Cameron Douglas is the troubled son of Michael Douglas who recently released his memoir “Long Way Home”. In the book, he details what he calls a “demented death wish” that drove him to a life of drugs and crime.
Cameron Douglas was ultimately arrested, tried, and convicted for possession of heroin and methamphetamine in 2010. He ended up serving nearly 8 years in prison and was released on August 1, 2016 where he was transferred to a halfway house in New York City.
Cameron comes from an iconic family of actors. His father is Michael Douglas and his grandfather is Kirk Douglas. Both men won Academy Awards for “Best Actor” and were attached to some of the most revered films in history including “Spartacus” and “Wall Street”.
Cameron shares some very personal details in the book about his drug usage which started with smoking marijuana at 13 before escalating to snorting cocaine at 15 then trying crystal meth at 17. He eventually became addicted to liquid cocaine and according to the book was injecting the drug up to three times an hour. The constant abuse from needles scarred his veins and caused them to collapse in his arms and legs. When his veins collapsed, he started shooting the drug into his rib cage and neck.
He also talks extensively about the deterioration of Michael Douglas’ marriage to his mother, Diandra Morrell Douglas, as well as Michael and Kirk’s casual drug use which influenced him at a young age.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer which airs Tuesday night at 10 PM EST, Michael said most of the memoir was true and opened up about things he could have done differently as a father.
“You rack your brain and you take it personally in the beginning, you start blaming yourself,” the father said. “Then you look at your genetic makeup. I should’ve changed my priorities. My career was first. My career came before my family.”
“My marriage was not great,” The “Wall Street” actor added “So you do hide yourself in your work — I should’ve focused more on my family, but that’s hard to say when you’re in the midst of a career, when you are in your own mind, stepping out of your father’s shadow, trying to create a life for your own.”
“There was nothing anybody could do to get through to me at a certain point,” Cameron told The New York Times, “All those years that the book is based on, all the pain and destruction that a lot of my behavior caused, is done. I can’t go back and undo that.” He said he is sharing his mistakes “in the hopes that other people won’t have to make them.”
There is a history of drug abuse in the Douglas family. Michael Douglas went to rehab for alcoholism in 1992. In 2004, Cameron’s half-brother, Eric Douglas, died of a drug and alcohol overdose at the age of 46.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cameron Douglas Was Arrested Three Times for Drug Possession
Cameron Douglas was first arrested in 1999 when police found cocaine on him while he was in Manhattan. He was charged with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. The charge was later dropped after Douglas pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct.
He was arrested again in 2007 and charged with felony possession of a controlled substance when police found a syringe full of liquid cocaine in his car. Douglas was sitting in a BMW with his friend Christopher Lane at Sandyland Reef Motel in Carpinteria. Police observed the BMW parked at an odd angle and stopped to make sure the passengers didn’t need assistance. When they approached the vehicle, they noticed “really fresh” blood on Douglas’ hand and smeared blood on his arm. The arresting officer described Douglas as “a little edgy and nervous.” Douglas allegedly told the officers he had a girlfriend staying at the motel.
Officers eventually found a syringe that Douglas claimed was for his “Type-A Diabetes” but was later found to contain liquid cocaine.
Douglas was facing three years in prison for his 2007 cocaine arrest when he was arrested again in 2009 at the Hotel Gansevoort in New York City. Police found 0.5 lbs of methamphetamine and heroin in his hotel room. He was busted after three unnamed crystal meth users and dealers informed the DEA about a distribution operation Douglas was running out of the hotel.
A DEA Taskforce raided the hotel room and found a small amount of heroin and 0.5 lbs of methamphetamine. Due to the substantial amount of meth found, he was charged with possessing and distributing forms of methamphetamine.
According to the court complaint, Douglas was paid tens of thousands of dollars to traffic and sell methamphetamine.
2. He Was Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Dealing Drugs out of the Trendy Hotel Gansevoort in New York
After his arrest in 2009, Douglas was facing a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute drugs and heroin possession.
Michael Douglas wrote a letter to the judge in the case, Judge Richard Berman, imploring him to take it easy on Cameron and taking the blame for influencing his behavior.
“Dear Judge Berman,” he wrote, “I don’t want to burden you with a litany of my son, Cameron’s rehab history, beginning at 13. He’s an adult and responsible for his own life. We do know, however, that genes, family, and peer pressure are all a strong influence on a substance abuser.”
“Cameron grew up a single child in a bad marriage,” Douglas continued. “I’m convinced Cameron could be a fine actor,” Kirk Douglas wrote. “I hope I can see that happen before I die. I love Cameron.”
Douglas’ wife at the time Catherine Zeta-Jones also wrote the judge a letter and called Cameron a “caring, considerate, worthy human being” despite his heroin addiction but conceded that he ought to make amends for his crime, writing that she hopes he ends up in a facility that “will help rehabilitate him.”
Cameron was facing 10 years but ended up being sentenced to 5 years after he agreed to turn in his suppliers, David and Eduardo Escalera.
3. He Was Arrested for Smuggling Xanax into Prison with the Help of His Lawyer and Sentenced to an Additional 4.5 Years Behind Bars
Cameron Douglas began having an intimate relationship with a member of his defense team, Jennifer Ridha, during the trial. According to the New York Post, Ridha was part of Douglas’ defense team and the two became romantically involved during the trial.
Ridha helped smuggle Xanax into the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Pennsylvania for Douglas after he claimed he was suffering from anxiety. She smuggled her old prescription pills in a small kids balloon which Douglas then smuggled into the prison via his rectum during their attorney/client meetings.
Cameron shared the pills with a few inmates, one of which was a government informant. He was eventually busted for drug possession while in prison and the Judge, who was fed up with his behavior, nearly doubled his initial prison sentence, adding an additional 4.5 years.
Ridha was fired from her law firm but not disbarred. She is still trying to rebuild her reputation and according to The New York Post is currently a graduate student in legal anthropology, urban studies and criminal justice.
Jennifer Ridha detailed her relationship with Cameron in “Criminal That I Am,” a memoir she released in 2015. “Cameron did not only lie and mislead. He actively, willingly, placed me directly in harm’s way.” She recalls in the book.
Though she is angry at Cameron, she says the two have reconciled and continue to carry on a platonic relationship. “Bound by our wrongdoing, our agreement to stray from a virtuous path is etched in stone,” she continues. “For better or worse, and no matter what will happen next, we will forever be known as partners in crime.”
4. He Was Almost Sent Back to Prison in 2017 After a Drug Test Revealed Marijuana in His System
In April 2017, Cameron Douglas failed a drug test for marijuana and violated his probation.
The troubled actor underwent three tests for marijuana after he was accused by a lab technician of trying to manipulate the results. His test eventually came back positive.
Douglas’ lawyers argued that his imprisonment was “horrific” and he had experienced PTSD from being the victim of several violent attacks. He was using marijuana to help cope with the stress. His Parole Officers agreed and asked Judge Richard Berman for leniency in the case as he had been through a lot and remained sober other than this one test.
The Judge agreed with the parole officers and instead of sending him back to prison ordered Douglas to be subject to more frequent drug tests and searches.
5. He Had a Bounty on His Head in Prison Which Led to Him Being Seriously Injured in an Attack
According to The Daily Mail, when Cameron turned in his suppliers as part of his plea deal, he became a target for a notorious crime family in prison.
He was the victim of an attack where inmates broke his leg and multiple fingers after an unnamed New York crime boss put a $100 bounty on his head for being a “rat”.
‘He broke his femur, which is hard to snap, and had to have a rod inserted,’ a source told The New York Post at the time.
The crime boss found out about Douglas’ snitching when his psychiatrist inadvertently revealed that his client had snitched to the police about his drug suppliers during a bail hearing in 2010.
Cameron eventually recovered from his injuries but still faced harassment from other prisoners.
READ NEXT: Elliott from ‘E.T.’ Accused of DUI in Oregon