Child star scandals are shockingly common. Whether they matured too fast or got arrested, once these actors stopped conforming to their networks' vision, they were kicked to the curb. Executives apparently weigh what's more important: the image of the TV show or the contribution of the child star. In most cases, that means young actors and actresses wind up fired from TV shows.
Every year is marked with celebrity gossip, and child actors who were fired for scandals often end up as more grist for the rumor mill. Jessica Biel, once one of the wholesome kids on 7th Heaven, caused a stir by posing for a racy photo shoot. Disney star Mitchel Musso was fired after he got slapped with a DUI. And then there's Jamie Lynn Spears, who became pregnant at the age of 16. That meant her relationship with Nickelodeon was over.
Some actors think they're above the law, and attaining fame at a young age certainly comes with privileges. But whether they were TGIF darlings or supposed sitcom staples, their fame ultimately didn't matter. These child actors who lost TV jobs over scandalous behavior all wound up without gigs in the end.
Tommy Kirk became a huge star in the 1950s and '60s, thanks to roles in Disney project including Old Yeller, The Swiss Family Robinson, and The Hardy Boys, to name a few. He was widely considered a positive role model for young people, but that wasn't enough for Disney. Homosexuality was considered shocking at the time, and after finding out Kirk was gay, Disney gave him the boot.
Kirk had attempted to hide his orientation for years, but eventually grew tired of the charade:
When I was about 17 or 18 years old, I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t going to change. I didn’t know what the consequences would be, but I had the definite feeling that it was going to wreck my Disney career and maybe my whole acting career. It was all going to come to an end. Eventually, I became involved with somebody and I was fired.
Jamie Lynn Spears grew up in a family that knows the terrible power of public scrutiny; her older sister is Britney Spears, after all. But in 2007, the Zoey 101 star landed in the middle of a scandal of her own. At 16-years-old, Spears became pregnant with her then-boyfriend, Casey Aldridge.
Once the news came out, the executives at Nickelodeon had to move fast. Zoey 101 was for kids, so they couldn't write the pregnancy onto the show. Since Spears was the title character, there was no way to go on without her. So, after four seasons, Nickelodeon said goodbye to Spears and the rest of the cast and canceled the show.
Remember ABC's TGIF lineup? With shows like Full House, Family Matters, Step By Step, and Boy Meets World, it was must-watch TV. Unfortunately, things didn't work out so great for TGIF actor Sasha Mitchell.
In the '90s, Mitchell played Cody on Step By Step. His fun-loving, sweetly dim-witted character was a crowd-pleaser. Off screen, though, things were pretty dark. Mitchell was arrested for spousal abuse in 1995; according to him, his wife was beating their children, and he retaliated. He received three years probation, but he continuously violated his terms and was sentenced to jail time.
Lisa Bonet played Denise Huxtable on the wildly popular '80s sitcom The Cosby Show. She was rumored to cause her fair share of issues over the years, like arriving late to set, if she even showed up at all. Then, in 1987, Bonet appeared in Angel Heart. The movie included a scene in which the nude Bonet had blood-soaked sex with Mickey Rourke, a sequence that earned the film an X rating.
Bill Cosby had apparently had enough of her behavior, and Bonet was kicked off The Cosby Show. The network spun the character of Denise off into a new series, A Different World. But Bonet didn't stay long; she left after becoming pregnant with her first child with then-husband Lenny Kravitz.