I grew up here actually, in Clearwater. That’s when I first met Leah, when she was doing services here—her family was here. And we would play in the pool and hang out and we were little. We were, like, I was probably 9 or 10 and she was probably 12 or 13 or 14 maybe.
After that, I moved to Los Angeles when I was 14 and saw her and her family again. So then my mom and her mom actually worked together and we all went to the same school.
And we became quite friendly and would hang out often. And I considered her and her family very close to my family.
She [Leah] got her first acting job and it seemed to go to her head, a little bit more than most, I think. You know, I—growing up in Hollywood you’re around that a lot. You’re around actors and kid actors and I would go to Hollywood parties. My godfather’s a major actor.
So we would—I was in those circles so it wasn’t necessarily foreign to me. While I wasn’t necessarily doing that, I had a lot of friends that were. I had a lot of friends that were doing commercials and none of them treated me quite the same as she was when she started to get her legs in that industry. She became all about—it just basically—basically became all about her and her needs and what was best for her. And if you couldn’t help her, you weren’t part of her life very much.
And it was kind of sad for me because in the beginning it was such a break in understanding of what—wait, why are you treating me this way? I’m your friend. And she would ignore me. We would be in public, you know, events or places together, and she’d walk by me like I didn’t exist. And I’d say, “Hi,” and she’d ignore me. And so that was kind of how I got treated in the beginning. And her mom would even apologize for her behavior to me. Like, “I know, you know, she’s just busy,” or come up with a hundred excuses. I’m like, “No. She’s actually just being mean. That’s really all that is.”
We were actually at the Church in Los Angeles and we were talking or kind of talking. I think she [Leah] was more ignoring me than anything but we were with many people. We were in a group setting. And there was one particular staff member that was trying to help her with something and it was over a cup of coffee. And she [Leah] all but grilled her. I mean, it was—she was just, you know, she took a sip and it was like, “This is too cold,” and “This tastes bad,” and this poor person—this poor staff member couldn’t do anything to actually please her. And it was, like, after the third or fourth attempt, it was like, “Oh, come on. Like, it’s coffee. It’s not like—what are you doing? Why are you treating her this way?” And then she got huffy and puffy and, “You don’t understand my life and you don’t know how hard I have it.” And then she turned and kind of brushed us all off and walked away.
I thought, at one point, we could be quite close and grow up together and eventually be married at the same time and kids—our kids could grow up together and have that kind of lifelong friendship. It ended abruptly and in a way that was quite, I think, cruel. It left a bad taste in my mouth for sure.
It came up to the point where she [Leah] just finally stopped talking to me altogether.