Amanda Bynes Compared to Other Troubled Kid Stars

Amanda Bynes (top) in a 2011 mugshot and, in 2000, as one of Nickelodeon's top stars. Bottom: Lindsay Lohan mugshot (2011) and, earlier, a fresh-faced Lindsay in 2001 (Photos: Getty Images)

It’s a phenomenon that has long fascinated us: Stars whose careers began when they were very young imploding (or seeming to) in their 20s.

Amanda Bynes was once the wholesome star of kids’ shows on Nickelodeon (“The Amanda Show,” “All That”) and then had her own sitcom for four seasons on The WB (“What I Like About You”).

And yet, despite all of that success and the money that went with it, she’s become, at age 27, the latest poster child for troubled former kid stars.

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Her arrest the other day on charges that she smoked pot in the lobby of her New York apartment building and later tossed a bong out of her apartment window was the culmination of a series of bizarre incidents in which Bynes was photographed and videotaped in the act of behaving strangely all over New York City.

The other day, a report on NBC’s “Today Show” compared Bynes to other young stars who seemed to go off the rails following their initial stardom — Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears (citing her “shaved-head” incident a few years back) and even Justin Bieber, who has made headlines recently with his reported pot use and scuffles with paparazzi.

Watch this “Today Show” report on Amanda Bynes and other kid stars:
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Of the four, Bieber is the youngest at age 19. Lohan is currently in rehab — again — at age 26. And Spears has, by all appearances, come out of her “terrible 20s” just fine; she’s 31 and no longer making headlines for bizarre behavior.

The Bynes story is nothing new, of course. At various times throughout the history of Hollywood we’ve seen stories about the travails of former kid stars who grow up and lash out after the attention they received as children dissipates.

It reminds us of an era more than 20 years ago when a slew of former kid stars were making headlines of their own for various crimes and strange incidents — Adam Rich (“Eight is Enough”), Danny Bonaduce (“The Partridge Family”), Todd Bridges (“Diff’rent Strokes”), the late Dana Plato (also “Diff’rent Strokes”) and others.

Of course, for every group of former kid stars that make headlines for getting in trouble, there are plenty who thrive in adulthood: Ron Howard, Jodie Foster, Kurt Russell, Neil Patrick Harris and scores of others.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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