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Barbara Eden Opens Up About Losing Her Son To An Overdose 20 Years Ago

ET Canada logo ET Canada 2021-10-06 Aynslee Darmon
Barbara Eden © Photo: Getty Images Barbara Eden

Barbara Eden is looking back at losing her son to an overdose 20 years ago.

In an exclusive interview with People, the "I Dream Of Jeannie" icon, 90, opens up about the guilt she felt following Matthew's death in 2001. Matthew died of an accidental heroin overdose at the age of 35.

"When Matthew was clean and sober, he was such a beautiful human being, inside and out," she said. "Drugs are inexplicable. It's so frustrating."

RELATED: ‘I Dream Of Jeannie’ Star Barbara Eden On How She Stays Healthy At 90 Despite Her Love Of Dessert

"I don't know if becoming a mom changed me, but it was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me," she continued. "It's a miracle, having a baby, and having this little creation. I get goosebumps when I think about it. It's the loveliest thing that happened in my life."

Years later, Eden and her first husband Michael Ansara struggled to help Matthew as he was in and out of rehab for 14 years before he died, fighting his addiction.

"At first we didn't recognize the behaviour — the sleeping and the bouts of anger that would come up all of a sudden with this charming, darling boy. I was scared to death," Eden said. "I didn't know what to do."

RELATED: Michael K. Williams Died From Accidental Overdose

"He was too young to know he needed rehab or help. It's a wonder that he lived to be 35."

Eden continued, "I don't think there's anything worse than to lose your child. As a parent, I had a lot of guilt and anger, and following his death, I was always on the edge of tears. Even though he was 35, he was still my baby."

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