This column was inspired by relative success of the 11 Aussie Actors Who Haven’t Fucked It Up Just Yet column as well as the (more recent) erroneous claim (on behalf of Jodie Foster) that Kristen Stewart should be given a free pass because she’s a child star. While I’m not even going to try to touch (in this venue, anyway) the fact that Kristen is being fired upon (much more than her male accomplice) for her sins against the Twihard universe, I’m simply making issue of Jodie’s odd framing device because Kristen wasn’t really even a “child star.” Hell, Kristen wasn’t even well-known until she was a 17-year-old starring in the first movie of the Twilight franchise, so the term doesn’t even apply. In that spirit, here are some other (relevant) examples of actual former child stars who haven’t, you know, pulled a Lindsay Lohan. Yet.
Joseph Gordon Levitt: He’s Tommy Solomon no longer. JGL has done quite well for himself and is now (for better or worse) a Christopher Nolan favorite.
Danica McKellar: Winnie Cooper grew up good. She’s a New York Times bestseller thanks to her math-centered books, which include Math Doesn’t Suck, Hot X: Algebra Exposed!, and Kiss My Math.
Jason Bateman: C’mon, who didn’t love “Arrested Development” and welcome this guy back from his Teen Wolf Too days? Lest you think he’s always playing the same straight-man role, remember how unrecognizable (both appearance and demeanor-wise) he was in Up In the Air?
Claire Danes: She’ll always be Angela Chase to me, but she’s made her own way by appearing in both commercial productions (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Romeo + Juliet) as well as quirky little indies (Shopgirl, U Turn).
Daniel Radcliffe: You guys could just sense this guy falling into oblivion with his angry, naked booty in the Equus stage production, right? Wrong.
Dakota Fanning: Perhaps this entry is premature since she’s taken some time off to attend NYU, but that’s also a sign that she won’t go off the rails anytime soon.
Natalie Portman: True, she’s the only Oscar winner of the bunch and has arguably only embraced her independent spirit in order to counteract the awfulness of the Star Wars prequels. But hey, she could be lying in a ditch and smoking meth right now, and she clearly is not doing just that.
Christian Bale: For whatever reason,I feel that Bale should be held to a very high standard (because he can handle it). Most of the time, he meets that standard. Other times? Not so much.
Emma Watson: You just know that some enterprising paparazzo would love to get a photo of topless Hermione Granger, but that won’t be happening anytime soon.
Mila Kunis: Does “Jackie” from “That ’70s Show” count as a child star? Sure as hell she does, and she’s the hottest one of the bunch. Plus she hung out with all those Scientologists in the cast without falling prey to the madness. Too bad about that Seth MacFarlane nonsense, but that’s also a huge reason for her success.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at Celebitchy.