Curly Sue Star Alisan Porter Opens Up About Quitting Hollywood & Addiction

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
In 1991, she stole viewers' hearts as a curly-haired homeless girl who could hustle anyone in poker. Alisan Porter was just 10 years old when she starred in Curly Sue, and it would be her last major role before taking time off to go to high school. In a new video on Oprah: Where Are They Now?, Porter opens up about the part and what happened after her time as a child star.

Porter says that she knew the role was hers from the very beginning, but there was just one problem. "My hair was very straight. I did not have curly hair...I had to have a perm — I think I had two perms — and then they would curl my hair every day anyway. Rough life!" she laughs. 

The role also earned her comparisons to another young star from a John Hughes movie: Macaulay Culkin. Porter was totally on board with that. "I can remember lying to people and telling them that he was my boyfriend. I never met him! So, he wasn't my boyfriend. But I think that, in my head, he was my boyfriend because we were in the same 'club,'" she says. 

Despite being able to do things like meet the Golden Girls cast, Porter called her time as a child star pretty "normal." Still, she chose to leave Hollywood behind. "It wasn't fun for me anymore. There was no joy in it for me...I just wanted to be doing 'normal' kid things. I went to high school, I had a boyfriend who was on the soccer team, I went to parties."
Photo: Picture Perfect/REX USA.
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Porter also opens up about another important subject: addiction. In 2014, she wrote an entry on her blog titled "Ali: The Obligatory Child Star Gets Sober Mom Blog." "Hi, I’m Ali, and I’m an alcoholic," the post reads. "Yup, bet you didn’t see that one coming. Or, because you know that I’m a former child star, you totally did. Anyway, it’s the truth. I’ve been sober since October 28, 2007 and I haven’t touched a drink or a drug since."

She later went on HuffPost Live to talk about why so many child stars struggle with addiction. "As soon as you're anyone, you kind of get treated like royalty a lot of places — especially living in L.A. and growing up here. When I decided to leave the business and become normal, you expect life to continue to be like that. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. You either learn how to cope with it, or you cope by using, and that's my story...But at the end of the day, all of us that struggle with addiction have a place to go, and I was lucky enough to find an amazing way out. It's difficult to find, but once you find it, it gives you a really beautiful life."

Porter is now married with two kids (a son named Mason and a daughter named Aria). In 2014, she released an album called Who We Are. "It's really personal. It's my first album as a mother and a wife," she says on the Oprah video, mentioning that she and Adam Lambert joked, "The album is 'California folk with a side of Topanga chic.'" One child star invoking another: the circle of life continues. (Oprah.com)

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