Child Actors Who Had Trouble With The Law As Adults

The life of a child actor might seem like a dream come true. They have fame, fortune, and way more interesting summer vacations than other kids their age. But the transition from younger years marked by superstardom into adulthood can be difficult. Fame can fade, and Hollywood is a difficult place to succeed. Perhaps it's not surprising that there are some former child actors who committed crimes as they got older.

Sometimes, these former stars who broke the law struggled with drug and alcohol problems brought on by their unconventional upbringing in the spotlight. At other times, their criminal records seemed to stem from deep-seated mental illness. True, a few of these celebs may have gotten off easy compared to everyday members of the public. But the fact they all sat for mug shots and were charged with crimes proves that even celebrity kids turned criminals can’t escape the law.

  • Joey Cramer
    Photo: Almagordo/Keraunoscopia / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Joey Cramer

    Joey Cramer, who starred in Disney's 1986 movie Flight of the Navigator, was arrested in connection with a bank robbery in British Columbia in 2016. 

    Police said a man wearing a scraggly wig, a bandanna, sunglasses, and a dark jacket demanded money from a Sechelt, British Columbia bank on April 28, 2016. Despite the disguise, they found Cramer, who was then charged with robbery, disguise with intent to commit an indictable offense, failing to stop for a peace officer, and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. 

    • Age: 50
    • Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
    • Credits: Flight of the Navigator, The Runaway, I-Man, Stone Fox
  • Lillo Brancato
    Photo: A Bronx Tale / Savoy Pictures

    Lillo Brancato Jr. had roles in shows including The Sopranos. He was arrested in 2005 following a shootout with an off-duty police officer, who had confronted him and another man attempting to enter a vacant house. During the shooting, police officer Daniel Enchategui was killed, and both assailants were critically wounded.

    Following a lengthy trial, Brancato, Jr. was acquitted of the murder of the officer, but was found guilty of first-degree attempted burglary and given a jail sentence of 10 years.

    • Age: 47
    • Birthplace: Bogotá, Colombia
    • Credits: The Sopranos, A Bronx Tale, The Adventures of Pluto Nash
  • Winona Ryder was the "it" girl of the late '80s and early '90s, starring in favorites like Beetlejuice and Heathers. Her career showed no signs of slowing down, but in 2001, Ryder was arrested after she was accused of stealing more than $5,000 worth of designer goods from a department store in Beverly Hills. After being discovered by security, she was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department.

    In 2002, the prosecution brought a number of charges against Ryder, including shoplifting, grand theft, and vandalism, and accused her of using restricted drugs without a prescription. The jury found her guilty of several of the charges, leading to judge to sentence her to 480 hours of community service, thousands of dollars in fines and restitution, and three years probation. Ryder later claimed that the incident was the result of depression and a dependency on painkillers that she was taking due to a broken arm.

    • Age: 51
    • Birthplace: Winona, Minnesota, USA
    • Credits: Beetlejuice, Heathers, Lucas
  • Shia LaBeouf was a successful child actor on the Disney Channel, and his fame didn't fade once he grew up: he appeared in major films like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Transformers. However, he has also been involved in a number of violent incidents. In 2005, the actor get into a confrontation with a neighbor; LaBeouf allegedly rammed his car into another vehicle while he was waiting to gain access to his garage. A few hours later, another fight broke out between the pair - LaBeouf went to his neighbor’s house with a kitchen knife to threaten him.

    In January of 2017, the actor was arrested at an anti-Trump rally in New York City. He was charged with misdemeanor assault and a harassment violation. 

    • Age: 37
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
    • Credits: Even Stevens, Holes, The Battle of Shaker Heights
  • Since appearing in Terminator 2: Judgement Day as a 14-year-old, the life of Edward Furlong has not been as rosy as he might have liked. He has been involved in a number of domestic violence disputes with his girlfriends. Claims by several partners stated that he had been aggressive in their relationships, and he was arrested for "using force" against Monica Keena in May 2013. Both Keena and his former wife, Rachael Kneeland, have protective orders against Furlong.

    Furlong has blamed these incidents largely on his battle with drug addiction. According to the actor, he was both a heroin and cocaine addict.

    • Age: 46
    • Birthplace: USA, Glendale, California
    • Credits: Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Pecker, American History X, Detroit Rock City
  • Brian Bonsall
    Photo: LilMissDetroit / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Brian Bonsall's first big role was as Andy Keaton on Family Ties starting in 1986, when he was just five years old. He starred in the film Blank Check and appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Worf's son. He retired from acting in 1995, but has remained in the public eye due to a string of legal troubles. After a 2004 arrest for drunk driving, in 2007, he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend. Bonsall was sentenced to two years of probation. He was later arrested for violating his probation and failing to appear in court when he was in a violent fight with a friend he allegedly beat with part of a barstool.

    • Age: 41
    • Birthplace: Torrance, California, USA
    • Credits: Family Ties, Blank Check, Mikey, Mother Goose Rock n' Rhyme