It could be said that Tim Allen has a history of trouble. After graduating from college in 1975, the now 57-year-old found himself with no money, no direction and a “self-destructive” attitude. After falling in with the wrong crowd, the young Allen started dealing drugs until he was caught with 650g of cocaine at Kalamazoo airport in his native Michigan.
“I didn’t set out consciously to screw up. I was going to make money and buy property. But as soon as I started [dealing drugs], I wanted out. I walked into this, then I got hit really hard,” he told Parade.
What hit hard what the subsequent prison sentence Allen was faced with. But instead of accepting fate, the star traded in the names of other dealers in return for a reduction of his sentence. In the end, he only served 28 months.
Following his release, the comedian began to build a reputation for himself by doing stand-up acts in Detroit comedy clubs. After a string of successes Disney Co. piloted ‘Home Improvement’, which was to make Allen a nationwide sensation.
But the actor’s demons had apparently not left him. In 1998, Tim Allen was arrested and charged with drunk driving, after Michigan police found him speeding at 70 mph in a 40 mph zone. A test showed that Allen, whose father died at the hands of a drunk driver in 1964, had substantial levels of alcohol in his blood and was over the legal limit.
Following extensive negotiations, the Jungle 2 Jungle star was placed on one year’s probation, fined $500 and ordered to address his alcohol problem, E! Online reports. This he did, by checking into a rehabilitation facility.
In a statement released shortly after his plea, Allen said: “I have been treated fairly by the authorities in my home town…My inexcusable lapse in judgment is a mistake that is embarrassing to myself, my family and my associates. I have learned from this experience, and I am fortunate that my family and associates have forgiven me.”
Four years and one divorce later, Allen reflected in an interview with Parade: “I’d hit an emotional bottom where I was no longer comfortable being Tim Allen. There’s a part of me, a self-destructive streak, that wanted the end of it all. But I was able to take control. I no longer drink alcohol. Making major changes in your life takes courage. It’s step by step.”
These major changes also enabled to star to build a strong and healthy relationship with his daughter, Kady, whose unconditional love has been the answer all along:
“I adore being in the house with my daughter,” he revealed, “being silent, doing my art, just knowing she’s near. It’s the best kind of connection—it’s unconditional. My daughter eases the ache I used alcohol to calm. Because of her, this void at the center of things since my father died started to fill up.”
Images: PR photos and Wikimedia Commons