17 Nickelodeon And Disney Actors We Grew Up Watching Who Spoke Out About What It Was Really Like Behind-The-Scenes
A lot of us grew up loving the shows and the stars on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel. However, now that those former child stars have grown up, a lot of them have opened up about how challenging things were behind-the-scenes and how being labeled a "Disney kid" or "Nickelodeon kid" affected their future careers.
A lot of their stories are heartbreaking to hear, but they're doing important work by calling out how child performers are mistreated in the entertainment industry. Others put a new perspective on how being famous at a young age can impact your mental health and your future in the industry.
🚨Warning: this post mentions abuse, sexual assualt, eating disorders, and other sensitive topics.🚨
Here are 17 former Disney and Nickelodeon actors who called out the realities of being a former child star:
1.On Nickelodeon, Daniella Monet played Trina Vega on Victorious and Bertha on Fred: The Show. She also starred in several of the network's TV movies, including the second and third Fred movies and the live-action Fairly Odd Parents movies. Additionally, she hosted AwesomenessTV.
In 2022, she told Insider that she once contacted Nickelodeon over her concerns about a specific Victorious scene in which her character ate a pickle and applied lipgloss at the same time. She felt that it was too sexual for the kids' show, but the network aired it anyway.
She said the show was mostly "very PC, funny, silly, friendly, chill," but also included questionable moments. She said, "Do I wish certain things, like, didn’t have to be so sexualized? Yeah. A hundred percent."
Daniella also expressed her concerns that some of the outfits the teenage characters wore were "not age appropriate." She added that she "wouldn’t even wear some of that today as an adult."
2.Jennette McCurdy played Sam Puckett on Nickelodeon's iCarly and Sam & Cat. She also had roles in three of the network's TV movies — Fred: The Movie, Best Player, and Swindle.
In her autobiography, I'm Glad My Mom Died, she described the abuse she faced from her mother, who pushed her into an acting career at six years old.
She wrote that her mom bought beauty supplies to "fix" what she perceived as her daughter's physical flaws from the time Jennette was very young. When 10-year-old Jennette said that she wanted to quit acting, her mom cried until she agreed to continue.
Jennette also said that, as her body began to develop, she was worried that she wouldn't be able to play child roles anymore, so her mother taught her about restrictive eating. She developed an eating disorder.
She told BuzzFeed News, "[The title is] something I mean sincerely. I’m genuinely glad. If she were alive, I’d still be trapped. Every important decision in my life wouldn’t have been possible."
A lot of her iCarly scenes revolved around Sam's obsession with food like fried chicken. She told the Hollywood Reporter, "At the time, I struggled with my character being so focused on food, being that I was suffering from life-threatening eating disorders."
She told the Washington Post, "It made me so anxious because my character was constantly eating. I tried speaking with the producers on a couple occasions, asking if we could dial back on that stuff....I had some sort of reasoning like, 'I think there’s so much more to Sam as a character, and I think she goes much deeper than this.' But I was not capable of facing the eating disorder for myself so, of course, I wasn’t capable of saying, 'Hey, I’m actually really struggling with this. So, can we not?'"
In her memoir, she also revealed that iCarly and Sam & Cat creator/executive producer, Dan Schneider — whom she refers to as "The Creator" — made her feel uncomfortable multiple times.
She wrote that, despite how uncomfortable she felt with her body, he required the girls to wear bikinis during photoshoots. He also angrily micromanaged multiple reshoots of her first onscreen kissing scene, which was also her first real kiss.
She also said that once while she was having dinner with him, he pressured her into drinking underage. He also made her wear his jacket and massaged her shoulders without permission.
After allegations of the Creator's emotional abuse became public, Nickelodeon banned him from set and from communicating with the actors, but he still commandeered production from a private room and communicated through his assistants.
After Sam and Cat was canceled, the network offered her $300,000 as a "thank you gift" — under the condition that she wouldn't speak about her experiences publicly. She declined.
In a 2021 episode of her podcast, Empty Inside, she revealed that she quit acting. She said, "My experience with acting is I'm so ashamed of the parts that I've done in the past...but I resent my career in a lot of ways. I feel so unfulfilled by the roles that I played and felt like it was the most just cheesy, embarrassing [experience]..."
The following year, she published her memoir, which completely sold out online at Amazon, Target, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart just one day after its release.
3.Alexa Nikolas played Nicole Bristow on the first two seasons of Nickelodeon's Zoey 101.
In 2019, she was excluded from the cast reunion. On her Instagram story, she said that it was "triggering a lot of childhood trauma."
She continued, "I never wanted to be a part of this reboot. Especially if Dan [Schneider] is a part of it."
In her memoir, Things I Should Have Said, Alexa's Zoey 101 costar, Jamie Lynn Spears, accused her of spreading rumors that she was "mean and bitchy" and "smelled bad." In response, Alexa said Jamie was "lying up a storm."
On Instagram, Alexa said, "I recently thought we were fine after she tried to use me in her Zoey 101 music video to make herself look better after I finally came out about what happened to me while on set/being left out once again during the reunion reboot ploy...She never addressed anything that she mentioned in the book to me personally because she knows everything she is saying is a total lie and I would have called her out on that...It's sad to see someone not change after all these years."
Both women have spoken about an instance on set where Jamie Lynn's older sister, Britney, talked to Alexa on her behalf. However, while Alexa described it as "screaming" and "berating," Jamie Lynn claimed her sister was merely defending her. However, when Jamie Lynn published her memoir, Britney called her out on Instagram, writing, "The nerve of you to sell a book now and talk shit but your fucking lying just like you lied about Alexa Nikolas."
On Instagram, Alexa thanked Britney and called her "an inspiration."
In August 2022, Alexa led a protest outside of Nickelodeon's headquarters. She held a sign that said, "Nickelodeon didn't protect me."
In an Instagram video from the protest, she questioned how many NDAs had been signed by the network's former employees. She said, "We're a little bit concerned because how can we, as a public, help if we don't know what's actually happening in there?"
She also alleged that, in 2019, the network asked her to come to an "agreement," which she suspected would've been an NDA.
She said, "I did not feel protected at Nickelodeon as a child, personally. So I'm demanding that Nickelodeon starts protecting children and not predators."
Calling out Dan Schneider by name, she continued, "To me, he is the creator of childhood trauma. He played a huge role in my personal childhood trauma. I did not feel safe around Dan Schneider while working at Nickelodeon, actually every time he came on set my body got extremely tense. Later on, in Season 2, he yelled at me and made me cry."
"Nobody did anything about the abuse that was happening on the set of Zoey 101," she said. She also called for Schneider's Bakery to be investigated.
"Aren't you guys supposed to be the adults? And we were the children? If we were traumatized on your sets, we deserve an apology. This is concerning when it comes to kids' shows. We're talking about kids' shows — and we were not safe," she said.
Alexa leads Eat Predators, an organization that advocates for survivors of sexual abuse. The group has led similar protests outside the headquarters of several music labels whose artists have been accused of sexual abuse and misconduct.
She told Variety, "It shouldn’t be a woman having to trail blaze, it should be on the industry itself. … Because a predator’s gonna come and go — there’s always going to be a predator. But if they don’t have a safe haven, then they can’t really perpetuate that abuse."
4.Demi Lovato played Sonny Munroe on the Disney Channel series, Sonny With a Chance. They also starred in three of the network's TV movies — Camp Rock, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, and Princess Protection Program.
In her docuseries, Dancing with the Devil, she spoke about her experiences with eating disorders and drug addiction as a teenager. She also alleged that she was raped by someone else who worked for Disney, who "never got taken out of the movie they were in."
She said, "We were hooking up but I said, 'Hey, this is not going any farther. I’m a virgin, and I don’t want to lose it this way.' And that didn’t matter to them, they did it anyways. And I internalized it and I told myself it was my fault, because I still went in the room with him. I still hooked up with him...The Christian, Southern girl in me didn’t see it [as rape] because sex was not normalized as a child or in the South,” she added. “And, you know what, fuck it, I’m just gonna say it: My #MeToo story is me telling somebody that someone did this to me, and they never got in trouble for it."
On the Call Her Daddy podcast, she said, "There’s still a sadness, a deep sadness inside of me that someone took that from me at such a young age."
They continued, "It was hard because this person was also around. Like, they were also on Disney. And so, seeing them around was difficult and it really messed up my teenage years. And finally, I went and got help for that...And to be clear, like it wasn't anyone in the immediate Disney circle. I've had people ask questions like, 'Was it this person or was it that person?' And it was like, 'I don't think it'd be anybody that anyone would guess, but they were friends with someone on set and they'd come around [all] the time.'"
She told PopCrush that she feels that being a child star made her lose out on her childhood. She said, "It's more important to have a personal life than it is a career at that age... If you want to do this for a living, maybe wait a little bit until you're older so you can have life experience under your belt."
She continued, "I think that's what got lost in the era of Disney when I was in it. We were all working so hard, running ourselves into the ground."
She also said that, during their time at Disney, there was pressure to "look a certain way," "be a certain way," and "act a certain way."
5.Coco Jones starred in the DCOM Let It Shine. She also had recurring roles on two Disney Channel series — So Random! and Good Luck Charlie — and competed in Radio Disney's The Next Big Thing singing competition. She signed with the Disney-owned music label, Hollywood Records.
In a 2020 YouTube Live stream, she revealed that a Let It Shine sequel was planned, but it was canceled for reasons unknown to her. She was also supposed to get her own show, which never came to fruition.
She said, "I can even recall, like, being in this room looking around at, like, the heads of all of this..I was like, 'Oh it's a wrap, point blank period.' We talk about this development, talk about all this stuff...falls through."
She said, "What I think was the most, like, traumatic thing about it for me is that I was like, 'Alright, if I can just let them see, like, my talent, then they'll believe in me.' But they would really hear me sing, hear me act, see me dance — I'm going hard in the paint, I want it — and then because of 'somebody else looks a little bit more marketable,' doesn't matter, baby girl."
"That's traumatizing as a little kid. You don't know how to cope, like, you're looking at yourself like, 'What did I do?' I'm asking my mom, 'What did I do?'" she continued. "It was just a lot of gassing me. I didn't know what was true...I didn't know what was real."
Afterwards, she signed with Hollywood Records, but they told her what to sing, wear, and say — and how to say it. Coco and her team worked hard and found great producers to work with. However, the people the label gave her to work with wanted her to sound — as she put it — "sellable."
She put out a few singles and an EP, but right before her album was supposed to come out, the label dropped her. She said that they told her, "We don't know what to do with you."
She said that, looking back, she would've capitalized on her post-Let It Shine popularity and started doing YouTube then. She said, "I would have created my own fanbase that they couldn't take away from me...created my own platform that could not be taken away from me."
She said, "At this point, I'm homeschooled. I dropped out of school for all of this, so this is my only priority. And I'm watching this stuff go, like, slower and slower and lower and lower until it feels like...trauma."
Afterward, she dealt with depression, but with the support of her parents, she graduated high school early and moved to LA. She was very careful when choosing which deals to sign and which roles to take. She also faced a lot of colorism from casting directors.
She said, "I'm back, and I'm me now. So, everything that happened, I would go through it again because I needed to be me."
After her live stream, several sound bites went incredibly viral on TikTok (including "Yes, I did that and you would do it, too, for a check"). She also booked the role of Hilary Banks on Bel-Air, signed a new record deal with High Standardz and Def Jam Recordings, and dropped her major label debut single, "Caliber."
6.Raven-Symoné starred as Raven Baxter on the Disney Channel series That's So Raven. She also played Galleria Garibaldi in the first two Cheetah Girls movies. Additionally, Raven had roles in Kim Possible, the Zenon duology, and the Tinker Bell franchise.
In the 2015 OWN documentary, Light Girls, she revealed that a member of the lighting team on That's So Raven asked her to stop tanning because she was "getting too dark."
She said, "It’s funny, one of the lighting guys came up — I love him to death — he goes, 'Raven, I need you to stop tanning. You’re getting too dark and we have to relight the whole entire show.' I was like, 'Sorry, I was just trying to be pretty!'"
7.Miley Cyrus starred as Miley Stewart/Hannah Montana in the Disney series Hannah Montana and in Hannah Montana: The Movie. She also toured as her fictional alter ego.
During her time on the show, she was held to high beauty standards, which led her to have body image issues. She told Marie Claire, "I was told for so long what a girl is supposed to be from being on that show. I was made to look like someone that I wasn't, which probably caused some body dysmorphia because I had been made pretty every day for so long, and then when I wasn't on that show, it was like, Who the fuck am I?"
She also said, "From the time I was 11, it was, 'You're a pop star! That means you have to be blonde, and you have to have long hair, and you have to put on some glittery tight thing.' Meanwhile, I'm this fragile little girl playing a 16-year-old in a wig and a ton of makeup. It was like Toddlers & Tiaras. I had fucking flippers."
She also worked so many 12-hour days that her mother suggested bringing in the kind of lights that are used to treat seasonal affective disorder. Miley said, "Every morning, I was getting coffee jammed down my throat to wake me up. I just had to keep going, be tough, be strong. Everything happened to me on that set."
While she loved being Hannah Montana, she also struggled under the expectations it placed on her. She told CBS Sunday Morning, "I think now that I'm older, now I realize that's a lot to put on a kid...to have them go to get their makeup done and then also balance school and then also have me dress up, you know, in a wig as a kid is a little weird. It's a little Toddlers & Tiaras."
In 2008, Miley posed for a backless photo for Vanity Fair. At the time, it sparked intense backlash from both the public and Disney who released a statement that said, "Unfortunately, as the article suggests, a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines."
Miley also issued an apology statement, which read, "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. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about."
However, 10 years later, she took back her apology. Alongside a picture of a tabloid cover with the headline "Miley's Shame," she tweeted, "I'M NOT SORRY Fuck YOU."
8.Bella Thorne played CeCe Jones on Disney Channel's Shake It Up. She also appeared in the DCOM Frenemies.
On The Tom Ward Show, she said that, during her Disney days, she "was told to be a very different person" than she is, but she had to take the job to support her family.
She said, "The reason we took Shake It Up in the first place was 'cuz we were about to be living on the streets, so it wasn't really a choice."
When she was 14, Disney almost fired her over a picture of her wearing a bikini.
She said, "They said, 'You're lucky Bella has such as fanbase that we can't afford to fire her at this moment in time, but if she does one more other thing, we'll [fire her].'"
Bella's "Disney girl" image impacted her future career prospects. She said, "Coming off the Disney Channel, I had a lot of casting directors that were like, 'Absolutely won't read her, sorry, no.'"
However, she showed up prepared to several auditions anyway and convinced them to let her read.
As an adult, she resented the pressure the network put on her to conform to a certain image. In 2021, she told Fox News, "There are definitely a lot of pressures in the Disney eye to be so perfect, and I think that's where Disney in a sense goes wrong because they make their kids seem perfect."
She continued, "That image is very difficult. It's also never been me. I always just like to do whatever no one else is doing. Little kids growing up don't need to see perfect people. Kids need to see real. They need to see diversity, they need to see intriguing."
9.JoJo Siwa starred in several Nickelodeon productions, including Nickelodeon's Ultimate Halloween Haunted House, JoJo Siwa: My World, The JoJo and BowBow Show Show, and The J Team.
Before embarking on the Nickelodeon-backed JoJo Siwa D.R.E.A.M. The Tour in 2021, she called them out for blocking her from performing certain songs. On Twitter, she said, "My movie musical was just released (with 6 new original songs)… Nickelodeon told me today that I’m not allowed to perform/add any of the songs from the film into my show. These are MY songs, MY voice, MY writing. Does this seem fair???"
She added, "There is no reason that this music should not be included. Working for a company as a real human being treated as only a brand is fun until it’s not."
In 2022, JoJo revealed that — despite being one of the network's biggest stars for the past several years — she wasn't invited to the Kids' Choice Awards.
In an Instagram video, she said, "I'm not sure why, but I just didn't get an invite."
She retweeted and liked several tweets from fans who pointed out that this coincided with a shift in her public image. Since the last KCAs, she'd come out, gone public with her relationship with Kylie Prew, competed as part of the first same-sex couple on Dancing with the Stars, and cut off her trademark ponytail. JoJo also used her huge platform to advocate for young LGBTQ+ people.
Though JoJo wasn't invited to the awards show, she was still nominated for Favorite Social Music Star, and her music was played.
On her Instagram story, she said, "Somebody tagged me in something — they used my song 'One Chance.' My song made the cut, but not me."
10.On Nickelodeon, Josh Peck was a series regular on The Amanda Show then starred as Josh Nichols on Drake & Josh.
In his memoir, Happy People are Annoying, he revealed that, after paying his agents and managers, he made a little under $100,000 per year on Drake & Josh. However, he didn't make any money after the show ended.
On the BFFs podcast, he said that, despite reruns of the show playing on Nickelodeon "every day" since 2007, he hasn't made any money from it because "kids’ TV doesn’t have residuals."
He said, "I think I was [a part of] a generation of kids who got screwed. It just was sort of [those] early days...I think now kids have gotten way smarter, and they’re getting that back."
Josh also discussed his issues with body image during his time on Nickelodeon. He said, "There were challenges, there were hard times...especially being 300 pounds on television when I was 16."
He continued, "A lot of kids have awkward teenage years and then they burn their yearbooks and swear their families to secrecy when they grow out of it, but mine are in reruns. A lot of people grew up with me, and I think they have an image of me as this idealized, happy dude. And like, while I’m certainly happy today, it was challenging in moments."
He told People, "It became clear that once I lost the weight that I was the same head in a new body. What is really clear is that I overdo things. And then I discovered drugs and alcohol. And that became my next chapter. I used food and drugs to numb my feelings."
However, after realizing that his reputation for being "unstable and erratic" was bringing him close to losing his career, he entered a treatment program. He said, "It took me a really long time to love the 15-year-old version of me. But now I understand how strong he was. And I feel like everything in my life set me up to find this chapter of health, peace, and contentment."
11.Alongside his brothers Nick and Kevin, Joe Jonas starred in the DCOMs Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, the Disney Channel series Jonas, several behind-the-scenes tour documentaries, and a 3D concert film. Disney also helped the Jonas Brothers' music career take off.
In 2013, he told Vulture, "The thing about the show was that some of the writing on it was terrible. It just ended up being some weird slapstick humor that only a 10-year-old would laugh at. They took out the kissing scene that Nick had. I had to shave every day because they wanted me to pretend like I was 16 when I was 20."
He continued, "We went along with it at the time, because we thought Disney was our only real shot, and we were terrified that it could all be taken away from us at any moment."
According to Joe, working for Disney came "with certain expectations." He said, "We were working with Disney in 2007 when the Vanessa Hudgens nude photo scandal happened. We heard that she had to be in the Disney offices for a whole day because they were trying to figure out how to keep her on lockdown. We’d hear execs talking about it, and they would tell us that they were so proud of us for not making the same mistakes, which made us feel like we couldn’t ever mess up."
He continued, "We didn’t want to disappoint anyone — our parents, our fans, our employers — so we put incredible pressure on ourselves, the kind of pressure that no teenager should be under. We were just kids. That’s the reality. We were frightened little kids. So you got all this responsibility that’s foisted upon you and you’re expected to be perfect."
Between Disney and media coverage of the purity rings they wore, the brothers had to "sugarcoat" things. Joe said, "If a lyric was slightly sexual, someone at the record company would tell us we had to change it."
"It could be the most innocent reference, like 'I’m alone in a room with you,' and it would have to go. It felt like we couldn’t be creative, so we stopped listening to them and just started handing shit in," he said.
Working with Disney also impacted his romantic relationships. He said, "I used to sneak out and hook up with this one girl in her car, and some rumor came out along the lines of: 'Teen pop star seen in the back of a car, in a parking lot, hooking up,' and the write-up was kind of explicit. I kept thinking, Oh my God, there’s going to be video, there’s going to be photos. The girl was also in the business, and we thought we were screwed because we were both working with Disney."
He said, "It would have been the worst thing we could think of happening to us. But nothing ever came out!"
Joe and Demi Lovato "eventually dated for a month" because they "played a couple in the Camp Rock Disney Channel specials" and "fans liked seeing [them] together."
He said, "I really got to know her and got to see the ins and outs of what she was struggling with, like drug abuse. I felt like I needed to take care of her, but at the same time I was living a lie, because I wasn’t happy but felt like I had to stay in it for her, because she needed help. I couldn’t express any of that, of course, because I had a brand to protect."
12.Ashley Tisdale played Sharpay Evans in Disney's High School Musical trilogy and the spin-off Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure. She also played major roles in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and Phineas and Ferb.
After the first HSM movie, she joined her castmates for High School Musical: The Concert. She performed her original song, "He Said She Said," on the tour. However, similar to the experience the Jonas Brothers had, Disney made her change certain lyrics.
In a TikTok video, Ashley said, "Disney made me change kissing like that to 'dancing' like that for the HSM tour."
The original lyrics were "Baby, I can see us movin' like that / Baby, I can see us touchin' like that / Baby, I can see us kissin' like that / We don't need no more than he said, she said."
13.After playing a substantial guest role on Hannah Montana, Selena Gomez starred as Alex Russo in the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place. She also starred in the DCOMs Princess Protection Program, Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, and The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex.
In 2015, she told the New York Times, "I’m growing and changing. I was in a relationship, and I was being managed by my parents, and I was still under Hollywood [Records] and Disney, and I was being held to this expectation of being the good girl. I knew deep down that this wasn’t what I wanted to do — being exhausted of forcing something that wasn’t right, even in my personal life."
She said, "I had to have moments where I was crying and I was like, 'Why am I not in love with what I do?' I was forced to get very uncomfortable for a while in order to make the decisions I made."
14.Stefanie Scott played Lexi Reed on Disney's A.N.T. Farm. She also appeared in the DCOM Frenemies.
She told BuzzFeed, "It was hard being a preteen and having to sugarcoat everything all the time. That's one of the hardest things, not being able to express myself in a certain way or being stuck having to promote something or say something you don't believe in."
She continued, "It's kind of hard after a while when you are feeling things and having a rough time in your personal life and you can't express your emotions through your work."
She also said that, after the series ended, she "snuck out the back door" of Disney Channel because she wanted to tell stories of troubled girls where everything isn't perfect all the time."
She said, "I didn't want it to stop there and be labeled as 'a Disney girl.' I quickly realized I wanted to do more."
"If you've been on a Disney show, people target you as being the 'sitcom funny girl' who can't take herself seriously and doesn't really have true emotions because they have to be perfect and pure — not shattered and torn in any way," she continued.
15.On Disney Channel, Rowan Blanchard starred as Riley Matthews in the series Girls Meets World and the DCOM Invisible Sister.
After her show was canceled, she told Nylon, "I feel good about it now in the sense that, as much as I loved my Girl Meets World family, working for the Disney Channel is stressful, and I have more freedom to do what I want and talk about what I want without feeling inhibited."
Her experience also made it challenging for her to be taken seriously as an actor. She said, "People hesitate to see me because I was on the Disney Channel and it’s fake acting or whatever."
A year after the show wrapped, she told W magazine, "I worked for a corporation for four years that is known for silencing and crafting your voice, so with that I just had to very much stand my ground and separate myself, which I think I did."
She continued, "It’s nice now because now people don’t really recognize me from the show, they recognize me from my activism, which has been very comforting."
16.Alongside his brother Dylan, Cole Sprouse starred as Cody Martin on the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, its spin-off The Suite Life On Deck, and the TV movie The Suite Life Movie.
In 2022, he told the New York Times that, while "fame is a trauma," his experiences can't be compared to what the young women in similar circumstances went through.
He said, "My brother and I used to get quite a bit of, 'Oh, you made it out! Oh, you’re unscathed!' No. The young women on the channel we were on were so heavily sexualized from such an earlier age than my brother and I that there’s absolutely no way that we could compare our experiences."
He continued, "And every single person going through that trauma has a unique experience. When we talk about child stars going nuts, what we’re not actually talking about is how fame is a trauma."
"So I’m violently defensive against people who mock some of the young women who were on the channel when I was younger because I don’t feel like it adequately comprehends the humanity of that experience and what it takes to recover," he said.
17.And finally, Alyson Stoner played supporting roles in several Disney Channel productions — The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Camp Rock, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, and Phineas and Ferb.
In 2018, they called out Teen Vogue on Twitter for misreporting that they'd been up for Hannah Montana but added, "If you want real drama, ask what Disney did to me on Camp Rock that I’ve had to keep secret this whole time."
However, Alyson never publicly disclosed what they had to keep secret for so long.
In a 2021 YouTube video, she said, "While traversing extreme peaks and valleys of global fame, hidden medical hospitalizations, artistic milestones, rapid adultification, and multi-layered abuse I wish on no one, I narrowly survived the toddler-to-trainwreck pipeline."
She continued, "As someone who lived it and witnessed thousands endure alongside me, I can attest that what is missing from the pipeline narrative are clear action plans for intervention, long-term prevention, and accountability from studios, agencies, and guardians."
She shared her experiences as a child performer and outlined her ideas to improve the safety and well-being of other children in entertainment, such as requiring studios to have a mental health professional on set, improving child labor laws, and making media and industry literacy courses mandatory for guardians and representatives.
They said, "No, I didn't mention the sexual harassment, stolen IP and money, paparazzi, psychological impact of the new influencer landscape, toxic power plays, and what actually happened on all of those sets. If we disrupt and heal the toddler-to-trainwreck pipeline, we won't need another cautionary memoir."
"But, by highlighting my story as any sort of 'exception' to the rule, we misunderstand my peers' suffering, and we shift attention away from the changes needed immediately," they added.
If you are concerned that a child is experiencing or may be in danger of abuse, you can call or text the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-2253 (4.A.CHILD); service can be provided in over 140 languages.
The National Eating Disorders Association helpline is 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.