Reggie Hayes battling heart failure, lack of work after ‘Girlfriends’ stardomSeptember 25, 2020
Acting Jobs were not easy to come by for Reggie Hayes after ‘Girlfriends’
Actor Reggie Hayes did not have the best of luck snagging acting roles after Girlfriends ended.
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Hayes, 51, played the beloved William Dent on the hit show created by Mara Brock Akil starring Golden Brooks, Tracee Ellis Ross, Persia White, and Jill Marie Jones. He recently spoke with The Chicago Tribune and told the outlet not only have acting jobs dried up since the show ended in 2008, he now suffers from congestive heart failure.
“Here in L.A., the sky has been orange with smoke (because of wildfires) and it was just really terrible,” the actor told the Tribune. “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.”
On Girlfriends which ran first on UPN and then The CW from 200-2008, Hayes was the lovable fifth wheel and sometimes lover to a couple of the women. His character was a funny and vibrant fan favorite, so Hayes was shocked when the show ended and he couldn’t find a job. He said the offers just stopped coming in.
Though the show changed his life, the Chicago native says he wasn’t prepared for his success. By 14, he’d lost both parents, finishing high school at a military academy in Wisconsin.
“God, I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I’d had more time to ease into it. That you have to save your money. And you need to develop good friendships with people that aren’t going to just go away. Try to find people who aren’t just after you for your money. And maybe pursue other interests.”
The actor says he tried to work as a bouncer but didn’t have the temperament. He also tried moving furniture but said he didn’t have the back for it.
“It was a difficult time, money-wise, 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,” Hayes told the Tribune. “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.”
Recently, Girlfriends was picked up by Netflix and Hayes is excited to see himself back on TV.
“Feels like a second birthday,” he said. “Watching it again, I’m surprised at how skinny I was! Because I never really thought of myself as a cool guy who had a lot of luck with the ladies, and now I’m like, ‘Why not, I was gorgeous!’
The actor may have fallen on bad times after his time on the show, but he’s maintained a positive attitude.
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“It was such a blessing. It really changed my life,” Hayes said. “Of all the parts I could have played on TV, I think that was the best job I could have gotten.”
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