Coleman Hated His Diff’rent Strokes Days, Says Ex-wife

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July 4, 2010 | 6:30pm EST

Gary Coleman was desperate to escape the pressures of stardom at the height of his Diff’rent Strokes fame, but couldn’t walk away from the huge pay cheques, according to his ex-wife.

The actor shot to stardom as cute Arnold Jackson in the hugely popular sitcom, and made a fortune during his time on TV.

But his fame came at a price – he cut all ties with his parents after successfully suing them in 1989 for misappropriating his $3.8 million trust fund. The case was settled in 1993.

Coleman’s ex-wife Shannon Price has now revealed the actor hated his time in the limelight – and only stayed on the show for the money.

She claims Coleman begged TV bosses to be released form his contract on his 17th birthday, and was left shattered when they allegedly refused.

Price tells Britain’s The Sun, “He had a lot of insecurities and trust issues. He told me that after the first few years he wanted to quit, but he was making so much money he couldn’t.

“When he was 17 he was promised he could get out of the business if he wanted to, but in the end they didn’t let him.

“I was his first romantic relationship. Knowing how big a star he is it makes me feel really special.”

Coleman was reportedly earning $100,000 an episode during his time on the show, which he landed at 10 years old and left when he was aged 18.

He died in May after suffering a brain haemorrhage following a fall at his home in Utah.