Christy Carlson Romano: I paid a psychic $40k for a crystal to fix my broken life

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Christy Carlson Romano, 35, is a former Disney actress who starred on Even Stevens with Shia LaBeouf from 2000 to 2003. She currently does TV and voiceover work and is launching a cooking YouTube channel later next month. Christy wrote an article for Teen Vogue describing her rough young adulthood. She writes that she went through depression, alcoholism and seeking for answers. Christy credits husband Brendan Rooney, whom she met in a screenwriting class, with helping her escape her self destructive spiral and her feelings of inadequacy. They have two young daughters, Isabella Victoria, two, and Sophia Elizabeth, three months. Here’s some of what she wrote, with more at the source.

I once paid a psychic $40,000 for a crystal because I thought it would fix my broken life. Is that the kind of thing Ren Stevens would do?

While many witnessed my costar Shia LaBeouf struggle publicly, I have largely suffered in silence. I am not a victim, but I have never been perfect or pulled together as my reputation or the successes of my young adulthood might suggest. During a period of time in my life, I grappled with depression, drinking, and more, desperate to find fixes for how I felt.

Until I landed my first main role on Even Stevens when I was 14 — which relocated me to Los Angeles, away from my family on the East Coast — I traveled the country with musical road shows and took the train into New York City from my small town in Connecticut.

Nothing could have prepared me for fame and the responsibilities that came with being on television screens everywhere. I was somewhat protected (or stultified) by staying on my set and making friends with whoever showed up to be cast as my best friend that week. I worked full days and would go home and be tutored in a different subject every night. The idea of one day having a college life became my greatest fantasy. I would watch teen movies and become intensely jealous of “normal” kids, feeling, at my moodiest, like a misfit…

She went to an ivy league school then dropped out
I ran from school and back into the arms of the New York theater community. What I didn’t realize was that starring in a Broadway show was very hard work for a 19-year-old. I was highly criticized for my youth, which fueled my desire to prove everybody wrong. I became a bit harder-edged, binge-drank more at loud nightclubs, and started to accept the transient natures of love, sex, and friendship.

I struggled with all of my relationships, alcohol usage, and career path for ten years before going back to school and re-centering myself.

[From Teen Vogue via People]

She also writes that two of her friends from the Disney Channel committed suicide. That was one of the best and most revealing cautionary tales about child actors that I’ve ever read. The part about the psychic seems to have been a turning point for her, when she realized she was desperate. (I left it out of the excerpt as it’s long, but she basically paid a ton of money for guidance.) It’s clear that Christy has done the work to process and come to a better understanding of what she went through.

The story about spending $40,000 on a crystal reminds me so much of Spencer and Heidi Pratt of The Hills. They also wasted their money on unnecessary security, an arsenal and luxury goods, but they have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of crystals, and Spencer believes in them. At least Christy realizes she was duped and has been able to get away from that environment and put it into perspective. I want the same for so many other former child actors. The industry needs more protections for children and teens.

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62 Responses to “Christy Carlson Romano: I paid a psychic $40k for a crystal to fix my broken life”

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  1. Elisabeth says:

    I have a bridge I’d like to sell her

    • ks says:

      That’s your response to someone sharing their pain?

    • CROWHOOD says:

      Don’t be shitty.

    • olive says:

      did you only read the headline?

    • PleaseAndThankYou says:


      That’s absolutely unacceptable. What is wrong with you that you would make such an inappropriate and disgusting comment? I sincerely hope you just didn’t read beyond the title, although that would still make you a total b!tch.

  2. minx says:

    Oh, brother.

  3. Birdix says:

    Ack! The baby in a pouch near a hot grill while she’s distracted on her phone?

    • Kylie says:

      The picture is clearly staged. I doubt the grill is in use given the way her hand is resting on it.

      • Elizabeth1992 says:

        Yes, it looks staged but my first reaction was OMG the baby’s so close to the BBQ! So I also doubt it was on.

    • minx says:

      Omg at first it looked like the baby’s little tush was resting on the grill lid!

    • Jb says:

      And the mommy shamer coming in hot!! Dear lord get a clue…

      • olive says:

        SERIOUSLY! I don’t know why @Birdix jumped right to assuming this woman would expose her baby to a hot grill, all these mommy shamers think they as mere viewers know more about what was happening when the photo was taken than the people in the photo. it’s ridiculous.

      • testington says:

        Oh shut up, it’s not “mom shaming” to point out that babies should be touching grills. It’s obviously a staged photo, but it is a poorly staged one the photographer shouldn’t have set up and she shouldn’t have agreed to.

    • tealily says:

      Oh come on. *In* a pouch. What’s she going to do, suddenly jump out?

  4. Christina says:

    I loved Even Stevens. Glad she’s doing better.

  5. TIFFANY says:

    Kim Possible I think was one of her best work. I loved that show.

    And Lee Thompson Young’s death still feels like it was last year.

    • elimaeby says:

      I had such a crush on Young when I was in middle school. Hearing about his suicide was so sad. It makes me wonder what was going on at the Disney Channel back then that we HAVEN’T heard about. Ugh.

      • Algernon says:

        We’ve heard about it. We’ve all heard about what happens to kids in the industry. We just don’t like to acknowledge that it happens to most of them, that did happen and it is happening now. It’s not a mystery.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        @Algernon: Just no. We have no proof that that ‘happens to most of them’ any more than we have proof that that ‘happens to most’ kids who are the descendants of Catholics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc.

      • Algernon says:

        I don’t know where religion got into this. All I’m saying is that there is no need to wonder what goes on at the Disney Channel because we know the kinds of things that go on with kids in this industry, we’ve heard the stories before.

      • Otaku fairy... says:

        It’s simple. There’s been rampant sexual abuse against women and children within religious groups. Yet most progressives are reasonable enough and considerate enough to not go around stereoyping all children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews of religious people as victims of pedophiles or rapists, even if they’ve had mental health issues. We dignify people that way and are careful to not go around spreading ignorance like that, and realize it could lead to other dangers. Sure, we’ve all ‘heard the stories’ as you put it, but we don’t go around projecting those stories onto all or most religious people/ relatives of religious people we meet, especially when they ‘re our allies.

        We need to extend that to all groups of people, and stop projecting rape narratives onto people we don’t know. Hearing rumors on blogs is not the same as someone actually being sexually abused by producers or studio execs. We also need to realize that rumors are often based on stereotypes about gender, mental health, and sexuality. Since not every disney star or child star has said that that has happened to them, there absolutely is a need and obligation to not go around saying it happens to all or most of them. Nowhere in her essay did this woman even say she’s ever been raped or molested, OR that a higher up connected to disney put their hands (or anything else) on her.

      • Algernon says:

        I work around professional children and am well aware of the increase in risk they face but okay.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        And that risk still doesn’t justify implying that every child from one particular group was raped or molested by members of their community growing up when they haven’t said so themselves. Just like with Catholics and children with connections to them. Some people’s backgrounds do match a stereotype about their group(s), yet most of us on the left acknowledge that this doesn’t make it ok to apply that stereotype to most or all members of those group(s) and strip people of their individual experiences and agency, but ok. Thank u, next.

      • Algernon says:

        I mean again I’m around it every day and I am saying it is that rampant but okay.

      • Otaku fairy... says:

        I mean we all just read that essay, can name names of people in her position who have specifically said that no one working with them have done that to them, and are intelligent enough to realize that being around SOME members of a group of people does not mean that most or ALL members of that group worldwide or nationally share the same experience. We’re also all in the same position of having not bad bodycams on anyone from the time they were born until they turned 18, no matter how close we’ve been to people from their backgrounds. But ok, violating internet stranger.

  6. Sassbr says:

    Lee Thompson is one, but who is the other?

  7. grabbyhands says:

    I once paid a psychic $40,000 for a crystal because I thought it would fix my broken life.

    This hit hard. Because that is what depression will do to you – you become so desperate for relief that you will try anything, including stuff that you know is foolish. Thankfully most of us don’t have 40K to blow.

    I feel for this girl. I’m glad she was able to turn things around.

    • Amanduh says:

      But – in a weird way – the crystal *did* work, right!?
      She “turned her life around” and got it together! Money well spent?! lol

      • Boodiba says:

        That crystal is SMUG! lol

      • Dee Kay says:

        I kind of thought this, too! Yes it was foolish to spend $40K on a crystal, yes the woman who sold it to her was a con artist, but also…didn’t it kind of work?!?!

  8. Erin says:

    Kim Possible has babies. I’m officially a crone.

  9. Harryg says:

    Oh my god at first I read 40 dollars and I thought it was just a funny story. But 40 000, oh, painful.
    Well perhaps it helped since she seems fine now!

  10. CROWHOOD says:

    Her arm is also on it, it’s clearly staged. She’s not slow roasting her baby’s thighs, relax.

  11. lucy2 says:

    Glad she is doing well. I feel sad for her that she was that desperate, and how gross that someone took such advantage of a young woman in pain.
    The Disney machine seems like a very hard place to grow up. So many of those kids really struggled after.

    • Millenial says:

      Yeah, I think that’s the real story underneath here. Disney has churned out some people with serious mental health issues and they’ve largely not had to answer for it at all.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        A lot of them had mental health and family issues already. Fame at an early age and the pressures/treatment that come with it aren’t healthy either. More than one former Disney star has pointed out that being a kid on Disney is a high pressure environment, and many- in particular women- (from Disney and also some who got fame young, but not from Disney) also pointed out how the public’s misogynistic expectations and treatment of them have been damaging to their mental health. So it’s also a societal problem.

    • Malificent says:

      IIRC (I think it was an interview with Daniel Radcliffe?), when they were casting the first Harry Potter movie, the producers tried to take into account the family stability of the child actors and tried to avoid casting kids with stage parents or from otherwise unsupportive homes. For practical reasons, you’d need the same main actor across the series and you don’t want to deal with demanding stage parents. But he said that the producers were also very conscious about creating a healthy environment for them as kids.

      • Alissa says:

        And yet he still struggled with alcoholism throughout the shooting of those movies. It seems to be excruciatingly hard to be a kid actor, and I’m sure it’s even worse with how loud and constant the internet is these days.

      • lucy2 says:

        I wish more producers and all were like that. Family stability has to be a huge factor in casting children.
        Even with those protections, Daniel still had some struggles, but overall they seem to be doing very well now, him included.

      • Dee Kay says:

        Remember how Molly Ringwold wrote that she was accompanied to every set by one parent, she was never ever without a parent when she was working as a minor, and that did not stop some producers and other older men from hitting on her? And she could just run into the arms of her mom or dad. She said, Imagine what it was like for young people on those sets without a parent. In other words, parents can take every precaution to keep their child safe in the entertainment industry, and even their presence cannot guarantee total protection.

      • A says:

        Let’s not forget that filming for Harry Potter took place by and large in Britain. They have far stricter labour laws in Britain that dictate how long your days can be. I imagine it’s much more stringent for children as well. Their days were very carefully regimented, and it doesn’t surprise me that the attitude towards child actors was completely different.

  12. Chimney says:

    I am glad she was able to turn her life around and find some happiness. She’s got a cute little family.

    I just don’t understand why parents would let their kids become child actors on such a huge scale.The hours are grueling and it’s a seedy environment even for adults. At this point, it’s almost a miracle when a child actor reaches adulthood without issues related to mental health and addiction.

    • Algernon says:

      “I just don’t understand why parents would let their kids become child actors on such a huge scale.”


      The money is good. If you have a cute, precocious child, you can make more in a week off your kid than you will make in a year, and you don’t have to do much real work. Agents, managers, and lawyers handle all the business. All you have to do is sit around on set. I’ve seen so many kids pass through commercials where the parents start out nervous and overprotective, but as soon as they realize how much money their kid will get for being cute, and that being a stage parent is generally easier than holding down a 9-5 of their own, it’s over. Within a year, those same parents have given the manager guardianship so they don’t even have to go to set with their kid anymore. Are there exceptions? Sure. But for the most part, the easy money seduces parents very quickly.

      • lucy2 says:

        Money for sure.

        I’d also bet there’s a lot of parents living out their own unrealized dreams of fame and showbiz through their kids too. It’s a bad combo.

  13. Erinn says:

    I’ve always really liked her. She seems like such a nice person, and it bums me out knowing she was so desperate for anything to fix her.

    I remember when Lee Thompson Young passed – in addition to Even Stevens and Kim Possible, I grew up watching the Famous Jett Jackson. I’m not sure who the other disney child star would have been, but it’s so heartbreaking.

    • Alissa says:

      Same! I remember being really taken aback by that. Even Stevens, Famous Jett Jackson, Lizzie McGuire – that was my era of Disney shows.

  14. jen says:

    What really stood out is that two of her friends from the disney show committed suicide—wtf?? Horrible. Reading this I think of the young actress on Stranger Things (Millie something?), I get very worried for her and they way she looks forced to act like an adult. Why any parent would allow their kids to get into acting and Hollywood is beyond me.

  15. Chimney says:

    I am also pretty skeeved out by the way the media treats Millie Bobby Brown, tabloids reporting on who she’s dating and what’s she’s wearing. She’s a child…

    • otaku fairy... says:

      The internalized victim-blaming and misogyny constantly projected onto her by strangers is pretty skeevy too, but it’s how all young girls in the public eye are treated/ what they’re exposed to.

  16. Nicegirl says:

    Loved her work as Kim Possible.

  17. otaku fairy... says:

    It’s a good thing she got help. Sadly though, there’s already a big difference in how her struggle with mental health is being treated, and how Kit Harrington’s is being treated, even though NEITHER of them said anything about sexual abuse. It’ll be nice to see society progress to the point where this is no longer the case.

  18. Veronica S. says:

    I’m calling it now that in a few decades, we’re going to have a massive blowup revealing tons of abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, or otherwise) coming out of the Disney corp. There are just too many children coming out of there too damaged to justify it as just a matter of growing up in the spotlight. I honestly don’t know how parents can justify putting their children in that industry.

    • Otaku fairy... says:

      And if someone does say they were sexually abused by disney, they should be supported (regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexuality) without being sexually gaslighted and without their experience being imposed onto all members of their group(s). We also need to start listening to women inside and outside of disney who have said that misogyny directed at them growing up and fame at an early age (or other experiences, including family problems and mental health issues already there) are what harmed them.

  19. A says:

    I don’t know her, and I’ve never watched the show or anything…but damn, did any of the Disney tweens turn out okay? Hillary Duff seems like she’s got it together, relatively speaking, but even so the number of young people who seem to come out the other end of the Disney machine with all of these struggles is just…a lot.

  20. CES says:

    I’ve been in that situation before with a psychic. She extorted me out of $1000. I worked in a collections agency and found out she owed thousands in medical bills. We didn’t have a good phone number for her, but I decided to update her info so we could start back calling her pathetic ass. The messed up thing was she told me she was blessed with a gift from God. You use God’s name to extort people!!?? Idk if I still believe in hell because we sort of live in it now, but if it exists people like psychics deserve to burn in the deepest hottest part. They’re nothing but vultures who feed off human pain. If they really used their gift from God like they allege, they wouldn’t ask for money. Smh. Glad I grew out of that naivety.

    • TheOtherOne says:

      So I was in the same position as well. I just lost my job, a close friend had died, and I was just lost. Psychic #1 tried to charge me $3,000 to “clear my negative energy.” She even suggested I could get a bank loan to finance it. I laughed and left.

      I went to psychic #2 and this one got me for $400.00 and some trinket jewelry (things my mother had given me to resolve issues with her). I remember her asking for gold or silver and I’m like all I have is trinkets. I was so desperate so I understand – I wanted answers and just wanted to know or feel like things were going to be stable again.

      I’m doing betterish now. Not 100% but definitely not where I was before.

    • tealily says:

      I blame the medical industry and insurance companies that allow someone to end up with thousands in medical debt they have no hope of paying back, not the poor woman trying to hold it together however she can.

  21. Jenn says:

    About a week ago the Atlantic ran an article with the headline “Why Celebrities Are So Susceptible to Grifters.” The article concluded that celebrities are surrounded by sycophants and “yes”-people, which eventually erodes their sense of good judgment.

    But I honestly disagree with that assessment. I feel it has more to do with having disposable income burning a hole in your pocket. I was definitely a good and wise skeptic back when money was tight — I didn’t have the money to waste on *anything* remotely frivolous or inane — but a lot of that wisdom went out the window when I did come into a sum of money. You start thinking that money can solve every problem, if only you bought the right stuff! And then, depending on the health issue, you start throwing money at the wall, hoping that just one thing will have a positive effect. You go full Goop! You want to believe!! I have a lot of empathy for people who fall into that behavior. You can’t “fix” yourself by spending like that.

    For me, it was chronic illness + pain + disposable income = exorbitant amounts of money thrown away. I think I was also trying to recover a sense of control. (You should see my crystal collection, though! Very pretty. I didn’t spend $40k but, y’know, it was still an irresponsible amount for a normal person.)