For nearly a century, the Walt Disney Company has been world renowned for their animation, their family values and their children’s entertainment. Now, thanks to the last decade of activity, they’ve also become dominant in one more public arena: celebrity scandals.
Okay, so maybe that’s not quite the reputation that Disney was aiming for, but since the turn of the century, current and former Disney stars have been constantly in the news and not for their wholesome values. Instead it’s been one DUI, nude photo or existential meltdown after another.
So how did the Mouse House end up in this position? With the decade winding to a close, we thought this would be a perfect time to take a look back on the mess that can only be called a Decade of Disney Star Scandals.
Ex-Mouseketeer Justin Timberlake is one of the biggest pop stars in the world. It’s only fitting, then, that the biggest star should have the biggest scandal: during a live performance at the 2004 Super Bowl, he famously exposed Janet Jackson due to a “wardrobe malfunction”. The media firestorm that followed resulted in federal sanctions, widespread handwringing and numerous public apologies from Timberlake.
Timberlake’s former girlfriend and fellow Mouseketeer Britney Spears was once among the only musicians who could rival Timberlake’s success. Now, however, she’s on a level all by herself — a very, very low level, that is, thanks to a decade of borderline deranged behavior that has included public spats with her baby daddy Kevin Federline, an infamous head shaving and one particularly ill-conceived decision to go commando. Here’s hoping Spears manages to get her act together before our 2019 retrospective.
Miley Cyrus vaulted to fame almost overnight as the title character on ‘Hannah Montana’. But since becoming a teen icon she’s gained even greater fame thanks to a number of more adult scandals, such as her controversial semi-nude photos for Vanity Fair and her pole dancing routine at the Teen Choice Awards of all places. Still, she proved she has a lot of growing up left to do with her mean girl YouTube disses of fellow Disney sensations Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. Britney would be proud.
Vanessa Hudgens is best known for playing shy brainiac Gabriella Montex in the Disney mega-hit ‘High School Musical’ film franchise, which is apparently a testament to her acting skills: Hudgens proved she was anything but shy with a batch of nude and provocative photos that hit the internet back in 2007. Hudgens was backed by Disney, who said they believed she had learned her lesson; another bunch of nude photos that landed earlier this fall suggests otherwise.
The Cheetah Girls were supposed to be Disney’s version of a wholesome girl band. That wholesome image took a bit of a hit thanks a batch of nude photos starring Cheetah singer Adrienne Bailon. Bailon claimed that the pictures were taken from a stolen laptop, but other sources indicated the entire affair was planned by Bailon as a media stunt. After all, if it worked for Vanessa Hudgens…
Lindsay Lohan started her career off as a winsome and precocious talent in kid fare such as the remake of ‘The Parent Trap’. Since reaching her teens, however, the troubled actress has been involved in one scandal after another thanks to her hard partying lifestyle and her public feud with her own mother.
Multiple DUIs, accompanied by drug charges, eventually landed Lohan in jail for 84 minutes. So far.
Compared to some of those that have followed in her footsteps, pop icon Christina Aguilera seems positively saintly. It’s instructive to remember, then, that the former Mouseketeer’s bad girl image was actually scandalous when she debuted it with 2002′s album ‘Stripped’.
Considering the scandals that have followed, the outcry over her raunchy lyrics and dance moves shows just how far we have come since — or how low we have sunk.
Even Disney’s second stringers have gotten into the act this decade. You may not be as familiar with them, but Kirsten Storms (from the company’s ‘Kim Possible’ series) and Anneliese van der Pol (‘That’s So Raven’) both starred in their own mini-dramas thanks to separate DUI convictions. Now that’s just goofy. Get it? Goofy?
We close out our look at Disney scandals with Zac Efron, who is an interesting object lesson not because of what he has done but because he shows just how much the media want a good scandal to report on. Efron has been the subject of multiple “rumors”, including photos that supposedly proved he was gay (he’s not) and a sex tape with former girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens that purportedly exists (it doesn’t). But don’t worry, Zac, this will eventually blow over. After all, there’s a new crop of Disney stars coming up through the ranks and we have no doubt that soon enough, one of them will have an actual scandal and take the heat off of you.