MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Remember Ted Williams, the homeless man with the huge booming voice captured on a YouTube video last year?
Williams says he’s clean and sober after his ascent to superstardom when that video went viral. Williams says the attention he received was too much, too soon.
“It was a little bit too fast too soon,” Williams told WCCO Radio’s John Hines. “I didn’t know which way I was going, I was being pulled here, I was being pulled there, it was like come be on our station, no don’t go on there. It was too much for me after 17 years of being homeless, hungry, drug addicted and all of that … it was just too fast.”
The 54-year old Williams has penned a book, “A Golden Voice.” The book details his years as a popular Ohio DJ, and his fall into crack addiction and homelessness.
“The book talks about the upsides, the downsides, the all-around-sides — I wanted this to be the most honest book anybody could read,” said Williams. “There’s no sugar coating, and I know it might be a little dark to some readers, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
It also chronicles his rapid rise to fame after being filmed by a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch. At the time, Williams was panhandling near a road in Columbus.
“Now even family members are coming out of the woodwork, people that wouldn’t have given me the time of day now are calling me, ‘Ted, can I get a ticket to that one show.'”
Williams said he never abused prescription pain medicines, but found initial solace in alcohol – especially after his overnight fame made him a hot commodity among talk shows looking for interviews. Dealing with the rival requests but him under a new kind of stress both mentally and physically.
“Pills were not my drugs of choice,” he recalled. “I went right to the bottle as a pain reliever. It wasn’t just to get high or drunk, it was working as a sedative for me…. The only relief and self-medicating way I knew how to get rid of all of that tension came straight out of a Grey Goose bottle.”
Even though the sudden fame led to more problems for Williams, he told Hines he’s turned a corner and is living on the straight and narrow.
“The blessings continue to be in my life.”