Apparently, Carrie Fisher sat down with Feldman in 1989 and begged him to get help, telling him he was an incredibly talented actor but the substances weren’t going to help. If he kept going down that road, he was going to throw everything he had accomplished and worked for away. He still had time to reverse some of the damage before it was too late.
However, even a legendary actress who had gone through the exact same things as Feldman was going through wasn’t enough to change his actions for a little while. Until the point Feldman needed to get help, things continued to decline, including a couple of run-ins with police on substance charges. He wasn’t the first child actor to have the problem, and he certainly wasn’t the last.
Like so many other kids his age, Feldman tried the traditional gateway substance for the first time when he was a teenager. It was in 1986, with his friend River Phoenix, while they were filming “Stand by Me.” More on River later. The two teens persuaded a sound engineer to let them take a hit from his stuff. Feldman says that they giggled like children, but both of them claimed they didn’t feel anything.
It was a not-uncommon thing for a kid to do at the time, but it led to a whole lot more for both of the boys. It was truly a gateway not only for harder and more dangerous substances, but rampant alcohol use as well. As we’re about to see, things quickly started getting out of hand.
An Attempted Intervention
The writing was on the wall for some of the people around Feldman. By the end of the eighties, his substance and alcohol use and behavior were becoming worse, and some who worked with him attempted to guide him to better habits. While filming “The ‘Burbs,” it was clear the young actor was struggling. Famous actress Carrie Fisher was part of that film, and as someone who had her own troubles with substances, she wanted to help Feldman out.
She and director Joe Dante sat down with Feldman to try and warn him about what might be coming down the road if he didn’t make some changes. They encouraged him to get help to go sober. If anybody could get a kid to change his ways in the eighties, it was Carrie Fisher, right?
Issues With the Law
Substances, alcohol, a terrible home life, fame...it’s all part of an equation for a child actor that results in troubles with the law. Between his discussion with Carrie Fisher and eventually stepping into a rehab facility, it was more than a year. During that time, police had caught up to Feldman three times on substance-related charges, leading to arrests all three times. He entered a rehab center in North Hollywood for ten months in December of 1990.
It was during this time that Feldman made another big step – as part of his rehab, he spoke to a therapist about his childhood trauma, which allowed him to heal there, too. Someone who struggled with so much, and had so few people to pour his heart to, no doubt found a great deal of aid from a professional therapist.
Friends to Depend On
So Corey had a bad time with his parents, but it seems the kid was at least able to find people that he could count on. Fellow child actors like River Phoenix, older actors like Keifer Sutherland and Carrie Fisher, and even the King of Pop himself. In 1989, Feldman added another name to that list: actress Vanessa Marcil.
The two were married during the year, while Feldman was at the top of the pile and while Marcil was climbing. She would eventually get roles on “General Hospital,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,” and “Las Vegas” among a bevy of other shows and even a few movies like “The Rock.” However, this was all after the relationship between the two actors had ended. According to Feldman, it was quite the impulsive marriage.