“I wish she had a friend or a family member who would grab her by the scruff of the neck and get her into rehab because clearly she needs serious help,” the thoughtful Melissa and Joey star, 37, tells me Saturday at The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City.
“I know if I was going through something like that, my mom or grandfather or one of my brothers or somebody would grab me and throw me into rehab. It doesn’t seem like she’s got anybody that, really—maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know.”
According to reports, the troubled actress, 27, who got her start on Nickelodeon, has stopped communicating with her parents. He hopes they are able to track her down.
“If I was a family member, I would go camp out at her hotel room, and I would put my arm around her and say ‘we’re going to go get help now.’ Hopefully someone will do that. It’s sad to see.”
Having grown up in front of the cameras since the age of 5, Joey could’ve easily become a wayward child star after his starring role as Joey “whoa!” Russo, alongside Mayim Bialik, on TV’s Blossom, ended in 1995.
What saved the father of two daughters, Charli, 7, and Liberty, 3, who wed wife Chandie in 2005?
“It was always about the work,” the former Dancing With The Stars contestant says. “I never did drugs. I never got into that whole scene. I threw back my fair share of beer, wine and vodka Red Bulls, but I never did the bad stuff.”
Being drug-free was key.
“I was always an athlete,” he explains. “Sports were a very important part of my life, and it was a work ethic. I took my job seriously, and I knew I wanted to be able to do it for my whole life. I knew I needed to continuously get better and never take it for granted, and work hard. To work hard, you can’t do that. You can’t get all screwed up, and then try to come to work the next day and put on a performance.”
He continues, “And I didn’t want to do that to my body. I don’t know why, I was just scared that something bad would happen. I didn’t want to die. We all know drugs are not good, despite what some people try to say – [laughs] – ‘well, it’s not so bad.’ Well, they’re not good. I stayed clear of them.”
Tonight Joey is in fine form, hosting a spirited dance contest at 1:30 a.m. He hoists clamoring guests up onstage from the crowd as Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Baby Got Back, Britney Spears and will.i.iam’s Scream And Shout and Ke$ha’s Die Young play throughout the domed venue where it’s always a balmy 82 degrees.
“Ya’ll having a good time tonight?” he asks. “There’s nothing like this in L.A. I’m honored to be here.”
Joey is all about the fans, barely using his private cabana and instead choosing to mingle with partygoers all night. Turns out, he loves The Pool After Dark—he also hit the club Friday, and was on hand using The Pool earlier in the day. Psst—he may have been more entertaining than Hostess With The Mostess Paris Hilton!
When it’s finally time to leave the stage, jovial Joey dons a light-up ring gifted to him by a bachelorette party. So cute!
Catch Joey on Melissa and Joey, which airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on ABC Family. And visit The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City. It’s my favorite place in the world! Across the hall is Sammy D’s, which boasts cotton candy cake, a sweetly delicious confection complete with pop rocks and candy hearts. So good! Up next is Brandy (June 7) and Drake Bell (June 8). Fun times.
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