In an emotional visit to “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Todd Bridges spoke very candidly about the sexual abuse, drugs, arrests and pimping that contributed to his catastrophic downfall after the end of his hit TV show “Diff’rent Strokes” – all of which are detailed in his new autobiography “Killing Willis.”
In Wednesday’s episode, the former child star described in painful detail how he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a family friend. Bridges said even worse was being called a liar by his father, who didn’t believe that he was abused.
“That really destroyed me,” he says, “because my father was supposed to be my protector. He didn’t protect me.” At this point, Bridges breaks down in tears. [Watch clip below.]
Bridges, who played adopted son Willis Drummond on “Diff’rent Strokes,” also explained how he became a drug user in the mid-1980s and started dealing speed, crack, cocaine and marijuana when “Diff’rent Strokes” wrapped in 1986. The actor said he began carrying guns and pimping out his female friends.
He explains, “They would sell drugs to johns (clients) and also have sex with johns, so I got paid in a double way… I was a pimp in a lot of ways.”
The actor went on to describe being introduced to methamphetamine, saying he was hooked after the first hit gave him an orgasm.
Bridges, who was still trying to escape memories of being molested at 11, said, “I thought that that was the drug that would take me through everything else because it really covered up everything that I was feeling… I was numb to society, I was numb to life… I felt that’s what I deserve… that’s who I am.”
He also revealed that he once stayed awake for 14 days straight when he was high on meth, and eventually suffered psychosis and seizures.
“I started seeing these little green men that came up and I thought that my grandmother had put these inside my house,” he said. “And they were running around and I was chasing at them and I was shooting at them… I was crazy at that point.”
Bridges broke down in tears again as his mother, who was in the studio audience, cried as she recalled how she prayed to God and said, “If you wanna take him, take him; I don’t wanna see him like that… I said, ‘I’m giving him back to you.’”
Bridges says he has been clean and sober for 17 years now, and credited his mother for helping him straighten out his life.
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