At the age of three she was modelling. By 12 she was stealing the show from Hollywood A-listers Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson. Then, when she was just shy of her 20th birthday, she saw her pay packet leap to $7.5 million a film. There's no doubt that Lindsay Lohan has earned her Tinseltown stripes, surprising studio bosses with the revelation that the fresh-faced natural redhead also has bags of talent.
The reason Hollywood directors had her on speed-dial was her 2004 breakthrough performance in Mean Girls
. The smart, adolescent comedy pulled in $67 million at the box-office, and earned her the title of reigning teen queen.
Lindsay Morgan Lohan was born on July 2, 1986, to a Long Island, New York, family. Mum Dina was a Broadway dancer, while father Michael was a former Wall Street trader who made it big with his family-run pasta business. Signed to the Ford Model Agency as a toddler, Lindsay appeared in some 60 commercials for the likes of Gap and Calvin Klein Kids before turning to movies.
Cinema audiences got their first glimpse of the child star in Disney's 1998 comedy The Parent Trap
, after she beat Scarlett Johansson to the roles of the winsome twins who reunite their estranged father and mother. Always closely involved with Lindsay's career, her mum, who has since split from dad Michael, imposed a three-year break on her daughter following the film's success so she could go through adolescence away from the cameras. "If she'd stayed in Hollywood, she'd be a nightmare by now," explains Dina. "Kids need boundaries."
When she did return, it was with a vengeance. The Disney producers who had cast her in The Parent Trap
were so impressed they had already signed her up for a multi-picture deal. The result was 2003's body-swap comedy Freaky Friday
, with Jamie Lee Curtis, quickly followed by Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen
and Herbie: Fully Loaded
in successive years.
Then in 2004, aged 18, she confirmed her position as the ultimate teen icon by becoming the youngest ever person to host the MTV Movie Awards. Meanwhile, between modelling for Vogue
and releasing a platinum-selling pop album, Speak
, she's had little time for normal adolescent pursuits.
As her profile rocketed, the auburn locks were replaced by a sleeker, blonder image and a wardrobe of sexy outfits, which came in handy for stepping out with high-profile pals such as the Hilton sisters and Kimberley Stewart. Romantically, she's been linked to pop singer Aaron Carter and That 70s Show
actor Wilmer Valderama, as well as movie hunks Colin Farrell and Bruce Willis.
Unfortunately, the spotlight hasn't just been on Lindsay for glamorous reasons. In May 2005 her father made headlines when he was sentenced to up to four years in jail for attempted assault and other charges. Meanwhile, Lindsay found the ups and downs of the Hollywood whirlwind difficult to face and, beginning in 2007, her career appeared to go into freefall amid a string of personal difficulties. After DUI arrests, possession of illegal substance charges, three trips to rehabilitation centres and an 84-minute stint in jail, the honest star said: “It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs.” She fell out of many film projects and Hollywood insiders acknowledged it would be difficult for her to work in the industry until she had addressed her demons.
The next couple of years were marked by Lindsay’s prominence in the tabloids, as her private life continued to generate headlines across the globe. In 2008, she embarked upon a romance with DJ Samantha Ronson – “I care for her very much and she's a wonderful girl… She loves me, as I do her,” she told a US publication – but after reports of heated rows and public spats their volatile relationship came to an end in April 2009.
Determined to recapture the success of the early days of her career, Lindsay took on guest roles in US comedy Ugly Betty
, appeared as a guest judge on Project Runway
, and proved her fashion credentials by launching her own leggings line, 6126. She followed this with her own fake tan products, and a new job as artistic adviser to Emanuel Ungaro – though her debut collection for the French design house was widely slated by critics, Lindsay described it as “pretty much like a fairytale”. The actress and Ungaro parted ways soon after.
In 2010, Lindsay spoke candidly about her past struggles, and her hopes for a positive future. “I tried to mask my problems with alcohol, cocaine and mind-altering substances. Now I'm in a place where I don't need to use anything and I can feel emotions because I choose to,” said the frank star. “I learnt from my mistakes and I'm now healthy and happier. I never want to be close to losing everything I worked for and aspired to have my whole life… I've made some dreadful mistakes but learned from them – that has probably saved my life."