Christy Carlson Romano may have been a teenager when playing Ren on Even Stevens, but even as a 14 year old she knew that Shia LaBeouf's father wasn't sipping coffee out of a mug that read "No. 1 Dad."
As the actress recalls in a YouTube video titled "The Truth About The Disney Channel," every set had different dynamics among the cast. Christy admits that "from time to time" she and Shia didn't get along, "but I think there were other people that didn't gel well."
Case in point: Shia's father, Jeffrey LaBeouf, and just about everyone working on the show. According to Christy, Shia's father "was a very negative presence amongst everybody."
This isn't new information by any means, as Shia himself has previously described the pressure his father put him under throughout his childhood. Their strife was even the subject of Shia's 2019 movie Honey Boy, in which he portrayed his allegedly abusive father. (Shia's dad has publicly denied hitting him "in the face," but admitted to threatening him "one time" during his childhood.)
That strained father-son relationship impacted Shia's career trajectory in good and bad ways, with Shia recalling in a 2019 interview that he pushed himself on the Even Stevens set because he believed that if his family "had more money, there'd be no fighting."
Christy went on to describe how she believed the show's how she believed the "physical gags [weren't] thought out or budgeted enough with safety in mind," prompting her to tell the writers that she didn't want to do the more intense stunts. But Shia, she said, "was more than willing to clown it up for everybody on the set."
Though they worked on the same set, Christy, now a mother of two, has a more positive outlook of her years playing Ren. She tells her YouTuber followers, "All in all, I do love Disney. I probably will always love them."
The Even Stevens cast previously acknowledged the difficulties Shia faced when they reunited in June 2020. Nick Spano, who portrayed Donnie Stevens, admitted that the set "wasn't as great a set as I think all of us fondly remember it to be," but he hoped Honey Boy wouldn't take away from the beloved memories people have.
"I want to leave people with a different impression, because we all go through difficult times in our lives, and we all experience moments very different than other people do, but I think that working in show business as long as I had," he explained, "there was nothing but a great sense of community and family on Even Stevens, and we actually all cared about each other."
Steven Anthony Lawrence, otherwise known to fans as Beans, added, "I saw Honey Boy, and it's not so much that everything else was so bad, it's just our set really was such a solitude, and a home for so many people, cast and crew... We all took such a huge refuge in coming to work, because it wasn't work, it was coming to see our family."