The pitfalls of being a child star are well documented. Whether it’s getting typecast (or not at all), dealing with drug issues, or just struggling to transition into more mature roles, this path is fraught with potential downsides. While not everyone who finds fame at a young age gets caught up in public trials and tribulations, that wasn’t the case with Dove Cameron. The 26-year-old, who got her big break as a double character in Disney Channel’s Liv & Maddie, broke with Disney mold and has become a mainstream pop idol. But her Disney days weren’t the easiest.
“I never had that moment where I was like, ‘I’m a Disney girl,'” Cameron told the Los Angeles Times. “I never looked at Miley [Cyrus] or Demi [Lovato] or Selena [Gomez] or Zendaya or Bella [Thorne] or anyone – Hilary Duff or anyone who came before me – I never looked at them and thought, you and I… same.” Cameron went on to say that she felt like an “outlier” who didn’t belong. “I had huge impostor syndrome.”
Unfortunately, it’s not surprising that Cameron has complicated feelings about her Disney past. According to People, Cameron’s father committed suicide just months before Disney offered her the lead role on “Liv & Maddie,” their hit TV show. “I knew what was on offer and I was barely working,” Cameron said. “I wasn’t human. But the switch [to work] delayed my processing and it was probably a little bit helpful to be honest.”
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Hollywood almost destroyed Dove Cameron
Like many of her Gen Z peers, Dove Cameron has been particularly open about her various struggles, whether personal or professional. Opening up for Story + Rain Magazine in August 2020, Cameron said she was initially excited about moving to Hollywood, but her experience didn’t live up to her expectations. “I’ve opened my heart and all my heart chambers, all my sensitive spots to this space, which is the Wild Wild West in terms of what you’re going to receive,” Cameron told the publication. The Descendants star also shared that she’s struggled with anorexia and has been involved in a “terrible” relationship. While she refrained from naming and shaming the guy she was talking about in this interview, the timing points to Ryan McCartan.
According to Us Weekly, Cameron met McCartan while filming “Liv & Maddie,” and the two got engaged in 2016. Unfortunately, the engagement was short-lived as Cameron ended things after six months. McCartan later took to his Instagram Stories and, without naming Cameron, implied that she was getting out of their relationship. “Within two weeks my fiancée cheated on me and left me, I nearly died of food poisoning and Donald Trump was elected president,” McCartan wrote. However, Cameron denied the allegations in a vague post of his own, posting a quote that read, “When a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration website or contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Dove Cameron struggled with the loss of Cameron Boyce
Unfortunately, the death of Dove Cameron’s father isn’t the only tragedy she’s faced during her tenure at Disney. Cameron Boyce, a fellow Disney star who rose to fame on shows like Jessie and Descendants, died in 2019 from complications from epilepsy. And while his death shocked the world, Dove, who worked with him on Descendants, is particularly close to him. Following the news, the “Liv & Maddie” star posted a heartfelt tribute to Boyce on social media. “Cameron was magical — an earth angel,” she wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post (via PopSugar). “For the past six years, since he was only 14, Cameron has talked me off countless ledges, talked me through eating disorders, helped me out of a dark relationship and through endless breakdowns.” She went on to call him “the most talented person most of us will ever know,” praising his kindness.
Two years later, Dove opened up about her relationship with Boyce to People. “People who didn’t even know him were devastated by his death. He was just someone who should never end, let alone end so early and disturbing and unfair,” she said. “It’s the only death I’ve experienced that I can’t find a soft place to land.”