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Danny Bonaduce Discusses His Life, Career
Aired November 10, 2006 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): Growing up, most of America knew him as Danny Partridge, the precocious, conniving, bass playing middle child of "The Partridge Family". But every since the show was canceled in 1974, he`s been known mostly as the poster boy for a screwed up ex-child star.
DONNY BONADUCE, ACTOR: It was not being on television that screwed up my life. It was not being on it that screwed up my life.
BECK: Rampant drug abuse, alcoholism, arrests. At one point, things got so low he was even living out of his car, but through it all, he has persevered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long are you sober so far?
BONADUCE: Seven months today.
BECK: He met his wife, Gretchen, on a blind date, marrying her seven hours later. Sixteen years later, they`re still married.
He`s found success as a radio deejay, and he`s finally returned to the limelight, starring in the hit VH1 reality series "Breaking Bonaduce", a no-holds-barred look at a life that is once again teetering on the verge of self destruction.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is a sex addict. Scary people.
I don`t even know what he`s got in his system.
You`re not stable.
BONADUCE: I am checking straight into rehab.
BECK: He`s Danny Bonaduce, and we have him tonight for the full hour.
BECK: Hello and welcome. Danny Bonaduce is with us tonight.
And Danny, you watch the program.
BONADUCE: Big fan of the show.
BECK: So you know what you`re in for?
BONADUCE: I do indeed, exactly.
BECK: OK. What do you suppose that is?
BONADUCE: Well, I`ll tell you -- let me tell you a quick, interesting, minor story. You actually play a bit of a pivotal role in my life. You are one of the first grown up events that I did with my daughter.
We used to watch "Spongebob" together, and one night, I was watching "The Glenn Beck Show", as I almost always do, and she walks in and she`s 5 years old. And you`re going on about World War III, and it`s the end of the world. We`re all going to die.
And my daughter flips up: "Oh my God, we are all going to die."
And I said, "No, honey, this guy is not a journalist. He`s a thinker." Because I watch your show all the time.
BONADUCE: The second I said that, you look into the camera and go, "Listen, I`m not a journalist. I`m a thinker."
BECK: That`s wild.
BONADUCE: So my daughter thinks we`re, like, in simpatico.
BONADUCE: So once she gets that, it`s like I made a reference I`m not sure she`d understand. I said, "You know that time daddy said on the radio that all redheaded Americans should be entitled to 14 wives?"
BONADUCE: "That`s just an opinion. It doesn`t make it right."
BONADUCE: "Glenn Beck is just a lot like daddy."
BECK: Right. That`s scary.
BONADUCE: Yes, it is. Something we`ll do together.
BECK: Right. And that`s one of the things that I am so fascinated about you. I believe -- and we`ll get into this later -- I think you and I are a mirror of each other but a fun house mirror.
BONADUCE: Right. I agree with you on that. I agree with you on that.
BECK: And so, I want to get there, but I think I have to start at the beginning with "The Partridge Family".
BECK: What was -- what -- how did you get there? What was your family life like? What -- what was that like as a kid?
BONADUCE: It was from anybody else`s point of view and perspective, it would have to be bizarre. But from my perspective, it`s all I know. I`ve been famous as long as I can remember. I`m 47.
BECK: You have a picture in the Smithsonian of you.
BONADUCE: At 10 years old.
BONADUCE: I was one of the 50 most famous person, and I`m 10. I`m between, in their Americana section, I`m between Archie Bunker`s chair and the Fonzie`s jacket, and a picture of "The Partridge Family". So it`s what I know, is to be famous.
BECK: What was -- like Ronnie Howard had a family on the set.
BECK: Did you? Was it crazy? Were you -- when did you -- when did you first have sex? When did you first start drinking? Was that part of that?
BONADUCE: I first had sex -- my first sexual encounter, and I`m eternal grateful, was to a David Cassidy cast off. David Cassidy...
BECK: This is what...
BONADUCE: ... would have a line of women outside his dressing room, and apparently he had reached his serviceable limit, and this poor young -- although probably 23 years old -- was walking away, dejected.
And I was like 13. I walked up to her, and I said, "Hi. I`m Danny." And she went for it. It was any Partridge in the storm was her motto. And she made a man of me. And I like to say that I gave that woman the best 30 seconds of her life.
BONADUCE: But I want you to know she probably told a whole lot of people that. She probably bragged. That woman`s probably 60 now. And if you`re out there, lady, I really appreciated it. I still think of you and I like you.
BECK: All right. Now, but that -- what was it that turned you? What -- you are a dangerous dude. And not necessarily to me or others but to you.
BECK: So, where -- where did things -- did it start there? Where did things fall apart?
BONADUCE: You know what? I don`t know. First of all, I don`t know that things fell apart. I know that, in the sense of dangerous to myself and the words falling apart go together. I do not have one major quadrant of my body that doesn`t have steel plates in it.
BONADUCE: I have steel everywhere.
BECK: Let`s talk about it. You don`t know it fell apart. In 1977 you were one of the most -- 50 famous faces in America. Five years later, 1982, you`re living in a dumpster. Don`t tell me your life didn`t fall apart.
BONADUCE: It fell apart almost certainly.
BONADUCE: But here I am. I`m on "The Glenn Beck Show", and life is a long ride.
BECK: That`s a low point. A step above the dumpster, you`re on this show.
BONADUCE: Not to me, I`m a fan. Right?
I will tell you this, that this is how crazy things got. The dichotomy of my life did get fascinating. I did -- I lived right next to - - I had a car. I lived in my car, but I lived right next to this dumpster by Grauman`s Chinese Theater.
And sometimes, I`d get up in the morning and I`d walk around to the front of the theater, where I would pose for pictures and sign autographs for hours at a time and be the high point of peoples` trip to L.A., because they saw a movie star.
And they have no idea I was about to crawl back to my dumpster after they were done with me. So that was a bit odd, but falling apart, I don`t know.
BECK: How weird. So, did you hit -- was that a bottom for you?
BONADUCE: You know what? I`ve been doing a lot of stand-up comedy and lectures all over the country, and I`ve come to the conclusion that there are -- everyone time I say, "And that`s when I knew I had to quit drinking," it`s true enough, but there were thousands of them. You know, there was a night...
BECK: What was the first one?
BONADUCE: Oh gosh. I can`t remember. I`ve been drinking a long time.
BECK: Were you drinking at 13?
BONADUCE: I think I had some drinks. I was not a big drinker until I quit drugs. I actually quit...
BECK: When did you start drugs?
BONADUCE: I went to rehab in 1989, I believe, to get off cocaine, and it was successful. Never touched it again. And they said, "But you can`t drink."
And I said, "I don`t drink."
And they said, "Oh, no, you`re an alcoholic."
I said, "No, I`m not. I don`t even drink." I was in a bottle within three years. They were right.
I started -- I did. I think I started drinking on the set of the party -- at a Christmas party or a wrap party. I had some sips of champagne. But to be specific as to when I became the poster boy...
BONADUCE: ... for the bad alcoholic for "The Lost Weekend" with Jack Lemmon, that drunk, I don`t know when that happened.
BECK: What stopped you on cocaine?
BONADUCE: First of all, it wasn`t fun anymore. Which is...
BECK: Can I tell you something? Because you know me.
BECK: Cocaine, what stopped me on cocaine? Getting up one morning, feeling like absolute hammered dog crap, blood all over my face thinking, "I just spent $800. What the hell is wrong with me?" Just -- just to deathly drug.
BONADUCE: OK. I`ll race you. I was in so much pain in my face, and I knew I couldn`t qui. So here was my master plan.
I took two gram bottles and filled them with half a gram of cocaine each, then the rest with water, shook them up, twisted them up into my nose, stood on my head until my face went numb and then drove to Mexico. Assuming by the time the pain started again, I`d try to come home. I might not be in pain. I might be able to quit and all that ended up was I was in jail in Tijuana covered in blood.
Cocaine is a mean drug. It`s a really mean drug.
BECK: I -- I -- because I speak about my pivot points. I`m asked to speak and I speak in front of the youth a lot.
BONADUCE: As well you should.
BECK: Yes. And a lot of people will say to me, you know, "Gosh, you know, youth will have a hard time, because you`re successful. And you`ve made it and everything else. Don`t glorify drugs." And I wish I could give the talk standing next to you.
BONADUCE: I know. I know exactly what you mean but there are people -- when I shot "Breaking Bonaduce" and it -- I can`t imagine anybody saying that glorifies anything. A scoundrel.
BECK: Oh, no.
BONADUCE: Opposable thumbs is what separates me from wolves, and that`s all. I have no conscience or depth or soul in that show.
BECK: Is there anyone who has reached -- I`ve got to tell you, we tried to get David Cassidy on today`s show. He wouldn`t come on.
BECK: You know why?
BONADUCE: Because he`s deathly dull?
BECK: Wow. See? This is why. He really -- he says he has reached out to you and tried to reach out and talk to you and help you. And you don`t -- you completely wall up.
BONADUCE: That`s an interesting perspective, because usually it sounds like, "Hey, I`m playing a date and if you`d open for me, I`d sell a lot more tickets." That`s kind of where those conversations sound to me, David.
BECK: Really? OK. All right. I mean, I`ve met David before...
BONADUCE: If he says that, I`m not the one with the booze in my dressing room when we work together.
BECK: Are you -- are you -- I don`t even want to go down this road. Let`s go to your...
BONADUCE: No. It is funny to me. I was doing a television show, very serious, conservative talk television show. And they said, "We have a surprise for you. Shirley Jones is on the phone."
And she starts yelling at me about doing "Breaking Bonaduce".
And I said, "Listen, lady. You didn`t call me before you married Marty Engles. You know, we don`t need permission from one another to do something stupid. We make mistakes. Sorry." I didn`t know that, you know...
BECK: Have you -- have you --do you really believe you`ve made any mistakes?
BONADUCE: Oh, yes, yes. I do.
BECK: Is "Breaking Bonaduce" a mistake?
BONADUCE: "Breaking Bonaduce" is probably out of a life of errors, the only mistake I`ve really made in show business. My wife said to me after the first day of taping, "What are you doing? You`re never going to work again."
I said, "No, you are wrong."
BECK: That`s -- that`s not the kind of mistake. That is a brilliant, riveting...
BONADUCE: Thank you.
BECK: ... frightening show.
BONADUCE: That`s what it was supposed to be.
BECK: That is a mistake, my friend. Because I`m surrounded -- my crew, everybody that works close to me, they know I go -- I start drinking or I go off the beaten path, they -- they`re -- I lose my job. Everything falls apart. They go broke.
Your people know if you don`t -- if you go sober, if you clean up your life, they go broke.
BECK: You`re surrounded by bad people who are cashing in on your destruction.
BONADUCE: That -- that has not always the case, but it has been the case where I have -- I have been paid more to be worse. That is, in fact, true. But...
BECK: So why do you do it? And why would you say that it`s -- why when I say it`s a mistake would you come up and say, "Well, you know, it`s not a mistake. It`s not a show biz mistake." It`s a -- it`s a -- do you have a death wish? Do you want to die?
BONADUCE: No. I don`t -- I don`t have a great fear of death. I don`t -- the process of dying scares me because I smoke a lot and I`ve done a lot of things to my internal organs.
BONADUCE: So the process of dying seems like it would be a drag. But if I walk out of the studio right now and I`m hit by a bus and it`s over fast, that`s a pretty fair shake. I`ve had a pretty good time.
BECK: OK. More with Danny Bonaduce in just a second.
But let`s remind you, in case some how or another you`ve forgotten who he was, with a clip here from "The Partridge Family", Danny Bonaduce.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BONADUCE: Keith, do you want the rest of your pickle?
DAVID CASSIDY, ACTOR: Uh-huh.
BONADUCE: You`re not eating it.
CASSIDY: I`m going to.
BONADUCE: It`s just lying there.
SHIRLEY JONES, ACTRESS: Danny, if you want a pickle, there`s a whole jarful in the cupboard.
BONADUCE: No thanks, I don`t like pickles.
CASSIDY: Any more milk?
JONES: In the refrigerator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Back with Danny Bonaduce, star of VH1 reality series "Breaking Bonaduce", airing Sundays at 9:30. My wife and I saw one episode, and I was riveted and so was my wife. We haven`t watched the second episode, because it is the closest thing to on-air suicide I`ve ever seen.
BONADUCE: The "New York Times" -- I believe it was the "New York Times" said we never knew what would come first -- what would be worse in reality television. We thought it would be live executions. It`s not. It`s Danny Bonaduce, and it`s worse.
BONADUCE: So you`re not the only one to think that.
BECK: How do you feel about it?
BONADUCE: Well, first of all, I feel if anybody -- a grown man was trying to kill himself and failed, he`s a fairly inept individual. It doesn`t seem a difficult thing to accomplish. So I don`t believe I was -- I believe in my heart of hearts that I delivered exactly what I was asked to deliver on time and on budget. That`s what I believe.
BECK: So are you saying that this is -- are you saying this is an act?
BONADUCE: Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no, no. I`m saying that the Danny Bonaduce you see on "Breaking Bonaduce" is a combination of years. It would like to be not that man would not be fair. It would be like writing a story of your life but only writing about today. I`ve been that animal for a long time, and people deserve...
BECK: Do you want to be that animal?
BONADUCE: No. No.
BECK: Then why are you?
BONADUCE: I don`t believe that I am anymore. I don`t believe that I am anymore, but I have never -- never going to come here and agree to do a show that I watch -- so I know what`s coming. I know what I`m in for when I agreed to come on the show.
BECK: You mean tonight.
BONADUCE: Yes. I watch the show. I know where we`re going to go. And I would never come here thinking, "Well, I`m going to outsmart this guy and not admit to truths and not admit to what I`ve been and what I`ve become. And also hopefully at least put this much confidence that I`m trying to climb out of it."
So I`m not here to dodge -- if there`s something you would like to know.
BECK: Toughest question. That if -- toughest question for me to answer if I were in your situation. Do you want your daughter to marry someone like you?
BONADUCE: No. But -- let me tell you this. We`re in a real step in the right direction because if you asked me two years ago I wouldn`t want my daughter to be raised by someone like me.
And when I was asked ten years ago when she was 2 and somebody said to me, "Do you have a death wish?"
And I said, "I don`t care much either way." And I said with a straight face -- this is tragic today to me. This is very sad.
They said, "Don`t you want to live for your daughter." Because I only had one child at the time, and she was 2.
And I said, "Not -- not particularly, no. If I were to die, my wife would marry some accountant from her church. I would eventually be a vague memory to my daughter, and she would be brought up in a stable home without someone like me in the house."
So the fact that I don`t want her marry somebody like me is a big step up from I wish I wasn`t in her life so she wouldn`t see me.
BECK: I have witnessed abuse almost my whole life. And, it kills me how families continue to repeat the cycle. And it is always repeated, because someone thinks they`re doing the right thing by staying in the cycle.
BECK: So, the follow-up question is, if you really don`t want your daughter to marry someone like you, then why is your wife still setting the example of being with someone like you?
BONADUCE: Well, there`s hopefully a good answer for that, because I do not hold myself in any great high esteem. I am a reasonably well educated and minorly amusing. That`s my job. That`s all I do.
BONADUCE: My wife`s a real live human being.
BONADUCE: And I can`t tell you, but the thing is that you have to understand if, out of the last five years I`ve been a drunken maniac 100 times, four years 265 days I haven`t. Life doesn`t always look like that in the Bonaduce house. There have been some mistakes made, tragic ones, but we have progress.
BECK: You guys have -- you guys -- I mean, you met on a blind date. Right?
BONADUCE: My wife and I have been married since the day we met.
BECK: You met within seven -- you married within seven hours?
BECK: I don`t think Britney Spears even made that mistake.
BONADUCE: No. We just also celebrated our 16th year anniversary.
BECK: Which is incredible.
BECK: So what is it that keeps you two together?
BONADUCE: First of all, one thing is my wife`s convictions. My wife is a very religious woman, and she takes her vows very seriously. And she said for better or for worse. And...
BECK: Did she know...
BONADUCE: No, no, no.
BECK: She didn`t know then?
BONADUCE: She had no idea then this was coming. This was quite the shock to her. And what it became for "Breaking Bonaduce" was quite a shock to me. The things that I do that are outlandish I usually do stone sober. I sit in a recliner with Tolstoy and a bottle of Jack, and I`m a happy guy. It made a boring television show.
BONADUCE: When the drunk and the guy that does the things -- then it got wild.
BECK: I want to get here on this in just a second. More with Danny Bonaduce here in just a second. Stand by.
BECK: We`re with Danny Bonaduce for an entire hour. On Fridays we try to -- just have a conversation with people that interest me in some way or another.
I am fascinated by Danny Bonaduce, because I grew up watching "The Partridge Family". He is a guy who I can relate to in many ways, because you -- I really truly believe that we are different sides of the same coin.
And I don`t know what makes us different. I am a guy who could so easily be you without the fame to go along with it.
BECK: And I think you could so easily be me with much more fame. You know what I mean?
BONADUCE: Well, you know, the fame itself is a bit of a double edged sword, because it`s another addiction. I wouldn`t know what to do without it. You know? It`s -- I`m 5`6" with red hair and freckles and I took two cheerleaders to the prom. Why? Because I`m famous.
BONADUCE: It`s -- my life is really wonderful advantages.
BECK: How much do you think -- because I got into radio. My mother committed suicide when I was 13 years old.
BONADUCE: I`m sorry.
BECK: That`s all right. And I have -- my life changed. This has been my best friend.
BECK: This has never, ever rejected me. The audience might have or whatever, but I can tell everything, and I have since I was 13, everything to this.
BECK: It`s been a therapist. How much has the camera -- how much has the fame been a therapist to you?
BONADUCE: I will tell you the truth, because this is kind of an interesting answer. The fame and that -- "Breaking Bonaduce" was possibly one of the worst errors in judgment I ever made. It was just a very successful error in judgment. It was the most popular show. They broke all the records. It was nominated for a million awards. It was just an error in judgment.
I don`t do television. I do radio. I`m a jock. The only reason I do television is to be a famous jock, because sometimes you lose your job in L.A. And you`ve got to go to Cleveland. And it takes Steve and Bob two years for people to know they`re there.
BONADUCE: The press meets me at the airport.
BONADUCE: And only reason I do television at all -- I mean, I do talk shows like this.
BECK: I know.
BONADUCE: But acting and stuff like that?
BECK: You and I are exactly the same.
BONADUCE: Famous jock.
BECK: Radio is absolutely unbelievable and I do the same -- I don`t think I don`t think you can be famous in radio anymore without being ubiquitous.
BECK: You know what I mean? It`s just -- it`s just changed. But the question is, how much -- how much is this an escape? Fame or the microphone or whatever? How much?
BONADUCE: The microphone is wonderful escape. I say things on the microphone with a tone of voice that can make it sound like I`m kidding, but I`m really telling my wife or a friend or a situation. I`m telling the truth that I`m not brave enough to tell.
I can say anything to a microphone. Anything I want.
And I think to my surprise, seeing the moving pictures changed everything. Seeing the -- I told stories about my life on the radio every day for 16 years and made everybody a lot of money. And I think when people saw moving pictures of the exact life I described to them every day, they -- people were shocked.
BONADUCE: But then finally people started putting their heads together and said, "Wait a minute. Who bankrolled season two..."
BONADUCE: "... if he`s such a nut bag? Who put -- who insured him?" You know, finally people got that in their head, that you know, it was a crazy life, and it`s a bit of a bad life but a good show.
BECK: Back in a second. More with Danny Bonaduce.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BONADUCE: I love you. Hence the suit.
GRETCHEN BONADUCE, DANNY BONADUCE`S WIFE: I love you, too.
BONADUCE: I`m going to get an award from Harvard. It would mean the world to me if you would go. Is there any chance you`re coming to Harvard?
HILLMER: I`m thinking about it.
BONADUCE: Well, I`m...
HILLMER: I`m thinking about it.
BONADUCE: Well, I`m kind of pissed off, so I`m thinking about setting you on fire, but I`m not going to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Back with Danny Bonaduce, formerly of "The Partridge Family," who now appears in "Breaking Bonaduce" on VH-1 and host of "Starface" on the Game Show Network. We were...
BONADUCE: I just sold another TV show. I sold a relationship show with Gretchen and I to Mark Wahlberg Productions just the other day.
BONADUCE: Yes, the concept being we`ve been through hell and back and made it, so now we`ll tell you if you can make it.
BECK: So that`s frightening, I think, if I had Danny Bonaduce saying you`ll never make it. That would be saying something.
BONADUCE: And the thing is, I`m really mean. Like, Gretchen is more tolerant. If a guy like me came on the show and said, "Here`s what I did"...
BONADUCE: ... throw him out. He`s a bum.
BECK: Yes, you would. You would.
BONADUCE: I said to my wife, "I`m kind of mad, so I`m thinking about setting you on fire, but I`m not going to do it." Probably not a cool thing to say.
BECK: At least with me, what keeps me sober is my wife. She is my power source. It is weird. When I travel, I go on the road and I do these comedy stage tours. And I`m just getting ready to go on one here in a couple of weeks for the Christmas tour. And my crew stays so close to me, within 48 hours, because they can see -- it`s honestly like I`m being drained of power.
BECK: You feel the same way about Gretchen?
BONADUCE: Without my wife, see -- and I`ve said this before. And I don`t mean to give you a sound bite, because I`m a big fan and you deserve better, but I believe this to be true. Without my wife, I`m a 30-second sound bite on "Hard Copy," ex-child star found dead of overdose. That`s what my whole life amounts to without Gretchen.
BECK: I feel exactly the same way about my wife. I think that the thing that I`ve noticed (INAUDIBLE) that, that I think you and I have in common is the sober Danny, the sober Glenn is the scary Glenn...
BECK: ... and scary Danny. It is the...
BONADUCE: You get that from the show, because they emerged for the first time ever. I have had -- I might point out, because a lot of this -- they make it look like it happened yesterday. I haven`t had a speeding ticket in 17 years. I have been arrested three or four times, I guess, but not in the last almost 20 years. But the sad part is, I`ve never been arrested or in any kind of trouble at all while intoxicated.
BECK: So then what is it? Because, you know, I got to tell you, when I first tried to get sober, I was so afraid to look inside of myself and mainly because I was afraid, a, I would -- that the guy that was in me was even worse than I thought he was. Or, b, there wasn`t anything in there worth any value at all to find. What is it -- what is it that you`re -- what is it that`s causing this? What is the scar that`s causing this?
BONADUCE: I`m not sure what the scar is exactly, but I will tell you why I was never afraid to look inside and see that I might be worse than I even thought, because you couldn`t be. You couldn`t be worse.
And I didn`t just drink and lie. I cheated on the woman I loved. I stole money for drugs from my mother. You don`t get lower than that. And you know how you know? I know you don`t getter lower than that, because they`d catch me and I wouldn`t care. I`d go, "I`m a drug addict, mom. What did you expect me to do? Don`t leave your purse out." That`s what I had become, and I knew it.
BECK: OK, when you`re in bed, you`re staring up at the ceiling, do you ever ask yourself or have you ever asked yourself, "Am I a bad guy trying to be good or am I a good guy that has gone bad?" And what`s the answer?
BONADUCE: The answer, I truly believe, if I`m going to go mathematically with years spent in one position or another, I`m going to have to go that I`m a very bad man trying to be good.
BECK: No, I`m not asking about the -- I`m asking you, the core of who you are, the core of who you are, are you a bad man?
BONADUCE: I don`t know that you can take good -- like, I want the best for my family. I will go to extremes to make sure that they are safe and comfortable, but I think I am capable of bad things that your average human being might not be capable of.
BECK: That`s a scary statement to make. By the way, keep that off the list on when you`re at parties and stuff. Don`t tell that to strangers.
BONADUCE: I`m not telling it to a stranger. I`m telling it to Glenn Beck. You asked.
BECK: I know, but what does that mean?
BONADUCE: I think, for a while, I was dangerously close to a sociopath. I don`t think I had a conscience. I told my wife and I told a therapist and anyone else who would listen, in my opinion, hassling me, I`d say, "You don`t seem to understand. I am missing the gene of remorse. I am incapable of remorse."
BECK: Did you find it?
BONADUCE: Because there is a time in a man`s life -- had I not gotten married and had children, this would have been just...
BECK: Here`s the bull crap question.
BECK: I say this on the air all the time. Whenever I hear somebody say, "I`m a changed man," I say, "Bull crap, unless you can tell me the date or the time or the circumstances where that pivot happened." Where was your pivot where you said...
BONADUCE: Well, here`s the good news, man. I`m not a changed man. I never claimed to be. I`m just sober right now.
BECK: No, but I`m saying -- you say that you recognized that you didn`t have to be that way.
BONADUCE: Yes, but I don`t know...
BECK: You`re not a sociopath. Are you a sociopath?
BONADUCE: No, I`m not.
BECK: Do you still think you`re a sociopath?
BONADUCE: No, not...
BECK: So when did you have that moment where you said, "You know what? No, I don`t want to be a sociopath. I`m not going to be a sociopath"?
BONADUCE: It`s going to seem minor out of the things that I have done, when I broke my wife`s heart. When the person who grabbed me kicking and screaming out after gutter. You know, I`m laying in the gutter. I`m covered in vomit I can`t even prove is my own, you know, and she pulled me out, and that`s how I repaid her. I cheated on her. That`s how I know, that moment.
BECK: I don`t think that`s a small moment at all. Back with Danny Bonaduce here in just a moment.
BECK: With Danny Bonaduce for an entire hour, and we were just talking about -- and I want to follow up that the problem with me -- and you are the same way -- the sober Danny is the hard one to deal with.
BECK: The drunk Glenn and the drunk Danny were the easy ones. When I was drinking, I for many years thought I was a better dad when I was drunk, because I could lay down on the floor, and color with my kids, and tell them stories.
BONADUCE: I`ve told that story a million times. But my wife has even said, because we`ve been to therapy with real therapists, not that the doctor on the show isn`t a real therapist. He`s just not my kind of guy. But she said, "I must tell you, to deal with, he`s much easier to deal with drunk."
BECK: Oh, yes.
BONADUCE: Danny sober, I have no idea what`s going to happen.
BECK: Did that stop you from -- for me, that stopped me from getting help for a very long time or admitting that I was -- I was a functioning alcoholic, and it was better. And I`m not meaning -- not just me saying that.
BECK: Others saying that I was better when I was drunk.
BECK: Or at least had a few belts in me.
BONADUCE: When I married my wife, I was $50,000 in debt to a lawyer and looking at 90 days in jail. Within 10 years, we were millionaires. And I was getting drunker, and worse, and angry, and people just kept saying, "Are you kidding? Do that again. Here`s some more money."
I had no interest in -- I thought it would kill my career to be a decent, normal guy. If I didn`t come in -- when I worked in Chicago at a station called The Loop, which by the way is still one of my fondest memories ever, great station -- if I didn`t come in with a drunken debauched story from the night before, I could hear them clicking their buttons in their car. It was expected.
"Danny went out to dinner, got drunk, the waiter said something he didn`t like, the place caught fire." That`s how we say good morning on the Danny Bonaduce show. And until I think the best thing about "Breaking Bonaduce" is it`s killed that character. I can`t take that character any further, because somebody`s going to get hurt.
BECK: OK. I had Jamie Lee Curtis on. She`s in recovery.
BONADUCE: A wonderful woman, by the way.
BECK: I love her, love her.
BONADUCE: I read her children`s books.
BECK: She was very frightened of me when she first...
BONADUCE: Was she?
BECK: Oh, yes, yes, very frightened of me. But we ended up just loving each other.
BECK: But she said to me -- she said, "What do you think of Mel Gibson?" And I said, "Oh, I think the guy`s out of control. I think he`s completely out of control." Booze doesn`t make you say things; booze uncovers who you really are. She didn`t like that. She thought we should have compassion, et cetera, et cetera, and I think there is compassion there. But what do you think of Mel Gibson?
BONADUCE: I will tell you specifically, I am not necessarily mad at Mel Gibson for being a drunk who says something stupid and mean.
BONADUCE: I`m mad at Mel Gibson -- I don`t mean to be glib here -- for not being nearly drunk enough. He blew a .12. I could perform brain surgery at a .12. You want to start saying some anti-Semitic stuff in Hollywood, you better be blowing a .3.
BONADUCE: OK, a .12, you`re just not drunk enough to be calling people names. The guy`s got a gun, and you`re calling him names? You`re not drunk enough.
BECK: Very good point.
BONADUCE: Thank you.
BECK: Pull your chain out.
BONADUCE: Oh, my cross?
BECK: Yes. Do you believe in God?
BONADUCE: Yes, I do.
BONADUCE: Yes, in a way, if you have the time for this. When I realized what I had become -- and this was not recent -- I realized I had - - and I won`t be kind to myself, I told you that. I realize that I crossed over into the animal kingdom, five, six, seven years ago.
I was still making a comfortable living, people still liked me, but I knew I was soulless. I knew I was capable of anything. And so I stayed in churches, synagogues, mosques. I`ve read the Torah, the Koran, the Bible, the four noble truths of Buddhism, anyway, I`ve been to Scientology, anything that could save me.
And I went -- and my wife`s a Christian, and not born again, all-time Christian. And one day, I was in church with her like I always did, and it dawned on me that I hadn`t had a drink in something like three weeks or maybe a month. And just something had happened. So I asked my wife about fights and behaviors, and she said, "Wow, something remarkable has changed."
So I don`t want to get into the miraculous here, but I`ve always believed in God because I thought he would send me messages, but I just thought they were really mean messages. I just thought, "How did I get so important that God wants to joke around with me, you know?" He wants to dangle all this success and then make me a lunatic and a drunk. And then, finally, one day his message got through, and, yes, I believe very strongly in God.
BECK: So has the -- you know, I don`t want to get into the miraculous here, either. Do you believe in the atonement? Do you believe that you can be completely washed and changed?
BONADUCE: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.
BECK: Do you believe you`ve entered that realm, you want to approach that realm?
BONADUCE: Well, I wanted to approach that realm. And this is really odd, because you`re dealing into probably the most private conversation I`ve ever had, and it only happened last night. When I first went to a psychiatrist and I told him -- I was open and honest, as I am with you. He prescribed so many pills that, if I took them all, I would actually get full, that I had some pills that said, "Don`t take on an empty stomach," but if I took all the other pills first, I`d be OK.
BONADUCE: So, recently -- and I`ve been sober now for the longest ever, the longest ever in my whole life, I`ve been sober. And my wife and I got in a fight, and I was really calm, and I talked to her like this in a really calm voice. And she said she had gotten so used to yelling and screaming, "The calm voice kind of creeps me out again. Can we go back to the doctor?" And I said, "Yes, if you want to, but if you want me to take medication, you`re taking something away from me, because I believe that I am being healed"...
BECK: Good for you.
BONADUCE: ... "and I don`t think I need it. I don`t think medication is the answer for my soul."
BECK: Michael Jackson, you went to school with Michael Jackson.
BONADUCE: I knew Michael when he was black.
BECK: And did you -- are you ever creeped out by Michael Jackson?
BONADUCE: I`ve known Michael since he was 5. You`ll love this. I went to school in such a tiny, little school that my entire graduating class was me, Christian Brando, the guy who killed his sister`s husband, and Michael Jackson. So out of the entire graduating class of 1977, I have the best reputation. I love that. I love that.
But, no, I did go up to Michael one time, because he never, never, never spoke, and I went up to him one day and I just wanted to be his friend, you know? I just wanted to know him. He was cool. And I said, "Michael, how come you never speak?" And he had his Bible in his hand, as he did all the time. And he said, "Because I`m in constant remembrance of God." And I said, "Wow, cool, but what about chicks?" And that was the last time we ever spoke.
BONADUCE: That was it. Yes, that was it.
BECK: Do you believe there`s something creepy going on there?
BONADUCE: There is no doubt in my mind that something creepy has happened to Michael Jackson. I am not willing to bet that he`s a pedophile.
BONADUCE: I`m willing to bet that he`s gone over some deep end. But let me say one thing about, like, the trial for Michael Jackson and being a pedophile. There`s an activity that I have done since about 13 years old that I do by myself and I don`t want anyone to ever catch me.
BONADUCE: And in 30 years, no one`s caught me. With Michael, you`d think he`d want to keep that a secret, yet the baker saw him do it, the cook saw him do it, the security guard saw him do it. I`d be a little sneakier with 9-year-olds.
BONADUCE: You know, I wouldn`t have a whole audience over.
BECK: Right. And before we break, because we have a lot of e-mail I want to get to, Tom Cruise.
BONADUCE: What about him?
BECK: Creepy, not creepy?
BONADUCE: Not as creepy as he`s being made out to be. The jumping on the couch thing, it`s because it`s Tom Cruise. I could set Oprah`s couch on fire and they`d say, "Oh, that Danny. Look, he`s burning down Oprah`s set again."
I think my wife said it best. If he doesn`t believe in psych meds, lock him in a room with me for a week and see if he doesn`t come out all...
BECK: Yes, Danny`s full. I gave him a handful of pills.
BONADUCE: Yes, see what`s up, Tom.
BECK: Back with Danny Bonaduce and our e-mail, next.
BECK: Back with our few final moments with Danny Bonaduce. The VH-1 reality series "Breaking Bonaduce" airs Sundays at 9:30. And he is, I believe, about to go back into the radio business.
BONADUCE: Yes, I should be back on the air within the next couple of months. I can`t live without my radio job, got to have my radio job.
BECK: Yes, good, good, good. Resa in Marion, Indiana writes -- are you ready for some tough e-mail?
BECK: "During a recent awards show, a clip was shown of your reality series which brought your child to tears, and you were not the one who consoled her. Is that a clue you don`t have the proper priorities in your life?"
BONADUCE: That is an almost true statement. It was actually a bizarre little moment. I was up for reality star of the year at an awards show, and I brought my wife and daughter. Now, keep in mind, I`ve never seen my television show, because I`m ashamed of it. But I`m up for star of the year, I brought my kid.
She sits down. She`s right next to Green Day, her favorite band in the world. I`m superhero dad. And they say, "And now for reality star of the year, from `Breaking Bonaduce,`" and they show a clip of me shooting steroids. And we never thought about that, her mother -- I mean, her mother was right there, but her mother`s a saint. This would have never happened. We never thought of it.
And my daughter flipped out, and the guy from Green Day put his arms around her and said, "It`s OK, it`s OK," making me, by the way, father of the year again. You know, first we`re sitting by Green Day, then Green Day hugged her. I`m a good dad again.
BECK: Do you still do...
BONADUCE: But the fact of the matter is, I was backstage accepting an award.
BECK: Do you still do steroids?
BONADUCE: No. I work out like a madman. I`ve actually lowered my cholesterol almost 100 points naturally.
BECK: You are lucky to be alive.
BONADUCE: Yes, I am.
BONADUCE: But that`s only a recent thing. I used to think I was unlucky to be alive.
BECK: "What exactly was the nature of your relationship with the fictional manager Reuben Kincaid on the `Partridge Family`?" It comes in from Holly.
BONADUCE: Holly, you have a filthy mind, I want you to know that right now. It was a purely business and fictional relationship. He played the father figure to the Danny Partridge, if you will.
BECK: Right, you know what...
BONADUCE: But he did teach me to smoke crack, so, you know...
BECK: So that`s it. And you were defending Michael Jackson, I believe, a minute ago, so...
BECK: I got here today, and they said, "Hey, we were looking at the `Partridge Family,`" and Paul Stark (ph), who`s one of the writers said, "And, Glenn, we noticed something about Reuben Kincaid, and they haven`t shown it to me yet, but look at the"...
BONADUCE: Oh my goodness.
BECK: I don`t think we look alike at all. What do you -- never mind.
BONADUCE: You know what? It`s your show.
BONADUCE: Can I be honest with you? I don`t get it. I don`t see it.
BECK: Thank you. I don`t see it either.
All right, we got to run. Thank you so much.
BONADUCE: I couldn`t have had a more interesting time. Thank you so much for having me.
BECK: What does that mean, "interesting time"?