ENTERTAINMENT

Willie Aames: Financial Ruin Led To Sleeping Under Bushes

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Former 'Charles in Charge' and 'Eight is Enough' star Willie Aames slept under bushes and in parking garages after bankruptcy and foreclosure left him homeless. And now he's becoming a financial adviser, he reveals to Entertainment Tonight in an interview to air Monday night. ET released the following statement:

Aames opens up about experiencing financial ruin after a successful career as an actor, "At the very peak [of "Eight Is Enough"] I was making a little over a million dollars a year," he says. "Then suddenly there was no job, no bank account, no wife, no child. I never dreamt it could happen that fast. I found myself virtually homeless. I stayed with friends when I could, slept in parking garages or slept in the park. It was shameful. I remember laying underneath the bushes thinking, 'Is this how it turns out? Is this how my life really turns out?'"

When asked about reports of a suicide attempt after his wife left with their young daughter, Aames says, "I gave people a lot of cause for concern and I think they acted on those concerns. I'm glad they did. Beyond that, that time period is a blur."

Aames's struggles have led to the new VH1 special, "Broke and Famous: Willie Aames," airing Thursday night. "It's a docu-drama on what happens to celebrities when they hit rock bottom," he says. "You have to find some point that will give you the smallest amount of dignity and self respect back."

Aames tells ET that throughout the years of trying to get back on his feet, he was turned down for several jobs, including wilderness guide, but was finally hired by a construction company.

Today Aames is reunited with his daughter and on his way to becoming a financial advisor. "I never dreamed I would want to be or become a financial advisor," he reveals. "I am well on my way."

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