Leif Garrett knows what Justin Bieber is going through. But the 1970s-era teen idol hopes that Bieber ends up avoiding what he went through.
"Do not believe your own publicity," the now 51-year-old actor warned Bieber in an interview with FoxNews.com when asked if he had any advice for the 19-year-old heartthrob. "Sussing out who your real friends are is full-time work. Every scum bag, every drug dealer, every chicken hawk wants a piece of you."
"When you've got that sort of power at that young age, and everything at your doorstep, you put out that bad boy image. At that age, testosterone, hormones, all of the money, you see what else you can get away with," Garrett continued. "He's also doing a lot of charity work."
Garrett found early success as a child star, hitting the big screen at 8 in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, and he had a top-10 single, "I Was Made for Dancin'," in 1979. But substance abuse issues and run-ins with the law eventually started to overshadow his acting career, and he appeared on the fourth season of Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew in 2010.
He told Fox that he did "too many" crazy things with his money to speak of as a youngster, though he also gave to charity, he said, like Bieber.
Asked if he saw a comparison between his high-profile relationship with Nicollette Sheridan back in the early 1980s to Bieber's much-chronicled, are-they-aren't-they romance with Selena Gomez, Garrett said that he did see parallels.
"Fame, money is what tore us apart," he recalled. "Nicolette just started modeling. My career was pretty much there. We would get along great or clear rooms. That's the whole thing with Justin and me. There was no in between...really good or really naughty."
Garrett also was asked how he managed to survive his addiction to drugs and alcohol, while substance abuse has claimed so many others, such as Cory Monteith just last month.
Addiction is "a tough one to beat," he said. "It takes your soul. It's your lover. It's your food. I looked, like, crappy, but I was doing work just to get money to pay for it. I've been lucky. There's a reason I'm here on this planet. I'm never going to hit 'teen idol' again and I don't want to. I'd rather be behind the scenes."