Child star’s strange adult life

 

It's approaching 20 years since a baby-faced Frankie Muniz burst onto our screens as the brainiac middle child of his dysfunctional family on Malcolm in The Middle.

He was 14 when he first starred as the titular character of the six-year-running sitcom, with a sprinkling of film appearances in between.

Then, he seemingly vanished from the public eye, emerging years later with a bizarre admission: he doesn't remember a single thing from the role that made him famous.

Adding to the intrigue, he doesn't know how or why he lost his memory.

Malcolm in the Middle ran from 2000 — 2006. Picture: Supplied.
Malcolm in the Middle ran from 2000 — 2006. Picture: Supplied.


While Muniz's fate didn't follow the same tragic path as his child star cohort - including rumoured ex Amanda Bynes' well-documented years of trouble - his post-fame trajectory has been almost as strange.

His only memory of playing Malcolm has come from seeing himself in old episodes, he doesn't remember a trip to Australia - a photo of him atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge his only proof - and he even previously admitted his wife, Paige Price, writes down how he spends each day for the fear he might wake up one day and not recall a thing.

Muniz and Bynes were reportedly once “great friends”, and possibly even dated. Picture: Supplied.
Muniz and Bynes were reportedly once “great friends”, and possibly even dated. Picture: Supplied.

He's maintained that he's never had a sip of alcohol, touched a drug or cigarette in his life, but revealed he has suffered 15 "mini strokes" and nine concussions.

Whether this is the true cause of his memory loss, however, has never been medically explored.


CAREER

After a few years of scoring small parts on sitcoms and made-for-TV movies, Muniz - a piercingly blue-eyed late bloomer (a fact he's long acknowledged), broke through in the early part of 2000 with Malcolm in The Middle.

In 2002, Muniz appeared in Big Fat Liar alongside Amanda Bynes, and the following year it was Agent Cody Banks, co-starring Hilary Duff - both of which enjoyed box office success in the children's film sphere, and both of which sparked romance rumours between he and his megafamous co-stars.

When "Malcolm" wrapped in 2006, he semi-retired to a normal, if varied, life away from the screen.

He embarked on a career as a race car driver, a part-time musician, and owner of an olive oil store in Arizona called Outrageous Olive Oils and Vinegars.

On his return to the public eye, he appeared on the 2017 US season of Dancing With The Stars, followed by a hosting stint on Dancing With The Stars: Juniors, and the lead role in 2018 thriller The Black String.

HEALTH ISSUES

Muniz has increasingly opened up about his severe, unexplainable memory loss in interviews over the past three years.

"Most people would think that my most memorable year would be the year Malcolm in the Middle started, because it allowed me to live all these dreams of mine," Muniz told Entertainment Weekly.

"But the truth is I don't really remember much of that. It almost feels like it wasn't me. There's no negative feelings. I just don't necessarily remember."

Malcolm In The Middle is Muniz’s most recognisable role … But he doesn’t remember it at all. Picture: Supplied.
Malcolm In The Middle is Muniz’s most recognisable role … But he doesn’t remember it at all. Picture: Supplied.

Muniz has suffered, as he puts it "a fair amount" of transient ischemic attacks, or mini strokes, in his life, as well as several concussions.

After Malcolm, he worked as a professional race car driver, suffering some serious injuries behind the wheel, according to PEOPLE, but it is still unclear whether these injuries are connected to the memory loss.

Muniz previously toldPEOPLE he suffered his first mini-stroke, during which blood supply to the brain is temporarily cut off, in 2012. Unlike a stroke, however, there are no lasting effects. Since then, he estimates he has had 15 mini-strokes, varying in frequency and length.

As for concussions, his first occurred at age 7 while playing goalie in a soccer game. The next came when he tripped and fell on his head during basketball. Then two more occurred during football sometime in his pre-teen years. He doesn't remember the rest.

"Over the past 10 years, my mum will bring up things like trips we went on or big events and they are new stories to me," he said in 2017. "I don't know what the cause of it is. It's not something I looked into, I just thought it was how my brain is - so I thought it was normal. I didn't know I should remember going to the Emmys when I was younger."

"I'm not a doctor person," he added. "Every time I go to the doctors they just tell me I'm crazy," he said.

Muniz has no idea why he started losing his memory in his 30s. Picture: Supplied.
Muniz has no idea why he started losing his memory in his 30s. Picture: Supplied.

But he doesn't want people to feel sorry for him.

"It's a weird thing for me because I'm not sick … I'm not looking for sympathy or anyone to care about it," he told Entertainment Weekly . "This is my life and I've moved forward. It doesn't stop me from being anywhere I want to be."

Speaking earlier this month about his health, he said he only thinks about his condition when people bring it up.

"I'm only reminded of how bad my memory is when people I see, they come to me and go, 'Oh, you remember when we did this?' 'Remember we went on this trip to this country?' And I have no recollection of it. But in my head, it's not like I feel bad or sad about it."

"I do when I think about it, but it's just the way life is," The Black String star continued. "I only know what it's like to be me and if I don't let it bother me, I just try to live the most fulfilling, best life I can. I really try to take advantage of my time. And I've got a lot in my life."

RELATIONSHIPS

Muniz tied the knot earlier this month with his fiancee Paige Price, who he proposed to in November 2018. According to his Twitter page, the pair headed off on their honeymoon last week.

"Paige and I, we don't spend a minute apart," he once said. "I don't get bored of her."

View this post on Instagram

She's an animal. I love her so much!

A post shared by Frankie Muniz (@frankiemuniz4) on

Before Price, he was engaged to publicist Elycia Turnbow in a reportedly tumultuous relationship.

The couple made headlines in 2011, when police were reportedly called to the scene of an argument.

It later emerged that Muniz had allegedly held a loaded gun to his head during the fight, handing the weapon over to police when they visited his home.

Despite his rep confirming the reports to PEOPLE days later, adding that he "was not suicidal … It was a situation that escalated beyond a point that it needed to be" the star insisted the story was entirely fake.

"It actually just became funny. I didn't let it bother me. It wasn't true. Neither of us came close to being arrested. The fact that the story ran the way it did was just insane to me. We were like, "What are they going to say next?" There wasn't more to it, just a fake overblown story. It went away and people forget," he told Fox Newsin 2013.

MUNIZ IN 2019

These days, Muniz manages indie pop duo Astro Lasso as well as running his Arizona olive oil shop with his new wife.

He's also quietly running one of the funniest accounts on Twitter, complete with musings about cake and Lizzo.

Here's a short roundup of his best work:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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