Soleil Moon Frye Proves Child Stars Don't Have to Crash and Burn

Raise your hand if you remember Punky Brewster, the adorably freckled star of the sitcom that went by the same name. In case you haven't been keeping tabs on the actress behind the pigtails, Soleil Moon Frye is now 35 years old. She's an entrepreneur, author, the mom of two young girls, and more than two decades after her 80's fame, Soleil seems like a happy, well-adjusted woman who has nothing but fond memories of the time she spent in the public eye.

Paging Lindsay Lohan, paging Lindsay Lohan. Please report to the front desk for a lesson in how being a child star doesn't necessarily have to doom a person to a young adulthood filled with public intoxication, jail sentences, and innumerable paparazzi crotch shots.

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In what seems like an unusual turn of events, it seems Soleil Moon Frye not only has no regrets about about her former career as a child star, she also doesn't believe the time she spent as Punky had any sort of negative impact on who she became in later years. She also points out that while there are plenty of media stories about young stars who struggle as adults, the majority do just fine:

I think it's really important to look at all of the kids who turned out fantastic. More kids turn out great, I think we just hear more about the negative ones. There are far more positive stories that come out of Hollywood, but they don't sell magazines.

Good point. It seems like onetime child stars either end up on the front page of tabloids because they're getting arrested or being shipped off to rehab, or they quietly fade from view and are forgotten—IE, they go on to have totally healthy, normal lives. It's easy to think that every child actor is destined for a turbulent adulthood, but for every Corey there are probably at least twenty Soleils, if that tortured metaphor makes any sense.

Soleil says that a key factor in her happy childhood was the way her parents made sure she had normal experiences:

(…) I think kids should always just enjoy being a kid. One of the things my mom did was force us to go to summer camp, which was the best experience of our lives. She wouldn't let us work in the summer even if we wanted to.

She also states that she's open to the idea of her own daughters pursing careers in show business, but she wants to be sure they have a realistic approach:

If they want to sing, write, design, whatever it is as long as they're following their passions and hearts and doing what they love then I'm all for it. It's also important for me to encourage them to be aware of work. (…) So if they want to act or sing or whatever, they'll have the tools to fall back on. To have a sense of education and ethics is important.

She sure sounds pleasantly down to earth and utterly un-poisoned by Hollywood, doesn't she? I'm not normally super interested in parenting books, but now I kind of want to check out her book Happy Chaos. If for no other reason than the title perfectly describes my own family life.

What do you think made Soleil Moon Frye avoid some of the pitfalls that other child stars run into?


Image via Flickr/nanpalmero

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