Gary Coleman’s adoptive parents on The Today Show: we didn’t steal his money

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Gary Coleman’s adoptive parents were on The Today Show this morning, and they seemed like such nice, normal people, especially in comparison to the cold evil bitch that was living with Gary when he had that “accident” that resulted in his death. Sue and Willie Coleman haven’t seen their son Gary in over 20 years, but you could tell they loved him and to me they seemed genuinely upset that he was gone.

The Colemans explained that they heard that their son Gary had an accident well before Shannon Price called them about it. A few days later she left them a rude, detached message in which she said “Thank you for your interest… my brother is handling the arrangements.” In their Today Show interview, they tentatively discussed the rumors that Shannon had a hand in their son’s death, saying they weren’t pointing fingers, and called the deathbed photos “disturbing.” Gary’s mom gave Shannon the benefit of the doubt, though, and said she didn’t know if the photos were taken with the intention of selling them. The two also denied the story that they’d stolen Gary’s earnings as a child. We’ll have more on that in a moment. Here’s E! Online’s recap, with more at the source.


The Colemans, who adopted Gary when he was just four days old, said they heard about his son’s initial fall and hospitalization while visiting family in Arkansas. They were never contacted by Shannon or anyone connected with their son and after some serious researching—Sue phoned up the Provo Sheriff’s Department to ask them to get Price to phone them with news—they finally received a message. Albeit not for several days.

“She called and left a message—the strangest message I have heard in my life,” Willie said. “When someone is hurting like we were at that time, to leave a message like, ‘Listen, OK, hi, this is Shannon Price. Thanks for your interest. If you need more information, my brother is handling the arrangements.'”

And while fingers were almost instantly pointed at Price for any number of issues connected to his death—his initial fall, the deathbed photos, the battle for his remains—the Colemans have not and will not lob any such accusations. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for answers.

“The first information we got was that there was an accident, 911 was called and he was taken to the hospital,” Sue said. “We want to know what kind of an accident.

“I can’t say we actually know everything [now], but I do feel a bit better because we got a report from the coroner that said there was no foul play, so that did make us feel a lot better.”

As for those deathbed photos, like the rest of humanity, the Colemans thought them absolutely abhorrent.

“That was disturbing. I don’t know if that was her intentions in the beginning when she was taking those pictures,” Sue said, going on to say that she hoped profit wasn’t at the forefront of Price’s mind when she first posed for the camera.

However, the Colemans also note that they don’t blame Price for his death because, whether he was with or not (and incidentally, they were thrilled when the duo tied the knot since it meant Gary would have a “companion” and “not be alone”), his death was in some ways, inevitable.

“His body had come to the point when it had reached the epitome of his sickness,” Willie said. “He was on dialysis. Eventually that was gonna lead to a shutdown…We’re not pointing fingers.”

As for why their relationship deteriorated—while there have been brief interludes of contact, most recently at the start of the decade, they have been estranged for several decades—that’s one area where the Colemans are pointing fingers.

“Outside interference,” Willie said. “Influence.”

Both parents dismissed the notion that his adoption was kept secret or a source of tension, at least on their side, saying that they told Gary when he was five years old that he was adopted.

“He was told, he did not want to deal with it and he asked us to please not discuss it,” Sue said. “And we didn’t.”

She said Gary regularly saw a psychiatrist, and they brought it up during a session, though were once again shot down. “He never ever came to us and said ‘Why, how, who,’ anything. If he had, we would definitely have tried.”

Incidentally, it’s when Gary’s so-called confidantes took over the responsibility of taking Gary to therapy (or not, as the case may be) that “this whole thing blew out of proportion.”

“All of this is nonsense, all of this is untrue. Everything that’s been said about us is untrue.”

Of the lawsuit Gary filed against his parents, accusing them of stealing millions from him, the Colemans have always denied the accusations yet never held his actions against him.

“I don’t know, he wanted to be his own man,” Sue said. “As far as the money goes, we would never have taken money from him. We weren’t raised that way.”

The Colemans, who kept a room in their house for Gary throughout their estrangement in the hopes that he would one day return or have a change of heart, also addressed Bridges’ recent comments that “there was a reason” for the decades-long estrangement.

“I don’t know what Todd’s perception of us is and at this point it really doesn’t matter,” Sue said. “As far as the document goes, I have no idea what that is. As far as I know, the two of them didn’t have any close communication for years there. It seems that just since—

“The book…,” Willie interjected, referring to Bridges’ new memoir, and the publicity he’s since gained from inserting himself into the story.

“Since [Gary] has passed on, that this relationship has seemed to be closer,” Sue finished.

And while everyone else seems to be fighting to insert themselves into Coleman’s inheritance, don’t expect his parents to enter the fray. Asked directly if they had any plans to fight the will, Sue responded:

“Not at all, not at all. Why would we? There’s enough going on. There’s enough disrespect toward him with all this going on, we would not be a part of that.”

[From E! Online]

The truth expert at Eyes for Lies reviewed this video of the Colemans, and she’s not convinced that they didn’t steal Gary’s money, as he sued them for back in 1989. She writes that they’re playing innocent and that “I suspect these two have convinced themselves that they didn’t ”steal’ anything from their son. People who do things that are questionable often have selective memories or go into denial, because, after all, who wants to remember ‘their ugly’?

I believe Gary had valid reasons for cutting off his parents for 20 years. He felt so strongly he left them out of his will entirely and specifically.” (Eyes has more on this story and why she’s not buying their excuses.)

Poor Gary. He had parents who stole his money, but they still seem like they cared way more about him than the wife who sold his deathbed pictures and wants to get ahold of his pension. He was taken advantage of his entire life. Even the friend who is speaking out on his behalf has a book to sell, although if anyone seems like they’re telling the truth in this scenario, it’s Todd Bridges.



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22 Responses to “Gary Coleman’s adoptive parents on The Today Show: we didn’t steal his money”

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  1. Hautie says:

    Sadly every one looks shady in this story. Especially the guy who has been named executor of the will. The old friend that Gary had cut off too. It seems that Gary lack any real friends.

    And I recall that it was proven that the parents had received the bulk of his paycheck from the show. But it was not consider stealing since legally they only had to put a small percentage of the pay in trust for a child actor. They made sure they had the bulk of the income in their own checking account.

    Which seems to be the thing to do when a child is the bread winner for an entire family. The parents stop working and live off the income of the child.

    The Lohan’s come to mind for this exact behavior. Lindsay has been supporting them all for over a decade. So explains the need for Orange Oprah to keep spinning the lies to keep the money coming in.

  2. sharylmj says:

    this whole story is so sad

  3. OXA says:

    I have a problem with parents who PIMP out a child, especially one with life threatening health issues. Gary was diagnose with a chronic kidney condition at 2 years old yet they put him to work and lived off his back.No wonder he sued them and cut them out of his life.

  4. Wif says:

    I’d like to get everyone’s opinions. Surely the parents of child stars are entitled to something, they’re the ones that do the driving, cook the meals, sign the contracts, etc. How much is reasonable for the parents to keep for the betterment of the entire family?

  5. LindyLou says:

    How tragic. The man was surrounded by leeches his entire life. At least he isn’t around to see the vultures feeding off the carcass of his estate.

  6. Sincerity says:


    I would not be so quick to judge Gary Coleman’s parents regarding their decision to audition him in the entertainment business. Gary’s health condition was life threatening and expense to treat. I doubt seriously if their health insurance would have adequately covered all of his health care maintenance and transplant costs. Long before Gary Coleman, there was another very young African American boy name Rodney Allen Rippy who was quite successful doing the Jack in the Box commercials. In fact, Gary Coleman actually resembled this child to some extent and his parents probably thought, “Why not! It worth a shot!”. Volia! Gary Coleman becomes a television star and makes more than enough money to cover his medical and organ transplant expenses. He may not have survived as long as he had without being successful in the entertainment business to begin with.

  7. original kate says:

    i have a problem with parents going on a talk show a week after their son dies. that is freakish.

  8. qb says:


    They made him work even when he was horribly sick and should have been at home.

  9. LondonParis says:

    gary coleman’s life arc is such a tragedy. i truly feel certain that he is in a better place now.

  10. Mistral says:

    This story is so depressing. I hope his death is thoroughly investigated, because something doesn’t seem right. He deserves some dignity in death, poor thing.

  11. Sincerity says:


    I’ve read about it. There’s always two sides to every story. More than likely, if Gary Coleman was unable to fulfill his contractual obligations regarding the show’s filming schedule, his contract would have been in jeopardy; therefore, forcing the producers to replace him.

    Gary’s health was not the best nor could his family afford to lose the money he was making to pay for his medical treatments and transplants. It’s not unusual for entertainers or anyone else for that matter “to be caught between a rock and hard place”. I’m quite sure the producers worked around Gary’s illness as much as possible; however, business is business and when they needed him on the set, he had to comply to the best of his ability. QB life is not always fair and we’re all “inconvenienced” from time to time.

  12. oh hey says:

    “I suspect these two have convinced themselves that they didn’t ‘’steal’ anything from their son.”

    That reminds of how Joe Jackson “didn’t hit” his children.

  13. Dawn says:

    And you have to wonder why he was so bitter?

  14. JJ says:

    If parents give up their own lives to help their child pursue a career like Gary’s, aren’t they entitled to part of the pay? The money is family money. It’s called sharing, not stealing.

    In Gary’s case, I recall there were people who convinced him that it amounted to stealing, and he was too young to know otherwise. If he’d been surrounded by more scrupulous people (agents, lawyers, etc.), things could have turned out better. So sad.

  15. Jag says:

    They just want to get paid, like Coleman’s ex and even Bridges. If Bridges really has another will that’s valid, why isn’t he showing it to someone, so that the “real” executor can act to have Coleman’s remains autopsied? Every interview I’ve seen, it’s “we’ll be showing the will soon.” Go ahead and show it so that an autopsy can be done and the b!tch can be arrested, imo.

  16. mln says:

    Here are the facts they made millions of dollars off of a kid with serious health issues. Once GC came of age most of the money was gone, there were witnesses who said his parents isolated him and forced him to work doing TV movies commercials immediatley after surgery etc. He won his case in a court of law. Sure GC’s wife is despicable but his parents should apologize for the way they treated him and they committed child abuse.

  17. Hannah says:

    I do wish you’d stop quoting Eyes for Lies. I love Lie To Me and I’m sure you can find a reputable analyst or whatever but that site just isn’t one. Why do they write like they’ve never been educated? It just always ruins your blogging!!

  18. YT says:

    Gary’s mother was a notorious stage mother. Even Geraldo Rivera was afraid of her. She was NOT known as a lovely, sweet, caring lady.

  19. Juan says:

    yeah, yeah, the parents are to blame, wth is that?? I hate it when grown people blame their parents for a shit life.

    I know lots of people who had scary parents, and they turned out to be well adjusted, functioning people.

    Gary grudged his parents over money he could have easily made had he continued to pursue acting. Instead, he ended up resenting his celebrity and called it a curse – Hollywood isn’t going to bend over and kiss anybody’s ass.

    His parents may have taken a good size of his earnings as a child, but not as an adult, whereas Gary spent most of his adult life expecting money from them – pathetic!

    The only thing his parents are guilty of is giving Gary a sense of entitlement. As an adult, he had the power to work his stardom but he wanted to hide in Utah and spit on his fans – over what, bad experiences of not getting what you want??

    I believe his death is suspicious and his ex-wife is the person everyone should be finger pointing, not his folks.

    For more details on Gary’s life check out

    there you can see how much money was in question, and basically his bitter life in a nutshell.

  20. badunkadunk says:

    Where is Webster? remember him?

  21. sasha says:

    Last seen hanging out with Michael Jackson … eek.

  22. Dawn says:

    The last thing I heard about Webster that he’s looking for a “nice young”.