Well, that explains a lot! Former child star Mara Wilson (she of Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda fame) has been out of the spotlight for years now, but the New York City-based actress has plenty to say about the stresses of growing up in the public eye.
In a recent article for humor site Cracked, Wilson, now 25 and a writer, laid out seven "reasons child stars go crazy," even giving some unsolicited advice to child star-turned-tabloid-queen Lindsay Lohan.
"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," Wilson writes. "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."
Wilson also points out that while "adults know that infatuation is fleeting," child actors "don't understand this." So when all the adulation and gifts and attention goes away as child actors grow up and go through puberty, they aren't quite sure how to deal with that, she concludes.
Add to that the fact that child stars typically go from having no control over crucial life and business decisions at the start of their career to having an obscene amount of money by the time they're going through their turbulent teen years, and they're pretty much set up for "a serious job hazard," Wilson explains.
"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," she says with a nod to The Surreal Life. "If they say it was fantastic, they're full of sh-t. If they acknowledge that it wasn't always fantastic, they're bitter."
Even child stars who have made a "successful" transition from their early success to a thriving career now still have issues, she points out.
"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," Wilson writes, adding that former child stars like Corey Feldman, Corey Haim and Todd Bridges have all come forward years later to say that they've been "sexually assaulted by adult men."
Today, Wilson explains that she makes an effort to avoid reading about herself, and is living a "normal" life away from the madness of Hollywood.
"People who meet me as an adult are often surprised that I'm alive and have never been in prison or rehab," she jokes. "Sometimes they're disappointed I'm not cooler: I'm a normal-looking woman living in a two-bedroom apartment in one of the less cool neighborhoods of New York."
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