Gary Coleman's Parents Speak Out
"That's how we want him remembered, for the joy that he brought to so many people," Sue Coleman told the Today Show.
For the first time since Gary Coleman's death, his parents are speaking out. They were estranged from their adopted son for more than 20 years.
"It's almost like you lost your son twice," Meredith Vieira of the Today Show said.
Willie Coleman replied, "We did, we did. The last time we lost him, he's lost forever."
Willie wiped away tears and held his wife Sue's hand throughout their interview with the Today Show's Meredith Vieira Friday.
"Do you feel that you were robbed of the opportunity to be with your son during his last moments?" Vieira asked.
"Yes," Willie said.
The Colemans say Gary's ex-wife Shannon Price wouldn't allow them to come to their son's deathbed.
They also reacted to those controversial hospital photos, which Shannon has denied selling to the supermarket tabloids. "That was disturbing," Sue said.
Coleman had famously accused his parents of stealing much of his Diff'rent Strokes fortune. "It's all untrue, everything they said about us is untrue," Willie said.
Despite the rift, they've always remained hopeful that they would reconcile with their son, covering the walls of their home outside Chicago with photos of the legendary child star.
Shannon Price has just filed this handwritten document which she says was written by Coleman in 2007.
It makes her the "sole heir" of all his money and even specifies that she should get his "model trains, vehicles, cars, toys, games, and electronics."
Gary signs off by writing "this I have done because of my personal selfishness and weakness and I love her with all my heart."
Shannon's lawyer claims in new court papers that Shannon and Gary "continued to engage in romantic and sexual relations" even after their divorce in 2008.
In regard to their son's estate, the Coleman's said they do not plan to fight the will.
On the Today Show, Coleman's mother described her last encounter with her son 10 years ago.
"What were the last words your son said to you, do you remember," Vieira asked.
Sue replied, "We said goodbye and I love you, and he said I love you too."