Bella Thorne details traumatic child acting career; alleges Disney almost fired her for wearing a bikini

Bella Thorne attends the premiere of JT LeRoy
Bella Thorne opened up on her experiences as a child star. Pic credit: © Collin/Image Press Agency

Bella Thorne detailed her traumatic experiences as a child actor in a podcast appearance on Tuesday. The 25-year-old actress and singer detailed one incident in which she was nearly fired from Disney for wearing a bikini.

Thorne starred alongside Zendaya in the Disney Channel Original series Shake It Up from 2010 – 2013. However, despite being the star of the hit series, Disney was pressured to fire her when she was 14.

The reason was that she had worn a two-piece bathing suit while out for a beach day. She had also accessorized the swimsuit with a body chain that her stylist had put on her.

Fans at the beach noticed the young star and took photos of her which quickly spread over social media. This led to calls for Disney to fire her as the media claimed it was “disgusting” for a “little girl” to wear a bikini and body chain.

Although Disney didn’t fire her, they did blame her for the backlash. She stated on the High Low with EmRata podcast, “Disney didn’t fire me, but also they were like, ‘Hey, we’re getting a lot of heat for this, everyone’s getting heat for this because you’re in a bikini on the beach. So, she needs to make sure that she goes out in board shorts and a loose T-shirt next time she’s at the beach.'”

The pressure to portray a certain image as a Disney actress made her feel like she was acting “all the time.” Sadly, the bikini incident was only one of her traumatic experiences as a child actor.

Bella Thorne was accused of ‘flirting’ with a director at age 10

During the podcast, Thorne and Emily Ratajkowski also discussed the sexualization of women in Hollywood and how it can often even extend to children.

Thorne illustrated this concept with another anecdote of a troubling experience as a child actor. She explained that she got cut from a movie for allegedly “flirting” with a director when she was 10 years old.

Her mother received a call from Thorne’s agent during the audition process. The agent explained that the film wasn’t going forward with Thorne’s role because the director claimed Thorne “flirted” with him and made him “uncomfortable.”

Thorne recalled that, initially, she had thought that she was at fault in the incident.

She stated, “I am trying to find almost fault in myself. Like, ‘What did you do, Bella? What did you do? You made him feel like this.'”

However, she later realized how wrong it was for a grown man to even think that a 10-year-old child would be flirting with him, regardless of what she said.

She imagined saying to him, “She is 10 years old; why ever would you think that?”

She said the incident was “insane” and made no sense as, in director sessions, she generally only had time to do the scene and walk out.

Thorne previously opened up about surviving child abuse

In addition to experiencing sexualization as a child star, Thorne has also opened up about being a victim of child abuse. She alleged the abuse was physical and sexual and occurred from age six to 14.

While she declined to name her abuser, she confirmed it was someone she was raised with. She first spoke out about the abuse in a 2018 Instagram post during the height of the Times Up movement.

Thorne also addressed the abuse in her 2019 book, The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray. She used poetry to open up about the experience, stating that her abuser never faced consequences or had to “deal with” what he did to Thorne.

She also explained how Stockholm syndrome was part of why the abuse lasted so long. Thorne has used her experience to encourage everyone to stand up for those who have been mistreated.

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