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9 Child Stars Who Were Villainized For "Scandals" That They Were Actually The Victims Of

1.In 2007, nude photos of 18-year-old Vanessa Hudgens were leaked online. She was forced to issue an apology and Disney Channel issued a statement saying, "We hope she's learned a valuable lesson."

closeup of her
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“I want to apologize to my fans, whose support and trust means the world to me,” she said in her apology. “I am embarrassed over this situation and regret having ever taken these photos.”

her at an awards show
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Following the scandal, she was forced to hide from the public. “There were probably 30 paparazzi stumbling over each other to try and get the shot [outside my hotel room]. …It was just one of those times where I was just like, ‘I want to die.’…It felt very unfair.”

closeup of her at an event
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2.In 2008, Miley Cyrus received backlash for a Vanity Fair photoshoot she did when she was 15 years old.

closeup of her
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The photos showed Cyrus wrapped in a sheet with her back exposed. Many people deemed the pictures as being sexually suggestive and The New York Post even ran a cover story titled "MILEY'S SHAME" with a photo from the shoot.

miley at the teen choice awards in 2009
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Cyrus issued an apology stating "I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be 'artistic,' and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed." In 2018 she retracted her apology in a tweet.

Cyrus recently explained the meaningful behind-the-scenes story that led to the photo.

3.In 2011, 17-year-old Harry Styles was described to be a "womanizer" while dating an older woman.

closeup of young harry
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Caroline Flack, the host of The Xtra Factor, was 31 years old when she started dating Harry Styles, who was 14 years her junior.

  Brian Rasic / Getty Images
Brian Rasic / Getty Images

Styles was painted as a womanizer by the media and had to deny reports of these rumors.

closeup of harry signing and wrapping one direction cds
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4.In 2009, 16-year-old Miley Cyrus's performance at the Teen Choice Awards was compared to pole dancing.

  Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic / Getty Images
Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic / Getty Images

While performing "Party in the USA" at the awards ceremony, Cyrus moved around the stage on an ice cream cart that had a pole attached to it for stability. However, people quickly took to the internet and likened her dance moves to pole dancing.

miley dancing on top of the cart and holding a pole
Fox

"Disney Channel won't be commenting on that performance," the network said in a statement. "Although parents can rest assured that all content presented on the Disney Channel is age-appropriate for our audience, kids 6–14, and consistent with what our brand values are."

  Fox
Fox

5.In 2008, many fans of Zoey 101 blamed the cancellation of the show on 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears being pregnant.

closeup of her
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Fans figured the show was canceled because Jamie was pregnant or because of the backlash of her being a pregnant teen on kids' programming.

closeup of her
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However, in 2020, Jamie clarified that her pregnancy played no role in the show ending. "I didn't become pregnant until probably six months after we wrapped or something like that, but some of the episodes had not aired yet," she said.

  Kevin Mazur / WireImage / Nickelodeon
Kevin Mazur / WireImage / Nickelodeon

"But the show had already wrapped and there was never a negotiation to go into any more seasons," she explained. "We were too old. It was done."

  Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic / Getty Images
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic / Getty Images

6.Years after starring in Home Alone, there were rumors that Macaulay Culkin was abusing drugs and alcohol based on his unkempt appearance.

closeup of him in a suit
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However, later he clarified that none of the rumors were true. "People assume that I'm crazy, or a kook, or damaged. Weird. Cracked. And up until the last year or two, I haven't really put myself out there at all. So I can understand that," he said.

closeup of a younger him
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He admitted to having used substances in the past but claimed he never needed rehab or outside help. "I had some illuminating experiences...So besides the occasional muscle relaxer, no, I don't do drugs recreationally. I still kinda drink like a fish. I drink and I smoke. But I don't touch the things. I do love them. They're like old friends. But sometimes you outgrow your friends."

  Frank Micelotta Archive / Getty Images
Frank Micelotta Archive / Getty Images

7.In the middle of Gossip Girl's run, Taylor Momsen was painted by the media as a "diva" on set and she was eventually written out of the series.

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It was reported that the presence of Taylor's character on the show would be reduced citing her "volatile" behavior on set.

taylor walking outside
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Tim Gunn who guest starred in a 2010 episode, also condemned the actress's behavior. "What a diva," he said. "She was pathetic, she couldn't remember her lines, and she didn't even have that many. I thought to myself 'Why are we all being held hostage by this brat?'"

  James Devaney / WireImage / Getty Images
James Devaney / WireImage / Getty Images

When Taylor Momsen was asked to explain her "bad attitude" on the set of Gossip Girl, she answered that her parents signed her up with Ford Modeling when she was just two years old.

her character sitting on steps outside
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She said, "No 2-year-old wants to be working, but I had no choice. My whole life, I was in and out of school. I didn't have friends. I was working constantly and I didn't have a real life."

she's getting her makeup touched up
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Later Taylor explained that the show allowed her to be written out in order for her to pursue her music career, not that she was fired from the set for her behavior.

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8.In 2010, TMZ leaked a video of 18-year-old Miley Cyrus smoking a bong.

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It sparked a massive controversy for the singer which resulted in her apology in a Marie Claire interview. “I’m not perfect...I made a mistake,” she stated. "I’m disappointed in myself for disappointing my fans."

she's singing on stage
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Since then the general outlook on marijuana has drastically changed and in 2020, Cyrus reposted the video and captioned it “Happy 10th anniversary to the groundbreaking video of a teenager smoking a bong & saying dumb shit to their friends,” the now 28-year-old wrote on Instagram.

  Nbc / NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Nbc / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

9.In 2011, 13-year-old Rebecca Black experienced endless online bullying for her "Friday" music video.

closeup of her
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She later said that the hate made her feel "terribly ashamed of herself and afraid of the world."

  Barry King / FilmMagic / Getty Images
Barry King / FilmMagic / Getty Images

On the song's ninth anniversary, she wrote a message to her younger self. "You are not defined by any one choice or thing. Time heals, and nothing is finite. It’s a process that’s never too late to begin."

  Jeffrey Mayer / WireImage / Getty Images
Jeffrey Mayer / WireImage / Getty Images