Gary Coleman’s parents spoke with Meredith Vieira on this morning’s Today show, and came across as sad, troubled, and betrayed by the developments surrounding Gary’s death. Sue and W.G. “Willie” Coleman also used the interview to set the record straight about rumors involving their relationship with Gary, his adoption, his wife Sharon Price, and the much-discussed Gary Coleman deathbed photos.
“We have never pointed a finger at Sharon,” said Gary’s father, who spent much of the interview on the verge of crying. In fact, they don’t even blame her for selling the pictures of Gary on his deathbed. “That was disturbing,” conceded Sue, adding, “I don’t now if [selling them] was her intentions in the beginning when she took the pictures.”
Though the Colemans don’t have complete closure regarding Gary’s hospitalization and death, Gary’s mother says, “ I can’t say we actually know everything, but I do feel a bit better because we did get a report from the coroner up in Utah that there was no foul play, so that did make us feel better.”
On the Today show, the Colemans came across as truly grieving parents, which conflicts with so many reports that they were estranged from Gary and hadn’t had a relationship with him for some time. What we do know is that they were left nothing in Gary’s will. Viera pushed them to discuss the estrangement. Gary’s father said that he and Sue had done nothing to push Gary away, but that he had been wooed by “outside influence.” Said Sue, of the estrangement, “you know, he wanted to be his own man.”
As for reports, over the years, that the rift was a result of the Colemans taking money from their son, “as far as the money goes, we would never have taken money from him. We weren’t raised that way,” said Sue. “The way we were raised, you don’t do that kind of thing to friends or family.”
Vieira also questioned the Colemans about the fact that Gary reportedly hadn’t found out he was adopted until late in life. Might this have caused some of his problems? Willie and Sue immediately disputed that point. “We told him when he was five years old,” said Willie. But, according to Sue, Gary, over the years, “did not want to hear about it. He told us not to discuss it.”
Gary Coleman’s death has turned into a he-said, they-said, with one of the parties no longer around to give his side of events. We may never know who Gary Coleman really was, and which side (his parents, Sharon Price, Todd Bridges, who’s come forward to say Gary wanted nothing to go to his parents) to believe. On TV, this story would have a pat ending. In real life, things are considerably messier.
PHOTO: INF Photo