She was a working kid whose paychecks helped feed, if not fuel, her dysfunctional family. No, Lindsay Lohan didn't get dealt a winner's hand.
And yet while Lohan's life and career have spiraled downward, these stars have overcome their own upbringings—and child stardom:
1. Drew Barrymore: This much-loved star could tell Lohan a thing or three about growing up too fast with too much money and too little supervision. She got drunk at 9; did cocaine at 12; hit bottom at 13. When she was 14, she attempted the long climb back up. As her long list of hit movies and brief list of scandalous headlines suggest, she made it.
2. Brooke Shields: Mom Teri was a notorious stage parent, with a reputation for pushing her underage model daughter into underclothed movies (Pretty Baby, Blue Lagoon) and tight Calvin Klein jeans. With a detour to Princeton, Shields took control of her image, if not her life. Don't look for her own children to follow in her footsteps—at least not while they're children.
3. Macaulay Culkin: Arguably, his dad made his career; inarguably, his dad destroyed it. After retiring from what had become a tiresome child-star run (Richie Rich was the last straw, for audiences and Hollywood), the former Home Alone phenom returned in the 2000s as a reinvented, reinvigorated working actor, out of the spotlight, and out from the influence of his since-exiled father.
4. Shia LaBeouf: The Transformers star isn't saying it's a bad thing he saw his "parents have sex, smoke weed…[and do] weird hippie stuff." But we're saying other people have gone off the rails over less. One key difference with LaBeouf: He, not his parents, was the driving force behind his Even Stevens break. "It wasn't like I was being pimped," he once said.
5. Patty Duke: At age 8, Duke's single mom relinquished custody of the girl, name of Anna Marie, to a husband-and-wife management team who declared her old self dead. The redubbed Patty was coached to lie on a quiz show, and pushed to success, including an Oscar at 16 for The Miracle Worker. After, she struggled with undiagnosed and untreated bipolar disorder. She had a 13-day marriage. She delivered a "glassy-eyed," "incoherent" Emmy acceptance speech. In short, if the 24/7 news cycle existed in the 1960s and 1970s, Duke would have been its Lohan. The good news for Lohan? She still has a shot at becoming this era's Duke, who survived to tell the tale.
When child-star stories go bad, you've got the Five Saddest Child-Star Stories.