10 former child stars get candid about life in the limelight

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Being in the limelight is no easy task, especially if you’re a young star. 

From Bella Thorne to Miley Cyrus, many child actors grow up and embark on their life paths in front of the public’s eyes. 

Here is what these celebs have had to say about being a young Hollywood star and what they’ve learned along the way.

Bella Thorne

Bella Thorne felt 'like a liar' during her child star days.

Bella Thorne felt ‘like a liar’ during her child star days.
(Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Bella Thorne, who rose to prominence through Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up” alongside Zendaya, soon shed the squeaky-clean, child star image in favor of an edgier and more mature persona following the end of her Disney days.

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In an exclusive interview with Fox News, Thorne spoke on her beginnings and what led to her transition from child star to the adult media mogul that she is today.

“I wish I would have been true to myself,” Thorne, 23, said when asked what she would change about her time with Disney. “When it came to filming, I would talk in a higher voice or do different things to make myself appear more innocent. It made me feel like a liar because I had to pretend to be someone I was not – even if it made me famous.”

Thorne was 13 when “Shake It Up” debuted in 2010.

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus doesn't remember much from her 'Hannah Montana' days.

Miley Cyrus doesn’t remember much from her ‘Hannah Montana’ days.
(Mike Coppola/FilmMagic)

Miley Cyrus represents yet another Disney actress who traded in an image of innocence for one of controversy.

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In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Cyrus opened up about her time on “Hannah Montana” and revealed that “there’s so much” she doesn’t remember from her child star days.

“There’s so much I don’t remember about being a child entertainer because it was so much to keep in my brain,” Miley told the outlet in 2017. “It’s like anything when you are in it. I didn’t realize how much pressure I was under and how that shaped me until, like, this year.”

“People were so shocked by some of the things that I did,” she continued, referring to her controversial 2013 MTV Video Music Awards scene with Robin Thicke. “It should be more shocking that when I was 11 or 12, I was put in full hair and makeup, a wig, and told what to wear by a group of mostly older men.”

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Cyrus was 13 when “Hannah Montana” premiered in 2006.

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez thinks child stars are 'easy targets.'

Selena Gomez thinks child stars are ‘easy targets.’
(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Childhood fame was like “watching a car crash,” according to Selena Gomez, who was 7 when she first appeared on “Barney and Friends.” She went on to star on Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place.”

“We’re easy targets,” Gomez said of child stars in an interview with GQ, per People magazine. “It’s disgusting, because it’s interesting to grown adults that these kids go through weird things because they’re figuring out, ‘Do I like this? Do I love this? Maybe I love this person. Oh, I’m exposed to this, people are reporting my every move and this and that because of Instagram and Twitter and you can find out everything.'”

“Because it’s, I don’t know, fun, maybe? It’s like watching a car crash as you’re driving past it. You want to watch it,” she continued.

“I didn’t have an opportunity to figure out my life without people having an opinion every step of the way,” Gomez, 28, added.

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Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato jokes that she has 'PTSD' from her Disney days.

Demi Lovato jokes that she has ‘PTSD’ from her Disney days.
(Getty)

Demi Lovato was also 7 when she appeared on “Barney & Friends” alongside Selena Gomez before she went on to appear in Disney Channel projects.

“We joked around that it was Disney High, except we all were shooting shows and really overworking,” Lovato, 28, told Billboard in 2016. “I joke that I sometimes have PTSD after leaving the channel, because if my schedule starts to get too busy, I rebel and I get b—-y.”

“When you’re on set, you work like an adult,” Lovato continued. “I always wanted to be the next Shirley Temple, to be the youngest person to ever win a Grammy and an Oscar. It didn’t turn out that way. I don’t regret it, but I probably won’t allow my kids to get into the industry unless it’s on their terms.”

Hilary Duff

Hilary Duff has positive memories about her time on 'Lizzie McGuire.'

Hilary Duff has positive memories about her time on ‘Lizzie McGuire.’
(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Though Hilary Duff has had some ups and downs from her Disney Channel days, the actress looks back on “Lizzie McGuire” in a positive light.

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“As torturous as it has been at some points in my life to be Lizzie McGuire, I think that when that show came out, it was such a part of who I was, I didn’t feel like I was playing a part,” Duff, 33, told PrideSource in 2015.

She continued: “The writers all knew me so well and were writing things that were happening in my life and things that I would say, and I was dressing exactly like I wanted. It was so me.”

Duff was 13 when “Lizzie McGuire” first premiered in 2001.

Jennette McCurdy

Jennette McCurdy says she resents her career 'in a lot of ways' when discussing 'iCarly.'

Jennette McCurdy says she resents her career ‘in a lot of ways’ when discussing ‘iCarly.’
(Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

The now-retired “iCarly” alum, 28, is not proud of her child star past.

In a March episode of her podcast, “Empty Inside,” Jennette McCurdy opened up about her past roles and her decision to retire from acting. 

“I quit a few years ago to try my hand at writing and directing—it’s going great,” she said with a laugh while speaking to fellow actress and podcast guest Anna Faris.

McCurdy continued: “I quit a few years ago because I initially didn’t want to do it. My mom put me in it when I was 6 and by sort of age, I guess, 10 or 11, I was the main financial support for my family.”

“It was very much the pressure of my family didn’t have a lot of money, and this was the way out, which I actually think was helpful in driving me to some degree of success because I don’t think I would have been as ambitious if I didn’t know that it was for my family,” McCurdy explained. “I had to f—–g do good and hit my mark and nail my thing.”

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McCurdy also revealed that she resents her past acting career because she’s not particularly proud of the roles she played.

“My experience with acting is, I’m so ashamed of the parts I’ve done in the past,” she said. “I resent my career in a lot of ways. I feel so unfulfilled by the roles that I played and felt like it was the most cheesy, embarrassing. I did the shows that I was on from like 13 to 21, and by 15, I was already embarrassed.”

“My friends at 15, weren’t like, ‘Oh, cool, you’re on this Nickelodeon show.’ It was embarrassing,” she admitted. “And I imagine there’s a very different experience to be had with acting if you’re proud of your roles, and if you feel fulfilled by them.”

McCurdy began her acting career at the age of 8 with an appearance on “Mad TV.” The actress then began her meteoric rise to fame at the age of 14 with “iCarly.”

Rivkah Reyes

Rivkah Reyes revealed that they were bullied following their role in 'School of Rock.'

Rivkah Reyes revealed that they were bullied following their role in ‘School of Rock.’
(Paramount Pictures)

Rivkah Reyes played the role of bass player Katie in the 2003 film, “School of Rock,” starring Jack Black.

Nearly one year after publishing an essay about becoming an addict following their experience of bullying and being hypersexualized at a young age, Reyes discussed the similarities they feel to Britney Spears.

Speaking to the New York Post in March, Reyes — who uses the gender-neutral pronouns they/them — detailed the horrors they experienced, including unwanted attention and being hypersexualized at age 10, following the wrapping of “School of Rock.”

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“Especially after production wrapped, when I first came back to school, people were really nice or really mean. There was no middle ground,” Reyes, 28, said. “I was literally followed around the school with people chanting ‘School of Rock.'”

In 2019, Reyes penned a poignant essay about the downsides of fame and revealed the trauma they endured after the film.

“I went home to Chicago, and because kids are a——s, I was bullied even more when I came back to school,” they said. “I’ll never forget one girl who came up to me and asked me to sign her lunch card, then tore it up and threw it in the trash in front of me.

The former child star also noted that “grown men would sexualize” her on online message boards and that “When I was in sixth grade, a strange man in a trench coat came to my school and tried to take photos of me, and absolutely nothing was done about it.”

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Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci 'had some incredible experiences' as a child star.

Christina Ricci ‘had some incredible experiences’ as a child star.
(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

The “Addams Family” star, 41, has fond memories of being a child star.

“I’ve had some incredible experiences and loved working as a child. I have to say The Addams Family movies were two really really — they were like glory days for me as a 10 and 12-year-old,” Christina Ricci said in a 2018 interview with People magazine.

“Those were great movies to be on,” she added.

Ricci made her big-screen debut in “Mermaids” at the age of 10. She then starred in “The Addams Family” the year after. 

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Jodie Sweetin

Jodie Sweetin rose to fame through her role as Stephanie Tanner on 'Full House.'

Jodie Sweetin rose to fame through her role as Stephanie Tanner on ‘Full House.’
(Getty)

Jodie Sweetin, who played the spunky Stephanie Tanner on “Full House” at the age of 5, revealed that there were highs and lows throughout her experience as a child star on the popular 1990s sitcom.

“The blessing and the curse of being in this industry is that people want to know about you and what it is that you do and have done, the good and the bad,” Sweetin, 39, told People magazine in 2017. “What that affords you is the opportunity to be able to share those things and be able to grow with people and in front of people.”

“I love taking the good stuff and the bad stuff I’ve been through and being able to share it with people,” she continued. “If nothing else, being in the limelight gives you the platform to speak about things you believe in.”

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Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe (middle) made his claim to fame as Harry Potter in the popular film franchise.

Daniel Radcliffe (middle) made his claim to fame as Harry Potter in the popular film franchise.
(Warner Bros.)

Daniel Radcliffe, who earned his fame from the “Harry Potter” series, had an undying passion for acting from an early age.

In a 2015 interview with Playboy, Radcliffe opened up about what made him successful and revealed that he feels he “got lucky” during his ascent to fame.

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“People expect me to be an absolute a—–e. And when I’m not, that always plays in my favor,” Radcliffe told the outlet. “The most underrated way I and all the producers on Potter got lucky was that I f—–g loved the work.”

“I’ve seen kids on set who are bored, and I’m like, ‘What are you doing? This is the best place on Earth,'” Radcliffe continued. “I loved it from the word go. I loved being on set. I loved the hours. I loved the people. … Acting was the focus for me, and I wasn’t going to do anything to jeopardize being an actor.”

Radcliffe made his acting debut in BBC One’s “David Copperfield” at the age of 10. The actor then rose to fame with the “Harry Potter” series at the age of 12.

Fox News’ Melissa Roberto contributed to this report

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