Growing Pains: The Tribulations of 1980s Child TV Stars

Andrew Koenig

Andrew Koenig

In February 2010, family and friends found "Growing Pains" actor Andrew Koenig's body in a park in Vancouver, British Columbia, after he had been missing for nearly two weeks.

His father, Walter Koenig, an actor best known for his role as Chekov on "Star Trek," said his son killed himself after a liftetime of depression.

Though the '80s made him a star, Koenig had been trying to escape his fame as "Growing Pains" goofball Richard "Boner" Stabone.

At the time of his disappearance, his father told ABC News, "He's been depressed. He's trying to get ahead in this business, and he's been working at it a long time."

The younger Koenig, who appeared on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and played The Joker in 2003's "Batman: Dead End," hated being known for his "Growing Pains" role and "Star Trek" connection, according to a friend, writer/producer Lance Miccio.

"When I introduced him to people, he said, 'Never say my dad's Chekov and never say I played Boner,'" Miccio told ABCNews.com. "He didn't want to be known as Boner his whole life. That's something that affected him."

Tracey Gold

Tracey Gold

Koenig's "Growing Pains" co-star, Tracey Gold, has also gone through the ups and downs of Hollywood. Gold rocketed to teen stardom after being cast as Carol Seaver in the series.

But while she thrived on TV, Gold struggled behind the scenes with anorexia. In 1992, her mother, Bonnie Gold, told People magazine that she burst into tears when she visited her daughter on the "Growing Pains" set in 1985 and was shocked to find she had wasted away to 90 lbs.

After seeking treatment in the early '90s, Gold transitioned from "Growing Pains" to acting in TV movies. But in 2004, she was arrested for driving under the influence after she rolled her SUV, carrying her husband and her three young sons, down a California highway embankment.

Gold's 7-year-old son, Sage, sustained the worst injuries, a broken clavicle and a head wound. The actress spent five hours in prison before being released on $50,000 bail. Gold later pleaded guilty to a felony DUI charge. She was sentenced to one month in a work release program, 240 hours of community service, and three years of probation.

MacKenzie Phillips

Mackenzie Phillips

In September 2009, actress Mackenzie Phillips revealed to Oprah Winfrey that her rock star father, John Phillips, had raped her when she was 18. It was the beginning, she said, of a 10-year-long consensual sexual relationship. Phillips, 52, the former star of '70s-'80s sitcom "One Day at a Time," said she was first raped by her father, the lead singer of the Mamas and the Papas, after she passed out in a hotel room during a drug binge. (She also has a history of substance abuse issues.)

MacKenzie Phillips

The relationship continued long after she married Jeff Sessler when she was 19, and ended only when she became pregnant and feared her father was the baby's father, Phillips said. Her father paid for an abortion.

"I woke up that night from a blackout to find myself having sex with my father," Phillips said on "Oprah," reading an excerpt from her new book, "High on Arrival." "I don't know how it started."

Jodie Sweetin

Jodie Sweetin

"Full House" sweetheart Jodie Sweetin didn't grow up to resemble her goody-two-shoes character at all. At age 22, the star of the '80s and '90s sitcom developed a debilitating daily meth habit that she kept a secret from her then-husband, LAPD officer Shaun Holguin.

In 2005, after a night of partying landed her in the hospital, Sweetin sought treatment. Once sober, she divorced Holguin and married Cody Herpin, the father of her daughter Zoie.

But in November 2008, Sweetin split with Herpin. In 2009, she came out with the book "unSweetined," in which she revealed she kept the meth, cocaine and ecstasy binges going while she claimed to be sober. In one passage, she talked about breaking into tears addressing a crowd at Wisconsin's Marquette University about her "trials and tribulations."

"I talked about growing up on television and about how great my life was now that I was sober, and then midspeech I started to cry," Sweetin wrote. "The crowd probably thought that the memories of hitting rock bottom were too much for me to handle. Or maybe they thought the tears were just a way for an actor to send a message that drugs are bad. I don't know what they thought."

"I know what they didn't think," she continued. "They didn't think I was coming down from a two-day bender of coke, meth, and ecstasy and they didn't think that I was lying to them with every sentence that came out of my mouth."

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...