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The Price of Fame

Diff'rent Strokes

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Angelina Jolie

Filmmaker. Mother. Humanitarian. The daughter of actor parents, Angelina Jolie is one of Hollywood’s most influential people. Her acting has earned her commercial success and critical acclaim, but it's her time off screen that has defined much of her life. She had an estranged relationship with her famous father, Jon Voight, a scandalously, long kiss with her brother on a red carpet and her intense marriage to bad boy, Billy Bob Thornton. Her relationship with Brad Pitt began on the set of the spy thriller “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” while he was married to Jennifer Aniston. After the loss of her mother to cancer, Jolie made the drastic decision to have a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing cancer. Not long afterward, “Brangelina” began to unravel and Jolie filed for divorce in 2016; breaking up one of Hollywood’s most talked about couples.

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Carrie Fisher

Known around the world as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, Carrie Fisher was an actress and award-winning writer. Considered Hollywood royalty, the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher was introduced to drugs at a young age, which marked the beginning of her struggle with addiction. Fisher was also diagnosed with depression and Bipolar disorder, and she controversially began electroconvulsive therapy sessions for treatment. In 2016, Fisher stopped breathing while on a plane and was pronounced dead 4 days later in the hospital. Tests later showed that she had cocaine, heroin, and other opiates in her system. Overcome with grief, her mother died the next day as a result from the loss of her daughter.

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Diff'rent Strokes

Drugs, crime, and death; the downward spiral of the child cast of Diff'rent Strokes is one for the ages. The once adored child actors Gary Coleman, Dana Plato, and Todd Bridges were brought to fame at an early age for their roles in the 80’s TV show. However, their individual endeavors after the show were defined by drug addiction, financial struggles, and arrests. Dana Plato robbed a dry cleaners, Gary Coleman divorced his parents and had anger issues, and Todd Bridges was a drug addict. Plato’s suicide in 1999 and Coleman’s death in 2010 have left the nation wondering how these beloved child actors could succumb to such a tragic turn of events.

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Johnny Depp

The life of an A-list superstar doesn’t come easy; and Johnny Depp has learned this lesson the hard way. Known for his portrayal of eccentric characters in films such as Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Edward Scissorhands, Depp’s success has also been met with harsh criticism. His famously lavish spending and $30,000 a month wine habit have left him nearly broke. Although adored by millions of fans worldwide, Depp’s drunken moments of rage have also been well-documented and he is now attempting to reboot his life and career for the better.

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Mackenzie Phillips

Best known for her roles in American Graffiti, One Day at a Time and The Disney Channel show, So Weird, Mackenzie Phillips is the quintessential troubled child star. Her drug abuse began very early, when her rock n’ roll father from the group, The Mamas and the Papas, taught her how to shoot up drugs. Later, Mackenzie and her father, John, would have a consensual, incestuous sexual relationship for 10 years. Her downward spiral lead her to embarrassing collapses and firings. Succumbing to multiple near-fatal overdoses and accruing many arrests due to her drug possession, Mackenzie checked herself into rehab to straighten out her life. Today Mackenzie works as a drug rehab counselor.

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Patrick Swayze

A true dancer at heart, Patrick Swayze had the talent and rugged good-looks to justify his status as a teenage heartthrob after the smash hit Dirty Dancing. Although he was a household name, Swayze struggled the death of his father, his sister’s suicide, and his wife’s miscarriage. Swayze became a raging alcoholic at an early age and had a reputation for showing up drunk on movie sets. After his career stagnated for a while, Swayze’s alcoholic tendencies continued and he was later diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Swayze attempted to work through his illness, but died in 2009 with the love of his life, Lisa, by his side.

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Prince

Few artists can compare to the talent and mystery of Prince. From smash hits including Purple Rain and Let’s Go Crazy, to a legendary performance at the Super Bowl in 2007, the only thing that could stop one of our greatest musical gifts, were prescription drugs. Despite his overt sexuality and performing prowess, the painfully shy artist spent much of his career secluded from the public eye and battling his record company over music rights. After dealing with the death of his newborn son and hip surgery, it appears the pain of it all caught up to him, as he was found dead in his home as a result of a fentanyl overdose in 2016.

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Princess Diana Spencer

Princess Diana was known as “The people’s princess.” In 1981, Diana Spencer married Prince Charles of Wales, the heir to the British throne. Princess Diana gave birth to two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Unfortunately, her marriage with Prince Charles began to crumble. The couple’s marital issues were highly publicized and the nation watched as infidelity tore the marriage apart, ultimately leading to divorce. On August 3rd, 1997 Princess Diana died in a car crash shocking the nation and the world alike. The subject of her death has garnered much controversy because it was popularly believed that the paparazzi forced her driver to speed, leading them to a fatal crash.

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Robert Downey Jr.

Between stints in rehab and having box office hits like Less Than Zero and Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr.’s career has been one of the most volatile in recent memory. The son of a drug-addled filmmaker, Downey Jr. also developed an addiction to drugs. He’s been in and out of jail and rehab; and even had a public arrest after being found intoxicated in a stranger’s home. He battled his demons until 2003 when he met his current wife, Susan Levin. Levin insisted Downey Jr. achieve sobriety for their marriage, and his life took a turn for the better. In a dramatic turnaround, Downey Jr. underwent treatment, and in a few years found himself as one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors. His recent portrayal of Marvel’s Iron Man has cemented his place as a household name and icon, a far cry from the turbulent beginning of his career.

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Robin Williams

Often considered “the most unique mind on earth,” the life of Robin Williams as a brilliant actor and comedian was unfortunately overshadowed by his own personal demons. Williams found success very early in his career and was quick to turn to partying, drinking, and womanizing despite being married. This trend continued as Williams consistently had adulterous offers with other women, and he later picked up an addiction to cocaine. After 20-years of sobriety, Williams turned to drugs and alcohol once again and was deeply depressed, having delusions, and showing signs of memory loss. The weight of the world eventually became too much for him to handle, and he took his own life in 2014.

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Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez is the epitome of a Disney darling. Known to most for her breakout role as Alex Russo on Wizards of Waverly Place, Gomez has transformed into a notable actress, singer, and social media influencer. With one of her Instagram photos garnering over 10.5 million likes, Gomez is in the top ten most liked photos of all time. In 2013, Gomez was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder lupus. Side-effects from her disorder have caused her to go in and out of rehab due to a strong battle with anxiety and depression. Gomez has done rounds of chemotherapy and most recently had a kidney transplant, with best friend and fellow actress Francia Rasia as her donor. Gomez has also been a current media topic because of her on-again, off-again relationship with popular Canadian singer Justin Bieber.

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Shania Twain

The odds against Shania Twain becoming the biggest-selling female country music artist in history were against her. When both of her parents were killed in a car accident, the teenaged Twain struggled to raise her siblings. After linking up with then-Producer and future-husband Mutt Lange, Twain’s career skyrocketed to awards and Billboard success with the release of her second album. Years later, when it was revealed that Twain’s husband was having an affair with their assistant, her life and career began spiraling downwards. Alone, suicidal, and afraid, Twain was also left with a condition that robbed her of her singing voice. In a shock to the world, Twain went on to marry the husband of her ex-assistant.