“Home Improvement” star Zachery Ty Bryan downplayed a 2020 altercation between him and Johnnie Faye Cartwright, who at the time was the actor’s secret girlfriend.
Bryan, who had been seeing Cartwright for two years while married, was arrested in October 2020 and charged with felony strangulation, fourth-degree assault, coercion, menacing, harassment and interference with making a police report. Police dropped the charges besides menacing and fourth-degree assault, and Bryan chose to plead guilty.
He now says the arrest “got so blown out of proportion” and downplayed the events that occurred in a new interview.
“We didn’t even really get that physical. We got really loud. We were screaming and because we were in a townhome that had [thin walls], everybody could hear,” Bryan told The Hollywood Reporter. “Johnnie was, at the time, just really upset about my situation.”
‘HOME IMPROVEMENT’ STAR ZACHERY TY BRYAN PLEADS GUILTY TO TWO CHARGES IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASE
“At the end of the day, [the police] throw a bunch of counts at you because they ultimately want you to plead to something. I could’ve fought it … but that’s more stress and drama. I got two misdemeanors and called it a day,” he said.
Police said at the time that Bryan “assaulted the victim, impeded her breathing, and [took] the victim’s phone from her when she tried to call 911,” according to “E! News.” Bryan claimed in the police report at the time, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, that Cartwright attacked him and that she was setting him up to “ruin his career.”
“I heard her tell dispatch, ‘This is the guy from ‘Home Improvement.’ He’s this famous guy,'” Bryan claimed to officers at the time.
The former child actor-turned-producer now describes the moment as a wake-up call and called it a “learning experience.”
“I thank God for that,” Bryan told The Hollywood Reporter. “I went through a situation that I’m sure plenty of people across the globe experience with their partners, and that was a learning experience.”
Cartwright and Bryan are still together, according to the outlet. The two have welcomed three kids in the years since the 2020 arrest.
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Following the tumultuous year, the “First Kid” star has been attending self-management and recovery training (SMART) classes after a string of DUI arrests over the years.
“I definitely have an issue with drinking,” Bryan noted but stopped short of labeling himself as an alcoholic. The actor revealed he began drinking at age 14, but he has switched to a sober lifestyle.
“Back then, I was going to nightclubs, and they would just let me in because I was the kid from ‘Home Improvement.'” He now tries “to stay away from [alcohol],” saying, “I’ve just kind of disengaged. I’ve got my routine, I’m not going out and getting lit, and that takes away a lot of problems.”
Bryan was first arrested for DUI in 2004 at the age of 22. He was booked again in 2007, 2017 and 2020 — just months before the domestic assault occurred.
A representative for Bryan did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for additional comment.
Tim Allen, who starred as Bryan’s father on “Home Improvement,” said he’s not sure what’s been going on with his former co-star, who has also been accused of fraud involving a digital currency scheme.
“Zach is a great kid who has grown into a complex man,” Allen told The Hollywood Reporter a year ago. “All you can do is step aside and let somebody go through their process. At a certain point, he deviated from the guy I know to somebody who is reacting to situations that I had nothing to do with and can’t control.
“I don’t know what happens when people get corrupted. You just don’t know.”
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Bryan also detailed his transition from his “Home Improvement” stardom into behind-the-camera work as a producer.
“It was actually really difficult,” he said of trying to find work after his success on TV. “If you star in a TV show today, you can be in any film that you want, but back then, it was the polar opposite. You were stigmatized as a TV star, and no matter how good your audition, you were never going to be taken seriously. But I kept at it,” he explained.
“On the same token, you might get turned down on a bunch of projects, but you could go out at night and hang out with your buddies at Mel’s Diner and everybody knows you.”
He continued, “What moved me into producing is that it got to the point as an actor where I felt like I didn’t have control over my career anymore. As an actor, you’re like a cow going to the slaughterhouse, and you have to rely on so many people, from an agent to manager to lawyer. I figured I didn’t necessarily have to act anymore, there are other directions to go.”