From 1985 to 1992, the sitcom Growing Pains aired on ABC and told the story of the Seaver family, including parents Jason (Alan Thicke) and Maggie (Joanna Kerns) and their children Mike (Kirk Cameron), Carol (Tracey Gold), Ben (Jeremy Miller), and Chrissy (Ashley Johnson). While some stars of the series have remained in the public eye—just look at former cast member Leonardo DiCaprio—some of them stepped out of the limelight after the show ended. One actor who you probably haven’t kept up with is Jeremy Miller, who played youngest brother Ben Seaver on Growing Pains.
Miller has continued acting on and off since his child star days. In the years since Growing Pains, he’s also opened up publicly about another aspect of his life: his struggle with alcoholism during and after his time on the show. Read on to find out more about Miller’s life now.
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Miller was nine years old when Growing Pains premiered in 1985, and it was his first major role. Previously, the actor had appeared in an episode of Punky Brewster. During Growing Pains, he also voiced Linus in a few Charlie Brown specials and appeared in the movie The Willies, starring Sean Astin.
Growing Pains went off the air in 1992 after seven seasons. Miller continued acting, albeit less frequently. He has a role in the mid ’90s series Ghostwriter, and was in the two Growing Pains TV movies released in 2000 and 2004.
Miller has been taking on more roles recently. He appeared in a series about former child stars living during the COVID-19 pandemic called The Quarantine Bunch and in a horror movie called Awakening. According to his IMDb page, he also has a few upcoming projects in the works.
Miller is the co-host of the podcast The Xander Effect, which is about entertainment, sports, and video games. He has also worked as a chef, including teaching cooking classes and doing catering, as noted on his website. In 2019, he co-wrote the book When I Wished upon a Star: From Broken Homes to Mended Hearts. The 45-year-old also attends fan conventions, where he reminisces about Growing Pains and his work on Charlie Brown specials.
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In 2016, Miller made headlines when he was interviewed for Where Are They Now? on Oprah Winfrey‘s OWN network. In his interview, Miller said that he first tried alcohol when he was only four years old. “My grandparents used to throw a lot of parties, and I would run around after the parties and finish off the all the empty beers,” the actor said. “I didn’t really mess around with it after that until I was around 12,” he continued. “That was the first time I ever got hammered was 12 years old.”
“I never had that off-switch,” Miller explained of his drinking. He said he knew he had a problem when he woke up in the morning and “could feel that [he] had to have a drink.”
Miller also shared that, looking back, “There were times that I was so filled with self-loathing and self-hatred and then combine that with the alcohol and the lack of judgement that that provides, it’s a very good thing I never owned a gun, because I don’t know what would have happened and that’s scary.”
In 2014, Miller shared with Entertainment Tonight Canada that he stopped drinking after getting a naltrexone implant. (According to Mayo Clinic, naltrexone is a medicine that “may block the ‘high’ feeling that may make you want to use alcohol.”) ET Canada reported that Miller became a patient advocate for the Start Fresh Recovery center located in Santa Ana, California.
Miller has been with his wife Joanie Miller for 16 years and has three stepsons. In the Where Are They Now? episode, Joanie called Miller is “the father I’ve always dreamed of for the boys.” Miller said on the show, “My family reacted to my alcoholism I guess better than I would have expected. I was very blessed.” He added, “My family was amazingly supportive. They saw something in me that was worth fighting for.”