Strict Rules Disney Stars Have To Follow

Disney is a huge corporation, so it makes sense there would have some strict rules Disney stars have to follow. After all, the company has so many successful films and television shows, and now it even has its own streaming service. Basically, Disney is on top of the world. And, of course, it's also developed a reputation for churning out more than a few young stars. Specifically, actors who appear on the Disney Channel typically turn out to be huge successes in their own right.

That said, there are quite a lot of strict rules that Disney stars have to follow, from what they can wear to how they can act and so much more. It's no wonder that a lot of Disney stars haven't returned to the network. In fact, many former Disney Channel stars have been pretty outspoken about how hard their lives were while working for the network. So, what kind of rules did the stars have to follow while appearing on their respective Disney Channel shows? Well, turns out there were a lot.

One strict rule Disney stars have to follow is being "good" all the time

There is definitely a stigma associated with stars who are on the Disney Channel or who come from a Disney background, and it's that they're all goody-goodies. That's no accident, though, as Disney stars truly are held to an incredibly high standard when it comes to morals and how they behave.

For example, in an interview with The New York Times, Selena Gomez, who starred in Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place, explained that she was put on a pedestal and needed a break. "I'm growing and changing," the Disney star said. "I was in a relationship, and I was being managed by my parents, and I was still under Hollywood and Disney, and I was being held to this expectation of being the good girl." While a lot of kids watch the Disney Channel and the network definitely as a younger demographic, the strict rules that Disney stars have to follow like being "the good girl" or boy is a lot.

Fortunately, Selena Gomez has enjoyed a stunning transformation since then.

A strict rule Disney stars have to follow is appearing super innocent

Obviously, just about every show that's on the Disney Channel is rated PG or below. With such a young demographic, it makes sense that the network would prefer that their stars put out a clean, innocent vibe. Unfortunately, it's basically a strict rule that Disney stars have to follow, and it can be hard to stick to. Though Disney can certainly launch actors into stardom and there are quite a few advantages to working with Disney, having to always appear innocent can't be fun.

In fact, as Bella Thorne, who starred in the Disney Channel original series Shake It Up, told Nylon in an interview, she got kind of sick of people telling her how to behave. "Finally, when I got off the [Disney] Channel, I stopped listening to people telling me that I needed to be this and that," she explained. "I literally would talk with a higher voice in interviews because that was the whole innocent Disney appeal." 

So it actually seems like it's a strict rule that Disney stars have to project an innocent image, and that must take a lot of work. And it turns out there were a lot of things people didn't know about Bella Thorne during her Disney days.

Disney stars have to follow the strict rule of working constantly

One of the most notable and well-known former Disney stars is Hilary Duff. Duff got her start with Disney by starring in the hit series Lizzie McGuire. The show was so popular that it also helped launch Duff's music career and is even being rebooted on Disney+, Disney's streaming service. Basically, Duff is the perfect example of a Disney star who made it big after leaving the House of Mouse, but, in an interview with, she explained that she really needed a break after Lizzie McGuire because the show was so draining for her.

"I grew up in the spotlight and on tour and with everyone just knowing me and knowing me a certain way," she said. "I was just making records and touring and making movies, and then doing it all over again. I basically did a cycle of that four times, and by the end of it, I was like, 'I'm done. I don't enjoy this anymore. I'm not who I wanna be.'" 

Hilary Duff has had a stunning transformation since her days as Lizzie, and she's worked hard. But it doesn't really seem like she had a choice in the matter.

A strict rule Disney stars must follow is balancing work with school

Since so many Disney stars start out when they're young, many of them are still in school while they're also starring in their own show. It can't be easy, and continuing their basic education is a pretty strict rule that Disney stars have to follow. In fact, in an interview with CBS This Morning, former Disney Channel star Miley Cyrus of Hannah Montana fame, who's since endured a love life full of ups and downs, explained that having to balance so much really threw her off.

"I think what was hard for me was balancing everything," she said. "I think it got harder when I started touring as both — I toured as Hannah Montana and as myself," she said (via W magazine). She shared, "I think now that I'm older, I realize that's a lot to put on a kid. ... To have them have to get their makeup done and then also balance school." Having a young kid, or even an older teenager, balance school and a full-time acting job is a big strain, and its' definitely one of the strictest rules Disney stars have to follow.

As a rule, Disney stars shouldn't expect to get a lot of creative freedom

Though many Disney stars start appearing on the Disney Channel as young kids or pre-teens, a lot of them grow up quite a bit while appearing on the network. Naturally, one might think that most Disney stars would have some say in their shows, but that doesn't seem to be the case. In fact, it appears to be almost a strict rule that Disney stars don't get to have much — if any — creative freedom or control, no matter how old they are. In an interview with Vulture, Dylan Sprouse, who starred alongside his twin brother, Riverdale actor Cole Sprouse, on the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, explained that it was a big part of why the pair quit Disney.

"I mean, we had a really awesome idea for where the show needed to go," he said. "We were 18. If that isn't old enough to know exactly what the show needs, then ... well, I would beg to disagree. I don't think [Disney] were willing to work with us, really ever. So we stopped the show." Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Disney allows their stars to be too creative.

Female Disney stars can't wear bikinis, and apparently it's a strict rule they must follow

Disney stars work hard to put out content and shows that they know their viewers will love. Of course, acting is just part of the job with the Disney Channel, and maintaining a public image of being good, positive, and G-rated is another aspect to being a Disney actor. In fact, the company is so strict about how their stars behave off-camera that former Disney star Bella Thorne got in major trouble for being spotted wearing a bikini... at the beach. And one that her mom picked out, at that.

In an interview with Tom Ward, Thorne explained that she was at the beach wearing a bikini that her mom had picked out for her and, because the bikini was thought to be "skimpy," she almost got fired from Disney. As Thorne told Ward, she and her mother were told, "You're lucky that Bella has such a fan base that we can't afford to fire her at this moment in time, but if she does one more other thing, we will." Yikes. 

Being a Disney star sounds like you have to walk on eggshells, and not being able to wear a bikini is one of the super strict rules Disney stars have to follow.

Disney stars have to work despite any personal difficulties they may face

Disney stars work hard — there is absolutely no denying that fact. And they also are essentially forced to work through some pretty traumatic experiences, and it seems like they aren't given much choice in the matter. In an interview with Marie Claire, Miley Cyrus explained that while she was filming Hannah Montana, she had to show up on set, even when she got her first period and was wearing white pants.

"It was so embarrassing, but I couldn't leave," she said. "And I was crying, begging my mom, 'You're going to have to put the tampon in. I have to be on set.'" Always being ready to film definitely sounds like a strict rule Disney stars have to follow, and Cyrus explained that she starting having anxiety around that same time. "I would have anxiety attacks. I'd get hot flashes, feel like I was about to pass up or throw up. It would happen a lot before shows, and I'd have to cancel." Being a Disney star isn't easy, that's for sure.

Disney stars have to follow the strict rule of always looking young

Though most Disney Channel stars are young when they start out, some don't get their start until they're teenagers. So, it's understandable that Disney stars would get a little frustrated with having to act in a show meant for a younger audience. But according to one former Disney actor, being older meant having to appear younger, and it got old real quick. 

In an essay for Vulture, Joe Jonas — of the Jonas Brothers and of Camp Rock and Disney Channel sitcom Jonas fame — wrote how his time with the network was filled with strict rules Disney stars have to follow and how he got frustrated with the work he was doing. "But the thing about the show was that some of the writing on it was terrible," Jonas wrote. "It just ended up being some weird slapstick humor that only a 10-year-old would laugh at. They took out the kissing scene that Nick had. I had to shave every day because they wanted me to pretend like I was 16 when I was 20." He noted, "When the show was done, I cut my hair off and grew as much of a beard as I could." 

Clearly, Disney likes its stars young-looking. Period. 

As a strict rule, Disney stars always have to look the part

While most celebrities tend to always look great when they go to red carpet events, they usually get a break every now and then when they don't have to project a certain image. But for Disney stars, that break doesn't really happen. In fact, Disney stars pretty much always have to be on, and it can be seriously draining for the young actors on the network.

In an interview with Marie Claire, Miley Cyrus explained that she was constantly getting her hair and makeup done for her role on Hannah Montana. "From the time I was 11, it was, 'You're a pop star! That means you have to be blonde, and you have to have long hair, and you have to put on some glittery tight thing,'" she said. "Meanwhile, I'm this fragile little girl playing a 16-year-old in a wig and a ton of makeup. It was like Toddlers & Tiaras. I had f**king flippers." 

One of the strict rules Disney stars have to follow is always looking great, and that definitely takes a lot of work.

Disney will push its stars to go into music

While it isn't necessarily a requirement for Disney stars to also have a thriving music career, it's definitely a pattern for someone who appears on the Disney Channel to also release a few singles or albums. It appears that Disney definitely likes to tell their actors to go into music. As Shia LaBeouf told MTV News about his time on the Disney Channel, the network really pushed for him to go into music.

"I went a whole different route," he explained. "I never came out with a music thing, even though [Disney will] push you that way." He continued, "I didn't just want to be a churn-'em-out guy. I never really felt like I fit in there." Whether it's to earn more money or to get more publicity, Disney seems to love having the stars of its shows also release music, though not all do. And while stars like Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez have definitely gone on to have great careers in the music industry, LaBeouf clearly didn't want to be a part of that.

Disney stars are basically forced to compete all the time

With so many successful actors who got their start on the Disney Channel, it's somewhat shocking that the network would feel the need to force their stars to compete so overtly. However, according to one former starlet from Disney, there was an air of cutthroat intensity between everyone at Disney.

In an interview with J-14, Bella Thorne, who got her start on the Disney Channel show Shake It Up, explained that it was really intense between her and her co-star, the always-stunning Zendaya. "Zendaya and I were put in a very unfortunate position where we were kind of forced to compete against each other [during Shake It Up], which made the whole first season of the show just very awkward for us," the Disney star said. "We wanted to love each other, but yet we were constantly being put against each other. It was, 'Who's better at this?' and 'Who's better at that?'" 

Disney puts a lot of pressure on its young stars, and the seemingly strict rule that they have to compete is disappointing.

Disney stars constantly have to audition for roles

Though Disney certainly has a large conglomerate of shows, movies, and even networks, that doesn't necessarily mean that once you're in, you're in. Disney certainly isn't as into nepotism as you might think. As Alyson Stoner revealed on an episode of The Night Time Show podcast, she was constantly having to audition for roles, despite already having appeared in several projects.

"The assumption is that once you're in with Disney, you're in. But I still auditioned for every single thing I got with them," the Disney star said. "In fact, I was still sent on first calls with people who had never been on an audition in their lives, up until the end. Which was, you know, kind of frustrating." Stoner, one of several famous Disney stars who've dated regular people, continued, "I was grateful, but then I was like, 'Man, I've been on 12 shows for you and I'm coming in here auditioning for three different roles and not getting any of them and it's almost like you don't know who I am or what I'm capable of.'" 

Talent and experience aside, you'll always have to audition for Disney shows, no matter who you are. It's apparently a rule.

Disney stars reportedly have to stay in relationships

Though Disney Channel doesn't force young stars into relationships, according to a certain Jonas brother, they might force you to stay in one you don't really want to stay in. As Joe Jonas expressed to Vulture, his relationship with his Camp Rock costar Demi Lovato, who has displayed a shady side over the years, wasn't really something he was into.

"One relationship that meant a lot to fans was the one I had with Demi Lovato, who I've known for years," he explained. "We had been friends forever, we were both Disney kids, and because we played a couple in the Camp Rock Disney Channel specials — and fans liked seeing us together — we eventually dated for a month." He noted that is was like "living a lie, because I wasn't happy but felt like I had to stay in it for her, because she needed help," adding, "I couldn't express any of that, of course, because I had a brand to protect." 

Having to date someone for publicity or for your brand as a teenager is rough, but Disney stars apparently have to do it sometimes.

A strict rule Disney stars have to follow is avoiding scandal

Back in 2007, Disney Channel star Vanessa Hudgens was at the center of quite the scandal when a nude photo of her was leaked, as noted by Radar Online. And, according to Joe Jonas, that scandal really rocked the network, and it almost lost Hudgens her job.

"We were working with Disney in 2007 when the Vanessa Hudgens nude-photo scandal happened," Jonas told Vulture. "We heard that she had to be in the Disney offices for a whole day because they were trying to figure out how to keep her on lockdown." He continued, "We'd hear execs talking about it, and they would tell us that they were so proud of us for not making the same mistakes, which made us feel like we couldn't ever mess up." 

Teenagers make mistakes, so Disney stars must feel a lot of pressure at the network, if Hudgens' scandal is any indication. Being a Disney star comes with a lot of perks, but it doesn't mean it's always worth it when there are such strict rules to follow.