‘Kim Possible’ Star Christy Carlson Romano Revealed How She Lost Her Disney Money
The former Disney darling said she's "not a millionaire in any way, shape, or form."
Being a child star plays out differently for everyone. For some stars who grew up on Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel, or in films, they enter a quiet life of obscurity with padded pockets. For others, they struggle to break out of the roles they once played. Some child stars go on to find huge success as adults and some, well, don’t. For Christy Carlson Romano, who starred as Ren Stevens on the Disney Channel’s Even Stevens, as well as Kim Possible in the show of the same name, she had a rocky road out of her teen roles and into adulthood where she is now. And she’s not shy about discussing it.
Romano posted a video to her YouTube channel on August 26th where she went into detail about how she earned and lost her Disney money. She got her first Disney gig when she was 16 years old, in the show Even Stevens. She’d been acting since she was small and made the leap to Hollywood at the age of 14. She shared in her video, “My biggest thing about child actors, you aren’t told that the work is going to slow down. In fact, I was told the opposite, specifically by my mom, some of my team, even my money manager at the time.”
Following Even Stevens, Romano also voiced Kim Possible and had a handful of other Disney roles over the years. And though she did move on from Disney to have roles in plenty of other TV projects, as well as jobs on Broadway, Romano struggled with money because she didn’t feel like she understood what to properly do with it as a child star.
“Then I had this money at my disposal,” she said in the video. “I was never told how much money I was making. Money didn’t have a purpose for me, I didn’t really know what it was. I just knew that I had it and didn’t care about it. That’s a problem.” Her family was helping her manage it, but things started to go sour when she was in her early 20s. She cut her family off for a short period of time because she didn’t like the way her “money was being managed” by them.
It was that confusion over how her finances were playing out that led her to spend her money frivolously instead of investing. She started to spiral a bit, spending money, trying to break out of the Disney mold, and searching for her next paycheck. It culminated in her taking work she’s not proud of now, but she said in the video that she learned from all of it.
“Obviously, I’m okay now. I promise you I’m okay. I have made peace with this. But there are some realities that come to play,” she said. “The truth is that I did this movie for the money, because I was desperate to feel that feeling that I had when I was making tons of money and everything was okay.”
Now she spends her time as a wife and mother, as well as still acting, though more on a low-key scale (i.e. not Disney). But the whole point of her video was to make clear the financial dangers of being a child star and not handling money well and to lift the veil on some of the misconceptions about how much money these former Disney and Nickelodeon stars may have.
“I am not a millionaire in any way, shape or form, I’m just a mom monetizing my channel, doing sponsored content, having fun, working when I can,” she said of her finances and what she gets up to these days after learning that the internet seemed to think her net worth was $3 million.
You can keep up with Romano on her YouTube channel, where she posts a number of videos about her life and even checks in with other Disney stars, as well as TikTok, where she’s very forthcoming with answering questions and getting close with fans.