"There was so much joy and love and bliss, but there was also so much pain," says Soleil Moon Frye of revisiting her childhood in her new documentary

By Aili Nahas
March 10, 2021 12:45 PM
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Soleil Moon Frye has such an impressive collection of old photos, movies and diaries, it would easily impress any nostalgia lover.

But a surprising thing happened with the actress, currently starring on Peacock's Punky Brewster reboot, when she began diving into her old memories to make her intimate new documentary, Kid 90.

"As I started going through it, so much was revealed," Frye, 44, tells PEOPLE of Kid 90, which launches March 12 on Hulu, an ode to her childhood and teens in Hollywood and beyond. "There was so much joy and love and bliss, but there was also so much pain. I had locked so much away because I didn't want to deal with it. But by opening up the vault, I was able to reconnect with who I really am."

For more from Soleil Moon Frye, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

Frye was just 7 years old when she shot to fame as Punky Brewster, the precocious and spunky title character of the hit 1980s sitcom.

By her early teens, Frye was immersed in the young Hollywood scene and became friends with other young actors like Brian Austin Green, Mark Paul Gosselaar, David Arquette and Mark Wahlberg.

"It was like we were all in eighth grade together," recalls Frye, who began documenting her surroundings with a video camera "attached" to her side. "There was so much innocence and youth, but there was also a roller coaster of emotions."

Indeed, Frye would ultimately see many of her friends fall prey to drugs and alcohol and dealt with the tragedy of loss, including the death of her friend Jonathan Brandis, who died by suicide in 2003.

soleil moon frye and jonathan brandis
Soleil Moon Frye; Jonathan Brandis
| Credit: Getty(2)

"The greatest thing I can do now is carry those memories with me," says Frye. "It's part of my self-discovery. I'm raw and I'm emotional, but I am who I am."

Frye was still in her teens when she met producer Jason Goldberg, whom she wed in 1998. The couple split last year and share four children: Poet, 15, Jagger, 13, Lyric, 7, and Story, 4. Though blissfully happy as a mother, Frye says that over the years, she began to lose her sense of self.

"I turned 40 and I began to question who I was," recalls Frye. "I was so immersed in being a mother and a wife. And I started to question who I really was."

soleil moon frye on punky brewster
Punky Brewster reboot
| Credit: Evans Vestal Ward/Peacock/Getty

Reconnecting to her teen self through the documentary has been "healing," she says now. "As kids, we can really lose that inner spark. But in making the movie, it was like coming of age all over again. I found true self-love. And I rediscovered my spark."

Kid 90 launches March 12 on Hulu.