Growing up famous


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In the late nineties, mentioning the names Justin and Britney would elicit reactions of adoration and enthusiasm from American youth. Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears were the power couple of pop culture after starring on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1992 and beginning their wildly successful music careers. Fast forward about ten years and most associate those names with the number one single “Sexyback” and a maniac with a shaved head. So the real question is, what happened to this dynamic duo to lead them on such different paths?

Following his break up with Spears in 2002, Timberlake continued his solo career after his boy band, *N Sync, broke up. However, he kept his personal life tightly guarded, staying out of the headlines. To this day, Timberlake’s romantic life is the object of speculation, although few facts are known.

In contrast, Spears was plastered in the news for years. With singles like “I’m a Slave 4 U” and “Toxic,” Spears strove to shed her good-girl persona. She followed this pattern with the on-stage kiss she shared with Madonna on the 2003 MTV Awards. In a span of two years, Spears had two marriages, an annulment and a divorce, all of which were quite public. While her life may seem like an anomaly, she is only one amongst a host of other child stars who also faced challenges transitioning to a serious career as an adult.

Starring in commercials before she was a year old, Drew Barrymore was no stranger to the press. After her famous role as Gertie in the film E.T. at age seven, Barrymore’s fame skyrocketed. Her mother began to take her to clubs and she was involved with drugs and alcohol by the age of nine. After time in rehab at 13, Barrymore turned her life around and built up her current sweetheart image. Not all stars, however, have had as successful recoveries as Barrymore’s.

McCaulay Culkin, made famous by the Home Alone series, has had his share of fame misfortune. After his run as an adorable child star, Culkin disappeared from the spotlight with plenty of money to his name. He was back in the public eye in 2004 when he was arrested for possession of 17.3 grams of marijuana. “I’m surprised because I thought of him as an innocent little child when I saw his movies,” junior Alay Tedla said. Recently, he became a focus of attention at Michael Jackson’s death, as he is godfather to Jackson’s two eldest children. However, not all male child stars have met the same fate.

Leonardo DiCaprio has been acting in various small films and television commercials since age five. He hit his break, however, starring opposite Robert De Niro in This Boy’s Life in 1993. Since then, he has been in various successful films such as Titanic, Gangs of New York and many others, all while staying free from controversy. Much like Timberlake, DiCaprio has also maintained a very private personal life. To this day, DiCaprio is still one of Hollywood’s leading men.

One of the most infamous fallen child stars is the star of Parent Trap, Lindsay Lohan. “Lindsay Lohan is messed up because she was put into Hollywood too young and a kid can’t grow up normally like that,” junior Paige Clark said. After the innocent years of Freaky Friday and even Mean Girls, Lohan began to get caught up in the nightlife of New York. She was then seen in a slew of wild tabloid pictures looking scarily skinny. In 2007, Lohan was arrested multiple times for driving under the influence, one of which she was in possession of cocaine. Lohan and others prove that, like all else in life, fame and fortune should only be taken in moderation.