The Rise and Fall of Teen Icon Lindsay Lohan

Georgina White Stories /
Lindsay Lohan rise fall
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Lindsay met the same tabloid fate as many celebs from the early 2000s. For years, fans watched as she struggled with her personal life in the spotlight, revealing a lot more than she ever intended.

Meet Lindsay

The Hollywood starlet known as Lindsay Lohan was born on July 2nd, 1986 in the busy metropolis of New York City. But unlike some other celebs born into humble families, show biz was built into the family genes.

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Her mother, Dina Lohan, was a former singer and dancer, who spent her earlier years dominating the stage. She married Michael, a Wall Street trader, and went on to have four children: Lindsay, and three more. The glamorous life was around Lindsay from a young age, and it proved to be a major influence from the get-go.

A Star Since She Could Walk

With a mother as industry-savvy as Dina, it didn't come as much of a shock to friends and family that Lindsay was signed to Ford Models at the young age of three. Pretty much as soon as the toddler could walk and speak, she began appearing in campaigns.

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In these early years, Lindsay was reported to have starred in over sixty television commercials for brands and companies including The Gap, Pizza Hut, Wendy's, and Jell-O, starring alongside Bill Cosby. But soon, the minute-long commercials weren't cutting it and something bigger was calling Lindsay's name.

Hollywood Came Knocking

Some higher-ups in the television world had taken notice of Lindsay's captivating commercials and realized that she had untapped potential. So in 1996, at the age of 10, Lindsay was cast to play Ali Fowler in the soap opera series Another World. And the moment she made her debut, people knew she was destined to be a star.

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Soap Opera Magazine saw the 10-year-old actress as an industry "veteran" upon seeing her performance, and Lindsay went on to stay as a series regular for a year. And before she knew it, Lohan was on her way to the next industry frontier: Film. And she had caught the eye of one Oscar-nominated director in particular...

Double the Fame

Nancy Meyers, a renowned Hollywood director saw fame written all over Lindsay's freckled face and she had just the role in mind. Lohan was cast in Disney's 1998 remake of Parent Trap to play not one, but two of the movie's lead roles. It was a huge task for the young actress, who had to tackle a British accent for the film.

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But, to everyone's joy, the film was a huge success. According to Box Office Mojo, the domestic opening in the U.S. alone brought in over $11 million, of which Lindsay took home a decent slice. She also scored an Online Film & Television Association and a Young Artists Award for her achievements. But it was just the beginning…

Soaking In the Praise

The buzz from Parent Trap only continued to grow. The film went on to earn a reported $92 million worldwide. Beyond being a family-friendly rom-com, the movie was also praised in the industry as well. Kenneth Turan, a film critic, said that Lindsay was "the soul of this film" and was "adept... at creating two distinct personalities."

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But beyond some kind words and a fat check, Lindsay also gained something huge from her work in the blockbuster success. She scored a three-film contract with Disney, securing her future as one of America's leading sweethearts in the golden age of the late '90s and early 2000s. But considering her young age, was this healthy?

Lindsay's Disney Dynasty

In the years that followed, Lindsay reaped the rewards from her contract with Disney. She went on to appear in Life-Size with Tyra Banks in 2000, which aired on ABC as part of Disney's film block on the network. Then, in 2002, Lohan's third project came out: Get A Clue.

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But by now, the young actress was 16 years old and was ready to take on some roles that embraced her teenage years and growing sense of maturity. Could she continue to grow and explore within her Disney contract? Or would she have to look elsewhere for new opportunities...

The Role of a Lifetime

Lucky for Lindsay, Disney was willing to explore teenagehood with her, and she was cast in the 2003 remake of Freaky Friday. Lindsay got to star alongside Golden Globe-winning actress Jamie Lee Curtis and flex her acting skills by playing both a punk teenager and a suburban mom trapped in the body of an angry teen.

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And just like in Parent Trap, Lindsay knocked it out of the park. In the States' opening weekend, the film raked in over $22 million and later earned an estimated $160 million around the world. Lindsay took home the MTV award for Breakthrough Performance. But the film also opened Lohan's eyes to a new possibility...

A Career In Music

As part of her duties in Freaky Friday, Lindsay had to learn to play the guitar, in addition, to perform songs like Ultimate, from the film's soundtrack. With big names like Hilary Duff and Raven Symone, Disney was no stranger to child actresses branching into music. And so Lindsay took her chance.

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In Lohan's next film, she got to flex her pipes again. The 2004 release of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen featured another track from Lindsay, titled Drama Queen (That Girl). But she was only 18 years old and was being managed by her mom, Dina. Which begged the question: Was Lindsay in control of her destiny or was she just along for the ride?

Finding Her Way in the Industry

Lindsay had only just become an official adult, but one thing was for sure: Her talents and fame were well beyond her years. And teens around the world seemed to love her music. Soon, she began recording music for films she wasn't even starring in. It was a big step for Lohan, but it really paid off.

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She recorded a song for Anne Hathaway's sequel, Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement called I Decide. There was no denying it: Lindsay was destined for a career as a recording artist. But how could she juggle these two passions of hers? The only way to find out was to try.

Switching Gears

But Lindsay was worried that people would write her off as a talentless celeb milking the fame. "Singing I've been doing since I was really young," she shared in an interview with MTV. "I want to focus on my music career; I don't want people to be like, 'Oh, she thinks she can sing 'cause she is, like, in movies and stuff.'"

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And according to Lindsay, singing was not a new passion of hers. "I write a lot of lyrics and I'm involved in the producing process," she explained. "If I'm singing it, I want it to be something that I can relate to." And before she knew it, she had put her wrapped up her debut album. But how would it be received?

'Speak'

Lindsay's first studio album, Speak, was released in the United States on December 7th, 2004. And by the end of the month, it reached its peak position of number four on Billboard's top 100 and stayed on the charts for 24 weeks. Lohan's debut record was seen as an overwhelming success and caught the attention of MTV as well.

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Lindsay snagged a nomination for the MTV Video Music Awards that year, cementing her status as a professional singer. And just as she was branching out in her music career, it was time for Lindsay to branch out in her acting as well. Even if it meant leaving behind something comfortable.

Risking Her Disney Image

In 2004, Lindsay made a bold movie in her acting profession and took a project that embraced some more mature content. She starred in Mean Girls, a comedy film written by SNL comedian legend, Tina Fey. Lindsay was shedding her innocent brand and risking her Disney image, but it ended up paying off big time.

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Overall, Mean Girls was estimated to have earned $130 million worldwide, with a successful American opening of nearly $25 million. And the film brought in loads more praise for Lohan. David Rooney from Variety claimed that "Lindsay [displayed] plenty of charm, verve, and deft comic timing."

A $28 Million Net Worth

Lindsay had Hollywood wrapped around her finger, and the young adult was experiencing fame at a heightened level. In 2007, she made history as the youngest celebrity to host the MTV Movie Awards and she also took a jab at hosting Saturday Night Live a number of times as well. It seemed like everyone knew who she was...

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And being a household name came with some serious financial perks. At her peak, Lindsay was estimated to have earned roughly $28 million from her movies according to Celebrity Net Worth. But with public attention came paparazzi attention, and Lindsay began to find herself in a storm of tabloid craze.

The Tabloid Pressure

It seemed like with each film release, the paparazzi became more and more obsessed with Lindsay. She spent her teenage years in front of the public eye and experienced the typical thrills of adolescence with the whole world watching. And that included her dating life.

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It was reported that Lohan dated Aaron Carter briefly, in addition to a romance with That '70s Show star Wilmer Valderrama. But boyfriends weren't the only part of Lindsay's life on blast. And soon, magazines started uncovering some concerning dirt on the beloved actress.

A Party Girl

No number of Disney films could make up for the tabloid news that started surfacing. In fact, the same year that Lindsay's Disney project, Herbie: Fully Loaded came out, she had her first brush with the law. In 2005, the actress was handed a personal injury suit for an alleged traffic accident.

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And just shortly after, Lindsay was reported being rushed to hospital after a car accident that was believed to be caused by Lohan driving under the influence. Unfortunately, things would get worse before they got better, and the actress' troubles were just beginning...

"I Knew I Had a Problem and I Couldn't Admit It"

In 2006, public concern had grown over Lindsay's well-being. And in an attempt to set the record straight, the 19-year-old sat down with Vanity Fair for a feature article titled Confessions of a Teenage Movie Queen. But upon publication, Lohan had serious problems with the piece of journalism.

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The article quoted Lindsay saying, "I was sick. Everyone was scared... I had people sit me down and say, 'You're going to die if you don't take care of yourself,'" and "I knew I had a problem and I couldn't admit it." It painted a story of Lohan suffering from an eating disorder, but the actress shot back with a fierce denial.

Lindsay Fired Back

Lohan was furious and in her opinion, the article couldn't have been further from the truth. "I'm appalled with the way [the article] was done," she wrote in a joint statement with her representative. Lindsay felt as though Vanity Fair had changed her words, and her spokesperson agreed.

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"Lindsay is upset," her rep confirmed. "Things were taken out of context. Liberties were taken." And unfortunately for Lohan, this wouldn't be the end of PR nightmares coming her way. With each passing day, more and more details of her dramatic life became public knowledge.

Celebrity Feuds

It felt like there wasn't a young female star who managed to escape the paparazzi during the early 2000s. From Amanda Bynes to Britney Spears, some of Hollywood's former princesses suddenly had buckets of bad press under their belt, and Lindsay was no exception - Especially due to her choice of friends.

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Lindsay spent her free time caught up in a frenemy feud with Hollywood socialite Paris Hilton. And as the two played out their antics, millions watched as new pictures surfaced practically every day. From public feuds to nights out in Los Angeles clubs, Lohan was linked to major scandals.

Legal Troubles Continued

In 2007, the nightly partying had gotten out of control and Lindsay was struggling with some bad habits. In one year alone, she checked into rehab on five different occasions, hoping to make a change. But unfortunately, all the rehab stays were sandwiched between arrests and illegal activity.

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And in the summer of the same year, Lohan was charged with seven counts for her two DUI arrests from 2006. Her antics had finally caught up with her, and the judge had spoken. It was time for Lindsay to face some consequences for her actions that had piled up over the years.

"I Am Addicted"

Part of Lindsay's punishment handed down by the judge involved visiting a morgue and meeting with families who'd lost loved ones to DUI accidents. According to MTV, the whole experience had shaken Lohan up and provided some insight into her own troubles.

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"It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs," she admitted to MTV News in a public statement. But would this be the wake-up call she needed to turn her life around? Or would her habit continue to haunt her?

Paying the Price

While Lindsay fought to turn her life around, unfortunately, her past had caught up with her present. And by 2010, her reputation from the LA club scene was seeping into her professional career. She was cut from the film Other Side and received a harsh review from the director.

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The film's director claimed that she was "not bankable" and was, therefore, a risk to the whole production. But as if getting fired wasn't enough, Lindsay was starting to see her bank account plummet. The actress was losing checks left and right and also paying massive legal fees.

The Bills Were Adding Up

Between needing to have a powerful legal team on standby, Lindsay also had to cough up serious cash to keep herself out of prison. She was put up on a $200,000 bail after she was caught drinking while wearing an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet. Throw in her DUI arrests, and the bills were starting to take a toll.

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And in the past, Lindsay had considered herself lucky to have the wallet to float her through her legal troubles. But as she soon found out, money couldn't put out the flames forever, and she would soon find herself in some seriously deep water for her illegal activities.

Time Behind Bars

In July of 2010, Lindsay was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 90 days in a rehabilitation center for violating her probation. It was a new low for Lohan, and yet somehow, despite all the chaos, she managed to squeeze some work in. Around this time she appeared in films like Machete, Liz & Dick, and First Point.

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But compared to her scandalous life, Lindsay's film appearances weren't making much buzz. The tabloids and the public couldn't get enough of her personal life, and her romantic life was once again put on blast for the whole world to see. And this time, Lindsay had something to say about it.

"Ya I Like a Girl. And?"

In the late 2000s, Lindsay was coupled up with Sam Ronson, a famous Hollywood DJ and artist. The two had a turbulent relationship filled with ups and downs and scandal. Ronson soon found herself plastered over gossip websites and tabloids just like her girlfriend before they parted ways.

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Lindsay later admitted to Us Weekly that she and Sam had a "serious relationship" and that at one point they were "in love." And to critics of her dating choices, Lohan had a special message: "Ya I like a girl. And?" Lohan's dating life was the last thing work gossiping about, apparently.

Family Feuds

Unfortunately, the tabloids had wiggled their way into every aspect of Lindsay's life, including her family. And thanks to her parent's public divorce, the Lohan family became very familiar with having their personal details discussed around the world.

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Dina and Michael were constantly seen fighting over their children in the media. And in a bold move, Dina even appeared on Dr. Phil to share her emotional thoughts on her family's situation. With all these elements spinning out of control, could Lindsay get a handle on her image?

Reviving Her Career

Despite her many personal demons, Lindsay maintained that her love of acting never went away. And in a 2010 Vanity Fair interview, it seemed as though the former Disney princess was longing for the early days of her career. "I want the respect that I had when I was doing great movies," she said.

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"And if that takes not going out to a club at night, then so be it," she continued. "It's not fun anyway. I don't care. It's the same thing every time." Those were big words, but would turning her life around be that simple? After all, Lindsay had done some serious damage...

Struggling to Rewrite Her Story

Despite her good intentions, unfortunately in the following years, Lindsay's bad reputation continued to develop. In 2014, she collaborated with Oprah Winfrey on a documentary series to share her side of the scandal. The two rehashed some of the trauma that fed into Lindsay's tabloid headlines.

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And as Lindsay thought about it, a number of issues were rooted in her childhood. "I grew up in a very chaotic home," she admitted to Oprah. "There were moments of everything just being wonderful and perfect, and then things being so uncontrollable and chaotic." It was a pattern that would continue...

Addicted to Chaos

But thanks to some deep work in therapy, Lindsay had come to some realizations. She looked back and admitted that she was just as addicted to chaos as she was addicted to substances. And that combination landed her in rehab for a total of six times over the years and countless arrests.

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But, she admitted to Oprah that she had managed to stick with her sobriety by the time of the interview. Lohan was in tears as she talked about how important her healing was to her. "It's my number one priority," she confessed. Even if that meant putting her Hollywood comeback on hold.

What Life for Lindsay Looks Like Today

According to Lohan, she's taken the ultimate step back from the pressures of Hollywood by calling Dubai home for the past seven-ish years. And it seemed as though coming back to Rodeo Drive wasn't a priority. "I haven't been to L.A. in over 10 years," she admitted. "I think the paparazzi definitely scared me a lot."

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But it seemed as though the step back from the limelight had helped shift things into perspective for Lindsay. And she celebrated her 34th birthday with a new outlook: "During all these tough times I feel like I've learned to understand the simplicity of life," she shared on Instagram.

What's Next?

A quiet life has proven beneficial for Lindsay, but rumors have surfaced that financial needs might bring her back to Hollywood. As of now, Celebrity Net Worth estimates that her fortune has shrunk to just $1 million. But despite that, she has a jewelry line with Lily Baker.

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She also announced a new role in a Netflix Christmas film set to air this year. So, it looks like a comeback is right around the corner! The announcement came as a huge surprise for loyal Lohan fans. But whatever the future holds, we're hoping a comeback is in the works.