Kidder almost lost her chance at stardom: she narrowly beat out Grease star Stockard Channing for the role of Lois Lane in the 1978 film Superman. But her life was far from picture perfect.
Kidder became addicted to painkillers after she suffered severe neck injuries and pain from a car accident on the set of the Canadian cable TV series Nancy Drew and Daughterin 1990.
Surgery corrected Kidder’s neck problem, but her medical expenses bankrupted her. “The accident threw everything out of kilter,” she said. “I lost my house. I sold all my jewelry. By the time I got my life together, I’d gone from being a young woman to being middle-aged.”
But even when she was young, Kidder admitted she abused drugs, including cocaine, Valium and speed, and she often wanted to die. “I thought I was crazy at different times, when I was suicidal and depressed,” she said.
She also battled alcohol abuse. “I was a binge drinker,” she once revealed. “It wasn’t healthy for me emotionally or physically — and for my daughter, it was dreadful.”
Unfortunately, Kidder was also unlucky in love and she was married three times before she finally gave up on romance in the 1980s. She remained single until her death.
Kidder famously spent time living on the streets of Los Angeles. In April 1996, she was found in an L.A. backyard cowering in the bushes, missing her front dental bridge and ranting about people wanting to kill her.
She was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder following years of scary incidents.
“I had several small flip-outs starting from my teen years,” Kidder revealed. “I attempted suicide at 21, and have scars on my wrists.” She eventually became an advocate for mental health.
Kidder found respite when she moved to a log cabin in Pine Creek, Montana, population less than 100, to escape her notoriety. “It’s so peaceful and nobody bothers me,” she said.
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