Get InQueensland in your inbox Subscribe

From bedroom wall to pirate to courtroom: Where did it all go wrong, Johnny?


Looking back on teenage dreams can be a sobering experience, writes Rebecca Levingston.

Print article

My teenage crushes are crumbling.

Johnny Depp, Fred Savage and Daniel Johns were my first loves.

Now they’re all making headlines with sorry storylines.

I had a poster of Johnny Depp on my bedroom wall at the peak of his hotness in 21 Jump Street.

I was 13 and his honey brown eyes stared longingly at me with his perfectly messy brown hair. My weekly dose of his cop shop adventures was intoxicating. A bit like the drink he turned to later in life. Sadly he went from heartthrob, to pirate to court.

Now the world has watched the tragedy of Johnny and Amber’s domestic despair laid bare. As for the American justice system that’s turned the violence into entertainment… wow. Five stars, a ratings blockbuster.

The only thing missing from the trial that’s played out minute by shocking minute on the Internet is a movie voiceover guy creepily saying “You can’t turn away”. Sadly, it seems that’s true.

A few years after Johnny, I fell for Fred. He was the star of The Wonder Years and played Kevin Arnold as a sweet, dorky teenager who fell in love with Winnie Cooper.

This week Fred Savage was dropped as executive producer and director of the reboot of The Wonder Years amid allegations of inappropriate conduct. Fred is 45 years old now, which is how old I’ll be when my next birthday rolls around. Savage indeed.

Perhaps a whole new series should be written called The Asunder Years. The production company hasn’t released details of the allegations. But Kevin Arnold is tarnished regardless. Pity, he was so adorable.

The Wonder Years were such big part of my time at high school that my graduating class chose the show’s theme song as the soundtrack to our senior year. Joe Cocker’s raspy voice assured us we’d get by with a little help from our friends. Still true today.

Every time I hear the opening line of the song, I get instantly transported back to 17 year old me.

“What would you do, if I sang out of tune?”

Which brings me to Daniel Johns. Silverchair’s enigmatic front man. He was just a kid when the world fell in love with him. I first saw Silverchair play at the Big Day Out on the Gold Coast.

Talent took Daniel all over the planet. I went too. I saw Silverchair play in Britain, Brazil and Brisbane. He struggled with the pressure and recently revealed the toll that fame took on his physical and mental health.

There’s a compelling podcast series called “Who is Daniel Johns?” where he talked about the highs and lows of being a grunge child star. It’s an extraordinary insight into the mind of a musical genius riddled with pain.

Last month Daniel updated his fans with another traumatic chapter. A car crash, rehab and a pending jail term. What’s next for Dan? “Wait til tomorrow…”

Ironically, the other teenage crush I had was pop star Peter Andre. With his tanned six pack front and centre he gyrated along singing “Gimme some kind of sign girl…” I met him once and I have no regrets about trekking to the Gold Coast for an autograph.

Pete married a reality TV star and became tabloid fodder in the UK.

In a mighty plot twist, he’s now married to a doctor and seems to be thriving in London building a health and fitness empire while still performing regular gigs that pull huge crowds.

Thousands of devoted fans who still want to sing along to “Mysterious Girl”. I suspect many of them are now middle aged women who are hoping he keeps their teenage dream alive.

Seems it’s a tough gig.

More Opinion stories

Loading next article