The 10 Vulnerable Child Stars Whose Parents Tried To Ruin Them

While the world worships Hollywood, it’s widely accepted that fame comes at a heavy price. These child actors might have had had their names up in shiny lights, but that doesn’t mean that things behind the scenes were quite as peachy as you’d think. In fact, the people they trusted the most – their parents – were siphoning away their funds and allowing their children to fall into the way of serious and long-lasting troubles.


 1. Leighton Meester.

The Gossip Girl starlet had to go to court to sever ties with her manipulative and money-hungry mother. Meester’s mother, Constance, took funds that her daughter had set aside to pay for the treatment of her sick brother Alexander, and used them to get plastic surgery. She also claimed that Leighton should pay her $10,000 a month for the rest of her life, because she had allegedly sacrificed her personal happiness to provided Leighton with the opportunity to become an actress. The court smelled a rat and threw out Constance’s claims.


2. Shirley Temple.

Shirley Temple was one of the hardest working child actresses of all time. The multi-talented Temple decided to retire when she was just 22, and fairly expected that there would be a decent-sized chunk stashed away for her to live out her days with. After all, she was banking $10,000 a week, and had racked up more than $3 million dollars during her career. It turned out her parents had drained her accounts down to $44,000. Shirley not!


3. Jena Malone.

At only 14 years of age, Malone had to turn to the legal system to protect her from her mother, Debbie. She was legally emancipated from her malicious madre, who had helped herself over a million of Malone’s future fortune and college funds. Too greedy, Debs!

4. Ariel Winters.

Winter’s mother, Chrisoula Workman, was very far from being an ideal parent to her daughter. Workman’s custody of Winter was stripped when it was revealed that the young star had to undergo various abuses at the hands of her mother, who was known to slap, push, starve and otherwise physically and emotionally abuse Ariel. The actresses older sister, herself taken from Chris’ hands, today has custody of her sister’s accounts.


5. Drew Barrymore.

Barrymore’s long and troubled personal life has been well documented. She was introduced to the party atmosphere of Studio 54 far too young, and her mother became increasingly lost in the fame and party perks that her child actress daughter’s movie status afforded her. Barrymore began smoking cigarettes at the age of 9, drinking liquor at 11, smoking marijuana at the age of 12 and snorting cocaine at 13. At the age of 14, she would attempt suicide and was involved in her second round of drug and alcohol rehabilitation. When she was 15, Barrymore was successful in her application for legal emancipation from her parents. She’d claw her way back to happiness alone.


6. Aaron Carter.

Carter both fired his mother as his manager and filed for legal emancipation from her care in 2003. He was only 17 years years of age. He has stated about those rough times: “I worked hard for months — 10, 11 hours a day, not including school and press appearances — and I come home and owe money!” Hey, let’s hope for that comeback he’s always so optimistic about!

7. Corey Feldman.

Feldman was an incredibly prolific childhood acctor, constantly in-demand. However, his parents provided little protection or direction. Rather the opposite, it turns out – when Feldman eventually did his own investigations (at the age of 15) as to his financial status, he found that his fortune, which should have been in excess of a million dollars, had been reduced to around $40,000. In a heartbreaking statement about the time, Feldman states, ““I knew how to read a contract by 10 years old, but I didn’t know what it meant for somebody to come in and tell me they loved me and kiss me goodnight. That’s a problem.”


8. Gary Coleman.

Gary Coleman accused his parents of abusing the management of his sizeable fortune. When he eventually sued, the court found in his favor, awarded him $1.3 million dollars. The extent of emotional damage suffered by Coleman was devastating, refusing to talk to his parents in the last 20 years of his life. He also didn’t involve them in his will – a heartbreaking final statement to those that stole from him when he was vulnerable.


9. MaCaulay Culkin.

Culkin made serious bank very early in his life off the back of the hugely successful Home Alone trilogy and followed up with a string of commercial hits that have him widely considered as the greatest child actor since Shirley Temple. When he was aged only 15, Culking had his parent’s access to his $17,000,000 USD trust fund removed. Culkin continues to have a very strained relationship with his father.

10. Lindsay Lohan.

LiLo’s difficulties with her family are no secret. Of her childhood situation, she has said: “I feel like a second parent in the sense that I helped raise my family…I was put between my mother and father a lot.” Her father and mother both seem like absolute nightmares, but Lohan is quite circumspect about the whole situation, saying to Oprah that what has been done is in the past and that any family situation is more complex than the broad strokes in which the media operate with. It hasn’t been an easy road for LiLo, but she’s just a comeback away from fulfilling the potential we all saw in her.