Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure star Alex Winter revealed in a new interview that he was sexually abused as a child actor in the 1970s. He admits to not talking about it publicly before because he thought it was a "potentially dangerous secret." The actor and director also said that he felt a weird dynamic that made him afraid for his own safety if he were to speak out about what happened to him as a child. Though he went through hell as a child, Alex Winter admits that co-starring with Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted was "therapeutic" for him.
Alex Winter attributed the new change in the Hollywood landscape to allow him to feel comfortable talking about the abuse that he suffered as a child. Winter does not go into detail about who hurt him, but instead chose to talk about the existing problem in Hollywood and stated that it's a part of human nature. The actor also noted that a change was not going to happen quickly. He had this to say.
"The problems aren't going to get sorted out overnight, because frankly, these issues are part of the fabric of human nature, and they've existed since there have been human beings walking around on the planet."
Alex Winter didn't previously speak about his experiences with childhood sexual abuse publicly because he says, "there is a power dynamic that does put you in a position where you're afraid for your own safety. So, there's that, on top of the taboo nature of being public." Winter explained that the "lightbulb" moment in terms of gaining the courage to speak out about what had happened to him came over the last year, when the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke. Alex Winter added that he never thought he'd ever discuss it with the media.
Though it wasn't evident at the time, Alex Winter admits to having post-traumatic stress disorder from the hell that he endured. It wasn't until his teenage years that he figured that out and then it wasn't until his 30s that he began to slowly work through it. At the time, the actor said he just felt "a massive form of something." He explains.
"That was evident to me while I was still in my teens. And so I began to do work on it. But it really took time, and it really wasn't in my case, I would say, 'til well into my 30s, that I was really able to do heavy lifting on this stuff."
When talking about a solution to the widespread problem, Alex Winter talked about time and a society that's willing to listen. As previously stated, Winter knows that the problems are not going to be sorted out overnight. He had this to say.
"So it's going to take time, it's going to take mental health work, it's going to take the capacity of society to listen to some very unpleasant truths about itself. And there's no doubt that that's going to take time."
Corey Feldman has been out advocating for the safety of child actors for years now, and it seems that the world is getting closer to having real talks about he very sensitive subject. However, as Winter states, it's still going to take a while and it's going to take the courage of others to stand up and speak out about their experiences. Before shooting Bill & Ted, Alex Winter co-starred with Feldman in the iconic 1987 vampire comedy The Lost Boys, and they shared a seminal scene where Feldman's Edgar Frog actually drives a stake through Winter's character's chest. Though both actors are active on social media, and both are coming out strong for child safety in Hollywood, there doesn't appear to be any communication between the two former co-stars.
Alex Winter admits that he was in a personal hell while filming the original Bill & Ted movies but felt that they helped him through what was going on inside his head. He says that working with Keanu Reeves was a "seminal" time for himself. Winter says.
"The films were really, really seminal for me, personally, in that way. They were really therapeutic for me in a way, and they gave me kind of a grounding that I moved off from with them. The world of Bill & Ted is a very sweet and fun place to run around in."
As Alex Winter moves forward, he might be returning to the "sweet and fun place" of another Bill & Ted movie. The plot is there, but that's about it, so we'll have to wait and see. You can read more about Alex Winter coming out to share his story of childhood sexual abuse through BBC 5.