It’s a story almost as old as Hollywood — stars taking their parents to court over money they earned as child actors that was pilfered or mismanaged.
A recent lawsuit Mischa Barton filed against her mother is the latest example of a child star sparring with their parent-turned-manager. The actress who rose to fame on Fox’s teen drama The O.C. claims her mother stole money from her and kicked her out of a $7.8 million home bought with her acting proceeds.
The suit links Barton to previous generations of young performers who claimed their parents squandered the fruits of their early careers. Here’s a partial list compiled by The Associated Press.
Gary Coleman: The Diff’rent Strokes star fought with his parents and an ex-manager for four years over money he made on the popular comedy series. In 1993, a judge ruled Coleman should be awarded almost $1.3 million from the trio after the actor claimed they skimmed his earnings from the show, which ran from 1978 to 1986. Coleman and his parents later settled dueling court cases, which included an attempt to place the actor under a guardianship to protect his health and finances. Coleman suffered from a kidney ailment that stunted his growth.
Macaulay Culkin: Culkin was a teenager when he was caught in the middle of a nasty custody dispute between his mother and his father, who was serving as the Home Alone star’s manager. At one point during the court battle, a judge approved dipping into Culkin’s earnings from his childhood acting roles to buy his mother and siblings a New York apartment to prevent them from becoming homeless. Culkin’s lawyer filed a motion to remove both parents as legal guardians when the actor was 15. His mother eventually won custody of him and his siblings after his father dropped his opposition to the proceedings.
Ariel Winter: The teenage Modern Family actress’s mother was stripped of custody and any role in her daughter’s career after 2012 allegations of physical and emotional abuse. Winter’s mother denied she slapped or called her daughter names, but a judge allowed the actress to live with her adult sister, who remains the 17-year-old’s guardian. Child protective services investigators found evidence of emotional abuse, but claims of physical abuse were inconclusive, a judge said in late 2012. The actress’s mom eventually agreed to a settlement that cut her out of her daughter’s career.
Leann Rimes: At age 17, the country singer sued her father and a former co-manager in Texas, claiming they took more than $7 million she had earned. The suit claimed the pair took as much as 30 percent of the singer’s earnings and siphoned off millions of dollars in royalties. Her father countersued, claiming he was the one who was owed money. The cases were settled, and Rimes later reconciled with her father.