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6 Former Child Stars Who Regret Their Fame

These stars may be at peace now, but they hated being famous when they were younger.

Life in the spotlight comes with many perks, but also major downsides like the extreme pressure, constant scrutiny from the public, and lack of privacy. When you're a child star especially, these cons can get even more amplified. Still, it may come as a surprise to you that there are people who became famous in their youth that are not happy about being pulled into the limelight at such a young age. Read on to see the six former child stars who have major regrets about their fame and fortune.

Mary-Kate Olsen

Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen at New York Premiere of NINE, The Ziegfeld Theatre
Everett Collection / Shutterstock

Mary Kate Olsen (along with her twin sister, Ashley Olsen) starred in Full House as Michelle Tanner, at nine months of age. The iconic duo also starred in TV shows, films, and movies until their teenage years. In 2012, the twins announced they were retiring from acting all together.

In a 2010 Marie Claire interview, Mary Kate specifically talked about her time working as a young child. "I look at old photos of me, and I don't feel connected to them at all… I would never wish my upbringing on anyone," she said.

While this Olsen twin resented fame at an early age, she is doing just fine nowadays. As it turns out, both Mary-Kate and Ashley now prefer to work behind the scenes and focus on their successful fashion line, The Row

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber at the Met gala.
(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Justin Bieber shot to fame after he was discovered at the age of 13, when talent manager, Scooter Braun saw Youtube videos of him singing. From there, his stardom continued to rise year after year as he continued to make record-breaking music.

In an interview with NME, Bieber spoke about what growing up in the entertainment industry felt like. "I just want people to know I'm human," he said. "I'm struggling just to get through the days. I think a lot of people are. You get lonely, you know, when you're on the road. People see the glam and the amazing stuff, but they don't know the other side. This life can rip you apart."

He also spoke about how the media treats celebrities in general. "I watched the Amy Winehouse documentary [Amy] on the plane and I had tears in my eyes because I could see what the media was doing to her, how they were treating her."

In an interview with Billboard, Bieber says that fame almost destroyed him. "I came out alive. I came out swinging. But I was close to letting it completely destroy me."

Alyson Stoner

Alyson stoner at the red carpet wearing a neon green suit.
(Photo by Presley Ann/FilmMagic)

Alyson Stoner is a dancer, singer, and actress most known for her roles in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Cheaper by the Dozen, and Camp Rock. However, she started off with dancing and was featured in Missy Elliot's iconic Work It music video when she was just seven years old.

In a raw and emotional Youtube video, Stoner spoke about her childhood years as a star. "Living in that little box, being a part of that machine—it takes a huge toll on you," she said.

"The competition, narcissism, perfectionism, the pressure, schedule, the traumatizing experiences that we can never talk about because we're either under contract, or we'll get shot, or other things will happen to us if we open our mouths."

These days, Stoner is still in the entertainment world but mostly focuses on her own business, Movement Genius that's dedicated to helping people improve their mental health through movement.

Jennette McCurdy

Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Jennette McCurdy started acting at the age of eight and is best known for her role as Sam Puckett in iCarly and its spin-off series, Sam & Cat. McCurdy played Sam starting in 2007 from the ages of 15 to 21. 

When reflecting on her career on her podcast, Empty Inside, she said, "My experience with acting is, I'm so ashamed of the parts I've done in the past. I resent my career in a lot of ways. I feel so unfulfilled by the roles that I played and felt like it was the most cheesy, embarrassing."

She goes on to say, "I did the shows that I was on from like 13 to 21, and by 15, I was already embarrassed. My friends at 15, they're not like, 'Oh, cool, you're on this Nickelodeon show.' It was embarrassing."

Since McCurdy quit acting, she wrote a bestselling memoir you may have heard of, I'm Glad My Mom Died, about her mother's abusive behavior. She is also trying out directing. "I quit (acting) a few years ago to try my hand at writing and directing—it's going great."

Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes wearing a pink dress at an awards show
Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Amanda Bynes began acting at the age of 10 on the hit Nickelodeon show All That. Her popularity in that role helped her shoot to stardom on The Amanda Bynes Show, which aired form 1999 to 2002. From there, she starred in popular movies like She's the Man, Hairspray, and Easy A.

In a 2018 interview with Paper Magazine, she spoke about her experience acting in She's the Man. "When the movie came out and I saw it, I went into a deep depression for four to six months because I didn't like how I looked when I was a boy," she said. "I've never told anyone that. It was a super strange and out-of-body experience. It just really put me into a funk."

When Bynes shot Easy A in 2010, she also struggled deeply with her image. "I literally couldn't stand my appearance in that movie and I didn't like my performance," she said. "I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it."

After Easy A premiered, she quit acting via Twitter. "Being an actress isn't as fun as it may seem. If I don't love something anymore I stop doing it… I know 24 is a young age to retire, but you heard it here first–I've retired," she tweeted. 

During the next few years Bynes' fans watched as her personal life unraveled from drugs and she had numerous stints in psychiatric facilities. Luckily, that's all behind her now. "I've been through the worst and came out the other end and survived it so I just feel like it's only up from here," she told Paper Mag.

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato performing.
Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Demi Lovato got her first acting job at the age of 10 on Barney. However, it's when she landed the role of Mitchie Torres in Camp Rock (also starring the Jonas Brothers) that quickly catapulted the brunette beauty into stardom.

However, Lovato doesn't look back fondly on her childhood days in the spotlight. "I'll always look at child stardom, at what I went through, as something traumatic for me," she said to Spin Magazine.

"No child should ever be in the limelight. It's too much pressure. There's an absence of childhood that you never get to experience. It makes things confusing because you develop problems from that experience, whether it's addiction or trust issues or financial stress. It follows you into adulthood."

In an interview with Entertainment, Lovato stated that if she has kids, she won't let them act or sing until they were 18. "If I were to have kids and they came to me and said, 'Mom, I want to be in the industry,' I would have to say, 'Please wait until you're 18. Give yourself a childhood," she said.

Unfortunately like many other young celebrities, Lovato has struggled with drug and alcohol abuse; she almost died from an overdose in 2018. Lovato is happily sober now and continuing to make music. We are still waiting for her to a win a Grammy though.

Lauren Jarvis-Gibson
Lauren Jarvis-Gibson is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Her work has been published in Teen Vogue, Allure, HuffPost, and more. Read more
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