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CBN.com Will Dawson [reporting]: He’s graced the cover of teen magazines and starred in feature films. But actor Kirk Cameron is best known for his portrayal of the mischievous Mike Seaver on the hit show Growing Pains.
Will Dawson [reporting]: I have to tell you, I was eight years old when Growing Pains debuted. I remember the sunglasses, the leather jacket. I wanted to be Mike Seaver!
Kirk Cameron: It was fun to play the guy that people wanted to be like. It was just a very unique way to grow up.
Dawson [reporting]: Kirk won two Golden Globes and numerous other awards during the show’s seven-year run. He was the quintessential child actor, and he admits it went straight to his head.
Cameron: It can’t help but go to your head, you know? I was driving around in bullet-proof limousines, because stalkers were coming after me. I was flying around in Leer jets, because dignitaries wanted me to play tennis with their daughter. So it was a strange life, but it was normal to me.
Dawson: You considered yourself a devout atheist. Is that right?
Cameron: I was living large, hanging out with beautiful people, and making lots of money. I didn’t want to entertain the thought of a God or get involved in religion. For all I knew, that would put a wet blanket on all my fun.
Dawson [reporting]: He wasn’t following God, but he says he was following girls. One girl led him some place he didn’t expect.
Cameron: I was about 17 years old, and I followed a girl into church. Not because I wanted to learn about God, but because I wanted to be with this girl that I heard the Gospel for the first time. I was sitting in my sports car on the side of Van Eiss Boulevard, dropping my friend off at an acting class, and thinking about the fact that I could die at any moment. If I were to find out that there is a God and a heaven, I knew that I wouldn’t be going. I decided that I needed to be saved. I needed God to reveal Himself to me, and I asked Him to do that.
Dawson [reporting]: As Kirk’s thoughts toward God changed, so did his life.
Cameron: My heart had been changed. It had been softened, and it had been opened to the reality that God existed. I didn’t know everything. As I began reading His Word and understanding, I saw my need for his forgiveness, and it was a willingness to obey Him and to live my life in a way that pleased Him, that then began to characterize who I was.
Dawson: How did that change Kirk Cameron on the set of Growing Pains? How did it change your working relationship with the people who you had known for so long?
Cameron: My language changed. You know? All the f-bombs stopped and the parts that I would accept in Hollywood changed. The things that I was willing and not willing to do on Growing Pains changed.
Dawson [reporting]: Controversy took center stage when Kirk refused a scene that portrayed an unmarried Mike Seaver sharing a bed with a girl.
Cameron: When you make a decision, like, 'I’m not comfortable saying that line or doing that scene.’ Well, that meant that 11 writers had to come up with a new scene. And that meant that the other actors and actresses in that scene had to learn new lines, because I didn’t want to do that scene. It’s very easy for tabloids to grab onto that and say, ‘What’s the best way we can spin this into a front page story? I know! Kirk Cameron goes off the religious deep end!’ When in actuality, it was nothing more than a 17-year-old kid finding something that was worth more than all the celebrity in the world and wanting his life to be a living thank you to the God who had saved him from hell and adopted him into His own family.
Dawson [reporting]: Growing Pains ended in 1992, but not before Kirk fell in love and married co-star Chelsea Noble in 1991. The couple is raising their six children in California where Kirk is involved in a ministry called Way of the Master. He continues acting, most notably in the Left Behind series and his newest project, Fireproof. Kirk admits mainstream Hollywood isn’t beating down his door. It’s a reality he’s willing to accept.
Cameron: My default position is not to be an actor. My default position is to be a follower of Jesus Christ. If that means I continue in acting, great! I’d love that. But if it means I need to change professions someday because I can’t provide for my family, well, that’s what I need to do. I’m sure I’ve lost a few jobs, because I’m a Christian. That’s irrelevant. I can honestly say that of everything I have, of everything I’ve experienced, nothing compares to the joy of knowing Christ. Because I’ve been given a glimpse of heaven and it outshines all of the rest.
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