"Former child star" has an eerie ring to it, especially when it comes before "turned troubled startlet who was arrested last night for allegedly tossing a bong out her window," as it does in the case of Amanda Bynes.
The, er, former star of multiple sitcoms and big-screen teen romcoms had been exhibiting increasingly erratic behavior over the past year—and while the behavior might not have culminated, it was certainly punctuated by her latest run-in with the law!
But while it's easy to point to the trappings of early wealth and fame as a possible reason for her acting out in adulthood, let's remember these five "former child stars" who grew up without a hitch.
Or, a least the public wasn't privy to any of their hitches...
1. Jodie Foster: She started acting when she was barely 7 and scored her first Academy Award nomination at 14, for playing a 12-year-old prostitute in the modern-day classic Taxi Driver. Thirty-six years later, she has a literature degree from Yale, two Oscars, two kids and an honest-to-goodness private life. And—as we all learned during her upbeat yet fiery discourse on living life on one's own terms that she gave during her Cecil B. DeMille Award acceptance speech at the Golden Globes this year—she wishes that young Hollywood today was given the same amount of space to grow up in as she was afforded back in the day.
2. Natalie Portman: The now 31-year-old star made her big-screen debut at 12 in The Professional and...well, she just kept acting, minus the seemingly minuscule amount of time she took off to graduate from Harvard. Sometimes she wears pretty clothes and people talk about them. She had a baby and got married, too. Won an Oscar. Etc.
3. Ron Howard: When was he never not on TV or behind the camera? You'd have to go way, way back to the womb practically, because Bryce Dallas Howard's dad was first onscreen when he was 18 months old and then became a big star at 6 when he started playing Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. It was high time for a midlife crisis, but instead he starred in American Graffiti in 1973 and, at 20, took on the role of high-schooler Richie Cunningham in Happy Days. At 28, he directed Night Shift and probably has since become the most accomplished and least scandalous "former child star" (or any star) to date.
4. Elijah Wood: The 32-year-old actor has come a long way since playing Video Game Boy in Back to the Future Part II in 1989. He powered through adorable-child stardom, turned into a thoughtful teen thesp, linked himself forever to the role of Frodo Baggins in his twenties and now ably splits his time between movies and his FX series, Wilfred. The only wild thing we're forgetting to mention is his...Nope, that's it.
5. Ryan Gosling: The 32-year-old heartthrob is none the worse for wear since getting his break on The All New Mickey Mouse Club when he was 12. He spent his potentially awkward twenties doing things like starring in The Notebook and getting nominated for an Oscar for playing a crack-addicted teacher in Half Nelson, leaving him no time to act out. And even though his latest film, Only God Forgives, was booed at Cannes, it's been pretty much All Good Things for Gosling throughout his long career.