Conversation: Maylo Upton-Aames
When grace is enough
Soon after Maylo Upton-Aames ran away from home at 15 she
found her place in Hollywood. During her career, she made guest appearances in
several TV programs, including Hardcastle & McCormick, Riptide and The
A-Team. Her husband, Willie Aames, was best known for his roles in Eight Is
Enough and Charles in Charge and later as Bibleman. Last year, they released
their book Grace Is Enough. Upton-Aames recently spoke with Assistant Editor
tpe: What were the pros and cons of your time in Hollywood?
UPTON-AAMES: Since my childhood was so difficult, I had a
lot of pent-up emotions, and acting was a good avenue for me to work through
some of that stuff and gain some confidence. But it gave me access to a lot of
money and to cocaine — the drug of choice in Hollywood in the ’80s. I was
smoking pot before that.
tpe: How did your childhood trauma lead to drug abuse?
UPTON-AAMES: My mom’s boyfriend first raped me when I was 11
years old, and it went on continually until I ran away from home. I would cry
One night about a year into it, he came up to my bedroom and
told me to go into my bathroom, and underneath the bathroom sink he had left a
joint. I knew what it was. He and my mom smoked pot in the living room all the
time in front of us. He said it would calm me down and help me sleep.
tpe: How did you break your addictions?
UPTON-AAMES: Willie was newly sober when I met him. I had no
intention of ever stopping drugs, but he managed to get me to Alcoholics
Anonymous and eventually Cocaine Anonymous. Once I got sober, I started crying,
and I didn’t stop for a couple of years. I was so unbelievably traumatized that
every single night for three years I woke up with night terrors. He would just
hold me. I was 5-foot-7 and weighed 98 pounds. I was a train wreck.
tpe: How did you and Willie find Christ?
UPTON-AAMES: Driving home one day I heard a guy on the radio
who sounded like a really good AA speaker. A few days later, Willie was in the
car with me and this person was on the radio again. We pulled over in a parking
lot and listened. The program ended, and lo and behold it was a pastor of a
church that happened to be about two blocks from where we lived. We visited the
church, and a pastor led us to the Lord.
tpe: How are you doing now spiritually?
UPTON-AAMES: God is the most real thing in my life. Every
day that I don’t go in prayer and sit at His feet and say “I love You,” the
hurt, the rage, the pain, everything comes right back. I know without a doubt
in me is no good thing. The truest parts of me are the parts that are nurtured
and encouraged by the Holy Spirit to be good.
tpe: What advice do you give people who had a troubled
UPTON-AAMES: You cannot let what happened to you define you.
You are a creature fashioned by God in His image, loved by God and offered
salvation. God can make a way for your story to help others come to know His
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