Celebrities continue to grace the tabloids with drug possessions, paparazzi altercations and reckless driving. Are these stars struggling to stay in the spotlight, or are these actions a result of serious psychological issues?
Britney Spears was one of the first starlets to have a “freak out” exposed in the magazines. Starting out as a childhood star and then emerging into a pop-star, Spears saw much success and two marriages before storming into a Los Angeles hair salon and shaving her head in February 2007.
Two weeks after striking a paparazzi’s SUV with an umbrella, she admitted herself to a treatment facility. Currently, she is back to making number one hits, putting her 2007 incident behind her and climbing back into the spotlight.
Senior Haley Norris said, “She’s making a comeback and I love it, the old Britney is back!”
But Spears’ case is rare. Actress Amanda Bynes, 27, and actress-singer Miley Cyrus, 20, share similar beginnings. Both have become controversial over the years, but have dealt with their public backlash in different ways.
Bynes saw a few years of success in films like She’s the Man and Sydney White after her time as a Nickelodeon star. In 2012, her driver’s license was suspended after two incidences of reckless driving. Later that year, she was caught driving on a suspended license, and her car was impounded.
Her wild comments on Twitter claiming to have had sexual relations with Amanda Show co-star Drake Bell and attempting a Twitter fight with singer Rihanna have kept her in the spotlight this year.
Some remember Bynes when she was still acting. “I saw an interview a few years ago where she said she wanted to be a role model for kids. After hearing about her new image and arrests, she’s definitely not one of mine,” Freshman Megan Harris said.
Bynes most recently entered the psychiatric ward of a Malibu rehabilitation center where she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her parents’ plea for custody was granted by her judge and she was under their care until September 30.
On November 5, she was released from the facility.
Miley Cyrus started off as a Disney sensation in her role of a teen pop star Hannah Montana. Once her contract expired and she left Disney Channel, Cyrus’ image became increasingly provocative.
Cyrus became engaged to her Last Song co-star Liam Hemsworth in May 2012, but soon after revamped her image. She chopped off her long locks for a bleached-blond pixie cut and the couple grew distant.
In August, when Hemsworth broke off the engagement, Cyrus focused on her new album, Bangerz, and she began making outrageous appearances on award shows.
Her new songs make it clear drug use has become part of her life despite saying earlier in a 2011 interview that “drugs are for idiots.”
Cyrus’ music video, We Can’t Stop, which was released in June, acted as a preview for what fans could expect for her album and her future performances.
Her Wrecking Ball music video broke VEVO’s record for the most views within the first 24 hours of its release.
Her 2013 VMA performance—complete with nude spandex bra top, hot pants, foam finger, and sexual gestures toward Robin Thicke—received mixed reactions from millions around the world.
On her documentary Miley: The Movement, which aired on MTV October 2, Cyrus defends her controversial performance
“I’m a freak. I want to come out of a teddy bear for Christ’s sake — with a hand — I’m just a freak. It’s just who I am and if I’m gonna perform, I want things around me that I like,” she said.
Social networks, such as Twitter and Vine, have fueled the mixed reviews of both Bynes and Cyrus.
“I definitely wouldn’t have known about Amanda Bynes or Miley’s changed images without Twitter. The vines and memes of Miley’s music videos are hilarious,” senior Tyler Thomas said.
Although memes, vines and parody tweets make up most of the social network’s reaction to the celebrities, Sophomore Logan Toler thinks differently.
“Cyrus’ new image is a rebellious comeback and a transformation into adulthood. I think she’s fabulous,” Toler said.
Tyler disagreed with this assessment. “Miley clearly just wanted attention and reactions and media.”
Despite staying relevant on social networks, these recent image changes and rebellious actions could signify deeper psychological issues.
Melissa Rotblatt, an intern for North’s social worker Amber Knight, said, “Because celebrities receive far more attention than the average adolescent, the public sees more of the behaviors that may contribute to that celebrity receiving a mental disorder diagnosis. The most common diagnoses that the public often hears about in celebrities are bipolar disorders, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, anxiety, depression, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.”
So if the disorders are present, what comes first? Do starlets act out because of their disorders or does their risky behavior cause their disorder?
Rotblatt explained, “Every case is different. With something like bipolar disorder, it is something that was always there and didn’t become apparent until the person reached a certain age. However, some people have a genetic predisposition to conditions such as bipolar disorder that may be exacerbated by the risky behaviors of the individual.”
As for the media’s effect on these troubled starlets, the social worker said the risky behaviors can serve as a cry for help. If celebrities can recognize their behavior and stop valuing negative attention, these young stars will be able to receive the help they need.