Surviving the Glare: Prevailing After Scandal

In 1994, Rice married Jack Hughes and also discovered her new passion: protecting children from online pornography and sexual predators. That same year she became an activist, promoting public awareness and speaking out and lobbying for new laws regulating the Internet, putting her back in the midst of politics and the media — the twin curses that once sent her life into so much turmoil. Three years ago, she was appointed by Congress to the Child Online Protection Commission.

"Things are very good," she says, pointing out that she and her husband are looking to adopt a child.

What she most wants people to know about Donna Rice, she says, "is that she asked God to make all of this count for something bigger than her and followed him as best she could."

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Macaulay Culkin

Home Alone's Macaulay Culkin grew to become the highest-paid child star in movie history. But success came at a tremendous cost, and even today, his early fame haunts him.

When he was just 10 years old, Culkin's face was recognized all over the world. Soon, the constant stream of publicity and curious fans overwhelmed the young actor.

At one point, while filming Home Alone 2, he says he had to hide in his trailer while a gaggle of fans rocked the trailer from the outside. "It was just one of those things that really, really scared me," he says.

With his fame and success came more work. His father signed him up for film after film — 14 in all. And before he knew it, his childhood was gone.

His life became a grueling treadmill. "Literally, I was hoping to disappear off the face of the Earth," he says.

He decided to leave show business at age 14, in an attempt to live a more "normal" life outside the glare of the movie lights and the paparazzi.

"When I quit, I really didn't think I had anybody my own age that was my friend," he says. "I kind of just wanted to be a teenager."

But for Mac, as he is known, "normal" was then — and still is — a relative term. He married actress Rachel Miner, bought a huge New York City loft, and skipped the last months of high school.

Now, at 21, separated from his wife, he spends most of his time at home, still grappling with the fears he developed as a famous child.

"I still don't leave my house very often," he says. "It takes me about two hours to really hype myself up and say, 'OK, time to go outside, time to go to the grocery store.'"

But Culkin came back into the spotlight on stage in London and New York, starring in Madam Melville, and he's about to make his first movie in eight years. He will play a cross-dressing murderer in Party Monster, based on a true story.

So would he give back all the money and the fame for anonymity? "No, I wouldn't change anything in my life," he says. "Even if it does take me a little while to get ready to go out."

Asked what he most wants people to know about him, he answers, "I'm a normal person … I just want people to know that I'm just trying to be me, and that it's no big deal."

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Sarah Ferguson

Thirteen years ago, I sat across from a young bride caught up in the swirl of royalty and romance. England's royal family welcomed Sarah Ferguson into their ranks when she married Prince Andrew.

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