Todd Bridges’ breakthrough role as Willis Jackson on the hit TV sitcom Diff’rent Strokes made him a star by age 13, but that fame came with a price.
Todd tells Closer, in an exclusive interview, that after the show ended in 1986 his career was sidelined by substance abuse problems. “Addiction is a disease that attacks your emotions and stops you from realizing you can have a beautiful life,” Todd, 50, reveals to Closer. “It’s cunning and powerful."
But Todd’s been sober for more than 20 years, thanks to the help of family.
Todd on Diff'rent Strokes. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
“My mom wouldn’t give up on me,” says Todd, who also credits his son, Spencir, 17, daughter, Bo, 18, and ex-wife, Dori, for encouraging him to get his life on track.
“And when I got in trouble awhile back, I was in front of a judge who said, “I know you’re a good person. If you just try Alcoholics Anonymous, you could turn your life around.”
Todd in 1978. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
“I still talk to one of my first sponsors, Paul Williams, who told me to go to a sober living house," Todd tells Closer. “He and my mother and my brother made me realize that there is life after television.”
Todd’s career is back on track, too. He’s hosting the live Las Vegas game show, Lovers or Losers. “It’s a wonderful feeling to be accepted back into your business.”
“People are always happy to see me, because I went to battle to get where I am today. That’s why I’m not going to give up so easily — it was a lot of work!”
To read the full story on Todd, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!