Amanda Peterson was just 15 when she starred alongside Patrick Dempsey in the 1987 romantic comedy Can’t Buy Me Love. But she was in Hollywood for less than a year before her family says a traumatic incident that Amanda kept secret for years led her to turn to illegal drugs.
In July, after a decades-long battle with addiction, Amanda was found dead in her apartment in Colorado at the age of 43. An autopsy revealed she died of an accidental morphine overdose.
Amanda’s mother, father, sister and brother join The Doctors to open up for the first time since her death about the actress’ struggles.
“She was a rocket, and then she had to come down,” says Dr. James Peterson, Amanda's father.
Watch the above video to hear the painful secret Amanda’s parents say she kept hidden behind her bright smile.
- Exclusive: See more family photos of Amanda Peterson.
Amanda’s mother, Sylvia, recalls how the incident affected Amanda and the warning signs that indicated her daughter had a problem.
Amanda's family members discuss how difficult it was to read Internet headlines after Amanda's death, and they reveal what gives them hope.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says addiction is "not just a Hollywood problem."
"This is a problem throughout this country," he says. "Every 19 minutes an American dies of a drug overdose, largely driven by prescription drugs."
Warning signs of addiction include: behavior changes, neglect of relationships with family and friends, problems at school or work, requests for money, lack of energy and unexplained health problems.
- Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest Network website or call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357)