Leif Garrett was once at the top of the pop music food chain; in 1979 he had a hit single and a loyal string of female followers who kept up with every Tiger Beat photo shoot he appeared in. But the fame and fortune only lasted so long before it all came crumbling down in a drug-fueled mess. Now, he has some advice for the young new stars on today’s music scene, including Justin Bieber, who is one of the most famous names around.
“Do not believe your own publicity,” Garrett said. “Sussing out who your real friends are is full-time work. Every scum bag, every drug dealer, every chicken hawk wants a piece of you….When you’ve got that sort of power at that young age and everything at your doorstep, you put out that bad boy image. At that age, testosterone, hormones, all of the money, you see what else you can get away with.”
He may or may not be talking about Bieber’s headline-making behavior this year and his reputation for showing up late to shows because he’s on his own schedule. And although it’s hard to compare Bieber’s fame to Garrett’s, there are some similarities in their lives, which is what made the former teen idol focus on him. He also spoke about the effect of fame on a relationship, specifically his love affair with Nicolette Sheridan.
“Fame, money is what tore us apart,” he recalled. “Nicolette just started modeling. My career was pretty much there. We would get along great or clear rooms. That’s the whole thing with Justin and me. There was no in between…really good or really naughty.”
Garrett, who began his acting career as a child, says he’ll never be a teen idol again and doesn’t care to be there. He is now more comfortable behind the scenes after battling a drug addiction.