Growing Pains: The Tribulations of 1980s Child TV Stars

"Diff'rent Strokes" star is divorcing wife of 14 years

May 30, 2012— -- "Diff'rent Strokes" star Todd Bridges and his wife Dori are splitting after 14 years of marriage.

Bridges broke the news Friday on Twitter, writing, "our lives are going different directions ... we remain good friends."

The couple married in 1998, and Dori most likely kept Bridges on the straight and narrow after years of drug abuse and run-ins with the law. They are parents to 13-year-old Spencir, who followed his father into acting, appearing the 2007 film "Daddy Day Camp" as well as an episode of "iCarly."

"We have a child and we both have his best interests at heart and know this is best for him and us thank you all for understanding," Bridges wrote. About Dori, he said, "She's a great mother I'm glad to have had the years to know her and have a great kid with her as we know, people grow apart and we did."

People can also change, as the once troubled child star knows all too well. After "Diff'rent Strokes" ended in 1986, Bridges struggled with drug addiction and faced criminal charges, including attempted murder of a Los Angeles drug dealer. He was later acquitted, got clean and began rebuilding his career. Now 47, he has appeared on the UPN/CW sitcom "Everybody Hates Chris" and in the reality series "Skating with Celebrities" and "Celebrity Boxing."

Some of his "Diff'rent Strokes" co-stars did not fare as well. Here are their stories and those of other child TV stars from the 1980s.

Gary Coleman

Bridges's "Diff'rent Strokes" co-star,

In 1989, Coleman sued his parents and former manager over misappropriation of his $3.8 million trust fund. Though he won a ruling in excess of $1.2 million in 1993, Coleman filed for bankruptcy six years later, and blamed his financial problems on mismanagement of his trust.

Coleman was also cited for disorderly conduct multiple times, and in 1998, was charged with assault after punching a bus driver, Tracy Fields. He pleaded no contest and was ordered to pay Fields' hospital fees. He was later arrested on a domestic violence assault warrant in Utah, and spent a night in jail.

He and his then-wife, Shannon Price, also aired their marital troubles publicly, appearing on "Divorce Court" in 2008 to try to save their marriage. Now Price is fighting with Coleman's ex-girlfriend Anna Gray, who was named as his beneficiary, over the star's estate.

Dana Plato

Coleman's co-star Dana Plato appeared to have a bright future ahead of her when she landed the role of Kimberly Drummond on "Diff'rent Strokes." The show was a hit from its 1978 premiere, and Plato charmed audiences. But she was written off the series in 1984 amid rumors of drug use, and she struggled to find other roles.

In 1989, Plato bared all for Playboy and began starring in B-movies. From there, she dabbled in soft-core pornography, including a 1997 feature based on her "Diff'rent Strokes" past.

Meanwhile, legal and substance abuse problems plagued the actress. In 1991, she was arrested attempting to rob a video store at gunpoint, and the following year she was arrested for forging a Valium prescription.

Plato's drug addiction eventually took her life -- she died in 1999 after overdosing on the painkillers Vanadom and Vicodin.

Plato's son, Tyler Lambert, who once aspired to follow his famous mother into show business, committed suicide at age 25 on May 6, 2010, just days before the 11th anniversary of her death.

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 "He didn't want to be known as Boner his whole life. That's something that affected him."

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

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.)

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

"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."

Jaimee Foxworth

Jamiee Foxworth's post-'80s TV career is one her "Family Matters" dad would probably condemn.

After playing the youngest daughter, Judy Winslow, on the sitcom from 1989 to 1993, Foxworth was written out of the show with no explanation. The actress turned to drugs and alcohol and tried to supplement her meager funds by starring in pornographic movies under the name Crave.

In 2008, Foxworth sought help for her substance abuse problems by participating in VH1's "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew." She gave birth to a baby boy in May 2009 and told People magazine, "I've been through a lot of pain in the past and … I now look forward to years of joy to share with my child."