15 Times Celebrity Culture Did More Harm Than Good For Teenage Celebrities


“We hope she’s learned a valuable lesson.” —Disney when Vanessa Hudgens’ pictures were leaked.

It’s no secret that the media has often failed the very celebrities it helped create, especially women. However, there’s no age restriction on how early the harmful headlines start in a celebrity’s career.

Here are 15 times the media failed famous teenagers:


When Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic made fun of 18-year-old Zendaya’s locs, saying they looked like they “smell like patchouli oil or weed.”

Steve Granitz / WireImage / Via Getty

On Instagram, Zendaya responded, “To say that an 18-year-old young woman with locs must smell of patchouli oil or ‘weed’ is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive. I don’t usually feel the need to respond to negative things, but certain remarks cannot go unchecked.”


When 17-year-old Harry Styles was painted as a “womanizer” while dating 31-year-old Caroline Flack.

Jon Furniss / WireImage / Via Getty

A year later, he told the Sun, “I’m an 18-year-old boy, and I’m having fun. I’m just not having as much fun as people make out.”


When 18-year-old Vanessa Hudgens had to issue an apology after her nudes were leaked, and Disney Channel issued a statement saying, “We hope she’s learned a valuable lesson.”

Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic / Via Getty

Thirteen years later, Vanessa told Cosmopolitan, “It was a really traumatizing thing for me.”


When Britney Spears was bombarded with speculations about her virginity throughout her relationship with Justin Timberlake, whom she started dating when she was 17.

Denise Truscello / WireImage / Via Getty

After the breakup in 2002, Justin discussed the intimate nature of their relationship in an interview with Barbara Walters. However, Britney was continuously asked about it into her twenties. 


When pictures of 16-year-old Demi Lovato’s self-harm scars were circulated a year before they entered treatment for the first time.

Jesse Grant / WireImage / Via Getty

They went on to release several documentaries about their mental health journey. In an interview promoting Dancing with the Devil (2021), they said, “I’m so proud of the person that I am today. One of the main reasons I’m coming forward is so I never have to live that life again.”


When 13-year-old Rebecca Black was relentlessly made fun of for her “Friday” music video, leading her to feel “terribly ashamed of herself and afraid of the world.”

ARK Music Factory / Via youtube.com

In an Instagram statement on the song’s ninth anniversary, she told her past self, “You are not defined by any one choice or thing. Time heals, and nothing is finite. It’s a process that’s never too late to begin.” 


When “grown men” paparazzi followed 15-year-old Selena Gomez and her family to the beach to photograph her in her swimsuit.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Still remembering the incident 13 years later, she told Vogue, “That is a violating feeling.”


When a “leaked” video of 19-year-old Malia Obama smoking was posted with the caption “f—— get your camera right now.”

Pool / Getty Images

The video was deleted, but it had already started going viral. 


When 15-year-old Millie Bobby Brown was criticized for a SAG Awards look that was deemed “too mature.”

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

However, she told People that the custom Louis Vuitton look was “everything I kind of wanted.”


When 16-year-old Courtney Stodden was slut-shamed and made fun of in tabloids after marrying 51-year-old Doug Hutchison.

Jb Lacroix / WireImage / Via Getty

Courtney filed for divorce seven years later. They told BuzzFeed News, “If I was now, looking back on this, I would be concerned! Where’s her mom, where’s her dad, and who is this guy?” 


When an interviewer pushed the Jonas Brothers (including 15-year-old Nick and 18-year-old Joe) to talk about their decision to wear purity rings, and when they refused, told them, “I can write whatever I want.”

Patrick Mcmullan / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

In an essay for Vulture, Joe said, “Back then, we explained that we had made these promises to ourselves when we were younger. A few months later, it comes out that we’re in some cult and that we’re these little staged Mickey Mouse kids.”


When a member of the paparazzi took a picture of 17-year-old Billie Eilish — who notoriously chooses to wear baggy clothing to protect her body from criticism — wearing a tank top, and it went viral.

Michael Kovac / Getty Images for CORE, formerly J/P HRO

She was bothered by both the criticism and the praise she received. She told British Vogue, “It made me really offended when people were like, ‘Good for her for feeling comfortable in her bigger skin.'”


When 16-year-old Lorde was criticized for using Taylor Swift as an example when calling out the “importance placed on physical perfection” in the music industry.

Larry Busacca / Getty Images for NARAS

On Tumblr, Lorde said, “[Taylor] was the first person I thought of, which I regret. She happens to be good looking, but I think she actually uses her other imperfections in an incredibly powerful and relatable way.” Lorde and Taylor became friends afterward.


When 16-year-old Soleil Moon Frye spoke openly about her breast reduction in order to promote a healthy view of self-image, but “the message was lost” due to the headlines following her decision.

Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

She told People, “No one is in charge of how their body develops, but there was so much shame about it.”


And finally, when 15-year-old Miley Cyrus faced so much criticism over a backless photo shoot that she issued an apology saying she was “so embarrassed” by the pictures.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

In 2018, Miley resciended her apology on Twitter, writing “I’m not sorry” alongside a tabloid cover. 

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