What really happened to Corey Feldman

Corey Feldman was an '80s icon who became something of an enigma. He launched his acting career with timeless favorites such as Gremlins (1984)The Goonies (1985), Stand By Me (1986), The Lost Boys (1987), and The 'Burbs (1989), but in recent years, most of the buzz Feldman generates is bad press. 

From his descent into drug abuse, to his dubious revelations about a supposed "Hollywood pedophile ring," to his failed high-profile marriages, and questionable music career, it's been a rough road for the beloved child star. 

Though he's tried to reboot his image in various ways, Feldman, at the time of this writing, is still stalled in has-been territory. And instead of fading into respectable obscurity, he keeps popping onto the pop culture radar, increasingly becoming more and more of a parody of himself. It begs the question: Why? We'll attempt to answer that with what really happened to Corey Feldman. 

He suffered through a disturbing childhood

Feldman had family issues from the get-go, and in excerpts from his memoir, "Coreyography" (via Radar Online), he said his mother "sucked the life out of him" at a very young age when she pushed him into acting. In his book, Feldman recalls her saying, "You're going to sing a song and they're going to go, 'Isn't he cute?'" and then locking him in his room with a record player, telling him not to emerge until he's "learned every word."

Feldman also claimed his mother suffered a wide range of undetermined illnesses and would often retreat to her bedroom for long stints, emerging infuriated. "I was too young to anticipate the high-highs and low-lows of someone with a depressive disorder, or to successfully navigate the unpredictable, violent swings that are born of substance abuse," he wrote. "I just thought she needed my help." He even called her "dangerous," referring to her bizarre behavior as a cry for help. "She would cry and fidget and whine and sometimes scream and fume and kick…Those were the worst days, when her moods became like black holes, sucking the life from every corner of the house into that cold, dark, room."

Fat-shaming was also a party of Feldman's childhood. "I do have round, chubby, cherubic cheeks, but I always thought that I would grow into them," he wrote. "Now she tells me that if I'm not careful, I'll grow up to be a fat, disgusting pig…" In another incident, Feldman reported that his mother force-fed him diet pills.

Feldman was granted emancipation from his parents as a teen. He told ABC News, "I got legally emancipated by going to the [Screen Actors Guild] producers pension, health and welfare plan myself at 14 years old and saying, 'What were my earnings, and what's left?'" After being told that he'd earned $1 million but had only $40,000 left, he decided to take action. According to Feldman, "When I went in for the emancipation trial, my father said, 'Since I spent my time with you on your last film and took it away from my office where I should have been focused, instead I'm going to ask you for that $40,000 back as repayment for the money that I lost in my business." Feldman was reportedly ordered to pay his father the requested money, leaving him in debt and on his own at the age of 15.

He contemplated suicide

In a 1992 interview, Feldman told People that he considered ending his life as a youth. "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.

Feldman said his self-loathing was rooted in his childhood. In an excerpt from "Coreyography" (via the New York Post), he recalled the time he was fired from a movie set. His mother reportedly grabbed a dowel and went ballistic. "'How could you f***ing do this to me?' she screams. She is out of control, wild-eyed, like an animal. Her face is bright red and blotchy, her cheeks are streaked with mascara. 'You know I need this f***ing money. I will kill you. I will f***ing kill you, you worthless piece of s**t.'" Feldman tried to hide by crawling underneath his brother's crib. "She's bent at the waist," he wrote, "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."

He endured two failed marriages

Feldman wed actress Vanessa Marcil (pictured left) in 1989 and divorced in 1993. Years after their split, she told Entertainment Weekly their marriage was "actually a joke we played on our friends. We were messed-up kids, you know?" She added, "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."

Feldman married Playboy model Susannah Sprague in 2002 on the set of VH1's The Surreal Life in a ceremony co-officiated by a rabbi and MC Hammer, but in 2009, she reportedly surprised him with divorce papers, citing "nondescript irreconcilable differences" and requesting sole custody of their son, Zen. In a statement (via Radar Online), Feldman said he had "done nothing to contribute to the demise of this marriage," and that he was "deeply hurt and saddened." Just 18 months prior to the breakup, Feldman told People their relationship was splendid: "Six years together and we're still in love!"

He battled drug addiction

In 1990, People reported that Feldman was picked up by law enforcement during a traffic stop with 23 balloons of heroin and two balloons of cocaine. During a 2013 interview with The Huffington Post, Feldman came clean about his history with coke, crack, and heroin, but claimed he'd been sober for 20 years. In his memoir (via Vulture), Feldman alleged the first time he injected heroin was actually in rehab with Jane's Addiction rockers Dave Navarro and Perry Farrell.

He had a questionable relationship with Michael Jackson

Corey Feldman had a decades-long relationship with Michael Jackson that ensnared him in the drama surrounding Jackson's disturbing child molestation charges in 2003.

"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 told ABC News, after being subpoenaed to testify in Jackson's trial. "I'm here to say I hope and I pray that these things never happened, and if they never happened, then there's some real sickness with a lot of people. But if they did happen, then there's a lot of sickness with one person. And that person needs to be punished."

Feldman claimed that when he was a child, Jackson showed him a book about genitalia and venereal disease. "I didn't think of it as a big deal. And for all these years, I probably never thought twice about it," Feldman told ABC News. "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 a**."

Jackson and Feldman reportedly had a falling out in 2001, but Feldman insisted at the time that the molestation allegations had nothing to do with their separation, reported ABC News

When the King of Pop died unexpectedly in June 2009 of a reported drug overdose, Feldman was at the forefront of celebrity mourners. "It was shocking, and I think I'm still in shock, to an extent," he told People soon after Jackson's death. "I don't think I have fully, completely come to terms with it yet. I have waves and flashes. One moment, I feel fine and I'm myself. Then all of a sudden, it hits me, and I go, 'Wow, he's really gone.' It's very troubling."

He lost his best friend

In March 2010, Feldman's best friend, actor Corey Haim—who had a long history of drug abuse and addiction—was found dead of a suspected drug overdose. The coroner's report eventually determined that he died of natural causes due to an enlarged heart and pneumonia.

Feldman released a statement on his blog shortly after his best friend's death: "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. 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. We must all take this as a lesson in how we treat the people we share this world with while they are still here to make a difference. Please respect our families as we struggle and grieve through this difficult time. I hope the art Corey has left behind will be remembered as the passion of that for which he truly lived."

He exposed Hollywood's alleged pedophilia problem

In 2011, ?Corey Feldman told ABC's Nightline that a nefarious agenda was at large in Hollywood—the molestation of young actors and actresses who were being groomed by adults in the industry. Feldman said "the No. 1 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," he 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."

"There was a circle of older men around this group of kids," Feldman said. "And they all had either their own power or connections to great power in the entertainment industry." He blamed one person, in particular, for Haim's demise. "And that person happens to be a Hollywood mogul. And that person needs to be exposed, but, unfortunately, I can't be the one to do it." Though rumors ran wild, Feldman never released the names of those he considered sexual predators.

He claims his life has been threatened

Feldman claims he's put his own life in danger as a result of his whistle-blowing on the alleged Hollywood pedophile ring. On March 28, 2018, Feldman tweeted photos of himself supposedly being treated at a hospital for stab wounds. The Stand by Me star claims he was attacked by three men while sitting in his car. Apparently one of the men distracted his security guard while another "stabbed him with something."

"@LAPD R CURRENTLY INVESTIGATING THE CASE AS AN ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE! I HAVE HAD MOUNTING THREATS ON ALL SM PLATFORMS BY THIS VILE "WOLFPACK" & THIS IM SURE IS A RESULT OF THOSE NEGATIVE ACTIONS! I HAVE REASON 2 BELIEVE ITS ALL CONNECTED!" Feldman wrote in a subsequent tweet. But the LAPD told a different story.

"He claims he was stabbed. There is no laceration or stabbing to his stomach," LAPD officer Drake Madison told the Los Angeles Times, who also reported that Feldman drove himself to the hospital after the alleged attack. And if all of this sounds…fishy, it's not the first time Feldman has made an unsubstantiated claim about an attempt on his life.

In October 2017, he told Megyn Kelly "someone tried to kill me the other day," referencing an incident in which "two speeding trucks came speeding at me on the highway at the same time." When pressed by Kelly, Feldman then referenced himself in third person, and strangely walked his claim back to: "Now, I'm not trying to say they were trying to kill Corey Feldman, but they were definitely trying to kill a group of people walking across the street." Okay.

He had a falling out with Haim's mother

After Feldman alleged that he and Haim were molested by high-profile Hollywood players, Haim's mother, Judy, spoke out against her son's best friend. "I am not willing to discuss or respond to anything Corey Feldman has to say," she told ABC News. "He shouldn't be talking about my kid. I wish he would talk about himself only and leave my son out of it."

That wasn't the last of it. In 2016, she told TMZ she didn't believe Feldman's stories, thought he was seeking "attention and a big paycheck," and was considering suing him if he didn't stop talking about her late son. She claimed her son had "distanced himself" from Feldman in the years leading up to his death and that Feldman continued to push the molestation story in an attempt to maintain relevancy in the press.

His music career was lambasted

In September 2016, a 45-year-old Corey Feldman and his Angels band performed an electronic number called "Go 4 It" live on the Today show. The performance went viral, but in the worst possible way. It was widely panned and mocked by fans and critics alike. "I'm usually against cyber bullying but Corey Feldman is just asking for it," read one of the nicer tweets.

"I've never had such mean things said about me. Like constantly," Feldman said in a since-deleted Facebook Live video (via People). "All we can say is that we tried really hard," he said. "Because we love our fans and we just wanted to give them the best show that we could." He added, "It was a song, okay? It wasn't that weird. I'm sorry if it's not good enough for you, but you don't have to beat us up."

"We can't get out of bed right now," Feldman said. "We're petrified to even go out. And I'm sorry, but we just wanted the world to know, like, we're really freaked out over this and it's really not fair." The actor reportedly sobbed during the footage, saying, "We deserve love and we deserve, like, normal life…It's not okay, it's not acceptable to call us freaks, weirdos, losers, whatever."

Despite all the flak, Feldman is, indeed, still going for it. According to the Associated Press, he's planning to return to the Today show, and sales of his fifth studio album, Angelic 2 The Core, have reportedly skyrocketed since his infamous first gig. "If it wasn't God's will for me to continue performing, then I would just stop," he told the AP, "but I think the fact that we did turn on so many new fans and gained supporters is amazing."