Do Disney Child Stars Have a Harder Up-Bringing?

Pop culture is always ever changing and throughout the years we’ve seen many child stars grow into young women. Through this transformation they often do things that will draw more attention to them. In my essay I will give examples about child stars that have all gone through a growing up stage and have “lashed” out in some way or another. The three main performers I will talk about are Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and Miley Cyrus. I will also focus on some child stars that have not gone through this growing up stage and actually lead very normal lives for a celebrity. The two celebrities that still have good images that I will talk about are Selena Gomez and Hilary Duff.

Christina Aguilera first started her career with the Mickey Mouse Club. In the 2000’s she really gained popularity at the age of 15 (People). I remember listening to her as a child and going to see her at the Minnesota State Fair just after I finished the second grade. She was an icon I could look up to. She had hits at the time like “All I Wanna Do” and “Genie in a Bottle.” Although she wasn’t always seen as a good girl of her time, her image was mainly good.

It wasn’t until her new album Stripped came out that the media saw a new side of her. At this point in time I was still a huge fan of her but I remember receiving the CD for Christmas and my parents instantly regretting it when my cousins told them how “bad” she was. Aguilera stated shortly after the album was released that she believes in women and girls standing up for themselves and being independent.  She also stated during the filming of “Dirrty” that this was to show the world that she’s growing up and she’s a different person then what we were used to before (People).

This image is to show Christina Aguilera at a younger age when she was promoting her album "Stripped".

Aguilera during her “Dirrty” period.


Aguilera seemed to reinvent herself once again with this image when she was engage to Jordan Bratman. She had blonde hair once again and ditched the facial piercings, she’s also kept this image to date. Today while searching for this information on Christina there isn’t much to be found. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that she once again has a great image going for herself as a mother and judge on the popular TV show “The Voice.”

Another well known performer, Britney Spears, also started out on the Mickey Mouse Club. She then released her first video for “Baby One More Time,” in 1998 (People). Pop culture sees a lot of Britney throughout the years and she also dates Justin Timberlake. I have to admit I also admired her during this time and even had the Britney Barbie in the “Oops I Did it Again” outfit.

She decided to amp things up one year at the VMA’s while she sang with next to nothing on besides a snake. I remember as a child still looking up to her at this point in time. Spears continued to re-invent herself and shocked the nation when she was seen kissing Madonna at the VMA’s; what most of the media didn’t pay attention to was that Aguilera also kissed Madonna right after.

In 2004 Spears wed childhood friend Jason Alexander in Las Vegas. The marriage was annulled 55 hours after. Today, Spears admits that the marriage was a form of rebellion. Spears was married once again to Kevin Federline and after two children the two decided to divorce. In 2007 Britney starts a downward spiral with partying and then shaving her head. Federline files for custody of the two boys shortly after that (People). I think that this time in Britney’s life was hard for her and she was going through her own issues that she didn’t know how to deal with them. Everyone remembers the point in time when she shaved her head but nobody knows why she did, was it so she wouldn’t fail a drug test? Or simply because she was just going through a crazy time? Britney today has totally revamped herself and has kept up with her music career. I don’t think that she’s lost any fans because of her struggles before. I find it interesting that both Britney and Christina have stayed within the same genre of music even through their times of “growing up.”

Miley Cyrus, formerly known as Disney’s Hannah Montana has taken a turn in  her life and keeps shocking us day to day with her outrageous stunts. You’ll see her name in the latest headline with some weird act she’s done on stage. Ever since her split from Liam Hemsworth it seems that she has gone a little cray cray. I wonder if all of these stunts are just strategic publicity stunts to get the media talking about her in any way, shape, or form. It all started with her performance at the VMA’s with Robin Thicke.

Miley Cyrus wearing provactive clothing.

Miley Cyrus


Ever since then it seems she’s in the news and it all will correlate with her latest single or the release of a new album. Miley like the others just says that this is her time to grow up. She has total control of when and how her actions are getting covered by the media so maybe she’s just fooling us all by getting us to talk about her. The one thing that differs between Miley, Britney, and Christina is that Miley has switched genres and kept transitioning. As a child star she was completely pop with Hannah Montana as well as her own singles. Now she has more of a hip hop vibe and as much as I hate to say this I think that her music is catchy and she’s really smart by taking advantage of any media coverage she can get. Nobody can forget about you if they’re still talking about you.

The two Disney stars that are complete outliers in this “growing up” period the other performers have experienced are Hilary Duff and Selena Gomez. Hilary Duff was first on Disney Channel with her show “Lizzie McGuire.” We’ve never seen Hilary do anything drastic and she actually leads a normal life today with a husband and a son. She was last seen on Gossip Girl as Dan Humphrey’s love interest at NYU. Selena Gomez is also known from Disney Channel as her role on “Wizard’s of Waverly Place.” Although she took part in the new movie “Spring Breakers” Selena kept her good girl image by playing the role of a Christian college student who leaves the trip early (Schillaci).

Hilary Duff was well known for her role as Lizzie McGuire- a series on Disney Channel.

Hilary Duff as Lizzie McGuire


In conclusion not all female performers go through a “growing up” stage in life. Something we must ask ourselves as viewers is if they go through all of these weird actions just for attention and publicity? Celebrities are always trying to reinvent themselves whether that means good or bad. I think that it will be interesting to see what Miley Cyrus is like in ten years and if she still has a singing career or not.

Works Cited

Dobbins. “In Praise of Miley Cyrus, he Anti- Spring Breaker.” Vulture, 19 May 2013. 3 December 2013. Web.


“Brittney Spears Biography.” People, 3 Dec. 2013. Web.,,20004346_10,00.html


“Christina Aguilera Biography.” People, 3 Dec. 2013. Web.


Morgan, Celest. “One Colour Not Enough for You, Then!” Daily Mail Online, 7 October 2012. 3 December 2013. Web.


Saunders, Louise. “Out of This World!”  Daily Mail Online, 10 November 2013. 3 December 2013. Web.


Schillaci, Sophie. “Selena Gomez Doesn’t Want Tweens to See Spring Breakers.”  Hollywood Reporter, 22 May 2013. 3 December 2013. Web.

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