Disney stars’ horror stories – actor ‘locked in hotel room’ to ‘child exploitation’

Though it might seem like every child’s dream to land a recurring role on the Disney Channel, all is not what it first seems.

The network has produced numerous child stars over the years who went on to launch huge acting or music careers, including the likes of Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato.

But many of those young actors and actresses had something to say about the mouse once they were out of Mickey’s clutches.

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From horrifying experiences of stars claiming they were locked in hotel rooms to stop them eating to the alleged sexualisation of children, Disney’s name has been raked through the press by the very stars who used to fill up its TV schedules.

Demi Lovato ‘locked up’

Demi Lovato stepped into the limelight on Sonny With A Chance and Camp Rock
(Image: DISNEY)

Camp Rock star Demi Lovato has made some pretty serious allegations over her time on the Disney Channel between 2007 and 2010.

The actor, who made their name on Sonny With A Chance back in the day, claimed on the Call Her Daddy podcast that their struggles with drugs and alcohol came from an attempt to escape her management.

Demi said her schedule with Disney was so intense that she would call her mom in tears due to exhaustion.

They added: “At a certain point, I was paying for the roof over my whole family’s head, and my dad had quit his job to become my manager so his income was coming from me.

“My mom was a stay-at-home mom and there was just that pressure of ‘I’m paying for everything and like I need to keep going because if things start start to disappear, so does the finances’.”

Demi Lovato struggled with an eating disorder and was allegedly denied treatment
(Image: Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Demi went on to say that she was barricaded in her hotel room by someone on her own team and banned from ordering room service, which “exasperated” her eating disorder.

She claimed her manager at the time “didn’t let me have phones in my hotel rooms because they didn’t want me to call room service”.

Demi said: “I didn’t have food and my hotel room like snacks in the minibar because they didn’t want me to eat the snacks. My security guard walked by my room and was made aware that they had barricaded me into my hotel room.

“They put furniture outside of my door so that I couldn’t get out and sneak out and eat if I wanted to. It was that level of controlling when it came to my food, which just made my eating disorder worse.”

When Demi asked for treatment for her eating disorder after she vomited blood, she was allegedly refused as she was “not sick enough”.

Bella Thorne ‘sexualised’

Bella Thorne rose to fame in Shake It Up
(Image: Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

Bella Thorne first broke into acting when she was just six years old, and went on to star in Shake It Up as CeCe Jones at 13.

But the star confessed she was sexualised as a child and accused of ‘flirting’ with an adult director when she was just 10 years old.

Speaking on High Low with EmRata, the star claimed: “I had a director give me feedback once and I was 10. The casting director calls my agent and the agent calls my mom, and they’re like, ‘So she’s not moving forward because the director felt like she was flirting with him and it made him really uncomfortable.’

“What the f*** are you talking about, man?! I don’t give a f*** what I said! I don’t care if I said, ‘Eat my p***y right now’! [I was] 10 years old. Why, why, would you ever think that?”

Bella Thorne was accused of flirting with a director when she was just 10 years old
(Image: WireImage)

She went on to claim she was nearly fired from set after wearing a bikini on the beach.

Bella said: “I almost got fired off the Disney Channel ’cause I was 14, and I wore a two-piece on the beach. This stylist that I was hanging out with put this chain on me. It’s like a body chain? I don’t know! I don’t care.

“There was a fan, they got a photo of me on the beach, I almost got fired. It was all over the media — it was literally viral in that time.

“And it was ‘How dare this little girl do this? This is so disgusting.’ They were like, ‘Hey, we’re getting a lot of heat for this. Everyone’s getting heat for this because you’re in a bikini on a beach, so she needs to make sure she goes out in boy shorts and a loose t-shirt next time she’s at the beach.’”

Selena Gomez ‘signed life away’

Selena Gomez ‘felt like a product’ while starring on Disney Channel
(Image: ABC)

Wizards of Waverly Place star Selena Gomez said she “signed her life away to Disney at a very young age” when she “didn’t know” what she was doing.

The Naturally hitmaker said she is sometimes “triggered” by her Disney past – and in her My Mind & Me documentary in 2022, compared a bad interview with her time on the network.

She said: “Do you know how cheap it makes me feel? She’s asking me questions, like, good ones, and then she didn’t even pay attention to what I was saying.

“I don’t want to do that ever again. I feel like a product. It was making me angry. You know what it is? It made me feel like Disney.”

She added: “I just spent years of my life trying to not be that. And I f***king look like a witch with the outfit, doing it all with the wand again.”

Demi’s rape allegation

Demi Lovato claimed she was raped as a teenager by a Disney co-star
(Image: WireImage)

Demi Lovato claimed she was raped during her teenage years by someone who was ‘also on Disney’.

The star claimed the incident happened in the late noughties, explaining she lost her virginity to the undisclosed person.

Demi said the fellow Disney star “never got taken out of the movie they were in” after allegedly raping her.

They explained: “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 internalised it and I told myself it was my fault, because I still went in the room with him. I still hooked up with him.”

Demi added: “The Christian, Southern girl in me didn’t see it [as rape] because sex was not normalised as a child or in the South.

“And, you know what, f*** 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.”

Cole Sprouse ‘exploited’

The Suite Life star Cole Sprouse said he lost most of the money he made before he was 10

Though The Suite Life of Zack and Cody star Cole Sprouse “doesn’t regret” his days on Disney, the star confessed that he was forced to financially support his ‘irresponsible’ mother with his pay cheques from the network.

And the star struggled to separate his “public and private life”.

He explained: “My public life has been a mess of showing my awkward teenage years and all this sort of stuff to the world, and I think it’s a total natural consequence of my upbringing to feel a little nervous about vulnerability and connection when it came to romantic partnerships.”

The Riverdale actor said he struggled with balancing his private and public life
(Image: Getty Images)

The Riverdale actor said that twin child actors are a “great labour exploit” as “babies can only work for a certain amount of hours, so you double the time if you have two of them that look identical.”

Speaking on the Call Her Daddy podcast, he added: “When my father was given forced custody, we had pretty much lost everything from the youngest parts of our career. That would be ‘Friends’ and ‘Big Daddy,’ and a lot of that.

“My mother was an incredibly wonderful and artistic woman, but she was financially the most irresponsible person ever.”

Miley Cyrus ‘cancelled’

Miley Cyrus was reportedly scrapped from Disney after she embraced her own sexuality
(Image: Disney Channel/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock)

Though she rose to fame on Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus was immediately ditched from Disney as soon as she began to embrace her own sexuality.

Jose Mendoza, who said he worked as a Radio Disney assistant when Miley’s Can’t Be Tamed album released, claimed on Twitter: “I was working for Radio Disney at the time as a Promotional Assistant.

“I’m not kidding when I say that the NEXT DAY after this dropped Disney made us cancel EVERYTHING that was connected to Miley Cyrus. No radio play. No mentioning her. NOTHING.”

Miley said in 2015 that she would have to work 12 hours a day on the show, and had “coffee jammed down [her] throat” to wake her up.

She said: “I just had to keep going, be tough, be strong. Everything happened to me on that set.”

The star also said she was “probably the least paid person” on the cast because she had no idea how to negotiate a salary – and just wanted to be on TV.


Source: Celebrities -


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