With new Ghostbusters movies coming out and the immense success of Stranger Things, it’s official: the ’80s are back and bigger than ever. Of course, those who actually lived through the ’80s may feel like something is missing.
That “something” is, in fact, Corey Feldman. Nobody embodies that decade so much as this prolific actor. Considering that he starred in Gremlins, Goonies, Stand By Me, The Lost Boys, and Friday the 13th IV, Feldman might as well have been the mascot for the 1980s.
However, Feldman’s career seemed to peter out over time. What happened to his career? What childhood challenges defined his life, and what is he doing now? Keep reading to find out!
A rough childhood
Part of Feldman’s charm as an actor is that audiences were basically watching him grow up onscreen. That’s why it’s so heartbreaking to learn that when the cameras weren’t rolling, he was suffering through a very rough childhood.
The actor disclosed details about his childhood in his memoir, Coreyography. According to Radar Online, his mother forced him into acting and basically “sucked the life out of him.” Some of her antics included locking him into a room with a record player and forcing him to learn every word so he could impress others by singing.
Feldman later suspected she suffered from a depressive order. As a child, though, he could not “successfully navigate the unpredictable, violent swings that are born of substance abuse.” She would fat-shame Feldman, saying he was going to “grow up to be a fat, disgusting pig.”
The young actor eventually emancipated himself at the age of 14. But due to his family’s mismanagement of his earnings, he was left in debt despite his prolific career.
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Struggles with mental health and childhood abuse
In some ways, Feldman is lucky to be alive. In a 1992 interview with People, he admitted that he would frequently contemplate suicide when he was younger. “I used to hold [my grandfather’s pistol] to my head every night and go, ‘God, why am I so ugly? Why am I so fat?’ I hated myself and wanted to kill myself,” he said.
Some of the desire to kill himself certainly came from a desire to escape his abusive mother. In another section of his memoir, the New York Post reports that Feldman’s mother once threatened to kill him, causing the actor to hide under his brother’s crib. “She’s bent at the waist,” he wrote in the memoir, “ramming the pole under the cotton eyelet dust ruffle, jabbing at my ribs, my arms, my face. My skin is raw and bleeding. I think that, maybe, she is serious. She really does want to kill me. Then everything goes black.”
Fortunately for all of us, Feldman survived both his mother and his own suicidal ideation.
A nasty drug addiction
Like many actors (especially younger actors), the pressure of both Hollywood and home life eventually led Feldman to a life of drugs. This came to a head in 1990, when People reports that police pulled Feldman over and found two cocaine balloons and 23 heroin balloons.
In 2013, Feldman admitted to The Huffington Post that he had frequently used heroin, cocaine, and crack. The good news? At the time of the interview, he was celebrating 20 years of sobriety.
Unlucky in love
Feldman has actually been married twice before. Unfortunately, these marriages were about as tragic as the rest of his life.
First, he married actress Vanessa Marcil (pictured on the left) in 1989, and then the two divorced in 1993. But Marcil later admitted to Entertainment Weekly that their union was “actually a joke we played on our friends. We were messed-up kids, you know?” However, “Now that I’m in the public eye, it’s turned into this whole wrong rumor. To say that we were really married is completely not true.”
In 2002, Feldman married Playboy model Susannah Sprague on the set of VH1’s The Surreal Life, complete with MC Hammer helping to officiate. Feldman seemed quite happy with this relationship and the two had a son together. But they divorced in 2009 after she cited “nondescript irreconcilable differences” while requesting sole custody of their son. This seemingly blinded Feldman, whom Radar Online reports was “deeply hurt and saddened” by Sprague’s sudden desire to get divorced.
Fortunately, Feldman bounced back and eventually married a gifted musician, Courtney Anne Mitchell, who occasionally plays in a certain band: Corey Feldman & The Angels.
The death of his best friend
It’s impossible to talk about Corey Feldman without talking about Corey Haim. Haim was another 80’s icon and was also Feldman’s best friend. Unfortunately, he also struggled with drug abuse and addiction. Haim died in 2010 from natural causes, though his lifestyle prompted many at the time to suspect a drug overdose.
Haim’s death devastated Feldman. After he learned about Haim, Feldman posted a heartbreaking statement over on his personal blog. “I was awakened at 8:30 this morning by my brother and sister knocking on my bedroom door. They informed me of the loss of my brother Corey Haim. My eyes weren’t even open all the way when the tears started streaming down my face,” he wrote. “I am so sorry for Corey, his mother Judy, his family, my family, all of our fans, and of course my son who I will have to find a way to explain this to when he gets home from school. This is a tragic loss of a wonderful, beautiful, tormented soul who will always be my brother, family, and best friend.”
Feldman ended the statement by encouraging everyone to treat people well while they are still alive and hoping that Haim will be remembered for his passion and his art.
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Explosive claims about sexual abuse in Hollywood
These days, many people talk about suspected “groomers” in Hollywood: pedophiles who groom children for abuse. However, this is nothing new: in fact, Corey Feldman accused Hollywood of having a major groomer problem way back in 2011!
This all came out in an interview on ABC’s Nightline. Feldman minced no words, saying that “the number one problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia. That’s the biggest problem for children in this industry…. It’s the big secret.”
“I was surrounded by [pedophiles] when I was 14 years old,” the actor said, “[I] didn’t even know it. It wasn’t until I was old enough to realize what they were and what they wanted… till I went, ‘Oh, my God.’ They were everywhere.”
Continuing, Feldman said, “There was a circle of older men around this group of kids and they all had either their own power or connections to great power in the entertainment industry.”
Most explosively, he revealed that both he and his friend Corey Haim had been subjected to sexual abuse by a Hollywood pedophile ring. In March 2020, Feldman released a documentary on the topic called My Truth: The Rape of Two Coreys.
But the question on most people’s minds is: was Corey Feldman abused by his long-time friend Michael Jackson?
A strange relationship with Michael Jackson
Feldman was passionate about discussing famous figures grooming young men. On that subject, we need to dive into Feldman’s bizarre relationship with deceased pop king Michael Jackson.
Corey Feldman had been close friends with Michael Jackson since 1984, when Feldman was 13 years old, until they had a falling out in 2001. When Jackson was charged with child molestation in 2003, Feldman was forced to testify. Though he said Jackson had never molested him and had for years defended their relationship as innocent, as an adult he began to reevaluate whether there was an inappropriate aspect to it.
“I started looking at each piece of information, and with that came this sickening realization that there have been many occurrences in my life and in my relationship to Michael that have created a question of doubt,” Feldman said in a 2005 interview with Martin Bashir (via ABC News).
Some of what Feldman described to Bashir was pretty weird, including Jackson showing him a book featuring photos of venereal disease and genitalia when he was a child.
“I was kind of grossed out by it. I didn’t think of it as a big deal. And for all these years, I probably never thought twice about it … But in light of recent evidence … I have to say that if my son was 14 years old — 13 years old, and went to a man’s apartment that was 35, and I knew that they were sitting down together talking about this, I would probably beat his ass.”
Feldman said he could ‘no longer’ defend Michael Jackson
While Feldman has continued to deny any sexual contact between him and Jackson, he doesn’t want to discredit Jackson’s accusers. In a March 2019 interview with CNN’s Headline News (via Yahoo!), Feldman stated, “I don’t want to be perceived as I’m here to defend Michael Jackson, because I can no longer do that. I cannot in good consciousness defend anyone who’s being accused of such horrendous crimes.”
As CNN reports, Feldman said that his relationship with the singer fit “the standard grooming process,” minus the sex. “Everything was similar [to what happened to me] up until the sexual part,” Feldman said. “Everything. He bought me gifts, a Watchman TV, a gold watch from Disneyland.”
To this day, Feldman is left pondering Jackson’s intentions. “So was he grooming me and I just never ended up being his pick? Or was that just who he was?” Feldman continued, “That’s the f***ing thing. We’ll never know.”