bienmenudo (bienmenudo) wrote,

jeremy jordan - meth did it

So I recently watched Never Been Kissed, and then the video for the song done by the actor/singer who played Guy Perkins in the movie. He looked and sounded completely different from the fresh-faced pin-up even then. And over the course of the movie, which I never liked that much, he looks sicker and sicker, and his acting seems to slip a little. I guess one explanation would come straight from his own mouth--having to deal with the molestation trial that year...

So I found this article that confirms some things.

Jeremy Jordan, pictured with wife Marnie, is trying to get his acting and singing career back on track after a stint in the Betty Ford Clinic. His addiction to crystal meth, he says, began in 1997, after he testified at the sentencing of Mooseheart sex offender Joseph Paul Dinges, who is serving 15 years in prison. Jeremy Jordan in a recent publicity shot. Jordan was born Donald Henson Jr. and spent nine years at Mooseheart before running away and finding a career in the music and movie industries. (Submitted photos).

For more than half his life, Donald Henson has been running from his past. Placed in Mooseheart at age 9 by a single father who could not emotionally care for his family, the boy ran away from the Child City when he was a teenager, leaving behind not only four younger half-siblings but also a houseparent who sexually abused him.
What the 17-year-old quickly discovered on the outside world was that fame and fortune can come at breakneck speed. A year after leaving Mooseheart, the talented young singer signed a record contract that led to a smash debut album, as well as a career in film and television.

And young Donald Henson, who changed his name to Jeremy Jordan, never looked back.

Until 1997.

That's when he heard his abuser, Joseph Paul Dinges, had been charged with criminal child sexual abuse. After following the story through the newspapers from his home in Los Angeles (Dinges later pleaded guilty to three counts of child pornography), Jordan contacted a reporter here, then agreed to testify at the man's sentencing.

"I realized how many other kids' lives he ruined," says Jordan, who was 23 at the time. "And I knew I just had to come back."

And so, in a courthouse that witnessed at least a half-dozen similar trials against former Mooseheart employees, Jordan described for 26 minutes the atrocities he suffered at the hands of his houseparent. That testimony, which Kane County Judge James Doyle described as "very, very credible," helped send Dinges to prison for 15 years.

It also "opened some wounds," Jordan says, "that I did not know how to close."

Jordan flew back to his glamorous life in L.A., and went on to rack up more TV and film credits, including the role of Guy Perkins, the prom king in Drew Barrymore's Never Been Kissed.

He also began using drugs: crystal meth to be exact. A lot of it. And, no surprise here, his career careened into the ground as quickly as it had ascended.

Watching his descent into hell was his new wife, Marnie, who decided that, after her husband's ninth arrest, she had to do something different.

"I gave him $20, then had a cop ready to arrest him when he went to buy his drugs again," Marnie says. "Setting him up was the hardest thing I've ever done, but I really had no choice."

After a short stint in an L.A. jail, Jordan got sober at the Betty Ford Clinic and is now in an outpatient program where he's been happily clean for the past 10 months.

No longer being stoned, however, brought a sobering realization: To have a healthy future, he had to deal with his dysfunctional past. "Testifying at the sentencing opened up pain I had buried so long," he said. "But I never came to terms with it . . . and that's why I lost control over everything in my life."

Certainly it's a life far more interesting than anything Hollywood could dream up.

Donald Henson Jr. was born in 1973 in Calumet City to a 16-year- old mother who gave custody of him to the father. Donald Henson Sr. later married another woman and had four more children, all of whom he placed in Mooseheart after his wife abandoned them.

In looking back on his life at the Child City, Jordan easily recalls the many good people who helped him adjust to the "culture shock" of the institution. But when he was 14, he moved into New Jersey Hall, where he became one of many children officials say Joseph Dinges physically and sexually molested.

To describe in detail the abuse he was subjected to would take up way too much space in this column. Suffice to say, "I was broken," says Jordan.

But he was also a survivor. The young man left Mooseheart for eight months to live with his mother, who had contacted him out of the blue that year. Problems with her husband forced his return to the Child City, but he brought with him his mother's love for music that not only became his passion but eventually became his way out.

The teen immersed himself in choirs and musicals in the Fox Valley, including summer stock productions at the Paramount in Aurora.

But he ran away from Mooseheart at age 17 after another houseparent tried to discipline him by refusing to let him participate in The King and I. For almost a year, he found a home wherever he could: With friends, with charities; even under Chicago's el train shelters.

Then, one day, he wandered into the Demon Dog, a restaurant near DePaul University owned by Pete Schivarelli, music executive and former member of the band Chicago. Impressed by the gold and silver records hanging on the wall, he begged for an impromptu audition. That, in turn, led to a trip to L.A. to meet music man Irvine Azoff, who signed the newly named Jeremy Jordan to a record deal.

His first album, The Right Kind of Love, was a smash hit and went on to be featured on the soundtrack of Beverly Hills 90210. But after a world tour, the Giant record company went belly-up, and Jordan, ever resilient, decided to focus on acting.

And all was going well -- he even wrote and sang one of the songs on the Never Been Kissed soundtrack -- until he returned to a Kane County courtroom to face his abuser.

But hitting the skids is not the end of Jordan's story. Now in therapy, he contacted The Beacon News recently asking for copies of the many stories written about the Mooseheart scandal. He also is looking to re-establish contact with family members, including siblings Grace, Gina and Tony, as well as his father.

And today, says Marnie Jordan, her husband is meeting with a new agent who he hopes will eventually lead to the renewal of a once bright career.

"Hollywood is a forgiving town," she says, "and Jeremy realizes now he has to face all the things from his past in order to put them to rest."
Tags: jeremy jordan
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