Ted Williams, the formerly homeless man who became a viral sensation for his “golden voice,” has decided to check into rehab after taping television segments with Dr. Phil during which family members allege that, despite his claims of sobriety, he has been drinking daily.
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During the tapings, Williams and Dr. Phil had a lengthy one-on-one conversation about his addictions. Highlights from that conversation will air on the “Dr. Phil” show on Thursday.
“If Ted is ever going to get better, he’s got to be honest with himself and admit he’s addicted to drugs and alcohol,” Dr. Phil said in a statement. “I’ve told him it’s not going to be easy and it’s going to take a lot of hard work. It might be a long journey for him, but this is a big step in the right direction.”
Psychologist Dale Atkins, who spoke to Williams off-camera when Williams appeared on TODAY a week ago and has had several phone conversations with him since, said Thursday that his reversal of fortune may have happened faster than he could handle: “All this happened so quickly, and so many people [were] trying to pay attention, perhaps not really to what was best for him ... there’s a very slippery slope.”
Williams, 53, and one of his daughters were detained by police on Monday after a family quarrel, Williams told NBC News. Members of Williams’ family had reunited in Los Angeles for the first time in years for the “Dr. Phil” appearance.
The Los Angeles Police Department told TODAYshow.com that two people were detained around 9 p.m. PT Monday because of an alleged "yelling altercation."
The pair weren't arrested and no charges were filed. Both were released shortly afterward. Richard French, a spokesman for the LAPD, told TODAYshow.com that an investigation is ongoing.Video: Mother: Reunion with homeless son ‘a dream’ (on this page)
Over the weekend, Williams reunited with ex-wife Patricia Pullien-Kirtley and five of his nine children, including daughters Julia Pullien and Jenay Williams, stepdaughter Tricia Pullien, and sons Desmond Jackson and Tyrell Williams. While taping the show segments, Williams had the conversation with Dr. Phil that convinced him to seek help.
Williams’ family members also will be featured on Thursday’s episode of “Dr. Phil.” They will share their version of Monday’s detainment and explain why they think Williams is ill-equipped to handle his sudden fame. They maintain that Williams has been drinking daily, despite his insistent claims of sobriety.
Williams reunited with his mother , Julia Williams, after not seeing her for more than 20 years, on TODAY last week.Video: Listen to Ted Williams' voice, his mom's advice (on this page)
Williams had been living on the streets in Ohio for years after drugs and alcohol dragged him into a life of petty crime. The website The Smoking Gun reported Williams’ arrest record includes robbery, theft, forgery and drug possession.
Williams claimed on TODAY last week that he’d been sober for two years, but was having trouble landing work. His meteoric rise to fame came after a reporter captured his voice on a video and posted the clip online. Millions of views later, Williams was featured on TODAY and job offers were pouring in.Video: Homeless man with golden voice ‘thankful to be here’ (on this page)
He received offers to do announcing work from the Cleveland Cavaliers, a radio station in Hawaii, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and dozens more. He also taped a commercial that aired on msnbc cable.
Last week on TODAY Julia Williams echoed a common worry that her son would be so overcome with his sudden celebrity that it could imperil the two years of sobriety he claimed. And Williams himself acknowledged the perils a week ago when he spoke of his backstage conversation with Dale Atkins: “I think I’m going to use her as somewhat of a sponsor and a therapist, because I feel I’m going to need it.”
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“In this situation, as in many situations, other people are running your life, other people are making decisions for you,” Atkins said on TODAY Thursday. “You are trying to make decisions that may be right for you, but you don’t have the objectivity, you don’t have the distance, you don’t have any opportunity to take a breath and figure out what’s best.”
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