There’s never a “good time” to be sentenced to jail for stabbing. But for Jeremy Jackson, best known as Los Angeles County’s own Hobie Buchannon, this is a particularly bad time. That’s because the former teen heartthrob is heading to the slammer on the eve of the 2017 Baywatch remake’s big debut.
This May, Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron will star in a more self-aware, comedic take on the ’90s classic. In its original iteration, Baywatch told the timeless story of L.A. lifeguards warding off shark attacks and particularly heinous one-piece wedgies. Led by David Hasselhoff as Mitch Buchannon, the beloved series starred Jeremy Jackson as Buchannon’s son Hobie. For nine years, Jackson knew the joys of slow-mo running next to Pamela Anderson for a living. It was all downhill from there.
In October 2015, news broke that the Baywatch alum had been arrested and subsequently released from jail following a stabbing incident. It seems to have occurred back in August—according to the alleged victim, Jeremy was trying to steal her boyfriend’s car. When she went to stop Jackson, he stabbed her with a knife. Law enforcement sources told TMZ that Jackson fled the scene of the incident, which took place near the woman’s L.A. home, and was later apprehended at a hotel. Following his arrest on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threats, Jackson pled not guilty and voluntarily entered rehab. At this point, it bears mentioning that this wasn’t Jeremy Jackson’s first stabbing charge…in 2015. In April, Jackson was arrested after a man was found with a stab wound in his torso. The Westlake stabbing victim told police “that he’d been attacked by ‘Hobie.’”
Jackson quickly countered, telling TMZ that he was the real victim. Apparently, he had been partying in a rented Airbnb “with some women”—just minding his own business—when a strange man appeared and held him up. Jackson insisted that another guy then showed up and tried to rob him too, even pulling out a gun. At that point, Jackson reports that he “pulled a buck knife from his jeans and stabbed the guy in the stomach area and arms.” Jackson further identified the alleged victim as “a Canoga Park gangbanger with a clown tattoo on his face.” Poor Jackson would have gotten away with it too, if he hadn’t returned to the scene of the crime the next day to forage around for his Gucci sunglasses. When he broke into the property to retrieve his sunnies, the cops came expecting a burglar, only to realize that they had also found their stabbing suspect.
While police appeared to buy Jackson’s self-defense claim—he was never charged—the former child star wasn’t so lucky with his second stabbing. Almost two years after the thwarted car-jacking incident, the actor pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 270 days in L.A. County Jail and five years of probation. Additionally, as reported by TMZ, the ex-Celebrity Big Brother contestant must complete 52 court-ordered anger management classes and as many Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
So how does a promising kid star go from co-starring with The Hoff and releasing a debut album in Germany to committing multiple annual stabbings and hosting Ed Hardy fashion shows? The answer is gradually, with the help of a healthy diet of methamphetamines and human growth hormone injections. The 36-year-old started acting in commercials three decades ago. On a 2006 episode of E! Child Star Confidential, he explained, “All my life I was raised by a single mom…I never got to know my dad. He was a drug addict, and that’s why my mom pretty much kidnapped us out of a bad situation.”
That good Baywatch money added fuel to the fire of a genetic predisposition. As he confessed during Confidential, “I probably made over $2 to $3 million from Baywatch…I had the means to destroy myself: I had a lot of money, and I had a lot of people around me that weren’t really my friends but I thought they were, and I totally got sucked into a downward spiral of a lifestyle.” At one point, Jackson recalled, his on-screen dad David Hasselhoff noticed that something was wrong. “He just kind of looked me in the eyes and was like: ‘Jeremy, what are you smoking, pot?!’ I didn’t have the heart to tell him: ‘That was two years ago — now I’m doing coke and ecstasy and speed.’”
While Jackson’s rampant drug use wasn’t exactly professional, his Baywatch career was thwarted by a different child star affliction: overconfidence. “The real deal was that I got a big head and I thought that I was better than Baywatch, or that I was going to go off and do my own stuff,” he explained. “I walked off one day with my middle finger up in the air, saying, ‘Screw you, I’m not coming back to this set.’ And I pulled myself off the show.”
At 19, Jackson was arrested with a full crystal meth kitchen in his duffel bag. “I had the fame, I had the girls, I had the money, and I threw it away,” Jackson recalled during a 2011 episode of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. “My drug of choice was crystal meth, and it was big-time downhill from that point on. I was drinking, doing coke, chasing this high with girls and sex. It was out of control.” Jackson ended up going to jail for 90 days on a possession charge, and then straight to rehab. “I think it was probably the fifth rehab I had been in,” Jackson added.
Jackson’s Celebrity Rehab stint also addressed his follow-up addiction: steroids. While Jackson might not be the first beefcake to aspire to be “the next Sylvester Stallone,” he certainly put his money where his mouth is. “I’ve spent at least $200,000 in the last three years strictly on steroids and pills and injections,” he confessed. “I do these human growth hormone injections…these are normally for AIDS patients or cancer patients or people recovering from serious surgeries to help their tissue repair.” Jackson also used his Celebrity Rehab screen time to advance his theory that drinking bottled water can lead to “cancer and bisexuality.”
In July of 2014, Jackson made headlines again when he got into a fight with Paris Hilton’s brother at her Malibu house party. Jackson told ET that he had just been trying to calm down a would-be attacker with a “common” Jiu-Jitsu hold—and ended up getting hit on the head with a vodka bottle and slammed into a Ferrari, not to mention “verbally attacked.”
Jackson’s latest attempt at a comeback came courtesy of Celebrity Big Brother in 2015. At the time, the formerly sober actor was practicing “controlled drinking.” It went poorly. Jackson was kicked out of the Big Brother house after only three days when he drunkenly tried to pull open British model Chloe Goodman’s bathrobe, non-consensually exposing her. In an interview released shortly after his dismissal, Jackson tried to argue that his actions were the result of a professional interest in Goodman’s extensive bathing suit collection. He semi-coherently insisted, “I toured the world producing fashion shows, that included bikini lines for five years. Working with models, dressing models and talking about fashion is something I do on a regular basis,” adding, “I venture to say I would have done the same thing sober...I can’t blame it on alcohol.”
On the heels of his CBB ousting, Jackson’s estranged wife Loni Willison went public with her own story, saying that Jackson had attacked and attempted to strangle her in their shared L.A. home. “Chloe should report Jeremy to the police for his own good,” she insisted. “I didn’t report him when he attacked me because I was scared. I was in a bad place emotionally and I didn’t want Jeremy to go to jail.” Willison continued, “At least now everyone can see what I had to put up with. It’s irresponsible of the producers to let him on there and give him alcohol with his history of addiction problems. Something like this was bound to happen.”
Willison released a terrifying audio recording that she claims was from the night that Jackson attacked her. LAPD officers were called to the scene of the August 2014 incident; according to the subsequent police report, “Susp. argued with vict (spous & cohab), susp used both hands to strangle vict and covered vict's nose and mouth with his left hand, preventing victim from breathing.” Willison did not press charges.
The fitness model also published a recording of her ex-husband rapping, which she says he sent to her a day before the alleged strangling. The 12-minute song begins, “I’m here to tell ya. I wanna kill ya, I take you to my casa homie house…and when you're getting comfy I'm gonna run ya. I bet you like it. I bet you love it. I bet you're getting cosy thinking you're above me but you're beneath me. And I'm the reaper. My name is Jeremy Jackson guess what I'm gonna teach ya.”
In conclusion, if Zac Efron wants to avoid the Baywatch curse—jail time and/or dating Julian Assange—he should stay away from methamphetamines and hip-hop.