You will see a lot of things in the new A&E show The Two Coreys (Sundays at 10 p.m.). You will see what happened to the ’80s teen icons, what they do now and how they interact with fans (yes, they still have them). You will see Corey Feldman’s pretty wife, Susie, and his comfy, spacious home in Los Angeles. What you won’t see, however, is their three-year-old son, Zen.
By the time Corey Feldman was three years old, he was starring in commercials, and he went on to become one of the most successful child actors of the ’80s, landing roles in such marshmallow classics as Goonies, The Lost Boys and License to Drive (the latter two with partner Corey Haim). With fame, of course, came failure, drugs and various other stripes of trouble. Babble spoke recently with Feldman and his wife about how they plan to spare their son from a similar fate. – Sarah Hepola
You were so famous as a teenager. Are people surprised to find out you have a son?
Corey: It’s been public knowledge for some time. We just hope we can keep his anonymity throughout his school years. We have a middle name we plan on using when he gets to school. We’ve had offers from agents pretty much from the moment he was born, saying, ‘He’s so beautiful, let’s get him out there.’ We don’t want to deal him an unfair hand in life by putting him out there so people know him before he even knows himself. That’s what happens to child actors. Kids are put on pedestals and made to believe they’re something they’re not, and they wake up to find their life is this wasteland.
You were his age, three, when you started in commercials.
Corey: I was an outgoing kid. I had a wild imagination, and I would play these different characters. My parents felt it was a natural fit for me. However, if I had a part in the decision-making process, I would have enjoyed having a regular childhood. Being on a baseball team. Finishing my schooling, instead of people beating me up and being jealous of me, because children always had this different perception of me. To them, I was a lucky kid who got out of school all the time.
Explain to us the premise of The Two Coreys.
Corey: In a nutshell, it’s the three of us in a nutshell. [laughs] My wife and I, we’re living our life and doing our our day-to-day things, and Corey Haim comes to live with us, because he’s coming into town for a Lost Boys premiere and doesn’t have a place to stay, and then madness ensues. It’s like You, Me and Dupree – what happens when a best friend comes to live with a married couple. It has a broad appeal, and everybody can relate to this story. Everybody has that friend who doesn’t grow up, who’s still carousing the clubs.
You’ve been a vegetarian and an animal rights activist. I’m curious how you guys handled the issue of meat with your son.
Corey: Our son has never had an ounce of meat in his body from the time that he was conceived.
Susie: We eat meat substitutes but we call them burgers, since you can’t really explain what fake meat is to a toddler. But he’s got these farm animal books, and there will be a chicken, and he’ll say, “Yum yum.” I had to tell him there’s a difference between the animal chicken and the chicken we eat.
Corey: The tough part is going to be when he goes to school. The other kids will be eating sloppy joes. He’s going to be forced into being different. What do you mean you’re not eating meat? What do you mean you’re bringing your own lunch? We hope that he can be an influence on other children to do the right thing. It’s a much more healthy way to eat, for one thing. But it’s also about caring for other beings in the universe. We care about every creature who lives on the earth.
Your son was a preemie. Can you talk about what that experience was like?
Susie: He was two months premature, and he was only three and a half pounds, and he spent five weeks in the NICU, hooked up into the machines. I had a perfect pregnancy, no problem, and all of a sudden our perfect family was crashing down around us. All these fantasies that he would ride a bike, throw a ball, all ofWe care about every creature who lives on the earth. it was being threatened. He had wrapped himself up in the umbilical cord, but they couldn’t tell in tests. The doctors told us he could have mental retardation.
Corey: It was the weekend of her baby shower, and she didn’t feel him kicking or moving, so after a few hours we took her to the hospital and when we got there, we saw he was fine, and we were getting ready to go, and they were like, Well, no, she’s in labor. The end result was, you can take him out now and try and revitalize his signs, or we can keep him in there and hope he fixes himself. We made the right choice. If we had left him in there, he might not be alive.
Susie: Corey had to shoot a film in Bulgaria after he was born. I had a preemie on life support while he was gone. It was hard. And once we could take him home, all bets were off. Normal rules that refer to babies don’t apply to preemies.
Corey: He had almost every illness an infant can have.
Susie: Jaundice. A double hernia. He had to have surgery at two months, when he was only seven or eight pounds. It’s a true test of how strong your marriage is. If you can find time for your spouse through that, you’re doing good.