“It was scary to me. It was creepy,” Eggert tells PEOPLE about living through Haim's addiction in the '90s
The Baywatch alum, 52, is explaining the emotions that came with being engaged to Haim, who died from pneumonia in 2010 at age 38, during his addiction. The two costarred together in several movies, including 1992's Blown Away and 1993's Anything for Love.
Eggert will be appearing in the upcoming four-part docuseries Baywatch: The American Dream. Directed by Matt Felker, it will delve into the lives of the 1989–2001 series' cast onscreen and offscreen. The actress was part of the Baywatch cast from 1992–1994.
She tells PEOPLE exclusively that she loved being around Haim on the sets of their joint projects, but behind closed doors, things became “heavy.”
“It was scary to me. It was creepy,” she says. “I remember the first time I ever saw cocaine was from him, but he wasn't trying to get me to do anything with him. It was his own private thing, which in hindsight would feel a little bit strange, but he was never trying to drag me into that.”
The two met in the early '90s on the set of the film Blown Away, and dated from 1991 until 1993.
At the time, she says, she was negotiating her acting career while trying to deal with three years of sexual abuse, from ages 14 to 17, by her Charles in Charge costar Scott Baio. (Baio has repeatedly denied the allegations.) Haim, who said he had also experienced sexual abuse, talked to Eggert about his trauma, but she says she never told him about hers.
“I think I was still just in denial. I mean, I've really been in denial about it until recently when I started unpacking it and being like, ‘Okay, here it is,’” she explains. “But also I felt ashamed. Unfortunately, you carry shame and you carry embarrassment. I didn't ever want to be seen as a victim.”
She continues: “Once I worked through it and I got through it, I didn't like that, so I didn't talk about that.”
Most of their two-year relationship and short-lived engagement revolved around Haim’s addiction struggles, which were ever-present in his life. Eggert says she would take him to the hospital because she didn’t know how to help him when he was out of drugs.
“He’d go there [the hospital] to get stuff. When we'd be on set, producers supply it; they'd supply drugs, and prescriptions mostly is what I saw,” she reveals. “But no, if he was having the shakes and freaking out in the middle of the night and wanted to go to the emergency room, I'd take him. Because I wasn't in that head space or in that — I didn't know what to do. I was like, just take him to the hospital if that's where he wants to go.”
Spending so much time together on set, the former Charles in Charge star says she was able to enjoy herself with Haim, and they both also had their own lives in the spotlight. The pair got engaged, and from the outside looking in, everything was going smoothly.
“He proposed and we were working,” she says. “We were on set, everything was so fun.”
It was when they moved in together after the movie ended filming that Eggert saw what Haim’s days off the clock were like. She “quickly” realized she “had to wash my hands of” the relationship.
“We came back to L.A., and he didn't have a place because he'd been on the road filming and stuff, so I let him come stay with me at my place,” she says. “And then that's when I saw the real behavior and the real darkness. And I couldn't live with it, and I couldn't condone it or support it or anything like that. That's when I really saw the darkness.”
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After Eggert cut ties with Haim, she says she only kept in touch with him “here and there.” Still, up until his death almost two decades later, she says she loved him.
Now a single mom raising two daughters, Keegan, 12, and Dilyn, 25, Eggert — who was diagnosed with stage 2 cribriform carcinoma breast cancer in early December 2023 and exclusively revealed her health battle to PEOPLE — says it's been a rough journey for her, but she'll always remember her fondness for the late star.
“I would always consider him a friend forever," she says. "And I think he'd say the same."
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