just seven years later, she is now setting those teenage girls’ teeth on edge ever since her shocking performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards with Robin Thicke. Probably the most popular question people asked themselves is :”What in the world happened to Hannah Montana?”

Miley Cyrus is not the only one who went downhill rather quickly after their show cancelling.  Lindsay Lohan went from The Parent Trap, to other various projects not with Disney, all the way to recently being placed on probation. Selena Gomez slipped from The Wizards of Waverly Place sweetheart to being placed on the cover of a Playboy, not to mention co-starring with another Disney name, Vanessa Hudgens in the rather risqué movie Spring Breakers.

While much more popular now, occurrences like this are not only relevant to this generation of childhood stars. Jodie Sweetin from the 1990’s family favorite Full House went from being adorable little Stephanie to a methamphetamine addict shortly after Full House cancelling simply because she was “bored.”  Sweetin has since then recovered and has two children from various marriages. She’s not the only former Full House darling with issues: just look at the Olsen twins- or “sisters” as they prefer to be called. Eating disorders, drug issues, and being in and out of rehabilitation centers for various reasons ate at the twins as they were spotting various gossip magazines for months.

However, not all child stars are disasters as adults.  Neil Patrick Harris started acting as a teen, and has only gone up since then.  Hosting a total of four Tony Awards (like the Emmys or Grammys only for theatre) three of which have been consecutive, starring in the wildly successful comedy series How I Met Your Mother, and somehow still managing to raise two kids with his partner, Harris is just one case of childhood stardom gone right.

On the other hand, some child stars have disappeared altogether.  Anthony Michael Hall starred in many of John Hughes’s classic coming-of-age movies back in the 1980’s, then went on to star in many other movies and television shows, yet disappeared from screens after the cancellation of The Dead Zone in 2007.  Hilary Duff stole hearts in her television series Lizzie McGuire, launched a singing career, guest starred in a few episodes of Gossip Girl, and started writing novels for young adults, but has recently stepped away from the screen to focus on her family.

It is not just actors that are fading into the gray.  Singers like Jesse McCartney have fallen off the radar to those other than diehard fans. With his fourth album’s release date being pushed back multiple times due to various reasons, and McCartney hasn’t popped up since, singing or acting-wise, though entertainment sources confirmed rumors of him touring with the recently reunited Backstreet Boys back in early August. So what is really to blame for these former idols slipping down the slope? It is just not themselves that they are hurting. GrandValleyStateUniversity recently took down their pendulum due to a student reenacting Miley Cyrus in her “Wrecking Ball” music video, then posting it on Vinescope.  Is it themselves?  The Internet and their lack of privacy? Some have disappeared for person reasons, such as family, or realizing that the spotlight is a lonely place they didn’t want to be anymore, but what about those not realizing this and still slipping? Only time will tell.