The Dark Side of Fame
April 1, 2023
Fame. When people hear the word fame, they think of luxury, reputation, money, and acclaim. However, fame does come at quite a cost. Celebrities are constantly in the public eye. Everyone knows their name, and the public knows the details of their personal lives. Celebrities are stalked and harassed by paparazzi, and their actions are scrutinized by fans through the use of social media. While their lives may seem near-perfect in a post on social media or in an appearance on the red carpet, there is so much more that occurs behind the scenes of fame. Read along to uncover the dark side of fame!
The dark side of Hollywood is destigmatized
Live from the Beverly Hills Hotel was the commencement of the 2020 Golden Globes. Ricky Gervais gave a wonderfully heartfelt speech in which he snubbed the Hollywood Foreign Press as illiterate and racist, poked fun at Netflix, and dubbed recent cinema as an absolute joke. 2020 was a big year for movies made by pedophiles, about pedophiles. The Marvel franchise reminds director Martin Scorsese of a “theme park” in which the actors know nothing more than wearing skinny tights and taking steroids. Gervais took a shot at everyone in Hollywood that has ever been involved with Jeffrey Epstein. If Hollywood producers can build sweat shops in China, then he does not but it past them to call their agents if “ISIS created a streaming service.” All this chaos in one speech had the celebrities’ jaws wide open as they acted as baffled as they are guilty.
Let’s just say Gervais was not invited to host again, but that opened the media to talking about the extremely dark side of Hollywood. This side is hidden by flashing lights, glowing movie premieres, and paparazzi crowding limousines as the celebrities file out to accept their little awards and lecture the public about topics they are in no position to give opinions about.
Watching Hollywood movies shapes the perception of reality. The glamour, the fame, and the money influences the beliefs and values of many viewers worldwide. However, there is a seedy underside to the Hollywood dream that is sold to viewers through movies, books, and TV shows. This side is overtly destigmatized and full of greed, sex, and drugs. It was not until 1998 that a documentary called The Dark Side of Hollywood looked behind the scenes of what it takes to make a low-budget Hollywood movie. It exposes how fame is fragile and what actors and actresses must go through to keep their titles. This documentary alone exposes the harsh reality of actors, Sylvestor Stallone and Jack Nicholson’s, rise to fame. It explores the drug addictions and failed marriages very early on in an actor’s career. They become addicted to the highs of fame and spend minimal quality time with the people they love. The starry-eyed newcomers are too busy looking for spots in the best movies and TV shows in order to get their name out there.
Is this really the cost of stardom? Do celebrities really get lost in Hollywood? It is important to take a look at the 1950’s film, Sunset Boulevard, that has become famous for providing an accurate representation of the classic Hollywood lifestyle on Sunset Strip. Aging actress, Norma Desmond, refuses to come to terms with the end of her stardom so she hires a deceptive young screenwriter that causes a dangerous relationship to emerge. Let’s just say the ending revolves around death and violence, no spoilers here. But this early representation of Hollywood was still rather destigmatized and kept in silent. The issue was very clear: fame ruins people because the higher-ups take advantage of young actors. Everyone wants to get a leg up from another and it leads to a vicious cycle.
Fast forward almost a century later to Drew Barrymore’s documentary in 2022 called Dark Hollywood. Drew Barrymore has been on screen since she was five years old. Her mother was unable to care for her, so Hollywood took advantage of the child, and she was exposed to drugs and sex at such an early age. She was slammed into the media and talk shows at the age of seven while having extremely abusive parents at home. She was blacklisted for her cocaine use at the age of just 12 and became an alcoholic that had to be admitted to rehab during her teen years. The documentary follows how this was because of being placed in the limelight at such a young age and that the warning signs were utterly dismissed. Barrymore still struggles from the trauma that she endured in this time of her life. She was a child star glamorized in the media and glorified on talk shows.
Another striking documentary is Pamela Anderson’s Pamela, a Love Story. It follows the gross sexism and misogyny of the producers of Hollywood at the time of her career as well as her relationship with her abusive estranged husband, Tommy Lee. Their relationship was put on blast and was always praised in the media. What was hidden until now was the violent physical and emotional abuse Pamela endured in her lifetime. Hollywood made her a sex icon, and her opinions and feelings were dismissed in the media. It wasn’t until her personal archives were used to make this documentary that the real monsters who took her pain and created a new narrative for her in the media were exposed.
Sexual exploitation in tabloids, self-delusions, and young actors taking a rough start to stardom is all a part of the Hollywood dream. This dream consists of being famous, yet no one really knows the real people behind the flashing camera lights. Movies like Once Upon a Time In Hollywood and Babylon are exposing the ridiculousness and danger in Hollywood and how it can affect stars in the long run. As destigmatized as it may seem, the dark side of Hollywood is finally being recognized.
Old Hollywood versus New Hollywood
Gorgeous shots, meticulous editing, and transatlantic accents once adorned the films of Old Hollywood.
At the time, an average individual could not direct or film a blockbuster. Completing these tasks took time, effort, and skill that only bestowed itself upon a person once in a generation. Such things became rarities due to the once-difficult production process: taking snapshots of each scene frame, lining them up on film, and playing them through a projector.
Those in the film industry in the 1930s through the 1960s pioneered hundreds of ways to produce films, and they were ridiculously innovative. Alfred Hitchcock, for example, essentially began modern cinema with his creation of Psycho (1960). John Ford influenced English teachers (and, of course, all of Hollywood) after directing The Grapes of Wrath (1940), a dynamic, emotion-inducing film depicting American family struggles during the Dust Bowl.
Even in later years, when digital technology began replacing film cameras, the occupation of a director or filmmaker seemed impossible to someone born lacking that artistic gene. After all, knowing how to position a camera, focus it on the proper object, decide on the appropriate symbolic colors to include in a scene, and even record with a steady hand could be daunting. James Cameron shot Avatar (2009) digitally, and many deem him one of the best filmmakers of our modern era. Notably, though, he produced Avatar before social media overtook our world.
Today, almost anyone can make a movie (or even a short video) and garner nearly the same acclaim for their much lesser effort.
TikTok and YouTube have allowed people globally to edit short clips of any topic they please and reach thousands through their algorithms. Anyone can inform anyone of anything. Anyone can become a video editor with CapCut or Adobe After Effects and upload their piece. Anyone can view whatever they wish without having to go through the hassle of buying movie tickets and sitting in the theater.
Though this sharp change from the difficulty of movie direction to the easiness of video editing may have lost directors and filmmakers some of their sparkle, it has given way to new jobs. With easy access to social media and editing apps, anyone can become an influencer and make large quantities of money through it. According to Vox, an influencer with 10,000 to 50,000 followers can earn between $40,000 to $100,000 a year simply by posting and making brand deals. Macro-influencers, like the Kardashians, can make thousands of dollars from a single post.
These videos, though, are almost always short – under 60 seconds. In fact, according to research conducted by Dr. Gloria Marl, a professor at UC Irvine, the average time a human can pay attention to one screen has shrunk from 2 ½ minutes in 2004 to 47 seconds in 2023. Of course, this corresponds directly to the film industry’s business. If the average human attention span has continuously shrunk due to our acclimation to shorter videos, how much longer can filmmaking of 2 ½ hour movies be lucrative?
Social media has impacted the film industry in other ways, too. During the Golden Age, a movie star’s promotion of films did not occur as much as the filmmaker’s promotion of that star. Now, numerous studios require actors to promote their films on social media, as movie traffic stems much from that advertisement type today. In a 2015 study by Kerynne Tejada, a student at California Polytechnic State University, 34.62% of participants chose social media as the most common means of discovering new movies to see.
Besides just social media impacting the movie industry, the presence of film conglomerates and franchises has dominated this “New Hollywood” phenomenon. Movie stars are slowly becoming extinct, and Tom Cruise is the last of them (but not even Top Gun: Maverick could garner more than one Oscar)!
After the diminishing of the star system of the Golden Age, when studios regarded image more highly than acting ability, and morality clauses in contracts were all the rage, the number of movie stars had already begun its steady decrease. Today, studios have refocused on the idea rather than the person. These ideas have not intentionally sprung only single films but entire franchises.
Disney has gained such considerable control over the film industry with Star Wars, Marvel, and their princesses that their characters have become stars. Roles are no longer defined by their actor, but the actor has become known by their role. Hence, actors in recurring roles have gained more fame in recent years than actors in different ones.
For years, the Olsen twins were known for their cuteness and featured in plenty of movies and television shows, like Full House. Now, with no franchise to back their careers, they have become obsolete compared to their sister, Elizabeth Olsen, who has risen to worldwide fame with the role of Wanda Maximoff – also known as the Scarlet Witch – in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Franchises now receive far more monetary success than single movies. For instance, each of Robert Downey Jr.’s top 10 grossing films (earning between $500 million and $2 billion) is part of the MCU or Sherlock Holmes. His single flicks, such as Dolittle and The Judge, never earned nearly as much box office revenue. This shift has completely altered the film industry, which once never consisted of such distributed control.
All this to say, movie stars no longer exist, and single movies no longer succeed like they once did. The film industry has become a conglomeration of companies vying for the top spot, avariciously racing to create the greatest spectacle possible.
Though, one must not regard New Hollywood as utterly unpleasant. New actors, directors, and others have made extraordinary changes to the film industry as it has evolved. Films have become less traditional, focusing on relevant topics and issues left undiscussed decades ago. We have seen a drastic increase in diverse casts across all film genres, providing plenty of opportunities to actors of all races, genders, religions, and other backgrounds. So, while this shift from Old to New Hollywood may seem grim in some respects, these new happenings have led to a much-needed and beneficial reshaping of film that outweighs many negative consequences.
The paparazzi stalk and harass celebrities
Paparazzi. In today’s society, that word has a rather negative connotation. Paparazzi are photographers who make a living by capturing images and videos of celebrities. The overall concept of the paparazzi may seem innocent as it provides a way for fans to see their favorite celebrities living their lives. However, it has become much too invasive–and on occasion dangerous–as tabloid culture has steadily increased over the years.
When paparazzi culture first began in the 1950s, it was a source for magazines and other media outlets to obtain candid photographs of celebrities. Unlike today with social media, there were few opportunities for people to peek into the daily lives of celebrities during this time. The paparazzi would capture photos of celebrities at unexpecting moments to expose their personal lives to their fans..
Ron Galella, otherwise known as the “Paparazzo Extraordinaire” is considered the pioneer paparazzo. As an American photographer, Galella launched his career in the 1960s and earned large sums of money through his highly coveted celebrity photographs. He was best known for photographing Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and she later accused him of stalking. Galella was the first known “in your face” paparazzo, which is all too common today.
Paparazzi culture was incredibly prevalent during the 2000s. While many look back on this period of time with sheer nostalgia, it is important to take note of the extreme exploitation of celebrities that was occurring. During the paparazzi “gold rush,” exclusive celebrity photographs could be sold for a price ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 apiece.
In order to prosper from the paparazzi gold rush, photographers took on the pushy, harassive mentality that is still frequently seen today. Since the price of a photograph depended largely on exactly what a celebrity was doing, paparazzi became ready to snap a photograph at any given moment. During this time, it was not uncommon for celebrities to find paparazzi waiting outside their home or personal vehicles. Many of these aggressive paparazzi were even willing to break the law if it meant they could snag an exclusive, “never-seen-before” photo.
During the prime time of paparazzi culture, celebrities like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan were at the height of their respective careers. Spears and Lohan were followed almost everywhere, and their every move was captured on camera. The tabloids completely invaded their privacy and found ways to capture and highlight the stars while they were struggling from the pressures of fame. Spears and Lohan are prime cases of the adverse effect that paparazzi have on celebrities’ lives.
As most people are aware, Princess Diana’s death was undoubtedly linked to the paparazzi. On August 31, 1997, Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi al Fayed, were in a limousine in Paris as their driver attempted to outrun the paparazzi. Unfortunately, the automobile chase caused their driver to lose control of the vehicle, resulting in the deaths of Princess Diana, al Fayed, and their driver. The tragic loss of Princess Diana’s life is a quintessential example of the ruthlessness of the paparazzi.
There are also numerous instances of celebrities taking legal action against the paparazzi due to their invasive behavior. In 2013, Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner joined forces to pass new California legislation that would increase the possible punishment for the harassment of celebrity children. The iconic British artist Adele took legal measures when paparazzi shot photographs of her son and published them worldwide after she explicitly expressed that she wanted to keep his life private. Countless other celebrities have also taken action in order to prevent the harassment and stalking of their families and themselves.
While it is always exciting to see a new photograph of one’s favorite celebrity, paparazzi have a pernicious effect on their personal lives. It is apparent that fame comes at the price of an invasion of privacy. Although the paparazzi are not as significant figures today as they were during the early 2000s, many still manage to harass celebrities and break laws in order to capture exclusive photographs. Paparazzi culture needs to come to an end in order to preserve the mental health and safety of celebrities.
Celebrity encounters with the paparazzi
The prestigious Grammy Awards have evolved into a scam
Red carpets. Flashing lights. Beautiful dresses and suits. Celebrities everywhere. Every award show features this type of glitz and glamour found everywhere in Hollywood. But, like in many other aspects of Hollywood’s culture, a darker side lies beneath all the shimmer.
The four main award shows, the Oscars, Tonys, Emmys, and Grammys, all started in the 1900s, with the Grammys being created last in 1959. Since then, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, commonly known by its moniker the Recording Academy, has put on the show every year.
Despite the Recording Academy being a prestigious institution, recently the Grammys have come under fire for its continued racial bias patterns and inadequate voting process. This build-up of public anger has led to the Grammys being called the “Scammys.”
Many musicians, such as Nicki Minaj, Zayn Malik and The Weekend, have been outspoken online about their grievances with the Recording Academy. For example, in 2021 The Weekend was not nominated for any Grammys despite his album “After Hours” being the most popular album on Spotify in 2020 and its overall resounding success. Following his lack of nominations, The Weekend used social media to express his problems with the Recording Academy’s voting process and corruption. Even after winning Grammys, The Weekend has denounced their meaning and importance.
The Grammys also has a history of historically not representing enough artists of color in nominations. Typically, Black artists don’t win some of the most coveted Grammy awards, such as Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year, demonstrating the Grammy’s historical discriminatory practices towards Black artists.
On the other hand, Black artists typically win categories that include some sort of rap theme. While some may view this as adding inclusivity to the Grammys, in reality it just limits the type of Grammy people of color can win and prevents them from being included in other categories they deserve to be recognized in.
After winning the Best Rap Album in 2020, Tyler the Creator expressed his feelings of discontent with the Recording Academy.
“It sucks that whenever we, and I mean guys that look like me, do anything genre-building, they always put it in a ‘rap’ or ‘urban’ category,” said Tyler the Creator, according to Billboard. “Half of me feels like the rap nomination was a backhanded compliment.”
This has caused many artists to withdraw Grammy nominations or boycott attending the Grammys. In 2020, Drake withdrew his nominations for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance to underscore the Grammy’s racist history.
In recent years Grammy viewership has decreased significantly, setting a record low of 9.227 million in 2021. However, the 2021 and 2022 viewership decreases may be able to be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 65th Grammy Awards this year had 30.8% more viewership than in 2022, according to the Los Angeles Times, but this is still the third-lowest viewership on record. At the Grammys most popular viewership was is in the tens of millions, which far supersedes viewership today.
Timeline of award show scandals through the years
The cancel culture phenomenon continues to spread
According to Wikipedia, “cancel culture is a phenomenon in which those who are deemed to have acted or spoken in an unacceptable manner are ostracized, boycotted or shunned.” The notion that someone can be “canceled,” or, prevented culturally from having a prominent public platform or job, has generated intense controversy over the past few years.
The emergence of “cancel culture” and the concept of canceling someone follows a well-known pattern: A public figure, such as a star, says or does something offensive. Following the surfacing of any offensive or controversial remark, supporters and individuals publicly demand accountability. They take to various social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat to essentially attack the star. Although canceling has always existed, it has lately gained significant popularity as a result of the rise of social media and online news.
Canceling has taken an unusual turn with TikTok celebrities. There are two extremes in the TikTok cancel culture: either there are no repercussions for offensive behavior, or there is such an outburst of hate that the individual gets written attacks and even death threats.
For example, The D’Amelio family launched their own YouTube channel in October 2020, where they documented their lives. This was before they had their show on Hulu, The D’Amelio Show, and they had no idea that a short video would spark a heated debate.
The D’Amelio family shared a film of one of their meals with an anonymous guest and YouTuber, James Charles, on November 16, 2020 on their channel. They were treated to a fancy dinner prepared by a special chef for the event. Marc, Heidi, and James seemed to enjoy the food, but Dixie and Charli didn’t appear to be as enthusiastic. Dixie sampled what looked like a snail and gagged at the table and then stared at the food with disgust. The cook went on to describe the dish’s background, but the D’Amelio sisters didn’t act particularly intrigued. After Dixie had vomited the food outside, Charli asked, “Do we have any dino nuggets?”
Fans began “canceling” Charli and Dixie on TikTok immediately after the video was uploaded, saying they were ungrateful for the delicious food the chef prepared for them. Their comment sections were flooded with hateful and offensive comments. One Twitter user said: “The D’Amelio’s (ESPECIALLY) the girls are soo toxic and annoying. Talking about how bad the food is (when the chef’s there) while there are people who can’t even get any food, or that you’re asking for more followers, just shows how spoiled you are and asking for attention.”
Few admirers, however, defended the sisters and claimed it was unfair to “cancel” them for such a ridiculous cause. Dixie D’Amelio went to TikTok after the dinner party video to discuss what actually occurred, but the video had already gone viral and taken out of context.
The “cancel culture” of TikTok also has the potential to ruin companies. A widely discussed example of how cancel culture can harm a brand’s image is with well-known skinfluencer Hyram Yarbro. In a YouTube video with more than 1.2 million views, he “demolished” St. Ives, a popular skin care brand. He criticized the company’s goods for having too much scent, not enough “good ingredients,” and harsh chemicals. While St. Ives has taken most of the heat from the TikTok skincare critics, other cosmetics manufacturers have also been impacted.
Anyone who has spent any time on Twitter has also most likely noticed the hashtag #IsOverParty spreading in some way. IsOverParty is most frequently used after the name of something or someone that has been “canceled.”
The hashtag #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty started trending in July 2016 in response to the news that said Swift was aware Kanye West had made a reference to her in one of his songs, “Famous.” He implied in the song that he is credited for making her famous by interrupting her during her acceptance speech at the 2009 Video Music Awards. In this situation, tweeters criticized Swift for implying a conflict between her and West, assuming that she knew of the song prior to its release, and that there weren’t any resentments between them.
Over the years, cancel culture has changed and is now a significant aspect of everyday news. Everytime you look on social media, a different celebrity is being destroyed. This is due to the evolution of social media, as well as the fact that news is readily accessible online and has the ability to spread very rapidly.
Nepotism remains a controversial subject
Nepotism has existed since the dawn of the entertainment industry with actors like Maurice Barrymore, the great-grandfather of actress and talk-show host Drew Barrymore, and Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz actress and mother of actress Liza Minelli. Many actors, models, and singers most famous in Hollywood have parents in the industry. While nepotism is nothing new, in recent years, social media has sparked conversations about the relationship between nepotism and hard work.
Nepotism provides many evident benefits for the children of celebrities wanting to begin careers in the entertainment industry, especially financially. For an ordinary individual, jobs in the art and entertainment industry seem unrealistic. Work opportunities tend to be limited, and financial stability is never guaranteed. However, for people born into illustrious families, there’s minimal risk in pursuing an acting, singing, or modeling career. They will likely encounter more job opportunities, and if they find a lack of success in the industry, their parents can support them. For the typical person, seeking a career as an entertainer is a financial gamble, while children of well-known public figures usually have a safety net.
Famous individuals in the entertainment industry undoubtedly also have more connections that they can use to the advantage of their children. Renowned figures will know the best coaches that the average person would never have access to. Many celebrities have connections with directors, producers, and filmmakers that they can use to give their children the best chance for success.
However, when entertainers have parents with such esteemed reputations, it often places pressure on them to live up to their parents’ names. Many celebrities have voiced that they have had to work twice as hard to make an identity for themselves instead of falling into their parents’ shadows.
Kendall Jenner, a model and daughter of Kris and Caitlyn Jenner, said on the Keeping Up With the Kardashians reunion, “Of course, I had a platform, and I never took that for granted, but that almost made my job a little bit harder because people didn’t want to hire me because I was on a reality show. I took my last name off of my modeling cards so that I was taken completely seriously.”
Other celebrities have taken a satirical approach to nepotism claims. Hailey Bieber, a model and daughter of Stephen Baldwin, a director, actor, and producer, went viral on Twitter after wearing a shirt with the words “nepo baby” displayed on it.
While nepotism bestows certain advantages, that does not mean those who benefit all fall short in talent. Many “nepotism babies” are very skilled in their fields and have worked hard to develop their careers. Fans simply want celebrities impacted by nepotism to acknowledge the upper hand they have in the industry.
Online fanbases contribute to toxic fan culture
If you’re on Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok, chances are you’ve already encountered a toxic fan. Fan culture has been around since the days of Sherlock Holmes, and today, they exist mainly in online spaces. As an enormous part of popular culture nowadays, fan culture almost controls the entertainment industry (but that’s a conversation for another day). Basically, if you have an organized fandom, you’ve made it.
Fandom spaces are positive in many ways. Not only do they provide safe and fun spaces for people to bond over their shared interests, they also serve as places for large fandoms to gather in support of important initiatives, such as when the BTS ARMY collectively raised $1 million to match the group’s $1 million donation to the Black Lives Matter organization in 2020.
However, fanbases can be highly toxic and harmful. Arguments are frequent between fans of the same and different fandoms (called “fanwars”) and between fans and non-fans, and many of these exchanges go beyond arguing, entering the territory of cyber-bullying and death-threats. Furthermore, it’s easy for posts to get taken out of context and reach the wrong audience. In extreme cases, hard-core fans are capable of digging up old posts, personal information, and even IP addresses to expose others.
The concept of “canceling” in pop culture exists largely because of fan culture, which makes up a big part of why fame can be harmful. The possibility of being canceled—of having your career negatively impacted—because of what could be an unintentional mistake or something that happened years prior can cause fear of misstepping. Hate started by fans can quickly spread and even manifest in real life, much like how a single image posted by Hailey Bieber led to scrutiny from the entire internet and then to hate chants during concerts.
At the end of the day, whether you are reading as a social media user or celebrity, toxic fan culture is certainly something to be cognizant of. After all, the last thing anyone would want is for a tweet you made when you were 13 to resurface into your life 9 years later.
Nickelodeon contributes to the exploitation of child stars
The shows we all know and love from our childhood are surely a large factor of our development into society as we mature. For our generation, fans have taken attention to the behind the scenes drama and abuse behind childhood stars. As we may view the shows as entertainment, viewers do not take into account the trauma happening behind the scenes.
In particular, iCarly star Jeanette McCurdy revealed new revelations about “the Creator.” A recent Glamour Magazine article details how the creator of both iCarly and Sam and Cat along with other popular shows like Victorious, Drake and Josh, and Zoey 101 is big Nickelodeon name, Dan Schneider.
In 2018, Schneider left the network after an investigation of misconduct, though denying actions of inappropriately perceived comedy. His first major interview since his abrupt leave helped address the controversy that surrounded his departure since leaving Nickelodeon. What is most difficult about the channel and star’s heightened concerns were the fact that the childhood actors were dealing with somewhat typical occurrences of adolescence, while having to portray this perfect character on television, almost seen as a role model for younger kids to follow. With heightened concerns related to abuse of cast members, other co-workers such as Arthus Gradstein, who worked as a writer and producer with Schneider told The Times that Schneider acted inappropriately with the people who he worked with. Schneider’s high expectations for work put lots of pressure on many, including McCurdy. Glamour Magazine highlights that after Sam and Cat was canceled after a single season, she was offered $300,000 not to talk about her experience, which she refused.
With this in mind, it is important to note that McCurdy was seen and portrayed as this “food-obsessed” character on iCarly, while personally dealing with serious diseases known by its persuasive characteristics; eating disorders. Eating disorders are a serious mental and physical disease, where McCurdy reveals she was basically the polar opposite of how her character was viewed by others. In her newly released memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, McCurdy does explain how her mother’s role in adolescence was largely to blame, alongside the uncomfortable reality of her character, which was only amplified by Schneider’s screenplay. The life-threatening implications of eating disorders factor into the irony that the television show was planned to be hilarious, despite the actors critically suffering behind the scenes.
Britney Spears suffered through the trials and tribulations of young stardom
The idea of being young and famous brings about thoughts of celebrity friends, access to the best parties, amazing clothes, traveling on private jets, and having millions of fans. Sadly, the life of a child star is often lonely, stress inducing, and guided by unethical managers and stage parents.
Britney Spears is part of a club of young singers, including Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, that got their start on Disney Channel shows but struggled with fame and mental health challenges. Spears’ personal issues were compounded by greedy adults, including her own parents, who put their financial gain ahead of her wellbeing. After living under a 13 year conservatorship controlled by her father, Spears could likely fill a book with stories about the dark side of Hollywood.
At age 11, Spears was cast on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club where her dance moves made her a standout on the show. The following year, she gained attention by dating fellow cast member Justin Timberlake. A few years later, her debut album “…Baby One More Time,” which included the hit single with the same name, stayed on top of the Billboard 100 Chart for 2 weeks. Britney officially became a household name.
Success brought Spears the fame, money, and fans that she dreamed of, but it also put her in a position that she wasn’t ready to handle as a teenager. At an age when most kids are dealing with the stresses of high school, Britney was working full time making music, doing product endorsements, and attending industry events. She was also supporting her family who lived off her earnings and used her connections for their personal gain. There was a lot going on behind the scenes for the singer.
While Britney appeared to be another cool celebrity who was enjoying fame, the reality was much different. Spears worked long hours under constant pressure from her record company, managers, and family. She became addicted to amphetamines and other drugs and struggled with her mental health. After going to rehab, Spears returned to work, released more successful albums, and made a lot of money for everyone in her circle.
When she was 22, Britney married backup dancer Kevin Federline, who she had only dated for a few months. She divorced Federline after just 2 years and went through a legal custody battle over their 2 young kids. Spears had difficulty managing the stress, continued to struggle with mental health issues, and made several bad choices that the Paparazzi captured in pictures and videos. She went to rehab again, was placed in a psychiatric ward, and Federline got custody of both kids.
After a public breakdown, Spears’ parents requested a temporary conservatorship for their daughter. Conservatorships are usually granted by courts for short periods of time to protect people who are incapable of caring for themselves. Britney’s father Jamie Spears was named her conservator. Even after Britney proved that she could work and had earned more than 100 million dollars from her Las Vegas residency, a court continued to extend the conservatorship.
Mr. Spears and the lawyers and managers that he hired as her conservator were all being paid millions from the conservatorship. For more than 13 years, Britney’s father controlled every aspect of his famous daughter’s life and paid all expenses for the conservatorship from his daughter’s bank account. In November 2021, the conservatorship was terminated. At the age of 39, Spears was finally free to make her own decisions.
Britney has been exploited by the entertainment industry and her family since she was a child. She has paid a high price for fame and still makes the news whenever she posts on social media, eats dinner in a restaurant, or does just about anything. Hollywood and fame have been toxic to Britney’s mental health, but she is fighting to make her own voice heard for the first time in years.
Lindsay Lohan’s career has seen the impact of childhood stardom
From the fan-favorite movie series Mean Girls to the notorious classic The Parent Trap, this Disney actress earned a name for herself in the 2000s due to her flawless acting skills. Lindsay Lohan, the former Hollywood “it” girl, has recently stepped back into the spotlight after overcoming numerous legal troubles.
The average 10-year-old kid would consider Lohan’s childhood “a dream,” as she was discovered in the early onset of her life. This teenage actress was destined to become a megastar; yet, as soon as her reputation began to rise, she went down the wrong path.
After modeling as a child, in 1998 Lohan starred as twins in The Parent Trap, which later resulted in getting a three-film contract with Disney. At 11 years old, Lohan played the part of two different people living completely different lives, even one with a British accent. In 2000, Life-Size premiered on ABC’s “The Wonderful World of Disney,” and the Disney Channel Original Movie Get a Clue premiered in 2002 which was just the start of her fame. Despite the fact that instantly after the films came out she became a star, Lohan strived to live a normal life like all her friends at school. In 2003, the world was once again stunned as Lohan took on the role of a 40-year-old mother and teenager at the age of 16 years old in the classic film, Freaky Friday. Lohan’s success in Hollywood quickly continued with the Mean Girls release in 2004. Her fans saw her as an all-around icon who had a natural gift for acting. Mean Girls went down in history as one of the best teen films of all time. The jokes and reality of high school in this series allowed Lohan to be known as a teen movie queen. Lohan scored several MTV Movie and Teen Choice awards for her Mean Girls work. Mean Girls secured Lohan’s fame for generations to come; the classic series will never get old. Soon after the Mean Girls debut, Lohan went on to star in Disney’s Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005) and began making music, but her life changed when she started experimenting with a different lifestyle.
After starting to party hard and experiment with various drugs, Lohan drifted away from the spotlight. During the filming of Herbie: Fully Loaded, she was hospitalized from fever and exhaustion. Lindsay had family issues including an abusive father and in January of 2005, Lohan’s parents got divorced which was a long and painful process. In the summer of 2006, Lohan had lost focus of filming because of her partying behavior. Lohan stopped filming because she was not in the right headspace to perform as she used to. From 2007 to 2012, Lohan struggled with substance abuse and eating disorders that slowly took over her career. In the summer of 2007, Lohan went to rehab for the second time after being arrested and charged with drunken driving, cocaine possession, and driving with a suspended license. She had her first DUI and her first experience with drugs when she was 20 years old, following a night out clubbing with individuals she felt she shouldn’t have been with in the first place. Lohan admitted to being addicted to drugs, alcohol and breaking the law, and took responsibility by pleading guilty to the charges. Although Lohan believed in living with no regrets and instead learning from her actions, she took the initiative to take back control of her life and improve her health. As a result of Lohan skipping out on compulsory court hearings and educational classes in 2009, her probation was extended. Over the next year and a half, Lohan underwent extra rehabilitation as well as additional time in jail for her addiction problems, a shoplifting incident and missing psychotherapy appointments and community service hours.
Lohan was ready to start a new chapter in her life and get back to the good old days. Lohan appeared on Glee (2012) and The Canyons (2013) and realized how much she missed doing what she is best at. Unfortunately, in the summer of 2013 reckless driving and lying to police caused Lohan to enter rehab once more, pushing off her probation. After finishing her community service, Lohan moved into an NYC apartment and worked with a life coach to get back on track for real. In 2014, Lohan made the decision to live abroad as she grew up and changed. If she wasn’t fighting enough battles already, she was physically assaulted by her ex-husband in Greece and had to deal with the trauma. Lohan started opening up beach clubs and speaking out on her past, and in 2020 eventually decided to start filming again and move back to the United States. In 2020, she appeared with cast-mates in reunions for The Parent Trap and Mean Girls and hopped back on the social media grind as she joined in on viral TikTok and Instagram trends. Today, the star is doing personalized Cameos, appearing in commercials such as the 2022 Super Bowl Planet Fitness commercial and is back on the screens. Lohan recently played the lead role in the Netflix holiday film, Falling for Christmas, which marked her first major comeback in a movie. Lohan is an inspiration to many, and will always be an icon holding that natural gift on the screens. This is only the beginning of a new chapter in her life as she embarks on this new phase of development and change. It will be exciting to see how Lohan’s comeback grows as she still has a lot of life to live and wonderful opportunities ahead of her.