Todd Bridges: 'Talkin' 'Bout' Transformation

The star of "Diff'rent Strokes" on being abused a child, his years of drug addiction, and the media's negative portrayal of former child stars.

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So hopefully, they learn to forgive [themselves] and in return, forgive that guy. You don't have to condone what he's done, but you still have to somehow find a way to forgive him because that's what God would want.

During the time of the sex abuse, you say you began to hate everyone, including God, because you didn't understand why it was happening to you and no one was protecting you. When you look back on that time now, do you think differently?

Oh, yeah. I believe that God had nothing to do with that. Man can do what they want to do. I think a lot differently [now] because I realize that what God would do is take a bad situation and clean it up for His glory. I blamed everybody. You wonder why you're not protected or why God allows this stuff to happen. But, this is a part of life. Life happens. God doesn't really interfere with man's life. But when you come to Him, He will take care of you and help you out. But, you've got to be able to reach out to Him.

To blame Him for something bad that's happening is like blaming yourself when you make a mistake. God is there to help you. He's not there to do anything to you, and He's not doing stuff to you directly. Satan puts things before you. He can't make you do anything, but he can put things before you and you can trip and fall and go do them. If God was in control of our lives every single day--if we were puppets--then it'd be different. But God has given us [the ability] to make up our own free mind. And that's where a lot of us fall short. Man does what he needs to do. But it is God's job to clean it up.


You battled a drug addiction for many years. Can you tell us a little bit about what caused you to start and eventually stop using?

What caused me to start using was being sexually molested [by someone outside of the family] at 12-years-old, and my father was [physically] abusive. I didn't know how to deal with that. I thought that drugs would help me feel better. It temporarily took away the pain, but no one told me that I was going to become fully addicted and lose everything.

When I grew up, they never really told us about the do's--they always told us don't do what I do but they still did things. Your parents tell you "don't drink," but they drank, "don't use profanity," but they used profanity.

I think that it's really helpful to explain to children why not to do something. Just like God--when He talks to you or He disciplines you, He shows you the reasons not to do something.

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