The Pee-wee Herman creator pleaded no contest to public indecency after he was caught masturbating in a porn theatre in 1991 and then was involved in a child pornography scandal two years later.
Reubens struggled to cope with the double disaster – even though he knew he was innocent in both controversies – and found himself depressed and desperate until he met Mazar.
He tells Playboy magazine, “What finally pulled me out of my shell the first time was when I fell in love. I met a woman, an actress – Debi Mazar – at a movie screening at the end of 1993 and was just so incredibly smitten that it was like, ‘Boom, I’m back!’ It was so powerful; it was a gift.
“I would be all funky and dark, but she was able to just say a bunch of stuff to me, like, ‘Come on, up, up, up, up!'”