Ted Williams, homeless Golden-voiced guy, leaves rehab after two weeks

In a predictable but sad twist to the “homeless to Hollywood” Golden-voiced rags-to-riches story, Ted Williams has checked himself out of rehab after only two weeks. When Williams first shot to fame he insisted he’d been clean and sober for two years. Either Williams slipped or he was lying about his sobriety, because some of his many children told Dr. Phil that he’d been drinking heavily. Ted has a history of crack addiction and has been accused of working as a pimp for his addict girlfriend, who is also now in rehab. Dr. Phil had the guy’s entire family on the show, (in a multi-part series, nach) where they confronted him about his longstanding addiction and how he abandoned their family. Now that Dr. Phil has done his part and washed his hands of the guy, he’s issued a predictable press release about how Williams is an adult and his participation in rehab is voluntary:

Ted Williams — the homeless man with the Golden Voice — has reportedly quit rehab and the man who convinced him to seek treatment for drug and alcohol abuse is speaking out exclusively to RadarOnline.com.

Dr. Phil McGraw, who had Williams agree to go to rehab in South Texas after a “lengthy one-on-one” discussion, released the following statement:

“Ted was given the chance to voluntarily enter a drug rehabilitation facility in order to help him in dealing with his dependency on drugs and alcohol. In that it is voluntary, the decision to remain in treatment, is Ted’s to make. We certainly hope that he continues his commitment to sobriety, and we will continue to help and support him in any way that we can. We wish him well.”

[From Radar Online]

Have any of you read the memoir The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls? (She used to do the MSNBC The Scoop column.) I’m not going to give away major spoilers, but there are some to follow. Walls basically tells the story of her family and growing up. The fact that her parents ended up homeless was almost entirely their own doing. There’s a scene where Walls is in a college class and tries to make the point that a lot of homeless people “choose” to be there, after which she is quickly shot down. (It’s not like she was going to admit that she had homeless family members.) I’ve never really held that belief, but after reading that book I gained the understanding that homelessness is a much more complicated issue than just people down on their luck. This case kind of proves that. Add some serious addictions in there, and there’s no easy solution like “go to rehab,” although it’s a start.

Photos are from 1/6/11, credit: Fame Pictures

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26 Responses to “Ted Williams, homeless Golden-voiced guy, leaves rehab after two weeks”

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  1. KatScorp says:

    *sigh* Weren’t so long ago we, all of us, were weeping happy tears about this supposed feel-good story of the year.

  2. lisa says:

    It is almost to me like people that go back to jail over and over and over. It is almost their comfort zone. What they know. And it is really sad. When you have a bit of success everyone wants a piece. so…

  3. toriful says:

    I work with people who are defined as ‘chronically homeless’ in the mental health field. It’s the bottom that can’t fall out from under them so a lot of them feel more secure on the street than they do in an assisted living facility.

  4. Louise says:

    I think people are being too hard on Ted. He’s been homeless for years and overnight he becomes a celebrity with some money coming in. People with more advantages have difficulty with sudden fame. It’s not a shock that he can’t handle it. It’s similar to when people win the lottery. They become overwelmed and don’t know how to handle it.

  5. Bopa says:

    I saw this coming. In his initial tape he said he was clean but never mentioned how he got clean. I don’t think he ever was and even if he was they threw way too much at him if he was still panhandling and homeless. Obviously he wasn’t equipped to handle the regular job sector so you throw the weight of Hollywood at him. If they wanted to help him they should have offered rehab and a drug treatment program not Kraft commercials.

  6. PDog says:

    Read that book! Such a fascinating story. There will always be a few who don’t hack it, or don’t want to, with whatever societal structures are currently in place

  7. LindaR says:

    I think Williams was standing on the street corner with his sign that fateful day hoping people would give him change, not a job, an opportunity for a better life or anything else. He was just looking for a way to make quick pity money. Like the signs that say “God Bless You”, “I am hungry” etc. The money goes to pay for a substance habit. They are too screwed up and addicted to be able to take advantage of a real opportunity.

  8. betty says:

    I don’t like Dr. Phil. I think he’s a pig. Anyway, I tolerated a show the other day because Ted’s street tramp girlfriend was on – Phil was grilling her about being left behind once he gets sober – asked her if she would go to rehab and get help and she said no, probably because Phil was a dick about it. Even though she wore makeup, you could see the years of living on the street wore her down – as with Ted.

    I’m not surprised Ted left (although I was hoping he would be the fairy tale rags to riches example). He must have been going crazy trying to pretend to be someone he’s not – you can only wear a fake smile for so long.

    I totally agree with LindaR’s comment. Pity money = drug money. If you want to help the homeless; donate to shelters. Giving street people money is only supporting their drug habits.

  9. redlips says:

    What an asinine decision!

    He obviously has not hit rock bottom, and until he does, he will continue to be a mess….

  10. happygirl says:

    Seems like his will to recover is not as strong as his addiction. You can’t make people WANT to change. It’s sad. But not surprising.

  11. Isabel says:


    The feel-good aspects of this story were contrived and, honestly, figments of our imaginations. He didn’t want to be rehabbed. He didn’t want to be clean. He did, however, milk his opportunity for fame and money, no matter how fleeting. Some of that financial gain was dependent on his playing nice with the media and going with the flow. So he did. And now that everyone had him tucked away in a happy place, he’s back to living the life he knew.

  12. cara says:

    I didn’t even read the article, but was unfortunate enough to catch this bozo on the dr. Phil show (I too never watch but a bud was watching it and sadly, I was in the room). NOW, I’m a former homeless addict (started the crawl out of addiction and thus homelessness 1999) ANYWAY, I can tell you when, why, how I got clean. And if you ask me, it’s the same story as it was back then. Why, because A) the truth doesn’t change and B) because I’m Proud as Hell of myself. Listening to this guy, I called it when he couldn’t answer calmly, or honestly as to when or why he got sober. Not that I don’t wish him well, but getting well means being Honest with one’s self ABOVE all else.

  13. Laurie says:

    If he thinks he will leave rehab and still be able to cash in on the offers presented s few weeks ago – he is SADLY mistaken!!! There is NO WAY the offers for steady work & housing still stand knowing his troubles with alcohol and drugs, which he openly admitted on Dr. Phil. If he stays out of rehab, his career is OVER!!! Way to screw up a second chance…back to streets for Ted!

  14. Eileen says:

    ITA LindaR -though it was such a great story when he did get resurrected. We so love our Happily Ever Afters, don’t we?

  15. cara says:

    @REDLIPS – you said it.

    being Honest with one’s self is the hardest thing in the world. but it’s also the Key.

    thanks for reading what I wrote and getting it.

  16. LindaR says:

    @Eileen – I know. The feel-good stories are so great because we always have hope that everyone is redeemable and all souls are worthy. Unfortunately, since everyone has control over their own souls and destiny, we are often left disappointed when they make foolish choices.

  17. Jeannified says:

    Such a sad outcome, but I figured it would happen. I hope this guy can still keep himself somewhat in check, and use his voice to make a decent living, but I fear that probably won’t happen. He’ll probably end up right back on the street where he was only a couple of weeks ago. I feel for his family and poor mother. It is so sad to see someone who could do so much, do so little.

  18. JenJen says:

    I would imagine Dr.Phil paid him a pretty penny to “play the game”. Ted was just thinking about all the rock and drinks the money from his appearances on shows and 10K for the commercial could buy him.

    CHRIS GARDNER, now there is a truly inspirational story that the movie “Pursuit of Happiness” is based on about homelessness. Chris wasn’t an addict, he worked hard, never gave his child up and didn’t take any hand-outs. There is a great man, deserving of his success.

  19. Sarah says:

    Although there are undoubtedly homeless people who have done things to “earn” their situation, the slippery slope of the “homeless people deserve to be homeless” mentality is that it ignores the rather large percentage of homeless people who are mentally impaired (NOT just addicts), that simply have no family to see to their care. Aside from this downfall of the woefully underfunded US mental healthcare system, there’s also the population of young adults who are wards of the state, who “age out” at 18 and are generally given little more than a pat on the back. Unfortunately, the people who HAVE made choices that result in homelessness tend to blind the rest of us to the plight of those homeless citizens that are truly in need.

  20. e says:

    I really hope you gets his life together. This is a second chance. Don’t blow it!

  21. MrsOdie2 says:

    What he really wanted was to get a bunch of money from all the publicity and get loaded with his girlfriend in some dump somewhere for as long as the money held out. Because that’s how addicts think, and he has no recovery.

    Then Doctor Phil brought around the family he abandoned. Boy, was he stuck then! He had to say all the right things or risk the money train derailing, and then no booze, no crack!

    I hope he can adopt some rigorous honesty and get sober.

  22. beanie says:

    Just…wow..I was rooting for this guy…sad, sad face. I guess there was no way to do a forced rehab so he could not check out.

  23. Bunnywabba says:

    I was neveri dragged into the feel-good story. I saw him for the lying crackhead he is. He has a great voiceless, so what? His girlfriend admitted she prostituted to support their habits.

  24. LBeees says:

    One evening I was wandering about Borders and happened upon The Glass Castle. I sat down and read the entire thing cover to cover. It made me cringe, it made me tear up, it made me angry. All in all an engrossing read.

    I really empathized with her story, although to hear about where she started and her childhood was truly, truly shocking and revealing. You almost don’t realize what or how things could have been that way for her.