20 Child Actors Who Became Criminals as Adults

Do you ever wonder what it is about stardom that causes some people to seemingly go off the deep end? If you stop and think about it, it’s absolutely astonishing how many young individuals who had promising careers in Hollywood ended up behind bars and in some cases, a few of them eventually ended their lives prematurely. What is it about Hollywood that causes this kind of stuff to happen?

Below is a list of 20 famous kids that ended up in all kinds of legal trouble for one reason or another. A couple of them even ended their lives after going through rounds of problems with the law. Fortunately, one or two of them managed to get things back in order and went on to have successful careers that they are still enjoying today. You will undoubtedly recognize most, if not all, of the names on this list.

1. Lindsay Lohan

This is probably one of the most recognizable names on the list, to say the least. Lindsay Lohan was the cute little girl that starred in the remake of The Parent Trap. Audiences all over the world fell in love with her, not just because she was cute, but also because she seemed to have this beautiful talent for acting. Everything seemed to come so natural to her. As a result, her career really took off and she started making movies one after another. Unfortunately, she started experimenting with drugs and alcohol as a teenager and it started to affect her work in a major way. It wasn’t too long before she started showing up late for shoots, or not showing up at all. She was fired from a couple of jobs because she couldn’t show up on time and people stated that she was extremely disrespectful when she did show up. She’s been arrested for DUI and has been to rehab numerous times. She has claimed that she had a difficult home life and that she covers up her struggles with alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately, these are things that she still seems to be struggling with, although she has shown some signs of trying to get things under control more recently.

2. Macaulay Culkin

Almost everyone remembers the cute little kid from the movie Home Alone. This is another story where his career really took off, only to end in turmoil related to drugs. Culkin has been in trouble for drugs numerous times and as far as his acting career goes, it basically came to an end. More recently, he’s been involved in music and by all accounts, is trying to get his life under control and keep it that way.

3. Dustin Diamond

This is the kid that played Screech on Saved by the Bell. At the time, virtually no one would have guessed that he was capable of trying to commit murder, but that is exactly what he ended up doing. In fact, he ended up going to jail for stabbing someone. This was news that shocked a lot of people that had watched the show growing up, because he just didn’t seem like that type of individual, at least not in front of the camera. At the time, it seems like a lot of people that were fans of the show had trouble differentiating between his character and Diamond himself. To this day, nobody really knows exactly what happened or what precipitated such an act. Nevertheless, it was enough to get him in serious legal trouble that will follow him around for the rest of his life.

4. Winona Ryder

During the 1980s, Ryder was in all kinds of movies. After doing the movie Heathers, she was in high demand and became one of the individuals that was sought after in practically every major project going on in Hollywood. Her success carried over into the early 1990s but it seems like trouble started coming her way, practically out of nowhere. After several years of experiencing major success in Hollywood, she ended up getting arrested for theft. She was accused of shoplifting, but the charges ended up being far more serious than mere shoplifting. They went on to include things like grand larceny and substance abuse. Since then, she has taken the necessary steps to get her life back in order and has even managed to find work again, most recently starring in the Netflix hit Stranger Things.

5. Edward Furlong

Terminator 2: Judgment Day was one of the most popular movies of its time. Even today, it is still held in high regard and is frequently shown on TV. One of the reasons for its success was the outstanding cast, along with excellent writing and special effects that were literally second to none. One of the stars of the movie was a 14 year old boy named Edward Furlong. He turned in a commanding performance and won the hearts of audiences all over. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after this movie was finished that he started getting into legal trouble practically every time he turned around. Ultimately, he ended up being arrested for drugs and has been accused of beating up his girlfriends numerous times. To this day, he says that his domestic violence problems are a direct result of his dependence on drugs.

6. Shia LaBeouf

He had a promising career as one of Disney’s prolific child actors, starring on various television shows that aired on the Disney Channel. It seemed like everything was in place for him to go on and create an outstanding career as an adult. To a certain extent, he started to do that. He starred a couple of big name movies, namely Disturbia and Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. With that being said, he’s been in trouble more times than not. Eventually, he got arrested for getting in a fight with his neighbor. The fight itself wasn’t what got him into trouble, but moreover the knife that he took next door and threatened his neighbor with. He’s also been arrested a handful of times for possession of marijuana and similar offenses.

7. Danny Bonaduce

Anybody that was alive during the 1970s remembers Bonaduce as the adorable and sometimes annoying kid Danny on The Partridge Family. Despite being one of the younger members of the cast, he typically had a bigger part in the show than his older co-stars. Much of it was because he was so precocious. Unfortunately, he started using drugs when the show ended, and his drug abuse problems persisted into adulthood. Today, he is a radio disc jockey and has made every attempt to get clean and sober. He now says that his drug addiction was a result of living in a dysfunctional family and his attempts to deal with it in the only way he knew how.

8. Amanda Bynes

This is another individual that seemed to be doing great starring on the Disney Channel. She even had her own television show. She was well-liked and seemed to be on her way to bigger and better things in Hollywood. All of that came to a screeching halt when she was arrested for DUI and other traffic offenses. Recently, she has come back to Hollywood and is attempting to put her career and her life back together.

9. Christian Slater

A lot of people are actually surprised to learn that Christian Slater has been in a lot of legal trouble. He became extremely popular during the 1980s and his popularity has carried on to present day. Even now, he stars in a lot of big budget movies and is considered to be one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood. For the most part, he has kept a lot of his legal trouble on the down low, but that doesn’t mean that it is non-existent. In fact, he’s been arrested numerous times for sexual misconduct, even being accused of reaching out and groping a woman on the streets of New York City.

10. Brian Bonsall

He played the cute little boy on the tremendously popular sitcom Family Ties. At the time, he was probably around six or seven years old and was absolutely adorable, so fans of the show naturally fell in love with him. After the show went off the air, most people didn’t hear a lot from him until he grew up and ended up getting arrested for assault. The claim was that he hit his girlfriend. Today, he is more involved in music than he is an acting, but his legal troubles still seem to be following him around.

11. Jamie Waylett

Everybody that has seen the Harry Potter movies knows who Jamie Waylett is. While his part wasn’t as demanding as some of the other individuals who starred in the films, dedicated fans of the Harry Potter series are very familiar with his work. Obviously, those fans were surprised when they found out that he had been arrested for participating in the riots in London that occurred a few years ago. These were extremely destructive riots and caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage. Since that time, his acting career has taken a major hit and it remains to be seen whether or not he will be able to put the pieces back together at some point in the future.

12. Justin Bieber

Bieber started out as a cute young kid that could sing and ultimately ended up doing a few movies. When he was younger, he always brought up how religious he was and how important it was do good things and have good manners. This was the image that most people came to identify with him. As a direct result, a lot of people were initially surprised when he started getting into a lot of trouble. As he grew older, he got in trouble for things like DUI and has since been in trouble for assaulting a photographer, as well as some traffic offenses. All in all, he has fallen into a pattern of doing something that he shouldn’t be doing, even something illegal, and then coming back and apologizing for it once he gets caught. This has turned into something of a vicious cycle for him , and no one really knows at this point if he will be able to get things under control or if things will get even worse.

13. Aaron Carter

This is another cute kid that has the talent to both sing and act. As a result, Disney put him to work doing both. Many people fell in love with him and he became a heartthrob to his fans. This continued on through his early teen years, but as he grew into an adult, things started to take a bad turn. Eventually, he was arrested for drugs and he still seems to be struggling. It wasn’t all that long ago that he was in trouble yet again for the same thing. Only time will tell how things will ultimately play out.

14. Dana Plato

Dana Plato was an attractive young woman that played on the 198os sitcom Different Strokes. Most people thought of her as a wholesome young woman but the truth is, she was struggling with drug addiction even while she was starring on the show. Eventually, her addiction lead her to do things that she might not have otherwise chosen to do. She was arrested for attempted robbery when she walked into a convenience store with a gun and attempted to hold up the place. Most people would agree that she did this in an attempt to get money to buy more drugs. Unfortunately, Plato was never able to get her life together. In 1999, she died of a drug overdose before she was even 35 years old.

15. Lillo Brancato, Jr.-

When he was younger, he was a popular star on The Sopranos. Most people thought that he had an opportunity to do great things as an actor as his career progressed. Unfortunately, his career and his life ended up being derailed when he committed burglary and got arrested for it. Since then, his life has been a lot more about dealing with his legal troubles than anything else.

16. Skylar Deleon

This is definitely one of the more complicated individuals that shows up on this list. Skylar was an individual that starred on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. After the fact, life seem to go completely haywire for Skylar. Eventually, there was a murder conviction involving Deleon and the murder of three people. Even today, Deleon sits on death row. Problems persisted even in prison. While assigned male at birth, Deleon eventually attempted to alter herself with a razor blade while in prison and then came out as transsexual. No one knows if attempting to deal with these issues and not being true to herself when she was younger had anything to do with the murders that eventually took place, but it doesn’t change the fact that she committed a very serious crime that cannot be undone.

17. Manuel Benitez

Benitez starred in the movie Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Believe it or not, a lot of people seemed to like this movie and Benitez became something of an overnight sensation. The success didn’t last long, as he was subsequently convicted of murder. There aren’t a lot of details, only that he took the life of someone else. For that, he remains in prison.

18. Drew Barrymore

Who wouldn’t fall in love with the cute little girl that starred in ET: The Extra Terrestrial? She had a presence about her even at a young age that simply commanded the attention of the audience. In addition, she came from a family that had been in show business for decades. Unfortunately, that same family also had a decades-long history of substance abuse, including substances of all kinds. In addition, she didn’t have a lot of direction growing up so she ended up falling into the same pattern. Barrymore herself admits to smoking before she was 10 years old and by the time she was 11, she was an alcoholic. At 13, she started doing cocaine and even attempted suicide a year later. Because of her addiction and her suicidal tendencies, she ended up in rehab twice before she was even 15 years old. Fortunately, she ended up getting things under control and has gone on to have a successful career in Hollywood. Today, she will tell you that the most important thing she has ever done is become a mom. While she is still active in Hollywood, she’s much more concerned with taking care of her family and making sure that the addiction issues stop with her.

19. Corey Haim

Corey Haim was practically a household name during the 1980s. He was considered a heartthrob and as such, everyone was clamoring to get him to star in their project. Unfortunately, he was also dealing with a serious drug addiction. Eventually, that addiction had a dramatic and adverse impact on his acting career. He basically disappeared from Hollywood and continued to get into legal trouble for drug possession. He wasn’t ever able to get a handle on his addiction and in 2010, he died from an apparent drug overdose.

20. Jodie Sweetin

Sweetin was the cute little girl that starred on Full House. It’s almost unthinkable that someone that seemed to be so full of innocence could fall into the same pattern of drug addiction as so many other individuals, but that is exactly what happened to her. By her own admission, she started experimenting with drugs because she couldn’t think of anything better to do, which is a troubling enough statement in and of itself. Eventually, her drug addiction resulted in her marriage falling apart and her getting into some serious legal trouble. Today, she stars in the reboot of the show entitled Fuller House with the same people she acted with as a child.


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