Instantly recognizable by any aficionado of 80s movies, Corey Feldman has become as fascinating off-screen as he was compelling on it. For many, he brought some favorite childhood characters to life. But there are more troubling and, sometimes bizarre, parts to Feldman’s life. His controversial friendship with Michael Jackson, his struggles with drugs and alcohol, and the related deaths of his long-term friend Cory Haim and early co-star River Phoenix. Feldman’s story is also one of abuse, and his ongoing campaign to shine a light on the perpetrators of such acts. These are the fascinating twists and turns of Corey Feldman’s life and career.
Drugs, Divorce, and Disneyland With Michael Jackson: The Life of Corey FeldmanPublished 7 months ago
As an actor, Corey Feldman is synonymous with eighties television and cinema. He started in the mid-seventies, appearing in a Mcdonald's advert when he was just three years old, the first of what would be around 100 commercials for him. From there, Feldman moved into more long-form roles. He appeared in classic TV shows such as Mork & Mindy and Cheers before the big screen came calling.
Friday the 13th. Gremlins, The Goonies, Stand by Me, The Lost Boys; Feldman’s eighties movie resume is almost unrivaled amongst fans of the era’s cult classics. It was in the 1987 movie, The Lost Boys, that Feldman met another young star, Corey Haim, with whom he would quickly form a bond as the two boys tried to find their way through the complicated world of Hollywood together.
It would be easy to look at Corey Feldman’s filmography from the eighties, and hear him talk about the fun he had filming Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter or Gremlins, and think that life was a ball for the young actor. In his own words, however, “I’ve had a lot of weird stuff happen in my life; let’s leave it at that.”
Feldman was introduced to the tragedies of Hollywood at an early age when his Stand by Me co-star, River Phoenix, died of a drug overdose aged just 23. “He was always a great guy. We had so much fun together,” said Feldman of his friend afterward. “There was never a bad moment, never an awkward moment. It was always laughs and fun.”
“What the hell is mogwai fur?” was the sentence yelled at a 13-year-old Corey Feldman by a schoolmate who followed the words with a spitball. The actor had taken it from the set of Gremlins to impress his peers but, of course, they hadn’t seen the movie yet.
It would be another year until people would understand the significance of his "show and tell", but kids simply don’t have memories that long. Any Gremlins fans wanting to maintain the illusion might not want to read this next part about when Feldman first met Gizmo. The actor clearly remembers seeing the adorable model with “tubes sticking out of his butt.”
At the time of filming the 1985 classic family movie The Goonies, the film’s executive producer, Steven Spielberg was friends with pop star Michael Jackson. Like most people at the time, Corey Feldman was a huge fan of Jackson and would constantly ask Spielberg if he might be able to get the Thriller singer on set.
One day, just before an important scene, in which the Goonies tamper with the Astoria Country Club’s plumbing, Spielberg pulled Feldman aside and told him “Today’s the day, Corey. Michael Jackson is coming to set.” The enthusiasm you see on the screen when Feldman’s character, Mouth, yells “Reverse pressure!” is a lot more to do with having just received that news than it is with throwing himself into the acting.
Picture this. Corey Feldman is wearing aviator sunglasses and a fake mustache. Michael Jackson has a giant afro and fake nose. They are at Disneyland and nobody recognizes them. Unbelievably, this isn’t the premise for an eighties movie that didn’t quite survive the test of time, but something that actually happened.
Since Jackson's first visit on Corey's set, the two became friends, and they decided they want to spend a day at the theme park together without being noticed by fans. At the end of the day, they got a room together and stayed the night. The story goes that they checked in to discover it only had one bed, but Feldman insists that Jackson had a cot brought up for himself so Feldman could take the bed.
“He was adamantly against drugs and alcohol; he was extremely strait-laced; I couldn’t even swear around him,” wrote Corey Feldman about Michael Jackson in his memoir, Coreyography. That day, and night, at Disneyland wasn’t the only time the pair spent together, and, for a while, they formed a close friendship.
Feldman, who is 13 years younger than Jackson, also wrote that Jackson was never inappropriate with him or, so far as Feldman knew, was he with any other children. “Michael Jackson’s world, crazy as it sounds, had become my happy place,” the actor wrote of that time. “Being with Michael brought me back to my innocence.”
Corey Feldman has claimed that, when the World Trade Center’s twin towers were attacked on September 11, 2001, Michael Jackson helped his friends Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, and Liza Minnelli to get away from New York to protect them from the danger of any further attacks. However, he did not reach out to help Feldman.
The actor, who also sings, wrote a song about the incident in which he refers to Jackson as “Megalo Man”. The lyrics read, “I believed in your words, I believed in your lies, But in September in New York, You left me to die. I love you, Megalo Man.” Jackson became worried Feldman would write negatively about him in his upcoming memoir, and the friendship between the two came to an end. Coreyography was not released until four years after Jackson’s death.
At the end of filming for the 1989 comedy Dream a Little Dream, the studio suggested the director and some of the movie’s stars relax in their suite at the Four Seasons, Los Angeles, for one last night. Mark Rocco, Ricky Schroeder, Corey Haim, and Corey Feldman took the opportunity to phone around a few friends.
Around a thousand people ended up at the suite that night. “Televisions were tossed out of windows,” claimed reports. “Haim and Ricky Schroeder hosed down a stripper with Champagne, and kids went streaking down the halls of the penthouse.” The minibar, apparently, also ended up in a bathtub. The bill to the studio for that final night of “relaxation” was $10,000.
Corey Feldman was 16 years old when he filmed The Lost Boys with Corey Haim and Kiefer Sutherland. At one point on set, the film’s director, Joel Schumacher, found Feldman apparently high on cocaine. Schumacher fired Feldman immediately. A day later, the director had a change of heart and allowed Feldman to rejoin the cast.
According to Feldman, that was the first time he had taken cocaine, which had been supplied to him by an adult who was working on the set. He was also struggling with the effects of his mother’s addiction at the time, so much so that Kiefer Sutherland once found Feldman sitting crying outside his hotel room.
The night Kiefer Sutherland found Corey Feldman crying, the older actor went on to watch TV and drink wine with Jason Patric and Dianne West in their hotel room. Feldman remembers, however, that “every half hour or so, [Sutherland would] pull back the curtains and peer out the window, checking on me, checking to see if I was still there.”
Two years after the incident, Sutherland opened up to Feldman about how aware everybody was of the situation with Feldman’s mother. “We all knew what a mess she was,” Sutherland admitted. “There were so many times I wanted to go down there, to shake some sense into her.”
Corey Feldman is the first to acknowledge the success of his career, particularly in those halcyon days of the eighties. He’s also quick to point out that it was his parents who both began and enjoyed that success far more than himself.
“At three years old,” Feldman explains. “Kids don’t really find their way into anything or make any type of decisions.” He is actually quite damning about his lack of control in the early part of his career. “At three years old, it’s called child slavery,” he has said. “And that’s what I endured: child slavery.”
When Corey Feldman released his memoir, Coreyography, he spoke about suffering abuse at the hands of his mother and being assaulted for many years by men within the entertainment industry. This, however, wasn’t the side of Feldman which was shown to the public in print every morning.
Feldman was young, successful, and famous, and he was more than willing to enjoy that. The young actor and his cohort Corey Haim found themselves firm favorites of the tabloids thanks to their ongoing party lifestyle. The suffering behind that lifestyle didn’t find its way into the stories.
Teddy Duchamp, Corey Feldman’s character in Stand by Me, is a troubled pre-teen constantly on the edge of doing something crazy or lashing out as he struggles with the problems of growing up with a mentally ill father. The pain that sits behind Duchamp’s eyes is an integral part of understanding his place in the film.
Rob Reiner, the film's director, saw the same “incredible amount of pain” in the eyes of Feldman, hence casting him for the part. He admitted in 2000, however, that he had no idea at the time just how real that pain was. “[I] never realized the degree Corey was suffering,” Reiner said. “He never let anybody know.”
“My parents were both very abusive and very selfish and were more interested in what was happening with themselves than what was happening with my life,” said Corey Feldman of the man and woman responsible for both his birth and the beginning of his career.
It has also been reported that, even though Feldman had accrued a financial worth of around $1 million by the time he was 15, his parents’ spending meant he was left with only $40,000. This was the catalyst for Feldman seeking emancipation from his parents, which was granted by a judge that year.
Corey Feldman’s parents split when he was 11 years old but his home life had been difficult long before that. Both his parents had previously had brushes with their own sorts of fame and were not coping well with life afterward.
Sheila Feldman was a former Playboy bunny who force-fed her son diet pills after teasing him about his weight. Bob Feldman played bass in bands and had written the hit song “My Boyfriend’s Back” for The Angels. He was happy to get high with his young son, but not quite so interested in the actual parenting side of things.
While filming Stand by Me in 1986, Corey Feldman tried marijuana for the first time with his friend River Phoenix, who would die of a drug overdose just seven years later. The two teenagers persuaded a sound engineer to let them take a hit from his bong. Though Feldman admits they giggled like children afterward, both boys claimed they felt nothing.
This incident in itself isn’t especially unusual for American teenagers, but it was the beginning of Feldman learning to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Around the same time, Feldman told People magazine in 1992, he found an old pistol of his grandfather’s and took to keeping it under his bed. On occasion, he considered taking his own life.
Bob Feldman, Corey’s dad, acted as his manager for a period. At one stage he hired a man called Ron as an assistant. The young actor claimed that Ron gave him drugs and molested him, eventually doing the same to Corey Haim too. Haim also told Feldman he had been sexually harassed by an older man on the set of Lucas.
Unbelievably, with all this happening, it was Bob Feldman who once sued his own son, rather than the other way round. Bob claimed he was owed restitution for the time he had to take away from his own business to look after Corey’s affairs.
Despite moving out of his childhood home and into his own apartment, Corey Feldman still found his drug and alcohol use getting out of hand during the time of Stand by Me and License to Drive at the end of the eighties.
By the time Feldman began filming The ‘Burbs with Star Wars actor Carrie Fisher and Gremlins director Joe Dante, the 17-year-old’s habits were becoming a clear issue. Fisher, who had her own struggles with drugs in her life, and Dante tried to intervene and encourage the young actor to seek help going sober before things got worse.
“Please, listen to me,” Carrie Fisher said to Corey Feldman in 1989. “You are such a talented actor, but if you keep going down this road, you’re going to throw it all away. You’ve got to stop before it’s too late.”
Despite being urged to take control of his habits by the legendary older actor, it took until December 1990 before Feldman would admit that something needed to be done and check himself into rehab. In the time between, Feldman had been arrested on drug charges three times. During his ten-month stay at a facility in North Hollywood, Feldman finally spoke to a therapist about his childhood abuse.
It was around this time Corey Feldman entered his first marriage. “I was 18, it was puppy love, and we thought it would be fun to fly to Las Vegas at three o’clock in the morning and get married,” explained Feldman’s now ex-wife, soap opera actor Vanessa Marcil.
The couple met and married so quickly and impulsively that Marcil didn’t even tell her parents until a year later. They separated and divorced in 1993. “Corey was going through his little teen-heartthrob period,” said Marcil to Soap Opera Digest. “We were kids.”
“Really, how much of a marriage can you have at 18?” Vanessa Marcil said later of their time together. Which went some way to explaining the less conventional style in which the couple approached their commitment. She spoke about how Feldman and herself never moved in together or did “any of the married stuff."
Feldman's agent and publicist also did their best to keep the whole thing under wraps. Despite the nature of their time as husband and wife, however, the pair split into good terms and remain “very close friends,” according to Marcil.
“To say that we were really married is completely not true,” Vanessa Marcil said in an interview with Maxim in 2005. Despite records showing that she and Corey Feldman were legally married, this was not the first time she had tried to deny the whole thing.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in 1999, Marcil claimed that the marriage was, “actually a joke we played on our friends. We were messed-up kids, you know?” It’s difficult to see why Marcil would take this stance so long after the marriage was over, but it’s clear it had been a crazy time for them both.
In 2003, Corey Feldman featured in the inaugural season of The WB reality show The Surreal Life. The fly-on-the-wall style show followed the bizarre lives of celebrities living together in a Hollywood Hills mansion. Parachute-panted pop-rapper MC Hammer also appeared on the show that season.
A year earlier, Feldman had met actor and model Susie Sprague in a nightclub. In the season finale, Feldman and Sprague were married. The ceremony was officiated by Hammer, who was an ordained minister. Their marriage lasted seven years and brought the couple a son, Zen Scott. The legal battle over custody and spousal support lasted five more years, with the couple finally confirming their divorce in 2014.
In 2016, Corey Feldman married his third wife at his second Las Vegas wedding, though this ceremony was a little more lavish than his first secret wedding. Feldman and his long-term girlfriend, Courtney Anne Mitchell, tied the knot in Elton John’s Fizz champagne lounge at Caesars Palace.
The couple met in 2011 at a Midsummer Night’s Dream party before which Mitchell had been photographed for Playboy. Soon after, she became the DJ and keyboard player for Feldman’s band. It’s said he proposed bypassing her a note on a piece of paper. Feldman has described his current wife as his, “number one partner.”
Before his marriages, Corey Feldman had other high-profile affairs. One of the very first was with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial star, Drew Barrymore. Actually, to call it an “affair” is probably stretching things, the two were very young.
The pair showed up as dates for the 1989 Oscars after appearing on CBS Schoolbreak Special together. Feldman was 18 at the time, and Barrymore was just 14. According to Feldman’s memoir, however, this wasn’t the first time they had gone out. He claimed the two went out on a date four years earlier when he was 14 and she was 10.
Corey Feldman has also been connected romantically with Heather Graham and Shannon Malone. Feldman also dated Who’s the Boss?, Melrose Place, and Charmed actor, Alyssa Milano, who dated Corey Haim around a similar time.
Milano spoke out about the abuse suffered by both Feldman and Haim, though she claimed she had not known about it at the time it happened. Feldman stepped up to defend his ex-girlfriend when her comments regarding him and Haim were picked up by the press.
Having performed as a musician for a long time with little outside interest, Corey Feldman released his third solo album in 2016. Angelic 2 the Core, as it was titled, featured collaborations with some huge artists including Snoop Dogg, Fred Durst, and Pussycat Doll Kaya Jones.
Feldman performed his single “Go 4 It!” live on the Today Show. While backed by a crew of “angels” in revealing outfits, Feldman performed the sort of dance moves you’d expect from his old friend Michael Jackson, all while dressed in a Grim Reaper outfit. Unsurprisingly, the video went viral.
This next part of Corey Feldman’s life seems bizarre even without taking into account that he had married his current wife in 2016. That year he announced he was launching a "360 management development and production entity to help girls who were kind of lost and needed help to find their way." That entity was Corey’s Angels, which seems to operate along much the same lines as Hugh Heffner’s Playboy bunnies.
These girls made up his backing singers and reportedly lived as his “girlfriends” in the “Feldmansion”. It has been claimed the Angels have been required to sign contracts confirming they will not drink alcohol, eat meat, gain weight, or, oddly, wear jeans.
After the appearance of Corey Feldman and his Angels on the Today Show, the star faced a fairly polarized reaction. A Facebook Live post was published which claimed Feldman had never experienced “such mean things” being said about him, and that he and his wife cried over the reaction to his performance.
This claim is at odds with an alternate theory that Feldman had orchestrated the whole thing - his band, his angels, his weird reinvention - in a cynical attempt to go viral online.
“We’re petrified to even go out,” Feldman and his wife claimed in the post, which has since been deleted. Going even further, Feldman said, “We can’t get out of bed right now.” It seems the reaction to his performance had really hurt Feldman, who pleaded for understanding by saying, “It was a song, okay? It wasn’t that weird. I’m sorry if it’s not good enough for you, but you don’t have to beat us up.”
Former co-stars of Feldman’s, such as Sean Astin from The Goonies and Jerry O’Connell from Stand by Me, came out to stand up for the maligned entertainer who claimed he had “tried really hard” to give the best show he could.
When Michael Jackson was placed on trial for child molestation in 2005, Corey Feldman was summoned to testify, though he never actually appeared in court. Despite having always claimed Jackson never acted inappropriately towards him in a sexual way, he did have complicated feelings about their time together.
Feldman claimed that it was Jackson’s habit of building relationships with vulnerable young people and then cutting them out when he became bored that had done “real damage” to himself and others. The trial and his summons, however, did prompt Feldman to reexamine some of the things that had happened between them.
“I hope, and I pray that these things never happened, and if they never happened, then there’s some real sickness with a lot of people,” said Corey Feldman after taking time to consider the accusations toward Michael Jackson. “But if they did happen, then there’s a lot of sickness with one person. And that person needs to be punished.”
Though he continued to maintain Jackson had never touched him, Feldman did admit at least one occurrence had, “created a question of doubt.” Feldman remembered Jackson once showed him a book which “focused on venereal diseases and the genitalia.” The young actor had been 13 or 14 years old at the time.
Corey Feldman’s stance on the ongoing accusations against Michael Jackson unexpectedly flipped after the release of HBO’s documentary Leaving Neverland in 2019, ten years after Jackson’s death. At first, Feldman reacted to the film by repeating his assertion that Jackson never acted inappropriately.
Just two days after this, however, Feldman came out to say he was unable to defend Jackson any longer and that, “It comes to a point where, as an advocate for victims, it becomes impossible for me to remain virtuous and not at least consider what’s being said.” Feldman also said that, even if some of Jackson’s behavior had been inappropriate, the singer was “just being parental for a boy who had no guidance.”
For almost their entire careers, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim had been close friends. They'd shared so much as they grew up, good and bad. In 2007 and 2008, the pair starred in The Two Coreys, a reality TV series that documented a period in which Haim moved in with Feldman and his wife.
The theory was that it would be a light-hearted show, but by the second series, it had taken a much more serious turn. The two men openly discussed the abuse they had suffered in their earlier lives, while Haim attempted to confront his substance addictions and put his life back on track. Tensions are built between Feldman and Haim throughout the series. When Haim relapsed, Feldman finally decided to cut ties with him.
On March 10, 2010, aged 38, Corey Haim died of pneumonia after becoming addicted to prescription painkillers. Two years before, after the end of their show together, Corey Feldman had told People magazine that, “As a friend and somebody that cares deeply about the guy, I am not going to watch him destroy himself.”
After Haim’s death, Feldman began speaking out about what he perceived as an “epidemic” of child abuse in Hollywood. Others suggested Feldman’s claims were incorrect. These people included Haim’s own mother, who denied her son had ever been abused and suggested Feldman was simply jealous of her son's success. Feldman, on his part, said he had “not one” doubt about what his friend had endured.
“You want to know what I really think?” Corey Feldman said on Dr. Oz in 2017 “They were trying to frame Michael Jackson and bury the Corey Feldman story.” He was referring to a 1993 police interview in which he had been questioned about his relationship with the pop star.
Feldman felt that his interviewers were only interested in hearing what they already believed about Jackson, that they didn’t want to hear Feldman say nothing had happened, and, more importantly, that they didn’t want to hear about the person who had actually abused Feldman.
Just because Corey Haim is now dead, doesn’t mean that Corey Feldman’s relationship with him is over. Seemingly ignoring the conscious separation from his old friend in the years before his death, Feldman rekindled communication with Haim in 2016.
In an episode of Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry, the host apparently made contact with the spirit of Corey Haim, causing Feldman to begin tearing up. Afterward, Haim’s mother spoke out to declare the whole thing a sham created by Feldman in an attempt to stay relevant.
On March 9, 2020, Corey Feldman released a self-produced documentary titled (My) Truth: The Rape of 2 Coreys. In it, Feldman makes claims about a secret Hollywood pedophile ring that he blames for ruining the lives of him and Corey Haim, among others.
The actor turned documentary maker reveals the names of several of the people he is accusing. One of the men named is Two and a Half Men actor Charlie Sheen. After the release of the documentary, Feldman claimed it was necessary to hire 24-hour security as he lived in fear for his life.
“These sick, twisted, and outlandish allegations never occurred. Period” was Charlie Sheen’s firm denial to Entertainment Weekly of the claims made against him in Corey Feldman’s film. Feldman himself states that Haim told him he had been 13 when the then-19-year-old Sheen abused him on the set of Lucas in 1986.
The documentary also shows other witnesses stating that Haim told them about his abuse at the hands of Sheen, or that they had heard about it indirectly at a later date. There are, however, no first-hand accounts of inappropriate behavior by Sheen towards any parties.
“I said it’s not me. I’m sick and tired of saying that when no one listens. So goddamnit, I’m not repeating it anymore.” These were not the words of Charlie Sheen in relation to Corey Haim, but a YouTube comment left by nightclub owner Alphy Hoffman in response to claims made against himself by Corey Feldman.
Hoffman is not the only man Feldman has named. Talent manager Marty Weiss and actor Jon Grissom, who appeared with Feldman in License to Drive and Dream a Little Dream, have both been directly accused by Feldman. Marty Weiss took to Twitter to register his denial, saying, “Corey Haim would never grandstand sex abuse for profit nor would he have thrown innocent names around due to personal vendettas.”
(My) Truth: The Rape of 2 Coreys was released as an online pay-per-view event for $20 per stream. However, 45 minutes into the film the stream froze and an error message appeared. “Please be patient. The hackers are trying to prevent the stream from airing. The program will begin momentarily. We appreciate your patience and support!”
Understandably, the interruption was met with some skepticism, though it appears there was a genuine attempt at disruption against the host server. Eventually, the stream resumed. Whatever the real truth of Corey Feldman’s experiences as a young actor in Hollywood, the unique star can never be accused of not speaking out to tell his story.