High-profile relationships, bad reputations – Scott Baio and Shannen Doherty know what it’s like to be young and famous. And they’ve got some advice for the Britneys and Lindsays coping with celebrity today.
Baio, who stars in the upcoming VH1 reality series Scott Baio Is 45 … and Single, tells PEOPLE there are two keys to surviving stardom: “You have to have a good family behind you. And you have to save your money.”
The former Happy Days and Charles in Charge star, whose exes include Pamela Anderson, Heather Locklear and Denise Richards, was promoting his show at an LG Mobile Phones event in Hollywood on Tuesday. (“I want the free phone,” he joked. “That’s why I’m here.”)
Baio says he avoided the pitfalls of fame because “My family was square and didn’t care who I was, and honestly, I got lucky. I worked with [Happy Days producer] Garry Marshall for 10 years and he was a great guy. The show was fantastic, and nobody did drugs. Everybody on that show saved their money and did the right thing.”
Why do young stars seem more troubled these days? “I don’t think anything has really changed,” he says. “There were screwed up kids when I was young, but you didn’t hear about it every damn minute. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a tough business and you’ve got to just keep your head on.”
Doherty, 36, has a different take. “It’s totally different [today],” she told PEOPLE at the LG event. “[The attention] is to an extreme now that I can’t relate to. My heart goes out to all of them and I certainly hope that they keep their heads up and most importantly they keep their self-respect.”
The former Beverly Hills, 90210 star, who made headlines with her brief marriages to Ashley Hamilton and Rick Salomon and alleged feuds with her costars, says young stars these days get away with more than she ever did.
“When I went and got drunk at a bar when I was 21 years old, it was like the biggest deal in the world,” she says. “And now these girls, that’s like a night at home for them. I don’t know why it’s acceptable, and now at my age I look at it and I’m like, ‘Oh, honey, don’t do that.'”
Still, she’s optimistic about the future of today’s bad girls. “It’s growing pains, right? Everybody’s got to grow up and make their own decisions. All those girls will learn something from the experience, and that’s all that matters.”
• Reporting by JED DREBEN