The very existence of the expression “Disney stars gone bad” shows just how often this entertainment theme plays out. A young Disney film or television star, often tied closely to a lead role in a popular kid-friendly show, goes through a predictable transformation to young adulthood. The most prominent cases of Disney stars going bad often center around a simultaneous transition into on-screen grown-up antics and off-screen arrests.
Here are the top 20 Disney stars gone bad.
20.) Selena Gomez
Many teens and adults probably remember when Selena Gomez was one of the kids on the popular kid show Barney. As a teenager, she starred in Wizards of Waverly Place, Princess Protection Program, had guest appearances in several popular Disney shows like Sonny With a Chance and The Suite Life of Zach and Cody and even made a cameo in The Muppets.
Since then, Gomez has certainly matured. She has been in other movies (such as Monte Carlo, Spring Breakers and voice acting in Hotel Transylvania), recorded chart-topping hits (including Same Old Love and Good for You) and even dated Justin Beiber a couple of times.
But the Disney curse didn’t escape Gomez. She checked into a rehab facility for people suffering from addiction or emotional trauma in 2013. In 2017, she was admitted to Meadows Recovery Center after reportedly suffering from depression and anxiety.
19.) Zac Effron
Efron was the heartthrob of all the girls due to his actions in the hit teen series High School Musical. It was a surprise that the childhood sweetheart of many when he checked into rehab in 2013 for battling with drug and alcohol addiction.
Fortunately, Zac was quick to find help for himself before hitting a downward spiral like many other Disney stars that went wild. He’s since appeared in several films including Baywatch, The Greatest Showman and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, so it appears that he and his career have recovered
18.) Lee Thompson Young
This was a tragic case of Disney stars gone bad.
The actor was featured as a teen star in the Disney show The Famous Jett Jackson for over three years. He also featured as a supporting actor in the famous movie Akeelah and the Bee alongside Keke Palmer.
In 2013, fans woke up to devastating news. Lee tragically died by suicide on August 19.
17.) Shia LaBeouf
Some of the Disney star gone bad moments for LaBeouf was when he wore a paper bag to the red carpet with the inscription, “I’m not famous anymore” or when he plagiarized someone else’s movie. These are some of the things LeBeouf has done after he starred on the Disney show Even Stevens in the early 2000s.
Also, he had several other issues like anger and alcohol addiction issues. LaBeouf has indeed earned himself a place on the list of Disney stars gone bad.
16.) Orlando Brown
Brown looks like the complete opposite of the sweet kid he was cast as in shows like That’s so Raven and Family Matters. He has been busted for possession of drugs, assault and battery and a case of public intoxication, making him deserving of a spot on the list of Disney stars that went bad.
It’s no surprise he wasn’t involved in Raven’s Home.
15.) Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato certainly has plenty of time to restore her once-pristine image. The star of Disney hits like Camp Rock and Sonny with a Chance has been open with her struggles with bulimia, substance abuse and bipolar disorder.
She completed drug and alcohol rehab in 2011. In fact, Lovato expressed concern that her friend Cyrus could face the same fate in a July 2013 MTV article.
14.) Vanessa Hudgens
It may be a bit premature to say that Vanessa Hudgens has gone completely bad, but she has certainly removed some of the good-girl cheerleader vibes she displayed in the 2006 Disney hit High School Musical.
Hudgens has dealt with a couple of notorious Internet nude picture scandals. Professionally, she stated her case as a bad girl in the highly sexual and violent March 2013 film release Spring Breakers.
13.) Lindsay Lohan
Her downward spiral is one of the top cases of the Disney stars gone bad list
Long before battling drugs, bad driving habits and her parents, Lindsay Lohan played the cute twins in the 1998 Disney family film The Parent Trap. The fresh-faced girl was such a hit that Disney used her in several other films, including Freaky Friday with Jamie Lee Curtis, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and Herbie: Fully Loaded.
Lohan’s slide began in 2007 with two drunk driving arrests, three rehab stints and a brief stop in jail. Lohan has continued to struggle with drugs and legal issues in the years since. She’s been in a few other movies, but her image in the public eye has significantly decreased.
12.) Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus made one of the most rapid descents for a hugely popular Disney star. The actress and singer, who endeared herself to kids everywhere as Hannah Montana has definitely changed her rep as a young woman.
Sexually charged music videos, an eager desire to appear scantily-clad in front of paparazzi and on magazine covers and family conflicts played out on Twitter are among Cyrus’ young adult endeavors.
11.) Britney Spears
You could say Britney Spears is the founder of the Disney stars gone bad club as one of its earliest and most prominent members. Spears famously broke away from her cute girl image of the The New Mickey Mouse Club days with sensual lyrics and a racy music video for her break out January 1999 hit Baby One More Time. Spears’s music and videos became even racier, but her off-screen antics escalated her bad-girl image.
A nervous breakdown, a one-day Vegas marriage and a prolonged lip-lock with Madonna on the MTV Music Awards were among Spears’ most infamous antics.
10.) Bella Thorne
After she left her acting gig on Shake It Up, this Disney star went wild. She decided to get multiple piercings and dye her hair a lot of colors. Thorne has been caught on camera being drunk and oversharing information about her life.
There have been rumors floating around that she has cheated on all of her partners thus far. Despite all of the critics, she is still living her life.
9.) Debby Ryan
The Jessie star was arrested a few years ago on a felony drunk driving charge because she slammed her Audi into another car. Authorities only charged her with a misdemeanor because no one was injured in this accident.
Also, since 2018, she has starred in the conversational Netflix show, Insatiable. She is really trying to shed her good girl image!
8.) Joe Jonas
This Jonas Brother is known to be the heartthrob of the group. They were known back in the day for being the good boys who never did anything wrong.
A few years back, Joe Jonas admitted to doing drugs with Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato. He blamed them for being bad influences, but he should own up to his past!
7.) David Henrie
The Disney Star went from this nerdy, loving brother on Wizards of Waverly Place to a bad boy. Back in 2010, he tried to fight someone at Universal CityWalk.
He was arrested by authorities at the scene. Later, Henrie was released to his father.
6.) Mitchel Musso
Remember him on Hannah Montana? Well Musso was caught drunk driving in California.
A judge sentenced him to 36 months probation, pay a fine, and he had to attend an alcohol education class.
5.) Jake T. Austin
Remember the youngest brother on Wizards of Waverly Place? Well, this young actor was charged for drunk driving.
His lawyer was able to get this charge thrown away in exchange for a simple speeding charge.
4.) Kirsten Storms
Known for her role as Zenon, Kirsten Storms was a young star on the raise.
She landed a role on General Hospital, but that did not stop her from getting in trouble. The actress was arrested and charged for a DUI.
This actress played Miranda in Lizzie McGuire back in the early 2000’s. The star went down a bad path when she was arrested in 2007 for possession of methamphetamine.
She did pled guilty for the charge, but it was later removed from her record. She just had to complete a drug treatment program.
2.) Anneliese van der Pol
The That’s So Raven star was arrested for driving under the influence.
The court charged her with 36 months probation and a penalty of $2,844 in fines.
1.) Kelli Berglund
At Coachella, the Lab Rats star was arrested for using a fake ID. She was trying to get into a restricted area to see her friends. Security noticed the ID was fake and alerted the cops in the area.
Berglund was only issued a citation and was released back to Coachella.
If you’re a little disappointed by these Disney stars gone bad, read our next article to read about Disney dresses that might cheer you up.