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9 Shocking Teen Star Meltdowns

From Bieber to Britney, a close-up look at how young fame leads to fast flame-outs

justin bieber

Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic; Prince Williams/FilmMagic

Rolling Stone's Justin Bieber cover story goes inside the egg-throwing, hard-partying, drag-racing, arrest-resisting, brothel-patronizing, lightning-quick fall of a pop icon. It's been less than five years since the baby-faced Canadian became a breakout heartthrob with his smash "Baby," and his plummet into bad behavior has been quick and extremely well documented. The latest? The 20-year-old singer comes off arrogant and angry in a deposition video in which he cursed out a woman, stormed out over a Selena Gomez question and claimed he does not know the R&B singer Usher, who helped his career early on.

Here are eight other stars who tasted fame at an early age — and fell victim to the pitfalls of the fast life. By Al Shipley

amanda bynes

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Amanda Bynes

As the star of her own show on Nickelodeon and countless teen comedies, Amanda Bynes was a bubbly, genial screen presence. She began to show a different side starting in March 2012, however, with a series of arrests for DUI and marijuana possession. Her personal appearance drastically changed by plastic surgery, her social media presence was also increasingly bizarre –  "I want Drake to murder my vagina" remains her most infamous tweet – as she announced her retirement from acting. Another memorable Bynes incident occurred in May 2013 when she threw a glass bong out the 36th floor window of her New York apartment. In July 2013, following an incident in which she was found starting a fire in front of a stranger’s house, Bynes was hospitalized in a mental health facility, and then released into the care of her parents, who were granted conservatorship over her affairs. 

britney spears

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Britney Spears

After years of teen pop stardom, cautiously courting a more mature image as "Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman," Britney Spears began to seem like a very troubled woman in 2004, when she married twice in a nine-month span; first when she drunkenly eloped with friend Jason Alexander — the marriage was annulled two days later — and the second time to a dancer named Kevin Federline. As she started a family, Spears was hounded by the paparazzi and accused of everything from negligent parenting to drug addiction, culminating in her divorce from Federline and a bizarre incident in which she walked out of rehab after a day and shaved her head. In January 2008, after a very public incident where an "intoxicated" Spears refused to relinquish custody of her children, courts placed Britney under the conservatorship of her father, Jamie Spears, who has been in control of her assets ever since as her career has gotten back on track. 

Zac Efron

Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic; Chuck Zlotnick

Zac Efron

Leaping into the public eye as the golden boy of the High School Musical franchise, starring in the films and singing on their blockbuster soundtracks, Zac Efron and his girlfriend and co-star Vanessa Hudgens became celebrities overnight. Their image was never squeaky clean — when nude photos of Hudgens leaked on the Internet, Efron was the presumed recipient. But it was still shocking in September 2013 when Efron went through two stints in rehab for alcoholism and allegedly cocaine addiction. More recently, Efron was sidelined by a less controversial issue, breaking his jaw after slipping in a puddle and falling. But he’s gone on promoting his latest film, That Awkward Moment, fielding questions about rehab even with his jaw wired shut.  

demi lovato

Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage; Earl Gibson III/WireImage

Demi Lovato

From the beginning, Demi Lovato was a little edgy for a Disney Channel starlet, namedropping death metal bands in interviews. After co-starring in the Camp Rock movies with the Jonas Brothers and releasing two gold solo albums, however, reports that she’d been using drugs and cutting herself began to surface. And in October 2010, Lovato reportedly punched a back-up dancer while on tour, and withdrew from tour dates to go into treatment for bulimia and substance abuse. She later re-emerged triumphantly, appearing alongside Britney Spears as a judge on X Factor and crossing over to pop radio with hits like “Give Your Heart a Break.” But in interviews and in the MTV documentary Stay Strong, she spoke frankly about her issues and continuing recovery.  

aaron carter

Tim Roney/Getty Images; Michael Bezjian/WireImage

Aaron Carter

At the height of their success, the Backstreet Boys were so popular that Nick Carter's fanbase could also boost the career of his younger brother, Aaron Carter, to platinum heights. Soon, the scrappy young man who rapped on the song's "Aaron's Party (Come Get It" and "That's How I Beat Shaq" was at the center of one of teen pop's greatest love triangles, dating both Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan. Behind the scenes though, former manager and boy band Svengali Lou Pearlman reportedly withheld much of Carter's royalties, resulting in a lawsuit. In recent years, he's hit all the usual marks of a fading ex-pop idol: Dancing With The Stars in 2009, Betty Ford in February 2011 and filing for bankruptcy in November 2013. 

selena gomez

Steve Granitz/WireImage; Courtesy of A24

Selena Gomez

The Wizards of Waverly Place made Selena Gomez a Disney Channel starlet, and the multi-platinum "Love You Like a Love Song" made her a pop radio fixture, but it was her on-again-off-again relationship with Justin Bieber that made Selena Gomez globally famous. They split, seemingly for good, before most of Bieber's recent troubles began, but she soon began rebelling in her own ways, most famously with her first "adult" role in Harmony Korine's 2013 film Spring Breakers. By the end of the year, however, her personal life showed signs of strain, as she canceled tour dates for a two-week stint in rehab in January 2014, reportedly to treat alcoholism. 

kelly osbourne

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Kelly Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne's daughter, one of several members of the rock god's family who were catapulted into fame by MTV's reality series The Osbournes, used the show as a launching pad for music and television, releasing two albums and appearing on several shows of her own, including E!'s Fashion Police with Joan Rivers. But in addition to sharing her dad's fame and love of music, Kelly Osbourne evidently also inherited her family's legacy of addiction, as she's followed in Ozzy's footsteps in struggling with alcoholism. Kelly's first rehab stay occurred in April 2004 as she struggled with a painkiller addiction. Kelly recently admitted that she's been in rehab a total of seven times, although she's also defended her right to continue drinking in moderation. 

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