Disney has been churning out an insane amount of stars for decades. By now, we are all aware that Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Ryan Gosling got their start on The Mickey Mouse Club. Even in recent years, the successful stars keep coming, and Disney has launched media sensations, like Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus and Hilary Duff.
But, for some reason, it seems like a lot of these actors and singers leave Disney during their teen years—and sometimes, it’s NOT an amicable departure. Here are 15 stars who were either teens at their peak on Disney, or left Disney as a teen. We’ll tell you what they had to say about their time with the most famous production company in the world.
№1 Ashley Tisdale
Remember Maddie from Suite Life of Zack and Cody? She was much older than most of the teens on this list when she got her start with Disney—she was 19 years old when she joined he show. Ashley Tisdale played the part of Maddie for three years, but left because she was getting tired of playing such a sweet, innocent character (are you noticing a trend here?). But, Tisdale didn’t leave Disney right away; she went on to star as Sharpay in three High School Musical movies. Though the third installment was reported to be her last Disney movie (since she was looking land roles that are “racy and edgy”), it wasn’t her last. Ashley also starred in the spin-off to HSM, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure (2011). Then, she left Disney and indeed, landed a role which was racy and edgy—that of a prostitute in Amateur Night. What a way to shed the good girl image!
№2 Ross Lynch
Ross Lynch started off as a musician. His band, R5, signed with Disney’s label, Hollywood Records in 2010. Then, in 2011, he was cast in Austin & Ally, playing the role of the title male character (a teenage singer). He also appeared in the movie Teen Beach and its sequel. But, it seems like Ross’ time on Disney has run its course. While we can’t confirm whether or not he will ever return to Disney again, he did make some comments that caused some to think he was ready to move on. He says: “When you’re a part of the Disney family per se, they do kind of give you guidelines… But I actually don’t think the rebelling is because you were a part of Disney…People start to think that because you come from Disney that you’re a certain way, or people just perceive you in a certain light that a lot of people don’t want to be perceived as…When you come out of Disney you have a certain perception that people think of you, and I think that’s just what people want to break, and they just do it with extreme measures..You are perceived to be such an angel, and really you’re just an actor that booked a job.”
№3 Bella Thorne
Bella Thorne is known for starring alongside Zendaya in Disney’s Shake It Up from 2010 to 2013, after which Bella parted ways with the company. It seems like she left Disney for the same reason that most stars do: to move on with their careers and shed the childlike persona. She says, “When I got off the [Disney] Channel, I stopped listening to people telling me that I needed to be this and that. I literally would talk with a higher voice in interviews because that was the whole innocent Disney appeal.” And she also had some uncomfortable experiences while with Disney: “Zendaya and I were put in a very unfortunate position where we were kind of forced to compete against each other [during Shake It Up], which made the whole first season of the show just very awkward for us.”
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