10+ Strange Facts About Child Actors Fans Didn't Know

No one said being a child actor was easy.

There is a heavy workload at a young age and an unconventional childhood. Add in family members trying to cash in on the action and pressure from the media, and it's no wonder some of them crack.

This has led to some strange facts about the stars we watched on-screen growing up.

Childhood stardom can either go really well or really terribly.

Hollywood is already difficult enough to navigate, so for a child, it is twice as difficult!

That is especially true for these child actors! Here are some strange facts that you may not have known about them!

1. Linda Blair, star of *The Exorcist*, dated a 25-year-old musician when she was only 15.

Where were her parents??

Her older boyfriend was Rick Springfield, singer of the hit song "Jessie's Girl." In his autobiography, Late, Late At Night, Rick detailed their relationship.

“I am her first lover and she is an enthusiastic learner…. We share a love of dogs and sex–separately, not in combination," he wrote.

"We’re actually really shocked by the incensed articles in both teen and regular press about our affair."

2. Mara Wilson lost her mother shortly after *Matilda* was filmed.

She hadn't known that her mother was sick.

"She was so resilient and so strong, and that was what she prided herself on, and there was a lot of help from the people there."

When she passed, Wilson got a lot of support from the cast and crew.

"The DeVitos were definitely very helpful, everyone there, our studio teacher Richard [Wicklund]. Everyone on set gathered around me and took care of me."

3. Joe Jonas would shave every day to look young for *Jonas*.

Joe revealed these strict rules he had to follow in an essay for Vulture.

"I had to shave every day because they wanted me to pretend like I was 16 when I was 20," he wrote.

4. Zendaya started out as a backup dancer for Selena Gomez in a Sears commercial.

We don't even want to think of Zendaya being anything but the star, but that was the case when she was just starting out.

"Ross [Lynch] was in it, Leo Howard was in it — and we were backup dancers, we weren't even the lead kids," she told J-14 Magazine in 2013.

5. Judith Barsi, a voice actor in *All Dogs Go to Heaven* and *The Land Before Time*, was killed by her father.

She was only 11.

The tragedy was labeled a murder-suicide initiated by her father, who also killed Judith's mother, Maria.

Authorities said that he set fire to the family’s home before taking his own life.

6. Selena Gomez used Britney Spears to help shed her Disney image.

“Once Disney was over, I was like, ‘Oh, [expletive],’” Gomez told W magazine.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I had to learn to be myself.”

It was the "I'm a Slave 4 U" music video that really inspired Selena's transition.

She thought that the video was so hot and even channeled this type of energy during her first solo tour.

This included everything from the costumes she wore to the overall performance.

7. *Modern Family's* Ariel Winter was emancipated from her mother when she was only 14.

This stemmed from allegations that her mother, Chrisoula Workman, emotionally and physically abused her.

This led her 37-year-old sister, Shanelle Gray, to become her guardian.

That's a lot to go through.

"Nobody controls you anymore," Winter said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

"You handle your own business affairs, your own living arrangements, your own money. Everything is sort of in your own hands."

8. Lisa Jakub, who played Lydia in *Mrs. Doubtfire*, was kicked out of school for filming the movie.

That's because she had to be away from school for five months to film.

“My job meant an increased workload for teachers, and they were not equipped to handle a ‘non-traditional’ student. So, during filming, they kicked me out," she shared on her blog.

9. Shirley Temple had to sit on a block of ice if she misbehaved on set.

This was the norm for any child actor back in the old Hollywood days.

"So far as I can tell, the black box did no lasting damage to my psyche," child actress Shirley Temple once said about what was called the "black box."

10. *Matilda* is the only movie of hers that Mara Wilson watches.

"I get very critical of myself," she told Thrillist.

"In fact, Matilda is kind of an oddity because I do like watching it. Or I like watching it more than some of the others, because I feel proud of how I did in it."

11. Ariel Winter has a super creepy baby voice.

When she was on Conan O'Brien's show, she even creeped him out with it.

“I make this baby voice that really freaks out my friends and my boyfriend [Levi Meaden] all the time," she said.

"It’s kind of fun for me to make them super uncomfortable,” Winter continued.

On the show, she said, “I’m just a little baby. I’m just your little baby girl,” to which O’Brien laughed hysterically.

This voice came in handy when she voiced Sofia the First on the Disney Channel.

12. The director of *Skippy* threatened to have Jackie Cooper's dog killed if he couldn't produce tears.


“I could visualize my dog, bloody from that one awful shot,” Cooper wrote in his memoir, Please Don’t Shoot My Dog.

“I began sobbing, so hysterically that it was almost too much for the scene."

13. Jimmy Karz, who played Bruce Bogtrotter in *Matilda*, had to stuff his face with cake for 144 takes.

"This is really gross, [but] I'm going to tell you anyway," DeVito said on the 2005 DVD Documentary.

"We made him stuff his face, but then I would cut the camera [and] he would spit it out!"

This would have been fun and all if the actor liked cake. But he didn't!

“He hated it and no one knew that until it was too late,” Pam Ferris, who played Miss Trunchbull, revealed to RadioTimes.

"If everybody had known they would’ve made it savoury or something that he could eat. It was hard on him, poor little devil.”

14. Mary-Kate and Ashley skipped their prom in order to host *Saturday Night Live*.

But the opening skit of the show was also prom-themed!

So, in a way, it was like they had gone to prom all along. If you can't go to prom, bring the prom to you!

15. Susan Olsen from *The Brady Bunch* would make out with Mike Lookinland on set.


In case you were wondering, this happened inside the doghouse.

There were a lot of secret love affairs going on! Eve Plumb also had a crush on Chris Knight, and it is said that they even hooked up!

16. Boo of *Monster's Inc* was played by a two year old!

Boo was played by Mary Gibbs — the daughter of Rob Gibbs, the storyboard artist.

Since she was two, they had to record words she said while she was playing on set since she couldn't record lines like the rest of the actors.

17. Steven Spielberg hired Henry Thomas on the spot for Elliott in *E.T.*

He was so good in his audition that Spielberg wanted him right away.

At the end of the audition, Spielberg told him, "Okay kid, you got the job." That's quite the compliment if you ask me.

18. Judy Garland was put on a diet for *The Wizard of Oz*.

Keep in mind, she was only 16 at the time of her casting.

She was put on a diet and given pills to keep her thin, and it definitely didn't help that she was working extremely long hours.

19. Miley Cyrus found it difficult to balance her life and *Hannah Montana*.

"I think it got harder when I started touring as both — I toured as Hannah Montana and as myself," she told CBS This Morning. "I think that's probably what's a little bit wrong with me now!"

"I mark that up to doing some extreme damage in my psyche as an adult person."

"I liked being in the Disney universe because I didn’t know anything else. I knew I was getting to live what I wanted to do."

20. Shia LaBeouf has PTSD due to becoming famous as a child.

He had a very bad relationship with his father and grew up around a lot of the toxicity that came with Hollywood.

Thankfully, he was able to work through some of his trauma through therapy.

21. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were almost fired from *Full House*.

Since they were babies, they obviously cried a lot. But apparently, it was so bad that they were almost fired from the show.

Thankfully, in the end, it worked out and allowed them to skyrocket to fame.

22. Jamie Lynn Spears caused quite a controversy when she got pregnant at 17.

However, she has said that being a good mother has nothing to do with age.

Some fans were mostly upset because her pregnancy caused her show to get canceled.

Do you know any other interesting facts about child actors?

Or were you quite surprised by all the facts on this list?

Either way, let us know down below in the comment section! We would love to hear from you!