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Issue Date: January 2008


Living | like a Bonaduce

Jaclyn Bradley moved to Los Angeles to make it as a singer and actress. It took living with Danny Bonaduce as he broke down on VH-1’s “Breaking Bonaduce,” meeting childhood idols and living a lifestyle that still seems surreal to realize what she really wanted out of life. (Hint: It’s here in Northeast Ohio.)
by Jaclyn Bradley as told to Andy Netzel
Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be famous. I just didn’t know I’d get that opportunity through Danny Bonaduce.

I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my own music and acting career.

I was working at a restaurant like everyone else in L.A. My friend was working for NBC at the time, and I sent her my résumé. A couple of weeks go by, and my friend calls me and says, “I just gave your résumé to an actor. I hope it’s OK.”

I had known who Danny Bonaduce was from his adult life. I never watched “
The
Partridge Family,” but I knew he was on it. But I was really intrigued by his marriage. He married Gretchen the day they met. I remember seeing that on “Biography.”

To get the job, I had to interview with Danny, the kids and the dogs. It went well. The German shepherd was on one side licking me, and the Chinese crested was on my shoulder. Dante, the 3-year-old boy, is kissing me. Their daughter is pulling me up to meet the cats. Danny is asking me questions, and I’m answering them the best I can. He offered me the job on the spot.

I was hired in January, and in April, the cameras started shooting every aspect of their lives, including me.

Danny is great, but everybody has a dark and light side. These cameras started rolling during the darkest part of Danny’s life. His wife threatened to end things. He broke his hand and was on Vicodin, then started steroids. The cameras captured his breakdown. It was not easy to work there.

Danny never crossed any lines, but there were times that were really hard. One time Danny came up to me and said, “I need your help picking out a Harley.” He and Gretchen were going through a rough patch. I was really close with her, and I cared about him, too. I told him I didn’t know anything about motorcycles. He said he didn’t care. He wanted to know what motorcycle made him look the hottest since he was going to be single soon, and he’d need to pick up women. So, I picked out Danny’s Harley.

It would have been easy to quit. Because I’m such a strong person, I thought I needed to be there to help him and his children during this time.

It was constantly an adventure. It was two whirlwind years of experiences I could only dream about living.

One time I was home in Lorain and my phone rang. My mom answered it and it was Mario Lopez, who was on “Saved by the Bell,” trying to track down Danny. When my mom says, “Mario Lopez is on the phone,” she looked like she was about to have a heart attack.

But it all started to feel very normal. That’s the strangest thing. This became normal, everyday life:

One night, I had been in the hotel all day with the kids. Danny said, “Let’s go out!” We were walking into the clubs, and people would call out to us. They knew he was someone, but weren’t sure who.

• • •

Fiona Apple was in a hotel bar and we got to have wine with her and just hang out.

• • •

One night, it was Gretchen’s birthday party, and most people had gone home. There were seven or eight of us left in her living room, including Vivian Campbell, the guitarist of Def Leppard. He’s playing guitar, and we’re all singing along. He’s trying to figure out songs we all know, but he’s not playing any Def Leppard. We’re all thinking,
You have to play “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”
But no one is saying it. Finally Danny does. We all start jamming out to Def Leppard with the Def Leppard guitarist. I had to pinch myself.

• • •

I went to Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson’s wedding. I was dancing to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll,” and during the song Bob Seger is sitting there watching us.

• • •

Terri Nunn was the lead singer of Berlin. I grew up idolizing her. She was adopting a little girl from Russia, and we’re going to throw her a baby shower. So now I’m planning a party for one of my idols.

• • •

My dream was to be famous.

I wanted to be recognized for my talents. I wanted popularity, love and acceptance. But by working for someone who had fame, I realized that all the things I was seeking weren’t going to come from fame. They were all here in my backyard in Ohio. By working for Danny, I realized that living that lifestyle is not all it’s cracked up to be.

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