Terminator 2: Judgement Day still stands as one of the greatest action films ever made. Everyone knows what star Arnold Schwarzenegger is doing at any time, but what about Edward Furlong? His performance as John Conner was the heart of the film, yet he seems to have disappeared from Hollywood entirely. His story is one of heartbreak and triumph.
Discovered at a Boys and Girls Club, Furlong was just 14 years old when T2 hit theaters in the summer of 1991. His career was off to a hot start, promptly capitalizing on the momentum of the franchise. In 1992, he starred opposite Jeff Bridges in American Heart, and landed the lead role in Pet Sematary 2. The following year he starred in A Home of Our Own with Kathy Bates, so he was regularly getting thrust into the spotlight.
Tumult From The Start
Furlong’s success brought tumult. As far back as 1994, Entertainment Weekly thought fame came too quickly for him. The director of A Home of Our Own, Tony Bill, wrote: “Eddie Furlong didn’t choose the movies, the movies chose him and it has taken a heavy toll… who’s taking care of this kid?” He shockingly said, “I’ve never worked with a kid who was so clearly on a path to disaster.” This premonition would sadly prove well-founded.
His casting in T2 led Furlong directly to an ugly custody battle. He started dating Jacqueline Domac, who was 28 when he was just 15. A statutory rape lawsuit would later be brought against Domac, though she was never prosecuted. She would later sue Furlong for domestic abuse in 1999.
Battle With Substances
Furlong continued to work steadily throughout the 90s, culminating in the cult classic American History X. In 2000, he checked into rehab for the first time, attempting to fight his addiction to heroin and cocaine. The next decade would be marked by continuing lawsuits, more domestic violence charges, and multiple arrests.
Better Days Ahead
In 2021, Furlong sat down with Ethan Suplee to discuss his recovery. He’s now three years sober and is being welcomed back to the Terminator franchise. His likeness was used in 2019’s Terminator: Dark Fate, and it looks like the franchise is interested in bringing him back for the sequel. He’s also doing the convention circuit, so he appears to be in a good place right now.
Furlong’s story is sadly a warning of what child stars can go through. From the very beginning he lacked a solid support system, and he ultimately found himself on a rough path. He’s finally sober and is trying to get his career back on track.