Todd Bridges was just 7 years old when he landed his first acting job. After appearing in dozens of commercials, this talented, precocious child was cast on hit TV shows like The Love Boat and Barney Miller. In the '70s, Todd also earned the distinction of being one of the first African-American actors to appear on popular series like The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie.
After appearing in the groundbreaking miniseries Roots, Todd landed the role of a lifetime. He was cast as Willis Jackson on the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. Alongside child actors Gary Coleman and Dana Plato, Todd became a household name.
The hit series keep audiences laughing for eight seasons. But, when Diff'rent Strokes was canceled in 1986, Todd says he felt like his life was over.
Soon after, Todd's fall from stardom began. This beloved TV star became hooked on crack cocaine and methamphetamines, and he started dealing drugs to support his addiction. Fame quickly turned to infamy as reports of drug abuse and arrests made headlines.
Todd was arrested for felony assault and cocaine possession, and in 1989, he faced his most serious charge—attempted murder. Todd was accused of shooting a drug dealer eight times after a cocaine binge, but after two trials and nine months behind bars, he was acquitted.
Then, in 1992, Todd was arrested yet again, but this time was different. Instead of returning to jail, Todd entered a yearlong drug rehabilitation program.
To this day, many people still think of Todd as a poster child for child stars gone bad and remember him for his mistakes, but he says he turned his life around long ago.
This 44-year-old father of two has been clean and sober now for 17 years.