In light of Amanda Bynes's recent arrest, one former child star is speaking out about why child actors have a tendency to get into trouble later in life. You may remember Mara Wilson as the adorable 6-year-old who made your heart melt in "Mrs. Doubtfire." But after starring in movies as a kid, she stepped out of the limelight to attend New York University, a choice she made because she "knew [she] didn't want to be famous." In an article published Tuesday on Cracked.com, Mara writes of the early pitfalls of stardom, saying, "Not many child stars make it out of Hollywood alive or sane, and at any given time there are at least three former ones having very public breakdowns."
So why do child stars fall apart? Mara breaks it down into seven reasons based on her knowledge and experiences.
Read on for the highlights ...
7. Their Parents Won't Help Them…
Mara pens, "I chose to start acting when I was 5. It was my decision, and my parents tried their hardest to discourage me. When I insisted, they allowed me to act, but were always very protective of me. I saw many child actors who did not have that, and they were all miserable."
6. …Or Their Parents Can't Help Them
The former child star explains, "When Miley Cyrus went through a series of scandals in 2010, one involving the scarier-than-pot-but-somehow-more-legal salvia, Billy Ray Cyrus went on record saying that he had very little control over his daughter anymore. Her Disney entourage had long since taken over. Even if he wasn't telling the complete truth about his role in his daughter's scandals, it was clear that he, the parent, was not in control."
5. They Get Used to Love and Attention, and Then Lose It
Mara writes, "Adults know that infatuation is fleeting, but kids don't understand this. A year in a kid's life seems like an eternity, and they think anything happening now will happen forever."
4. They Have Been Sexually Exploited
"To be a teen idol is to be vulnerable. Brooke Shields has said that being a sex object led her to feel like she wasn't in control of her own body, and is one of the reasons she didn't have sex until she was 22."
3. They Need to Rebel, but Can't
Mara explains, "Having to live up to your fan base is a little like having to deal with a million strict parents who don't actually love you. They reward you for your cuteness and cleverness, but are quick to judge and punish. And they do not want you ever to grow up. How do you react? The way any sullen teenager does: You get resentful, and as soon as you have the freedom, you act out."
2. They Don't Know What Else to Do
She says, "If I were to talk to Lindsay Lohan, I'd encourage her to get the hell out of acting and into something soothing. Take up botany or something. But she wouldn't be likely to listen to me — and not only because I'm younger and way less hot than her. It's because she's been acting all her life, she has little education, and in her mind, there's nothing else she could do."
1. They Can't Escape It
She concludes, "It's a constant damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation: If former child actors bring up their past, they're washed-up opportunists shilling for attention. If they never do, they're clearly in denial."