In November of 2013, Paul Walker was in Atlanta shooting Furious 7. He decided to take a break and fly back to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving. Two days later he was dead, burned to death in the wreck of a Porsche that had slammed into a pole and then burst into flames. On the surface, he was a happy guy. Not many got to see his dark side, the side born of a troubled childhood, self-loathing and an increasingly bitter resentment of what he called "Hollywood Garbage". Pushed into the modeling limelight as a toddler, fame and Hollywood never held much in the way of attractions for him. Ironically, on the day he died, he may well have been the happiest he had been in a long time. He had his teenage daughter, Meadow, living with him. She gave him a sense of meaning he had never had before. And on that fateful day, he had attended a charity event held by his baby, Reach Out Worldwide. And when he and friend and business partner Roger Rodas, climbed into Rodas' Porsche Carrera GT and drove away from the party, nobody expected what was coming next. In the wake of his death there were unholy battles over his money and custody of his daughter. And in the background, there was talk of his taste in underage girls, an alcoholic baby mama and lots and lots of lawsuits. Here comes 15 things about his life and death Walker wouldn't want you to know.
Everybody loved Paul Walker. But there was a dark side to the guy his fans never saw. The year he died, he told Indiewire that life was just too short and that he wanted all his celebrity status to just go away. He had been pushed into show biz by his mom when he could barely walk. Had he had enough? Some say yes. And he once said he had turned down Superman because he said he was a good guy with a bad side. Or a bad guy with a good side. He was never certain which. Oh, he could be very bad. We'll get to a spot of homelessness and felony in a bit. But one thing is for certain: Walker's good/bad guy was perfect for the role of the undercover cop in The Fast and the Furious franchise. Rumor had it that he carried a lot of baggage from a troubled childhood and was emotionally immature. Maybe that's why when he was a big movie star, he had this tendency to go for underage girls. Shy, soft-spoken underage girls.
First things first: Paul Walker was into much younger girls. Take Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell. They met when she was 16-years old and he was 33-years old. He was a movie star and she was a cute kid from a nice family. And the family gave its blessing when underage Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell began "dating" Paul Walker. A few days before he died, Walker had played golf with her uncle. By then, Jasmine was 23-years-old and attending college and, bizarrely, becoming a kind of step mother to Walker's 16-year-old daughter Meadow. Was there a future for the couple? Some doubted it, noting Walker's pronounced tendency to avoid commitment. It's not likely he would have uttered the "M" word willingly. As his baby mama knew all too well.
Reportedly, Rebecca Soteros and Paul Walker started dating in the late 1990s, a few years before he hit it big in The Fast and the Furious. Don't worry. She was legal at the time. But when she got pregnant (with Meadow), he flat out refused to marry her, saying that at 25, he wasn't mature enough. WTF? What kind of guy would do that kind of thing? See, there is just this pattern with Walker. Well, fast forward to 2011 and Meadow, who has been raised in Hawaii by her mom, comes to California to live with her movie star dad. Seems Rebecca had a bit of a problem with alcohol. Well, some say quite a big problem in that department, including the odd DUI. According to Walker, he and Rebecca were really good friends. Somehow, we can't see it. But what about all that lovely money in his estate after he dies...
Okay, after he died, everybody is comforting everybody and things are cool between the Walkers and Rebecca. But see, Paul Walker's will left everything to Meadow. And "everything" was around $25 million or so. So the 16-year-old is rich. Only thing is, mama Rebecca is totally p*ssed off and decides to wade in and claim a piece of the action. Great outrage from Walker's mom and dad and brother. The truth is, Rebecca hasn't got a leg to stand on and so she finally gives up on that front. Wait for it. Next comes the custody battle over who will be the guardian of the $25 million. We mean Meadow. Same thing really. By then, there was no love lost between Rebecca and the Walkers. And the Walkers? They were supposedly a close and loving family. Paul's early years prove that things are not always as they seem...
There is a lot of very vague stuff out there about Paul Walker's early life. His parents fought all the time, in fact had a toxic marriage. As we'll see, he was working in TV and film from an early age. And some say he went from a happy-go-lucky kid to a troubled one somewhere along the way. He himself has that he was out on his own when he was 16-years-old. Did he run away from his strict Mormon home, or was he pushed? He has said that by the time he was 18-years-old he was facing felony charges. He refused to give any details. The only thing he ever confirmed was that he didn't hurt anybody. So, a spot of robbery maybe. See, the young Walker could do very bad things and then turn on the charm to get out of trouble. The bad/good guy thing again. He wasn't so sure he even liked himself much.
The felony charge went away. Charm? Luck? Both? The TV work was drying up, which many said suited Paul. So, he went to college to study Marine Biology. By that time he was in Santa Barbara and, by his own admission, was homeless, finding shelter in garages and pan-handling to get enough money to buy food. No word on what he later called his "close and loving family" were up to at the time. The thing is, that time on the streets made him more compassionate. But it also instilled in him an almost pathological fear of running out of money. He didn't like the fame thing much, but he totally liked the millions he made off of it. Some say that's why he stayed in Hollywood and why he ended up dying there. But one thing is certain: He loved Meadow as much as he hated Hollywood. Bizarrely, he called her the best "partner" he had ever had.
Aubrianna Atwell met Paul Walker at the Hollywood Canteen when she was 16-years-old and he was around 30-years -old. She was his first jailbait girlfriend. At least the first we know of. Rumor has it that he turned on that charm and her father, a wealthy real estate broker, gave his blessings. N0 prizes for guessing what they got up to. It was around the time he hit it big in The Fast and the Furious. Did it last? Are you kidding? No. Anyway, reportedly they remained friends and Walker was due to go to be at her side at father's funeral a week or so after he died in that fiery crash. She's moved on big time, done a bit of modeling and is raking in big money as a real estate broker in Las Vegas. She called him a charming and generous man. Didn't everybody?
Back to Walker's will. It said he wanted his mom to raise Meadow. So, there they are living in Walker's not too shabby estate. But wait, you say, what about the alcoholic baby mama? This time around, she's got rights. After all, she is the kid's mom. Anyway, reportedly, Rebecca had a fit and rolled up demanding Meadow. Some say she even snatched and ran. So, Walker's mom Cheryl, is in court asking for custody and Rebecca is in court asking for custody. It was a mess and made for great tabloid stories. Finally, granny and mama reach a deal and agree Rebecca can have custody on one condition? You guessed it: Back to rehab. Oh yeah, get a nanny too. She got the kid and a house out of it. And probably a fair bit more. And then there are all those lovely lawsuits to come.
After the choked up Vin Diesel Tweets, came the lawsuits. Meadow Walker sued Roger Rodas' estate and got a cool $10 million. After all, he was driving. Roger Rodas' widow sued Porsche for wrongful death saying the car was defective. But she lost out because Roda died instantly. So then Paul Walker's dad sues Porsche on behalf of his estate. Then Meadow plunges into the Porsche thing and sues the company herself. It's kind of hard to make out what is what and who wins and loses. Other than the lawyers. They are winners big time. One thing we do know for certain is what Porsche thinks. Not our fault, they say. But wait. There are those emails.
The million dollar question is: Did Porsche know that the Carrera GT was an unsafe car? Meadow Walker's 2015 lawsuit says 'hell yes'. Porsche says 'heck no'. But the simple fact is that the car was built for racing and is notoriously unstable and hard to drive. After Meadow filed her $52 million lawsuit, Porsche said no way were they liable. Only thing is, in February of 2017, once redacted emails exchanged between Porsche (probably ex) employees were unearthed by Meadow's lawyers. Seems they had had ample notice of the problems. Were they concerned? Nope. In fact they were joking about it. If some moron totaled his Carrera, then the remaining ones out there would just be more valuable. It's a watch this space moment, with the trial due for November of 2017. We're betting Porsche will settle big time. Don't you love it when big corporate bad guys screw up?
Back to Walker's non-childhood before he turned sullen rebel. That's where it all started. Growing up in Los Angeles, California seems like an idyllic existence to some. All that sunshine. All those movie stars. Now, two things were apparent pretty early on in Paul Walker's life. Number one, he was one good looking kid. And? He was cheeky, full of fun, a kid everybody liked. Aha, says former model mom Cheryl. I am on to a winner here. So, she signs on the dotted line and the kid was doing Pamper commercials when he was 2-years-old. And before he even hit puberty, mom had gotten him acting gigs on TV and in movies. You can't miss him. He is the cute, cheeky kid with tousled blonde hair and a big smile. Some say he didn't have much of a childhood. The problems would soon begin, ending in felony charges and homelessness. Word is he was lucky to have survived.
On the one hand we have the hunky, multi-millionaire star of all those Fast and Furious films. That's the smiling, happy Paul Walker, the regular guy, the generous guy who gives back to those who need it most. He does documentaries about homelessness and funds a charity to help people devastated by disaster. And that guy was totally real. But behind the smiles was a guy who didn't have a childhood. As a teenager, he lashed out and got into trouble. What saved him? Ironically, the answer to that is probably Hollywood, TV and film. They didn't so much save him as throw him a financial bone. And he was hooked. Some say trapped. Remember, this is the guy who said he wanted the fame thing to just go away and leave him be. And that was in 2013, towards the end. That guy's view of Hollywood. Simple. It was garbage.
The thing about Paul Walker was that he probably didn't like himself much. As his father said: "I always told him that [I loved him], I always gave him a kiss. I knew that eventually he might come to realize what a good person he was." But did he? Probably not. That's why having Meadow there was so important. She was a kind of life-line that defined his life and gave him a sense of belonging. He has admitted that when he dated Rebecca Soteros he played around sleeping with her best friends (some best friends...) and refusing to marry her when she became pregnant with Meadow. He was, he said, "an evil SOB". And he believed it.
Walker, minutes before his death in Roger Rodas' Carrera GT. What was all the speed about? All his fast cars and his love of racing. Paul Walker had 30 cars when he died (they were, by the way, stolen just after his death). Many said he was a death wish waiting to happen and that his addictions to fast cars and young women would be the death of him. If an irate father didn't take him out, an accident would. He had had warnings, had come close to death in a motorcycle accident. Indeed, he seemed to have more than his fair share of accidents. But he didn't stop. He kept racing. Kept buying fast race cars.
Famous words from Walker that were often repeated after his death. But the simple facts? He burned to death, trapped in a vehicle that was so mangled you couldn't even tell what make or model it was. It was a horrible death. And what came after? When young stars die, the legend is born. After his death his brothers, who bore a striking family resemblance to Walker, stepped in and helped the movie makers finish the film. It is full of veiled and not so veiled tributes to the actor. Now, rumor has it that the Fast and Furious franchise was running out of steam and that Furious 7 and its box office got a huge boost from his martyrdom to speed. They were smiling big time.
Sources: cnn, dailymail, carbuzz