Father Knows Best? TV Dads With Messy Personal Lives
On television these actors played caring fathers who doled out sage advice to their children. But behind closed doors, their personal lives were a wee bit messy and they ended up making headlines for scandals, ruined marriages and secrets.
Bill Cosby is responsible for bringing the first upper middle class Black family to television and his character Dr. Cliff Huxtable was voted as America’s number one TV dad by “TV Guide.” But his legacy is in serious danger of being overshadowed by numerous rape allegations that have resurfaced along with new accusers stepping forward. In recent weeks eight women have accused Cosby of drugging and raping them, including supermodel Janice Dickinson. The legendary comedian has remained mum throughout the growing scandal but his lawyer has vehemently denied all claims.
For 11 seasons, Stephen Collins was the pastor father in the wholesome TV show “7th Heaven.” Reruns aired on the UP TV network but were recently removed from the schedule after audio leaked to the media of a man voice’s allegedly belonging to Collins admitting to sexually abusing a minor. The TV dad/pastor and his estranged wife Faye Grant are currently duking it out in divorce court and he’s accused her of being the source of the leak. However, Collins has not confirmed whether or not the voice on the tap belongs to him.
Tim the Tool Man Taylor fumbled his way through a home improvement show while he juggled caring for three rambunctious boys at home while his wife worked. But during the height of “Home Improvement’s” success, its star Tim Allen was busted for DUI. He was sentenced to one of year probation and entered rehab for substance abuse as part of a court order. And back in the 70’s, Allen was caught with over 650 grams of cocaine. The future star served more than two years in prison after pleading guilty to drug trafficking charges.
John Goodman was the perfect actor to play Dan Conner, the lovable blue-collar father on the 90’s sitcom “Roseanne.” But behind the scenes, Goodman was a raging alcoholic. It got so bad he’d have to drink during the show just to stave off the shakes. After more than 30 years of heavy drinking, Goodman got some help and was finally able to put the bottle of Jack Daniels down and he never looked back.
Back in 2000, Sandra Bullock approached George Lopez to star in his own sitcom and a star was born. He starred as a married father of two who grew up in a dysfunctional household and was still struggling with his relationship with his grumpy mother. During “The George Lopez how’s” six-run season, Lopez fell ill and his wife ended up donating one of her kidneys to her husband. But five years later they were headed to divorce court because of Lopez and his cheating ways.
On “Sanford and Son,” Redd Foxx played a widowed father who was always one step away from having a fatal heart attack and joining his wife Elizabeth in heaven. But in real life Foxx wasn’t a widow. In fact he was a divorcee several times over. In addition to saying “I do” four times, the legendary comedian also had some serious money issues. He burned through his bank account to pay for his flashy lifestyle. Divorce settlements and tax liens exacerbated the problem and Foxx was forced to file for bankruptcy.
Alan Thicke played stay-at-home dad and psychiatrist Dr. Jason Seaver on the popular sitcom “Growing Pains.” But in real life he was nothing like the tlevision dad at home. Thicke married and divorced twice and his son, singer Robin Thicke, remembered growing up and seeing his father entertain various women. “My dad was single my whole pubescent period,” the “Blurred Lines” singer said . “He had Ms. Alabama, Ms. Dominican Republic—every week. I was like, Dang, Pops. He had an indoor Jacuzzi, and he frequented it.”
Years after bringing the ground-breaking sketch show “In Living Color” to television, Damon Wayans returned to the small screen as a married father of three. “My Wife and Kids” was a hit and it lasted on the air for five seasons. But while he was playing a husband on television he was going through a split with his wife of 16 years. His soon to be ex cited irreconcilable differences as the cause but Wayans had a history of cheating including his rumored affair with “Mo Money” co-star Stacey Dash.
Flex Alexander was the cool and hip single dad on “One on One” doing whatever he could to raise his teenage daughter. Despite finding steady work both in film and on television, the comedian and his family have gone through some financial troubles lately. Things were compounded when his in-laws moved in the already crowded home. Hoping to get a handle on everything, Flex, his singing wife, their two children and extended family members are all starring on the new reality show “Flex and Shanice,” which debuted earlier this month on OWN.