Home Improvement star Zachery Ty Bryan says his domestic violence arrest in Oregon was a ‘wake-up call’ as he tries to rebuild his life.
The former child star, now 41, claimed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that the physical altercation in October 2020 started because his girlfriend at the time, Johnnie Faye Cartwright, was upset he was ‘living a double life’ and was still married — even though he had announced his divorce two weeks earlier.
He later pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of menacing and assault in the fourth degree and was sentenced to a three-year probation, attendance in a violence intervention program and was ordered to have no further contact with the victim.
Bryan says he now tries to stay away from alcohol, but he and Cartwright are still together and are now raising three children of their own.
Meanwhile, the star faces further scrutiny for allegedly stealing his friends’ and investors’ money in a fraudulent scheme.
Zachery Ty Bryan, 41, was arrested in Oregon in October 2020 for domestic violence. He was accused of strangling his girlfriend at the time
Bryan had just announced two weeks before that he was getting a divorce from his longtime wife, Carly Matros. The two are pictured together in 2016
Bryan rose to national fame in the 1990s as the eldest child on Home Improvement, which also starred Tim Allen and future teen heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
After the show ended in 1999, Bryan turned to film roles and earned guest spots on television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
He then became an executive producer on independent films, and married his high school sweetheart Carly Matros in 2007.
They would go on to have four children that they raised together in a multi-million dollar home in Newport Beach. The youngest, a son, was born in March 2019, joining three daughters — including a set of twins.
In more recent years, Bryan made a name for himself as a conservative commentator on platforms like FOX News and The Daily Wire.
But in September 2020, Bryan announced he and Matros were getting a divorce — plagiarizing Armie Hammer’s divorce announcement almost word for word.
He now admits to The Hollywood Reporter: ‘I was just in party freaking mode — making movies, traveling, drinking. I wasn’t living the way I was raised, you know what I mean?
‘I was not being a faithful husband, and I was not being the best me,’ he continued. ‘I thought I would be able to go out and do whatever I wanted, have fun, come home and be a family man with my kids. That’s not how the real world works.’
Just 16 days after the announcement, in October, Bryan was arrested in Oregon and charged with felony strangulation, fourth-degree assault, coercion, menacing, harassment and interference with making a police report.
The most serious charges, including felony strangulation, were later dropped and he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors.
Bryan was then sentenced to three years probation, attendance in a violence intervention program and was ordered to not have any contact with the victim.
He was also ordered by the court not to ‘buy possess or consume alcoholic beverages’ or be in any place that sells or serves alcohol as its primary purpose.
It was his second arrest of 2020, after being booked for DUI in Orange County that May. He pleaded guilty in that case as well, and was sentenced to five years probation and 18 months in a multiple-offender alcohol program due to a record of other DUI arrests in 2004, 2007 and 2017.
Bryan had rose to national fame in the 1990s as the eldest child on Home Improvement, which also starred Tim Allen and future teen heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas
After the show ended in 1999, Bryan turned to film roles and earned guest spots on television shows. He is pictured here on Home Improvement with Tim Allen
In recent years, he has become a conservative commentator on FOX News and The Daily Wire
According to Oregon police records obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Cartwright claimed that on the night of the alleged assault, Bryan, with whom she had been in a ‘sexually intimate’ relationship for two years, woke her up demanding to know what happened to his cellphone charging cables.
She alleged that he ‘pulled her hair’ and punched her in the face multiple times.
The two then fell on a set of stairs, at which point, the police report says, Bryan ‘grabbed Cartwright’s neck with both hands and choked her’ for about 45 seconds.
Responding officers said they saw multiple injuries on Cartwright, who claimed Bryan became abusive a month earlier.
But Bryan claimed Cartwright woke him up and bit him in the groin.
He alleged that her injuries were self-inflicted in an effort to set him up because she ‘wanted to ruin his career’ after he said he wanted to break up and stop paying her rent.
‘I heard her tell dispatch, “This is the guy from Home Improvement. He’s the famous guy,”‘ Bryan reportedly told officers on the scene.
Looking back, he says the arrest ‘got so blown out of proportion’ by the media, and claims it was not as physical as the police report states.
He explained that he and Cartwright began seeing each other when he was still married and there were times she would get upset over his ‘double life.’
And even though he announced his divorce, Bryan claimed the fight escalated that night because they had both ‘been drinking too much.
‘We didn’t even really get that physical,’ he said. ‘We got really loud. We were screaming and because we were in a townhome that had [thin walls], everybody could hear.’
He continued to say Cartwright ‘was at the time just really upset about my situation.’
And, he claimed, ‘At the end of the day, [the police] throw a bunch of counts at you because they ultimately want you to plead something,’ noting that cops nicknamed him ‘Country Club Zach’ and seemed to poke fun at his fame.
‘I could’ve fought it… but that’s more stress and drama,’ Bryan explained. ‘I got two misdemeanors and called it a day.’
But he said he now thanks God for his arrest, describing it as a ‘wake up call.’
‘I went through a situation that I’m pretty sure plenty of people across the globe experience with their partners, and that was a learning experience,’ Bryan said.
He acknowledged he ‘definitely [has] an issue with drinking’ but does not believe the term ‘alcoholic’ applies to him.
‘Dude, I started drinking when I was 14,’ he said. ‘Back then I was going to nightclubs and they would just let me in because I was the kid from Home Improvement.’
Now, he says, he tries to stay away from alcohol, explaining: ‘I’m not going out and getting lit, and that takes away a lot of my problems.’
Bryan continues to face scrutiny for his role selling tokens for an ag-tech company that never materialized
He and Cartwright are still together.
In November 2021, just one year after his arrest, Bryan revealed that he and Cartwright were engaged to be married.
Based on the timeline of his now private Instagram account, The Hollywood Reporter found, Cartwright was already pregnant with a girl at the time.
He announced the birth on the social media platform in spring 2022.
That November, Bryan also revealed that he and Cartwright were expecting twins, and she gave birth in May.
But the actor/producer continues to face scrutiny from some who considered him one of their closest friends.
In 2018, they explain, Bryan linked up with Producers Market, an ag-tech startup focused on farmers and the global food chain.
The company aimed to empower farmers by removing the middleman and putting profits more directly in their tokens using a QR ode that would allow them to tip farmers.
It explored using tokens to fund growth, and brought Bryan — who had made millions in the early days of Bitcoin — on as an adviser to help develop relationships within the crypto community.
He then invested in the money in the company, and asked others to do the same.
But the plans for a token system never materialized, and in 2019 the company officially decided to end Bryan’s role as an advisor.
Executives learned just one year later that Bryan was selling the nonexistent tokens to other investors.
‘Mr. Bryan misrepresented our company without our knowledge, participation or permission,’ a spokesperson said. ‘When we found out, we immediately issued a cease and desist demand to him.
‘This activity is unacceptable and not a reflection of our mission to support the well0being of farmers and our food systems.’
But Bryan denies he was ‘running some shady scam deal — that’s just not me.’
‘What people don’t understand is that you take risks, nothing is for sure,’ he said, vowing that if the company ever goes public, he will personally distribute his Producers Market stock to those who are still waiting on their money.