Geoffrey Owens has admitted that being job-shamed for working at a grocery store was difficult, but the outpour of love and support he’s received since then has far outweighed the negative.
“Fortunately, the bad part lasted just a little while. You know, we were pretty devastated when the story came out: the ugly pictures and some ugly words and stuff. We were like, ‘Wow, how are we going to ever get through this?’ ” Owens, 57, tells PEOPLE Now about the moment photos surfaced of him bagging groceries at Trader Joe’s.
After the unflattering images of him working at the grocery store went viral online, Owens, who played Elvin Tibideaux on The Cosby Show from 1985-92, contacted his son, who he was worried would feel ashamed.
“I remember I texted my son and I thought he was going to be terribly embarrassed by it all and I kind of apologized to him,” shares Owens.
But his son’s reply was a beacon of light for the actor.
“He texted me back right away a very beautiful response that meant a lot to me about how proud he was of the choice I’d made to work at Trader Joe’s. At that point I knew everything was going to be okay,” he says.
Owens’ wife, Josette, has also been “completely supportive,” the star shares.
In addition to being applauded at home, the actor has received an influx of love and support from fans and fellow colleagues in the industry: He recently accepted producer/filmmaker Tyler Perry‘s offer to appear on his hit OWN drama, The Haves and the Have Nots, and donated Nicki Minaj’s $25,000 gift to The Actors Fund.
“Even before the great stuff started rolling in from all over the world, I felt like, you know what, I’m going to be okay. And then this tidal wave of love and support happened and employment as well,” Owens says.
More than anyone, he understands that dark moments can lead to beautiful blessings.
“It was rough for about an hour or two,” Owens adds, “and then it’s been really great for five weeks.”