20 Former Disney Stars Who Ended Up Facing The Full Wrath Of The Law

Being a child star doesn’t last forever. And the pressures of transitioning from youth to adulthood can majorly disrupt a life, too. That may have been the case with some of these 20 Disney stars – all of whom have had brushes with the law.

20. Lindsay Lohan (The Parent Trap)

Lindsay Lohan is perhaps the poster girl for the fallen child star. After her breakthrough role in The Parent Trap in 1998, she became one of Disney’s most popular actresses, appearing in movies such as Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. Unfortunately, though, Lohan herself would end up causing quite a bit of drama off screen.

You see, as she grew up, Lohan continually made headlines for her bad behavior and drink and drug habits. And in 2007 it all caught up with her. That year, she went to rehab multiple times and was arrested twice for DUIs, along with a drug-related offense on one of those occasions. Sadly, she’s been apprehended frequently since then as well.

19. Billy Unger (Lab Rats)

Billy Unger played bionic kid Chase Davenport in the Disney XD show Lab Rats. “I am definitely excited to be one of the new faces of the channel,” he told Shine On Media in 2012, just before the show debuted. “I don’t know if there’s any pressure, [and] I try not to think about it.” He probably didn’t predict that he’d be arrested for drunk driving in 2014, however.

And while Unger was actually not above the legal blood alcohol limit for driving, he had still been speeding and was too young to have been drinking in the first place. The actor subsequently released a statement about the arrest. “As I move forward responsibly in this matter, I simply ask the public – and, more importantly, my fans – to reserve judgment and allow the opportunity for me to address this issue properly through the legal system,” he said.


18. David Henrie (Wizards of Waverly Place)

David Henrie is known to fans as Justin Russo from Wizards of Waverly Place as well as Ted’s son Luke in How I Met Your Mother. At one point, he was also somewhat of a teen idol. But a few years after Wizards of Waverly Place had ended, Henrie found himself in a tricky situation while at Los Angeles International Airport.

You see, in September 2018 Henrie was caught with a loaded gun in the airport and subsequently arrested. In a statement published on Instagram, though, he apologized, adding that he hadn’t known that the gun was loaded. “I take responsibility for the situation at LAX today,” the actor wrote. “I unintentionally brought my legally owned gun which is registered in my name to the airport.”


17. Daniel Samonas (Wizards of Waverly Place)

Unfortunately, David Henrie isn’t the only Wizards of Waverly Place actor to have found himself on the wrong side of the law. His co-star Daniel Samonas, who played the boyfriend of Selena Gomez’s character, was arrested just a day after Henrie in 2018. In Samonas’ case, though, he was apprehended at the annual Burning Man festival.

Samonas’ alleged crime? Driving under the influence, according to the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office. Apparently, the former Disney star had been behaving carelessly while driving through the area. Whether the arrest will affect Samonas’ career or not remains to be seen – especially as he hasn’t actually appeared on screen since 2013.


16. Adam Hicks (Zeke and Luther)

Everything seemed to be going well for Adam Hicks. He had been the co-lead of Disney’s Zeke and Luther, which in turn had helped him embark on a music career. Following Zeke and Luther’s conclusion, he had also had major roles in the shows Texas Rising and Freakish. In 2018, however, Hicks became a suspect in a very serious series of crimes.

In particular, Hicks and his girlfriend were apprehended on suspicion of armed robbery in January of that year. Giving further details of the alleged crimes, the gossip website TMZ reported that the pair had robbed multiple people, with two of the victims apparently being elderly women. However, a medic who had assessed Hicks as part of the case concluded that he was suffering from a mental health issue that affected his ability to determine what is real.


15. Orlando Brown (That’s So Raven)

Orlando Brown is now practically as famous for being in trouble with the law as he is for playing Eddie in Disney’s That’s So Raven. It all apparently started in 2016, when he allegedly hit his girlfriend while in the possession of meth. He ended up being charged with a variety of offenses, including drug possession with intent to sell and misdemeanor domestic battery.

And yet it actually got even worse from there. Indeed, in 2018 Brown was arrested no fewer than four times. In January he allegedly committed another act of domestic violence, while in April he was tracked down by bounty hunters for having an outstanding warrant. Come June, Brown was apparently caught with drugs, and in September he was apprehended for allegedly breaking into a restaurant. It’s probably fair to say, then, that he won’t be back on TV for a while…


14. Shia LaBeouf (Even Stevens)

Yes, Shia LaBeouf started off as a Disney kid, playing Louis Stevens in Even Stevens. He was so charming, in fact, that he won a Daytime Emmy Award for his performance in 2003. Acclaim and huge blockbuster movies would follow, too, with LaBeouf later appearing in the likes of the Transformers franchise and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

However, as successful as LaBeouf is, he’s also had run-ins with the law. In 2014, for example, he was arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct and apparently chose to swear and spit at the cops who came to get him. Then in 2017 he was arrested again for being drunk and disorderly – and, it’s said, swore again at the arresting officers.


13. Mitchel Musso (Hannah Montana)

Mitchel Musso is perhaps best known for playing Oliver Oken in smash hit Disney Channel show Hannah Montana. He was seemingly so beloved by Disney at one point, in fact, that the company apparently planned to work with him for several more years after his casting in Disney XD’s Pair of Kings. However, in October 2011 the star was apprehended for driving under the influence.

Musso duly released a statement of apology, telling E! Online, “I have learned first hand that stepping up and taking responsibility is the best way to move forward.” But alas, the show of contrition appeared to come too late, as Musso was subsequently written out of Pair of Kings and replaced with… Adam Hicks. Oops.


12. Anneliese van der Pol (That’s So Raven)

From 2003 to 2007 Anneliese van der Pol played Chelsea in That’s So Raven. Disney quickly started taking advantage of her singing abilities, too, with the actress performing several songs for Disney TV movies and compilations. Van der Pol was even offered the role of Kim Possible, but she ultimately turned it down.

However, in 2006 – while That’s So Raven was still running – Van der Pol was arrested for a DUI, with her blood-alcohol level turning out to be more than double the limit in California. But that didn’t kill her career. The star appeared in plenty of plays and musicals after that, and in 2017 she reprised her role as Chelsea in the That’s So Raven sequel, Raven’s Home.


11. Lalaine (Lizzie McGuire)

From 2001 to 2004 Lalaine Vergara-Paras – known just as Lalaine – played Miranda Sanchez in Disney’s Lizzie McGuire. But after the series had finished, she went on a bit of a downward spiral. In 2007, for instance, Lalaine was caught with methamphetamine and subsequently charged with possession. A later plea deal also led to court-mandated rehab.

Then in 2015 Lalaine talked to HuffPost about what she called her “dark years.” The star explained, “After I got arrested, that was like a slap in the face that I needed to turn my perspective around.” She also considered the pressure she had felt to be a role model. “I may have effed that responsibility up a bit when I went through my dark days, but for the ones that haven’t totally abandoned me, I appreciate that a whole lot,” she added.


10. Kirsten Storms (Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century)

Kirsten Storms played the main character of 1999’s Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century – an extremely popular Disney Channel film that spawned two sequels. She was also the voice of Bonnie in Kim Possible. And Storms went on to success as an adult, too, earning an Emmy nod for her turn in General Hospital.

Storms hasn’t entirely escaped legal trouble, though. In September 2007 she was spotting throwing a lit cigarette from a car; subsequently, she was given a sobriety test that she ultimately failed. As a result, then, Storms was arrested for driving under the influence, for which she ended up being put on a three-year probation. She was also fined $1,643 and had her driver’s license suspended for half a year.


9. Dutch Elijah Whitlock (High School Musical)

Fans of High School Musical fans will likely recognize the face of “I play the cello” dude Dutch Elijah Whitlock. Utah residents may know who he is, too, as Whitlock has appeared in a series of anti-smoking adverts in the state. All that may have ensured that he was spotted instantly when he committed a robbery in 2008.

It also didn’t help that Whitlock had decided to rob the very restaurant at which he had previously been employed. After holding up Five Buck Pizza with a gun, though, he would eventually surrender to law enforcement. Later, he offered a guilty plea for his crime. And, no, he hasn’t acted since then.


8. Phill Lewis (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody)

Phill Lewis may not have been a child when he got started on the Disney Channel, but he nevertheless quickly became one of the network’s biggest stars. His performance as Mr. Moseby in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody won him a lot of fans, too. And that was despite the fact that there is a terrible and tragic incident in Lewis’ past.

In December 1991 Lewis had been drunk behind the wheel when a fatal car crash took place. A woman was killed as a result, with Lewis going on to be charged with manslaughter. The future star then served a year in prison, but he would have ended up with a longer stint if not for what he had done during his incarceration. To wit, Lewis joined an acting group that went to schools to teach the dangers of substance abuse, and part of his sentence was suspended in return.


7. Mischa Barton (A Ring of Endless Light)

Mischa Barton made her name in The O.C., although she was a pretty in-demand child star even before that point. As a kid, she appeared in the likes of Notting Hill, The Sixth Sense, All My Children and 2002 Disney TV movie A Ring of Endless Light. But, unfortunately, Barton’s lifestyle would eventually catch up with her.

You see, in December 2007 the actress was caught driving under the influence and arrested. “I’m really disappointed in myself,” she told Ryan Seacrest at the time. “I just don’t ever intend to do something this stupid again.” And she didn’t. Although she continues to have legal issues and scandals, her arrest record hasn’t increased.


6. Debby Ryan (Jessie)

Debby Ryan appeared in The Suite Life on Deck in 2008 before earning her own Disney Channel show, Jessie. During her time in Jessie, she also became the network’s youngest ever female director – a considerable achievement. In April 2016 things seemed to go awry for the star, though, when she was arrested for driving under the influence.

Shortly after her arrest, Ryan tweeted an apology. “Over the last few days, I have had the chance to think about my actions, and I wish I had used better judgement,” she wrote. “I am so sorry to disappoint everyone.” But it all turned out alright for Ryan, as she now stars in the Netflix show Insatiable.


5. Brandon Mychal Smith (Sonny with a Chance)

Brandon Mychal Smith did very well for himself on the Disney Channel. He appeared alongside Demi Lovato in the show Sonny with a Chance and its spinoff as well as nabbing roles in Starstruck and Let It Shine. In the process, Smith gained a lot of fans, too – some of whom he has been known to interact with on social media.

And perhaps those fans were shocked when Smith was arrested for DUI. In July 2017 the actor was caught committing a traffic violation in his Rolls-Royce and then discovered to be over the limit. Luckily, though, his career appears to have survived, as in 2018 he was cast in the TV version of Four Weddings and a Funeral.


4. Jason Weaver (Smart Guy)

Jason Weaver notably played Marcus Henderson in Disney’s Smart Guy. Not only that, but he was also the singing voice of Young Simba in Disney classic The Lion King. Weaver could very well have gone on to big Disney things as an adult, then, if he hadn’t been arrested in 2011 for an apparently embarrassing crime.

At first, websites reported that Weaver had been arrested for defecating in public. The star himself denied on Twitter, however, that that had been his crime. “I was arrested in Dunwoody, Georgia, for urinating behind a gas station at 2:00 a.m. when the clerk refused to open the door for me,” he wrote on the social media site, understandably rather annoyed.


3. Mackenzie Phillips (So Weird)

Like Phill Lewis, Mackenzie Phillips had seemingly tried to put her past behind her when she ended up on the Disney Channel. Back in 1977, while starring in the series One Day at a Time, it became clear that she was addicted to drugs. She was also arrested for disorderly conduct and eventually lost her job. But even after Phillips had won her role in Disney’s 1999 series So Weird, her troubles appeared to follow her.


In 2008 Phillips was arrested at an airport after being caught with heroin and cocaine; as part of her sentence, she had to complete a drug rehab program, which she did successfully. The star now seems to be in a better place both personally and with her career, having won acclaim for her performance in the sixth season of Orange is the New Black.

2. Joey Cramer (Flight of the Navigator)

Joey Cramer was the child star of Disney’s Flight of the Navigator back in 1986. His turn in the movie was so good, in fact, that he received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Performance by a Young Actor. But after Cramer reached adulthood, everything appeared to go horribly wrong.

Yes, from 2008 Cramer has repeatedly run into trouble with the law. Among the alleged crimes for which he has been charged are drug possession with intent to traffic, threatening behavior with a weapon, forgery of bank checks and bank robbery. And his downturn in fortunes has been so spectacular that a documentary is even being made about Cramer’s life.


1. Darlene Gillespie (The Mickey Mouse Club)

Darlene Gillespie may very well be the very first fallen Disney star. She was one of the original Mouseketeers on The Mickey Mouse Club in the ’50s. She even had her own serial in the show, Corky and White Shadow, which tracked the adventures of a girl and her dog. But the success didn’t last.

Moreover, Gillespie has been arrested several times throughout her life. In 1997 she committed an act of petty theft that led to three years’ probation. Her third husband, Jerry Fraschilla, then appeared to have enticed her into more serious crimes involving fraud and bad checks. Certainly, Gillespie appears to have lived an interesting life…