Corey Feldman is crediting his 12-year-old son Zen for helping him stay clean, and reveals he doesn’t want the preteen to be in the spotlight.
“I was basically a slave child,” Feldman tells People. “I started working at three years old, and it wasn’t my choice.”
Issues began to build within his family, and at the age of 15, Feldman accused his parents of stealing nearly $1 million from him and soon after he was granted emancipation by a judge. He later revealed in his 2013 memoir, Coreyography, that his mother had abused him and force-fed him diet pills at a young age.
He also reveals in the book that he and his best friend, late child actor Corey Haim — who passed away in 2010 at 38 years old from pneumonia as a result of drug abuse complications — had been sexually abused by people in Hollywood when they were young boys.
Feldman expresses his strong feelings towards his son not being in the public eye. “I shelter him immensely from that whole world,” he says of Zen. “He doesn’t know about a lot of what I’ve lived through.”
The Stand by Me actor also explains that he wants to set a good example for his son. “That’s where my love is and where my heart is,” he says. “There’s no time to mope around or to be depressed, because I have to be a positive influence on him. That’s what’s most important.”
“I’ve got to stay strong for him,” he continues. “No matter how mean and awful people can be, I can’t let it affect me.”
Feldman says he has managed to move past the online attacks he received last month after staging an outrageous performance of his latest song, Go 4 It, on the Today show. He appeared with rapper Doc Ice and a band made up of four women wearing halos and wings (a.k.a. his “Angels”).
WATCH: Corey’s Angels on the Today show
Footage of the show went viral as people poked fun at the performance; Feldman wore a hooded black ensemble to embrace the “good vs. evil, heaven vs. hell” theme of his music album, Angelic 2 the Core.
The Goonies star didn’t take the criticism well, and, in a now-deleted live stream on Facebook, openly sobbed as he defended the performance and insisted the song “wasn’t that weird.”
“I’ve never had such mean things said about me. Like, constantly,” Feldman cried.
The 43-year-old Gremlins actor told Us Weekly had he not been so used to criticism, the comments would have prompted him to consider suicide.
“I don’t care if you’re hiding behind a computer or a keyboard — it’s not an excuse. It’s not acceptable,” he says. “The somebody that you’re talking about is a real person with real feelings and real emotions. And I’ll tell you what, if I hadn’t been through this 1000 times, I might’ve taken my life over it. And then how would everybody feel?”
“They just dive in with the worst, the nastiest, the filthiest comments I’ve ever read.” he shares. “Like, ‘The wrong Corey died’ or ‘Why don’t you just go OD?'”
Feldman has opened up about the tough experience, insisting that the speculation that he was on drugs or inebriated for the show couldn’t be further from the truth.
“There’s nothing in this world that would ever make me do cocaine or heroin or any of that stuff ever again,” he told People magazine, saying that he has been sober for more than 25 years.