Like many former child stars, Alex Winter of Bill & Ted fame has been harboring a dark secret for all these years.
The British-American actor first found success on Broadway by taking on supporting roles in The King and I and Peter Pan. In the late '80s, he rose to prominence for his roles in films like The Lost Boys, Rosalie Goes Shopping, and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure alongside Keanu Reeves. Winter, along with actor Tom Stern, also co-wrote a number of short films, and co-directed music videos for artists like Ice Cube and Red Hot Chill Peppers.
The success of the Bill & Ted franchise was enough to land Winter and his creative collaborators a deal with MTV in the early '90s which resulted in the sketch comedy show The Idiot Box. A few years later, the actor co-wrote, co-directed, and starred in the 1993 cult-classic Freaked.
Winter continued to take on more acting and directing roles for the remainder of the '90s and early '00s, and while many child stars have faded into obscurity, Winter is still active in the film and television industry.
Sadly, the road to success was "hellish" for Winter, who recently revealed that he was sexually assaulted as a child star.
The actor dropped the bombshell during an emotional interview with BBC 5 Live, and it's heartbreaking.
In the wake of the sexual assault allegations against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, more celebrities, both men and women, have been speaking out about their personal experiences with sexual harassment, assault, and abuse while working in the industry.
Unfortunately, many of them, like Corey Feldman, Reese Witherspoon, and now, Alex Winter, endured these negative experiences when they were children.
Winter revealed that he was sexually abused as a child in the '70s by an unidentified man who has since passed away. After the experience, he suffered from a "massive form of something, which turned out to be post-traumatic stress disorder."
He continued, "That was evident to me while I was still in my teens. And so I began to do work on it. But it really took time, and it really wasn’t in my case, I would say, ’til well into my 30s, that I was really able to do heavy lifting on this stuff."
He admitted that he was in a "dark place" during the making of Bill & Ted, but he said he found the process "therapeutic."
“The films were really, really seminal for me, personally, in that way. They were really therapeutic for me in a way, and they gave me kind of a grounding that I moved off from with them. The world of Bill & Ted is a very sweet and fun place to run around in."
However, just like most victims of abuse, he wasn't comfortable talking about it at the time because he was convinced that the "potentially dangerous secret" would ruin him and his career. He explained that “there is a power dynamic that does put you in a position where you’re afraid for your own safety. So there’s that, on top of the taboo nature of being public."
The 52-year-old actor was inspired to speak out after others who have been through the same bravely shared their stories.
"The problems aren't going to get sorted out overnight, because frankly, these issues are part of the fabric of human nature, and they've existed since there have been human beings walking around on the planet," Winter said. "So it's going to take time, it's going to take mental health work, it's going to take the capacity of society to listen to some very unpleasant truths about itself. And there's no doubt that that's going to take time."