Todd Bridges On Gary Coleman: ‘He Wasn’t Prepared’

 

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Todd Bridges and the late Gary Coleman were inseparable during their “Diff’rent Strokes” heyday in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and now “Willis” gets serious with ET’s Kevin Frazier as he recalls Gary’s good times, struggles and secrets.

“We had an exceptional time as kids,” says Todd, who played Gary’s big brother on the show. “We always had fun in our dressing rooms, we’d always roller skate together around [the studio lot], we always hung out … we went to school together. He was a precocious, fun little kid that was very bright for his age.”

Todd explains the foundation behind Gary’s sometimes cantankerous behavior, saying, “Imagine having major health problems. Imagine getting ripped off of all your money. Imagine being raised in a household where he wasn’t taught how to love himself or to love others around him. So when he hit the world at an adult age, he wasn’t prepared.”

The former child star says that Gary recently had open-heart surgery, and that “physically, he wasn’t in great shape.”

“He had a valve replaced, and people didn’t know that,” says Todd, who also reveals that Gary had a secret will at the time of his death.

“[A friend of mine and I] have paperwork, and we’ll bring it out soon, that will show what his wishes were and what he wanted,” explains Todd. “There’s a big fight going on with his parents and some other people involved, and after we bring this paperwork out, everybody’s going to shut up.”

Todd says Gary was bilked out of $18 million that he earned from starring in “Diff’rent Strokes,” and, “Gary had certain wishes [excluding his parents]. I’m not going to go against a dying man’s wishes. … There’s a reason why he didn’t speak to them for 23 years.”

Watch ET tonight for more with Todd Bridges, including his reaction to the 911 call made by Gary’s “wife,” Shannon, last week.

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