"Because I knew I could sell them for way more money to my friends back in Connecticut," he said of the racy magazines he bought during trips into New York City
Will Friedle is looking back on his past.
Appearing on Monday's episode of the Hey Dude... The 90's Called! podcast, the 47-year-old actor — best known for his role as Eric Matthews in the beloved sitcom Boy Meets World — recounted how he used to buy porn magazines during his solo trips into New York City for auditions as a kid.
"I tell people my story and they think I'm lying or they think my parents had a serious problem," he told hosts David Lascher and Christine Taylor of the independence he was given beginning at just 11 years old.
Friedle went on to explain that both of his parents had busy careers as attorneys so they allowed him to take the roughly three-hour bus ride from his home in Avon, Connecticut, to Manhattan by himself.
"I'd get off at Port Authority, and my manager would pick me up — most of the time — and I would walk the streets at 11 years old," he said. "I started smoking at a very young age, so I would go and I would buy cigarettes."
But that's not all he bought. The enterprising preteen also scooped up porn magazines during his N.Y.C. jaunts.
"Because I knew I could sell them for way more money to my friends back in Connecticut," he told Taylor and Lascher, both fellow '90s stars who appeared together on Nickelodeon's Hey Dude.
"So I would stop at the kiosk and they would look at me and say, 'Well, you're 11, so of course, here are cigarettes and porn," he added, prompting Lascher to joke, "This is like the dark Home Alone 2."
Friedle admitted that his mother and father now have a far different stance on their laissez-faire parenting back in the day. "I tell my parents these stories now and they are retroactively mortified that any of this ever happened," he said.
The former child star, however, looks back fondly on that time, as it opened up his horizons.
"I loved it. [Avon] was a wonderful place to grow up, but I experienced more real life in the three or four hours I was in New York City every week than I ever did in Avon. And it was a great way to see the world," he explained.
Elsewhere in the podcast interview, Friedle tackled a more serious topic: opening up about his struggles with crippling anxiety and panic attacks. He recalled experiencing his very first panic attack while filming the 1999 movie H-E Double Hockey Sticks.
"I'm in the middle of a take and I have my first panic attack. They used the take, so I can actually watch my first panic attack ever [in the final movie]. But I'm the only one who knows it," he said.
"I thought I was dying," he added of how he felt in the moment. "You have to be dying because there is no other explanation for why, all of a sudden, your body and mind are doing this to you."
He said he "started to spiral" in the aftermath of his first attack, even ending up unable to get out of bed for weeks at one low point. "You're in your head, you're not sleeping, which is another trigger for anxiety. So everything is just rolling in on itself and it's just getting worse and worse."
Friedle began taking medication, which he said caused him to gain about 30 pounds between seasons while starring on Boy Meets World.
The actor also said everything changed for him after that first panic attack.
"Your whole life is different. Everything is different. The colors are different, food tastes different, acting is different. You are a different person human being than you were the nanosecond before you had the panic attack," he told Taylor and Lascher.
"And you're different for the rest of your life," he added, noting that talking to others about his anxiety has helped, along with avoiding social media.
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