The Rebirth of Kirk Cameron
- Saturday, March 01, 2003
His adolescence was nothing like yours, unless your name happens to be Scott Baio or Justin Timberlake. At the age of 14, Kirk Cameron was receiving 10,000 letters a month while starring as Mike Seaver on the hit sitcom
Cameron was making $50,000 a week but had to deal with such things as lovesick teenyboppers and kidnapping threats. "Kirk had a couple of ardent fans who kind of went over the top—stalkers, in fact—and that frightened all of us to some degree," says his costar and TV dad Alan Thicke.
In 1986, the kid with the ear-to-ear grin described his life to
Did it work? Ten years after
Cameron, 32, says he viewed the world as though he were the center of it and began expecting things to be done for him—because they were. "Anything I wanted was given to me. That was what I expected because that was my reality."
People presumed Kirk Cameron to be the happiest guy on the planet. He was driving around in sports cars. He flew to exotic countries for vacations. He was offered lead roles in movies without having to audition. While all his dreams were coming true, Cameron likens that time in his life to biting into a chocolate bunny on Easter and realizing that it's hollow. "There was this aching, empty feeling that left me very disillusioned with the business I was working in," he says. "What else was there? What else did I have to shoot for? I'd basically reached the top of the ladder, and I was 18."
He sat on the set of
Although he had only been to church once or twice in his life, the young man had seen hypocrisy and self-righteousness among those who believed in God—so much so that Cameron began to consider himself a "devout atheist."
"As far as I was concerned, thinking people didn't believe in fairy tales," he remembers telling himself. When asked in interviews about God, the teenager would respond: "There's no God. You can't prove that there's a God. Absolutely not. You guys are performing your own lobotomy in order to believe this kind of stuff."
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