Girlfriends actor Reggie Hayes has shared details about his declining health, career setbacks, and financial troubles in a new interview.
In July, Netflix announced it would be bringing several classic Black sitcoms to the streaming service, including Moesha and Girlfriends.
Related Story: Classic Black Sitcoms Including ‘Girlfriends’ and ‘Moesha’ Coming to Netflix
With his name back into the spotlight, Hayes opened up about his financial and health struggles in a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune. The actor told the publication he was hospitalized on Friday, Sept. 18.
“We’re still not sure what’s going on, I gotta take more tests,” he said. “But I have congestive heart failure and it was difficult to breathe. Here in L.A., the sky has been orange with smoke (because of wildfires) and it was just really terrible. So I was in the hospital overnight, they were having trouble getting my blood pressure back down. Seems like the more they look, the more problems they find. The good thing is, I don’t have the coronavirus.”
Hayes played Joan’s (Tracee Ellis Ross) best friend William on UPN’s hit sitcom Girlfriends. The show ran from 2000 to 2008. After the series wrapped, Hayes said he struggled to find acting work and ended up living in his sister’s garage.
“It’s not my most proud time,” he explained. “I had starred on this long-running show but I wasn’t Matt LeBlanc or one of the other kids from Friends who had doors opening for them after their show ended. Pretty much, I was just another guy.”
Hayes said the money quickly ran out.
“I had started a complete rebuild on my house and all of a sudden I didn’t have a job. But the house was on an amazing piece of land and I was able to sell it and break even,” he said about his living situation. “So I moved from a house on the hill down to a little bungalow in a sketchy area and people would come by: ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ Those were pretty awful years. I made it work with my little residual checks for a year and then I ended up moving into my sister’s garage for six years.”
Hayes said he attempted to find work outside of entertainment.
“I tried being a bouncer for a while, and everyone in the club wanted their picture taken with me,” he said. “I’m 6’2” but everybody knows I’m like a mouse; once you know me, you know I’m a pushover. So that didn’t work out. I also tried being a furniture mover, but I was in my 40s so that only lasted a couple of days. My back never would have survived it.”
Still, he wouldn’t change a thing about his experience on Girlfriends.
“It was such a blessing. It really changed my life. Of all the parts I could have played on TV, I think that was the best job I could have gotten,” he said. “Looking back, I’m pretty proud of myself.”