Tragic Details About Todd Bridges

Todd Bridges started out as a child actor on the popular NBC (later ABC) sitcom, "Diff'rent Strokes." The series ran from the late '70s and ended in the mid-'80s (via IMDb). But by the time it was canceled, the show's two main actors, Gary Coleman and Bridges, were huge stars. The show followed the two actors playing characters named Arnold and Willis Jackson, respectively, as two Black orphans taken in by a rich white businessman. It ran for eight seasons and Bridges was just 13 years old when he was cast as the person who was the subject of the show's famous line, "What you talkin' bout, Willis?"

When the show ended, Bridges was 20 years old and had a very promising career to follow suit. Yet, reportedly, Bridges was suffering with addiction, which would highly affect the acting jobs he'd get. The end of the show proved to make a drastic turn in his life. Along with drug addiction, Bridges would end up getting arrested, doing jail time, and even getting charged with attempted murder.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Todd Bridges deals with various tragedies

It all started when he was 15 years old — just a few years into his role as Willis Jackson on "Diff'rent Strokes." Around that time, he reportedly started using drugs, per Oprah.

His coping with drugs was the result of being a victim of alleged abuse. When Bridges was about 11 years old, he claimed an older man who was a friend of his family repeatedly abused him. One day, though, Bridges physically defended himself during an attack and his mother threatened the purported predator. While his mother was immediately reactionary to learning of Bridges' assault, his father wasn't. As a result, it reportedly fractured any security he felt with his father. The ordeal would affect him later on in life. During the show's run, Bridges had a run-in with the law. He would get arrested and fined in 1983 for having a concealed weapon (per UPI).

When the show ended, his earlier drug addiction reportedly persisted and increased. He also supposedly added dealing to his roster, and at that point, Bridges was purportedly using and selling both cocaine and meth (via USA Today). Then in 1987 he was charged with robbery and for making a threat, per UPI.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The legal problems of Todd Bridges

Todd Bridges' troubles wouldn't stop there. Things took a turn for the worse when he ended up facing even more law issues related to his reported addiction. In 1989, he was charged with attempted murder of another drug dealer (via Associated Press). In May 1990, Bridges was jailed on suspicion of drug possession (per Los Angeles Times), and a few months later he'd get acquitted for his murder charge (via Associated Press).

His purported addiction and arrests tired the young actor, and in 1992 when he was 26 years old, Bridges had reached a breaking point when he hit rock bottom. In his 2010 autobiography titled "Killing Willis: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted," the actor revealed he considered suicide by cop after being pulled over. He admitted that he'd grown tired of the life that he was living and considered the disturbing method as a way to end it. A judge would sentence him to 90 days in prison (via UPI) — a sentence that would likely save him. The actor got clean afterward and has been sober for well over two decades now.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.