Times have been tough for Brett Butler lately, and the actress has opened up on why she's broke and relying on help from fans to cover her bills. At one point, Butler was one of television's highest paid actresses with her starring role as Grace Kelly on the hit sitcom Grace Under Fire. Her struggles with addiction at the height of her fame are also well known, though Butler has been sober since 1998.
Hoping to focus on her health, Butler fled Hollywood with the hope of living a quiet life in Georgia. Because she had failed to keep up with her mortgage payments, the actress felt compelled to return to work, though she had trouble securing a high-paying role. In a new interview with THR delving into her history, Butler credits Charlie Sheen with saving her life by lobbying to get her a role on Anger Management.
"If it wasn't for Charlie, there's no way I would have been on that show," she said. "It literally saved me."
More recently, Butler has picked up roles in some rather high profile projects. This includes memorable appearances in ABC's How to Get Away with Murder, HBO's The Leftovers, and AMC's The Walking Dead. She's also coming off of playing the mother of Reese Witherspoon's character in the Apple TV+ series The Morning Show. As Butler explains, however, these roles don't come close to paying what she earned on Grace Under Fire. She also says that Anger Management, for as big of a role that was, only covered her cost -of-living expenses.
Butler has always been able to keep a roof over her head, but the actress says she was dealt a major blow in 2019 when she was hit with a bout of severe depression. "This stuff runs in my family," Butler noted. "My dad was an untreated bipolar alcoholic, and stuff first started popping up for me when I was about 50. [It's the] monster that moved into my house."
Her depression and the effects of the pandemic would cause Butler to fall behind, placing her into dire straits financially. She says that she'll probably need a few months to get back on her feet, and this time, the plan is to pursue stand-up comedy rather than trying to land another major sitcom role. The Grace Under Fire star has started the process by writing down jokes in a notebook to use for her act.
"I couldn't remember the last time I'd done that," Butler said of working on comedy. "I was so grateful. It was like something I did at the beginning, when there was no roof on my dreams."
Earlier this summer, Brett Butler realized she couldn't wait for the money from her planned comedy comeback. Facing imminent eviction, the actress confided in her friend, blogger Lon Strickler, about her financial woes. Determined to help, Strickler launched a GoFundMe page asking for fans to chip in to keep Butler from winding up homeless.
"He talked me into it," Butler says, suggesting it took some convincing for her to agree. "The way he put it was, 'You can't live your life based on being afraid of what haters will do.' And I said, 'I don't know - what's the cutoff line between needing something and being absolutely greedy?'"
Ultimately, the two decided to set a goal of $15,000. The campaign initially raised $12,583 of its goal from 246 donors. Strickler has since raised the goal to $20,000, stating that Butler "still needs a little more help. She just needs one more little nudge to get back on her feet."
Over $15,000 of the $20,000 goal has been met at the time of this writing. If you want to read more about Butler's situation, you can check out the full interview at The Hollywood Reporter. You can also donate to the cause at GoFundMe.