Shaun Weiss is addressing one of the most shameful moments of his life.
As Perezcious readers will recall, the Mighty Ducks star battled homelessness and drug addiction for much of his 30s. He’s made some big changes the past few months, and we couldn’t be happier to see him bouncing back. But while it sounds like his life is getting better now, the former child star is still dealing with the aftermath of some of his unfortunate past actions.
Earlier this month, Weiss appeared on David Manheim‘s podcast Dopey. The episode, titled “From Disney Child Star to Homeless Junky Tweaker,” takes a deep dive into Weiss’ early career success and subsequent drug addiction. The 44-year-old actor doesn’t hold back in explaining what his life was like during his lowest lows. And in one particularly surprising revelation, he tells the story of once selling Judd Apatow‘s laptop for drug money.
Speaking to Manheim on episode 383 of the popular addiction recovery podcast, Weiss — who has been sober for nearly three years — revealed how he first came to know the filmmaker in 1995 while working on Heavyweights. The then-child star later appeared on the fan-favorite TV show Freaks and Geeks, too. And it sounds like all that time Apatow was a good friend — for his part.
While drinking and drug use were destroying Shaun’s career and life, Judd was working behind the scenes on trying to get help, as Weiss told Manheim:
“I went to rehab … Judd Apatow put me in a rehab place. He was giving me a chance.”
The former child star continued, revealing how Apatow tried over and over again to help:
“That was the other thing that was really heartbreaking, too. He was really being my mentor and teaching me how to write and giving me different jobs and assignments that really cultivated me as a writer. He got me a job writing jokes for the Oscars … he just gave me all these gigs, grooming me for better things.”
Unfortunately, Shaun’s personal demons proved to be too much. Apatow was being “incredibly gracious” with him, he realized later, but the the younger Weiss was unable to accept the assistance.
In one particularly awful moment, Shaun recalled lashing out at the Knocked Up director:
“It was basically alcohol that did this. We basically had a conversation one time and I was saying ridiculous things to him and I was raising my voice. And he said, ‘if you don’t stop now, how you’re acting, I’m not going to help you.’ He basically warned me, ‘stop now, don’t proceed any further,’ and I did not stop. I got even worse, [saying] ‘I don’t ever want to talk to you again,’ which was ridiculous.”
During that time, the now-54-year-old Apatow had also given Weiss his prized laptop. The computer was the very same one Apatow previously used to write his hit 2005 movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin starring Steve Carell. Hoping the laptop would help Weiss with his own writing, Apatow generously gifted it to the struggling star. Weiss recalled:
“It was a PowerBook, but like, decked the f**k out. It was probably like a $5,000 laptop at the time. One you can’t even really buy.”
Unfortunately, the gift was all for naught. As Weiss struggled in the throes of a severe meth addiction, he endured homelessness in a Los Angeles park. One day, seeking a high, he sold the expensive laptop for just $60.
Recalling that difficult moment to Manheim, the former child star said:
“That was hard, that loss. Now I was crossing the line … when you take your f**king laptop and pawn that s**t, you’re not a writer anymore.”
To his credit, Manheim suggested Weiss try to make amends with Apatow now. The ex-addict wondered whether that was even possible, first saying:
“I never tried to contact him at all since that moment. Do you think he knows that I’m sorry for what I did? I feel like he knows that I’m sorry and I feel like what good does it do me to … I feel like that’s a mess that I f**king made.”
Weiss eventually agreed, though. He concluded the story by explaining how it might be important to apologize to Apatow for the unfortunate situation, even now so many years after the fact:
“This is really good advice. That’s good advice because there may be a part of him that wonders in the back of his heart — the decency of this guy — ‘can’t he reach out and apologize to me?’ He might be waiting on that, you’re right.”
Wow. Definitely a very heavy topic. You can listen to Weiss’ full interview on the Dopey podcast HERE.
We hope this story does have a happy ending that includes a friendship coming back together. Thoughts, Perezcious readers?
[Image via MEGA/WENN/Avalon]