How 'The Goldbergs' Star Hayley Orrantia Channeled Her Rage After Ex Stole Thousands from Her (Exclusive)
The actress says she “just broke” on the set of the ABC sitcom after she found out her ex had been stealing from her.
Hayley Orrantia got the shock of a lifetime in 2017 when she learned her boyfriend, the man she lived with, was robbing her blind.
The star of "The Goldbergs" met former Marine Brendon Pelletier on set in 2015, taking a liking to him as he took a studio tour. The flirtation escalated into a long distance romance, before they eventually moved in with each other in 2016.
Everything fell apart just months later though, after a few calls from her bank informed her someone was using her card on items that eventually totaled nearly $9,000. That someone was Pelletier. He eventually pled guilty to fraud and was sentenced to four years probation.
"I feel like, I’ll put it this way, I feel like I asked all the right questions," Orrantia told TooFab when asked if she ever saw any warning signs.
"But when you’re working with someone who’s very intelligent and good at what they do, it really doesn’t matter how many questions you ask, they will always just lead to more questions and questions and they’ll work their way around it," she continued. "Once everything came to light, things started making sense that I didn’t question before. Hindsight’s 20/20, for sure."
As she was going through all this in private, Orrantia was also busy filming her role as Erica Goldberg on the ABC sitcom, something she says she wasn’t able to juggle "very well" at the time.
"I believe we were filming season 5 when it kind of came out, it was a couple weeks into it," she explained. "I was talking to all my cast members and trying to confide in them, because they’re like my family and I remember specifically one scene where I wasn’t getting the line correctly, I just was in my head and I remember [producer] Lew Schneider was trying to help me and direct me and gave me a note and I don’t know what happened, I just broke. I lost it off stage."
Orrantia gave costar Wendi McLendon Covey a special shoutout for her understanding during that time.
"Wendi was so sweet, I had to run off and do my thing, she’s like, ‘You take your time,’" she recalled. "When you’re working on a show that takes 7 months out of the year, every day pretty much, you’re gonna have a bad day. I definitely had my bad days, but I had a family and support system around me and being able to work on a show that makes you laugh to counterbalance all of that was super vital to me."
She also channeled all her emotions into her music and her upcoming EP, "The Way Out." The five songs on the EP represent the five stages of grief, beginning with denial on her lead single, "If I Don’t."
"I decided that this was a great way for me to package my pain and put it away somewhere," she explained, "but also having it mean something so that if somebody is dealing with grief they can listen to this, hopefully resonate and get something out of it."
The most cathartic song for her was "Do I Come to Mind?", which represents the anger she felt after the fallout.
"I tend to go back to that phase more than most. I was pretty pissed about it. And even through the depression stage, which I think lasted the longest, I kept finding myself going back to anger," said Orrantia. "I ended up writing this song on piano in my bedroom here in LA and it was kind of a letter to him."
The singer/actress said she learned a lot about trusting her gut from the entire ordeal and believing her own intuition.
"I feel like, for me personally, a lot of the time I give someone the benefit of the doubt and I want to assume the best in them, but that’s not always the case," she added. "That’s something I’ve learned a lot about, being in LA, being in the entertainment industry, people are going to want to take advantage of you at all different levels. That’s something I took away from this and grew from and I had to weed out a lot of people in my life, but I finally have a solid foundation of I know who I am and what I want and who I want around me."
Her hope is that anyone else going through those similar stages of grief — though, hopefully, not the same situation — can lean on her songs to help them through.
"Growing up I always, whenever you’re sad about whatever it is, I feel like I would take a specific album or music that really just made me cry and I would put it on and I would cry it all out, force myself to let the emotion out," she said. "And so I think that’s kind of what I want this to be."
With a laugh she added, "I don’t want you all to be crying … in a therapeutic way. It’s a process of grieving. I hope that some of these songs can resonate with a stage that someone else is going through and let them know, you’re not alone, you’re gonna get through it because people have gone through it before and you can get out on the other side."
"The Way Out" drops Friday.
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