'Diff'rent Strokes' Star Todd Bridges Opens Up About Experiencing 'Extreme Racism' at Young Age

In a candid news interview, the actor famous for his portrayal of Willis Jackson on the NBC sitcom recalls being treated like he's 'ignorant, dumb and stupid' because of his dark skin.

AceShowbiz - Success did not spare "Diff'rent Strokes" star Todd Bridges from being singled out for his darker skin. Decades after rising to stardom, the actor famous for his portrayal of Willis Jackson on the NBC sitcom got candid about enduring "extreme racism" as a child star, describing it as the "most difficult" part of growing up.

Making the confession to Page Six, the 55-year-old actor spilled despite all the praises he received for his acting at young age, things were different off camera. "Here you are doing something spectacular for people and people are enjoying it, but then you go outside and you're treated like you're ignorant, dumb and stupid," he stated. "Not like you have some intelligence or you're a good kid, not at all."

In late 80s and early 90s, Bridges struggled with crack cocaine and methamphetamine addictions, and was arrested for an attempt to murder Los Angeles-based drug dealer Kenneth "Tex" Clay. Despite what he went through, the "Fish" actor refused to blame his troubles on his past as child actor.

"There are too many of us that have come out great," Bridges shared his thought on the matter. "I had other things to deal with, pretty traumatic things as a child, that's what affected me and had me go through other situations."

Things are now better for Bridges. The actor playing Monk in "Everybody Hates Chris" claimed to have made peace with his past. "I can be happy watching TV or doing the dishes. Anything that affected me back then doesn't affect me now. You see what's going on in the world right now, you see the racism, you still have to go through it," he went on to say.

Bridges added that the world right now is so much different from what he used to see. "I don't let that affect me as much now. I know that's what the world is right now. I think the next generation may change it. My kids' generation doesn't see color, they see people," he concluded.

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