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Actress Lauren Tewes, who starred in the series 'The...

RADNOR, Pa. -- Actress Lauren Tewes, who starred in the series 'The Love Boat,' says cocaine abuse cost her thousands of dollars, her expensive home and contributed to her departure from the popular television show.

'All that money didn't go into a bank. It went into my nose,' Tewes told TV Guide magazine in its March 16 issue.

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Tewes, who played cruise director Julie McCoy on the show until this season, said the pressure of wanting to be 'Hollywood' contributed to her problems.

'I wanted to be one of the gang. I am ashamed to say it, but it's true. The first time I took cocaine I had just gotten the job on 'The Love Boat' and I was on my way to a party. My date said, 'Let's do drugs.' And I said, 'What the heck?'' Tewes told the magazine.

'The feeling it gave me was incredible euphoria. You think you are fine. You think you are stronger, braver. I thought it gave me the courage I missed. It was like going to Oz and asking for courage. But instead, I got cocaine,' Tewes said.

Tewes won out over more than 100 candidates for the female lead in 'The Love Boat.' Being regarded as one of Hollywood's most attractive woman created new pressures, along with the problems of an unhappy marriage.

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'I was trying to keep my job, keep my husband, keep my house. I was trying to please everybody and I was destroying myself. I was on drugs. I didn't sleep. I slept at work. I behaved poorly at work, and that is where I made my fatal mistake,' Tewes said.

In 1980, Tewes began the withdrawal process with the help of a counselor. She began by not using the drug at work, on particular nights, over weekends, before she conquered the habit.

'It just sunk in that I was not having a good time, that I was killing myself and that I was spending all my money. So I stopped completely,' she explained.

But kicking the habit did not prevent her departure from the show. Douglas Cramer, executive producer of 'The Love Boat,' fired Tewes after the 1984 season's shows were shot. Tewes said the firing stemmed from the cocaine which changed her lifestyle and from the resulting disagreements with Cramer.

'She does not deal with reality,' Cramer said of Tewes. 'There were severe problems with Lauren. Not just recently, but for all of the seven years she was with 'The Love Boat'... It was terribly disrupting.'

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