CELEBRITY KIDS... AND THE PARENT TRAP,
ON "20/20," APRIL 28 ON ABC
Leann Rimes, Aaron Carter, Jaimee Foxworth, Corey Feldman and
Taran Noah Smith Speak Candidly
Some young celebrities find that making it big in Hollywood can lead to more than just fame and fortune -- their success can lead to family friction that can become a nightmare. Some well-known celebrities including Leann Rimes, Aaron Carter, Corey Feldman, Taran Noah Smith from "Home Improvement" and Jaimee Foxworth from "Family Matters" speak candidly about their disputes with their parents and the pressures of young stardom. ABC News correspondents Martin Bashir and Chris Connelly report on celebrity kids, on"20/20," FRIDAY, APRIL 29 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Leanne Rimes speaks candidly about the fall-out with her father, who was her producer and co-manager, and the lawsuit that followed which charged him with pocketing some seven million dollars of her earnings. "I definitely believe that the love for money is the root of all evil... because it changes people," Rimes tells Connelly. "I would have loved for my family just to be my family. And be there to protect me. But not have the money in the equation." Regarding the lawsuit she says that "the hardest part... I didn't have my dad as my dad for a long time." Her father counter-sued, but they reached a settlement and reconciled in time for her wedding.
Aaron Carter has been outspoken about the very public fall-out with his mother, Jane Carter. "It was all about money... And the funny thing was, every time I went to my mom and I asked her, 'Hey mom, you know, do I make money? Because you never really told me that.' And she would get mad at me about that. And she would ground me," he tells Connelly. "I don't talk to her because she's not my...she's not like a mother anymore."
Aaron also talks about an incident in 2003 in which his mom says she caught him with a bag of marijuana and the National Enquirer ran photos of a then 15-year-old getting high. "I've grown up in this industry... And being young, I just sometimes, you know, you try things, and sometimes you don't like it. But for me, you know, I know that I've made mistakes. And everybody learns from their mistakes... I tried it a couple of times... it was just a hard, hard time for me."
And what was the price of fame for his family? "Self destructing, completely being torn up... like a tornado just came through our house and family got tossed everywhere," says Aaron.
"I learned something out of it... it taught me a really big lesson, that all the material things in the world are not important compared to the amount of time that you can spend with your children," says Jane, who denies mismanaging Aaron's money and is now telling her side, including about the charges that Aaron used drugs. "Somebody once told me that, along with all the great things that jump in the car, the big fancy car, for the ride, are all the little demons that jump in behind, and they go along for the ride with you... The drugs, the drinking, the partying, the girls. I tried to prevent it from happening [to her kids], but I couldn't."
For Jaimee Foxworth it was a long way down from the heights of childhood stardom to the desperate lows of the porn industry. Foxworth hit it big at the age of nine when she landed a lead role in "Family Matters." But by the age of 12, the money and fame disappeared after her character was written out of the show and her mother used the half-million dollars in Foxworth's trust fund to bail out the family. Foxworth tells Bashir that she started to resent her family, began to drink and ended up starring in several porn films to make money. She says she has pulled through with the help of the family she once resented so bitterly.
For nine seasons, Taran Noah Smith played the youngest Taylor son on the hit television series "Home Improvement." Smith says that, when the show ended during his teen years and the checks stopped coming in, his relationship with his parents fell apart. "My parents were saying, 'if you want o stay in this house and keep paying the mortgage on this house and go to USC, you either have to get more work or we're going to petition the courts to get the interest off your trust fund to pay for the expenses,'" he tells Bashir. He fought his parents through the courts for early access to his trust fund and won. Now a furniture designer and vegan restauranteur in California, Smith says he is slowly trying to patch things up with his parents.
Corey Feldman, a star since the age of three, tells Bashir that his mother had made him into a meal ticket. "She made it her decision that I should be the source of income for the family...from her perspective, it was the absolute right thing to do." Feldman also says that he had a strained relationship with his father after asking him to just be his dad and not his manager. "And at that point he said to me 'if I'm not your manager, then I'm not your father and you can get out'... it killed me," Feldman tells Bashir.
"20/20" is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is the executive producer.