Date: December 07, 2017 04:11PM
From Jody on Family Affair, 1960's to now he's been down a rocky road. And yet, he's a "comeback kid." He lost his co-star Buffy (Anise Jones) from a drug overdose when she was 18 years old, which was a wake-up call for him and where his life was going.
After Anissa's death, Johnny spent two years in Portugal as a volunteer Mormon missionary. When he returned to the United States, he had difficulty finding acting roles. He eventually enrolled at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications.
"In 1984, Johnny Whitaker married Symbria Wright of Reseda, California, a former talent agent.. The couple divorced in 1988 and Symbria later wed Johnny's best friend. After the collapse of his marriage, the actor went through a very dark period in his life. He told Roger Mullen of the Fayettevillle Observer that his divorce was "the precipitous event which caused me to lose faith in God and faith in myself and whatever else and kind of went to the dark side, Luke Skywalker. I started hanging out in bars and smoking and smoking marijuana and then going from marijuana to cocaine and methamphetamine and smoking heroin and losing three cars, four apartments, five jobs and a company that I'd started and ran into the ground."
In an interview with Nicki Gostin for Fox News (June 2, 2016), Johnny discussed those troubled years further:: "I started a business in Utah for my wife and then she turns around and says, 'I don't love you anymore and I want to marry the man who gave you your bachelor party.' So with that I lost my faith in God and man and the world. I didn't ever have a thought of suicide but I did the second best thing which was to drop into sex, drugs and rock and roll. That lasted about seven, eight years and then my family said you have a choice between getting clean and sober or getting excommunicated from the family."
That family intervention was the wake up call Johnny needed. He told Fox News that it provided the impetus for him to stay clean and sober for over 18 and a half years. Whitaker also discovered a passion for helping people recover from substance abuse. He became a certified drug counsellor and he currently runs the Paso Por Paso alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre. Paso Por Paso (Spanish for "step by step"is a non-profit organization for recovering addicts. It was founded by Johnny himself and provides support and treatment services in Spanish, Portuguese and English.
Due to his past behaviour, Johnny was excommunicated from the Mormon Church. In his interview with Nicki Gostin, he said that he now sings in his congregation's choir and is "working towards getting reintegrated."
He and Sissy are the sole survivors of Family Affair today.
My favorite role of his besides Jody in Family Affair was Tom Sawyer (1969.) He was one of Wilson Rawls top picks for "Where the Red Fern Grows." But the starring role ended up going to Stewart Petersen instead, both Mormons. (Rawls had been a convert to Mormonism as a young man, preceding his rise to fame with the publication of his first book.)
Glad for Johnny Whitaker he was able to get his life back together after his difficult life. Wonder if he's still a believer in Mormonism? Maybe it helps him to stay sober?http://www.tvbanter.net/2016/08/whatever-happened-to-johnny-whitaker.html