Disney is one of the most successful companies in the world. With properties like Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar under their belt, sometimes it’s easy to forget that there is also a television empire. In addition to ABC, ESPN, and a 30% share of Hulu, Disney has a cadre of original programs and movies that air on various Disney-themed networks for kids.
It’s hard to gauge just how successful franchises like Hannah Montana and High School Musical were for Disney from a merchandising standpoint. The child stars that made these shows possible were hot commodities and Disney worked as hard as it could to preserve the pristine images of many of their young performers. No matter how hard they tried, it’s inevitable that young, successful people with money will slip up every once in a while. From drug use to body issues, a surprising number of Disney stars have gone through serious issues in their personal life since joining the wonder world of Disney.
With that said, come read about 15 Dark Facts You Never Knew About Disney Child Stars!
15. Demi Lovato Punched a Backup Dancer
Demi Lovato started working with Disney Channel in 2008 with the TV movie Camp Rock. Since then, the actress, who got her first start on Barney as a child, has had her own Disney show, become a pop sensation, and was even a judge on The X Factor for a while. While her stints in rehab were talked about all over the tabloids, the story about her punching a backup dancer never quite caught on.
Alex Welch is a dancer who was touring with the Jonas Brothers at the time of the attack. Welch reports that Lovato attacked her on an airplane in Peru after the whole group went out for a night out on the town. Since then, Lovato told Elle magazine that it was a hard time in her life in which she had “the worst attitude” and was “totally ungrateful.”
14. Miranda From Lizzie McGuire Breaks Bad
Lalaine Vergara-Paras got her big break from playing Miranda Sanchez on Lizzie Maguire. In 2002 she even won a Young Artist Award in the category of best supporting young actress in a comedy series. She’s a talented actress, appearing in a Broadway production of Les Miserables at just nine years old, and she is still working today, but her career never took off quite like her co-star Hillary Duff’s did. She even dabbled in music, releasing an album, an EP, and a few singles over the years.
In 2007, when Vergara was just 20 years old, she pled guilty to felony charges after being charged with possession of crystal meth. The young adult entered a drug treatment center and has kept a relatively low profile ever since.
13. Adrienne Bailon Faked X-Photo Leaks
In the early 2000s, Adrienne Bailon was riding high. As a member of Disney’s Cheetah Girls and 3LW, Bailon saw her stardom quickly rise. But sometimes being famous and rich still isn’t enough.
In 2008, Bailon was attached to Rob Kardashian and reportedly wanted to be equally famous to the people she found herself around in that relationship. At the time it seemed like someone leaked some racy photos of her, but her publicist Jonathon Jaxson insists there’s another side of the story.
In his memoir Don’t You Know Who I Am Yet?, Jaxson mentions a plot the two of them cooked up together to make people think her laptop was stolen at an airport. Well, he claims Bailon took the plan one step further, releasing those photos herself as a publicity stunt and trying to blame Jaxson. Luckily he was able to show Disney their emails about the stunt and Bailon quickly lost her Disney contract.
12. Shia LaBeouf Threatens Girlfriend
Shia LaBeouf has had an interesting career. Starting on the Disney show Even Stevens, LaBeouf has gone on to star in major franchises like Transformers and Indiana Jones as well as smaller, independent projects like American Honey and Nymphomaniac.
LaBeouf met his now ex-girlfriend Mia Goth while working on Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. In July of 2015, two years after Nymphomaniac II came out, a video surfaced of the couple arguing in Germany while Goth was there working on another film.
The two are outside arguing, surrounded by a group of onlookers, as he says that he feels like he was getting pushed to hit a woman. He can even be heard saying “this is the kind of **** that makes a person abusive.” He later told his driver that if he stayed in the situation, “I would’ve killed her.”
11. Orlando Brown 2016 Arrest
That’s So Raven was a show in the early 2000s that followed a psychic girl, played by Raven-Symone, and her friends as they deal with the stresses of high school. Unfortunately for Orlando Brown, the actor who played Eddie, and even voiced Sticky Webb in The Proud Family, another Disney property, Raven couldn’t tell him about his own future.
Brown, who has credits like Block Dude in Straight Outta Compton to his name, was arrested in 2016 after he pulled into a police station parking lot and started beating his girlfriend after an argument. As if that wasn’t dumb enough, when the cops quickly showed up to stop the situation they found meth in the car!
This isn’t the first time Brock’s been charged with a violent crime. In 2014, he struck a plea deal and paid a fine after a tape emerged of him making death threats towards a woman and her female family members.
10. Debbie Ryan 2016 DUI
Debby Ryan, Disney Channel’s go-to Southern belle in the early 2010s, grew up in Texas and Germany. After appearing in Ice Cube’s 2008 football movie The Longshots, Ryan joined the cast of Suite Life on Deck, the sequel to Disney’s popular Suite Life of Zack and Cody series. Additionally, she acted in 16 Wishes, a TV movie that premiered on Disney Channel and catapulted her to larger audiences.
No matter how famous someone becomes, they’re still gonna get busted if they have a DUI. In 2016, Ryan was arrested and originally charged with a felony DUI, but it was eventually reduced to two misdemeanors.
9. Miley Cyrus Body Dysmorphia
Miley Cyrus became an overnight sensation at the age of 11 when Hannah Montana debuted on Disney Channel back in 2006. A story about a regular girl who lives a double life as the world’s biggest pop star, Hannah Montana forced Cyrus to constantly look at herself.
In an interview with Marie Claire in August of 2015, Cyrus admitted that the show had a negative effect on how she perceived her own beauty. Since she was constantly forced into a blonde wig and into makeup because she was told that’s how a pretty pop star needed to look, she grew hard on herself.
8. Raven Said What?!
That’s So Raven aired on Disney Channel from 2003 until 2007 and even earned two Emmy nominations for outstanding children’s programming. Since then, star Raven-Symone has had quite an interesting career. She’s released a few albums, one of which even went double platinum with the Cheetah Girls and starred in some movies.
In 2015, Symone joined The View, a daytime talk show on ABC. As part of the job, she commented on current events, but sometimes her opinions surprised people. Here are just a few:
“I am from every continent in Africa except for one and I’m from every continent in Europe except for one.”
“I’m not about to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea.”
“I’m tired of being labeled. I’m an American. I’m not African-American; I’m an American.”
The comments were clearly okay with Disney, even if the last one stunned Oprah, since they offered her a sequel series called Raven’s Home. The new series just debuted in July and follows her as a divorced, single mother raising tween twins in Chigaco.
7. Kelli Berglund Arrested at Coachella 2016
Kelli Berglund got her start playing Bree Davenport on the Disney XD show Lab Rats. Since then, the 21-year-old actress starred in the Disney movie How to Build a Better Boy and even appeared in a Dolly Parton Christmas special.
There are a lot of young adults and celebrities at Coachella each year, but not many of them get in trouble. In 2016, Davenport was caught using a fake ID at the festival by the Indio Police Department after security noticed the issue. She was arrested Thursday night trying to get into a restricted area to hang out with friends, but the festival didn’t even start until Friday! Luckily, she was released in time to enjoy partying the next day.
6. Zac Efron’s 2013 Rehab Stint
For a while, Zac Efron was one of Disney’s golden boys. The High School Musical franchise was a huge success for the Mouse House and Efron has gone on to enjoy a successful career. A lot of his characters are still douchey “bros” like in Neighbors and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, but he has proved himself to be a funny actor. He’s even set to star as serial killer Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
In 2013, Efron was enrolled in a rehab program due to problems with alcohol and cocaine. Since then, he’s been able to kick the juice and build his career out. He’s reteaming with Dave Franco and Seth Rogen in The Disaster Artist this year, a movie about Tommy Wisseau and The Room.
5. Matt Prokop accused of abusing Sarah Hyland
Matt Prokop owes his career to Disney. First starting in Hannah Montana, he went on to participate in two different Disney Channel Original movies. In High School Musical 3 he played Jimmie Zara, a new basketball player who was meant to take over the Troy role if Disney decided to produce any more High School Musicals. In 2011, he co-starred with Sarah Hyland, one of the stars of another Disney-owned property, Modern Family, in Geek Charming, an adaptation of Robin Palmer’s 2009 novel.
Prokop went on to develop a relationship with Hyland after the movie. In August 2014, Hyland filed for a temporary restraining order after she claimed Prokop had been physically and verbally abusing her throughout their relationship. The restraining order became permanent in October of that year and he hasn’t been seen on a screen since.
4. Joe Jonas Blames His Bad Behavior on Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus
Kids grow up so fast, especially when they’re on TV. One second they’re touring the world with their brothers in a band, the next they’re caught smoking weed with Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato!
Joe Jonas and his fellow Jonas Brothers had a squeaky clean reputation when they were popular. Disney kept the band under a tight chain and the brothers did a good job of never finding themselves in any major scandals. Even though the band broke up in 2013, the Jonas brothers are still big news and positive good role models.
In an interview with US Weekly, he admitted that the first time he smoked weed was due to peer pressure from his Disney co-stars Cyrus and Lovato. He said he was about seventeen at the time, but doesn’t really smoke anymore.
3. Dutch Elijah Whitlock Caught Robbing Pizza Place at Gunpoint
Who could forget Dutch Elijah Whitlock? Listed as simply Skater Dude #1 in High School Musical on his IMDB page, Whitlock and his luscious locks haven’t graced the screen since 2007. He didn’t have too big of a presence in HSM, but his declaration of “I play the cello” has invigorated string players ever since.
In 2008, Whitlock was arrested for trying to stick up a pizza shop in Utah with a gun. He was able to escape the scene with some cash due to threatening an employee, but he was ultimately busted because the employee recognized Whitlock as an old co-worker.
2. Mitchell Musso’s Underage DUI
Mitchell Musso played Oliver Oken, one of Miley’s best friends on Hannah Montana. After that, he even went on to land a recurring role as Jeremy Johnson on Phineas and Ferb. He had a lot of success at a young age, but it seems like he’s taking a break from the entertainment industry for a little bit.
In 2011, at the age of twenty years old, Musso was arrested in Burbank, California after failing to slow down when police were directing traffic away from an accident. As the police confronted him, they realized that he was under the influence. Having any alcohol in his system would be considered illegal since he was underage, but he actually blew above a .08.
1. Jake Paul Fired for Bad Behavior
The self-proclaimed “King of YouTube,” who according to his own song “It’s Everyday Bro” is nothing but a “white boy from Ohio,” is kind of a douche. This year he broke the record for how little time it took to earn 10 million subscribers, and to pull in those numbers he orchestrated some crazy stunts.
He has young, screaming fans camped outside the Team 10 House, the mansion he and his VLOG partners live in despite the fact the address is publicly listed online. Since the neighbors have to deal with screaming children, fires, and just general disorderly conduct, they tried taking action in their own hands. That’s when KTLA 5 got involved.
After reporter Chris Wofle tried asking Paul a few questions, Paul started making fun of the reporter and even climbing on top of the news van. While Paul gained subscribers and more mainstream media publicity from the incident, Disney sure wasn’t happy. The 20-year-old was fired from the role of Dirk on Bizaardvark and now only has his substantial YouTube revenue to sustain him.
Do you have any dark Disney star secrets to add? Let us know in the comments!
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