If you grew up in the 90s, you’re likely familiar with 7th Heaven, a TV series based on a couple, their seven children, and the adorable family pooch. Eric Camden was a kind, virtuous, all-loving minister and America’s favorite TV dad. As it would turn out, the man who played Eric was nothing like his character. Off-screen, he was a predator hiding in plain sight.
Born in Iowa, Stephen Collins divorced his first wife in 1978. In 1985, he married actress Faye Grant and they had a daughter together.
In 2000, Faye received a shocking letter from the sister of Stephen’s first wife. The woman, then in her early 40s, wrote that Stephen exposed himself to her for three years starting in 1973 when she was just 10 years old and he was 25.
When confronted, Stephen told his wife he had a hole in the crotch area of his jeans back then and she must have caught a glimpse of his penis accidentally. Faye decided to believe him and the couple remained together.
Twelve years later, the woman went to the police. Faye asked Stephen about the allegations again and this time, he confessed. Stephen admitted exposing himself to the then 10-year-old child but insisted it only happened once and that he never laid a hand on her.
Devastated, Faye filed for divorce.
On January 19, 2012, while the couple was estranged, Faye asked Stephen to accompany her to a couple’s counseling session where she pressed him for details. His answers were nothing less than disturbing.
Stephen admitted exposing himself to the 10-year-old girl several times and said he once placed her hand on his penis. In total, Stephen confessed to molesting three girls, all under the age of 14; one was a neighbor’s child in 1982 and the other was his own daughter’s babysitter in 1994.
What Stephen didn’t know at the time was that Faye was wearing a wire and she had secretly recorded the entire conversation.
In 2014, the tape was leaked by TMZ. Stephen was fired from his recurring role on Scandal (oh the irony), booted off the set of the film Ted 2, and all 7th Heaven reruns were pulled. He was officially “canceled.”
In an email to Stephen, Faye wrote:
“The comment you made just before I gave birth to our daughter when you said you hoped we didn’t have a little boy, because ‘you just didn’t know if you could keep his little penis out of your mouth’ was indication enough that you were sick…I should have followed my gut then, and then again 14 years ago, and kicked your ass to the curb.”
Stephen denied being attracted to underage girls and blamed his actions on “25-year-old arrogance.” Since the statute of limitations had already expired, he never faced any charges. He later moved back to his hometown of Fairfield, Iowa, and married his 3rd wife, a 7th Heaven superfan.
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