She wasn't "Olsen twin famous" but she did begin her movie career at age 5, so Mara Wilson can understand why it may seem to the rest of the world that young stars like Justin Bieber or Amanda Bynes have lost their minds.
Best known for her roles in 1990s films "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Matilda," Wilson turned to humor site Cracked.com to list the reasons why she believes child stars "go crazy." The result is a thoughtful seven-point explanation of how show business can be a trap and why "not many child stars make it out of Hollywood alive or sane."
Wilson, who is no longer acting, attended New York University and is pursuing a writing career. Her parents were against her becoming an actress, but supported her wishes to give the profession a try, protecting her emotionally and financially every step of the way. Most child actors don't have that, she writes.
"The next time a former child star is in the news, look at the age at which he or she started performing," Wilson writes. "Then imagine making a life-changing decision at that age. Chances are good he or she wasn't the one who made it."
Child actors are not allowed to act out as adolescents, so by the time they become young adults, they rebel, "often with major consequences," Wilson writes. They also have trouble dealing with rejection since they were adored for much of their childhood, but don't have what it takes to leave it all behind, she writes.
"It's easier for them to hold onto what they did in their past and make money that way," Wilson writes. "Besides, everyone they know is in the business, and after having people take their money, reject them for their looks, and turn them into a sex object, they're not going to be especially trusting. The sleazy bastards you know are better than the sleazy bastards you don't."
Wilson recalls walking a red carpet when she was seven years old and being asked about Hugh Grant's prostitution arrest.
"While I knew he'd been arrested, I didn't understand what for and didn't feel comfortable answering," she writes. "My father called the station the next day to suggest that they, you know, not talk to a child about soliciting sex. But he was rebuffed, and the complaint was ignored. Even then, as a kid, I knew that parental power was gone."
Wilson describes herself as a normal-looking woman and "reformed drama nerd" living in a two-bedroom apartment "in one of the less cool neighborhoods of New York." Her advice to, say, Lindsay Lohan? "Get the hell out of acting and into something soothing. Take up botany or something."
To the rest of the kids who want to act, she says, " Make sure it's really your choice, get out of it when it stops being fun, and get an education."