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'Cobsy Show' Star Shamed Over His Grocery Store Job

Everyone has to make a living somehow, and while some people are talented and lucky enough to pursue their dream in Hollywood, the job and lifestyle still comes with its own set of struggles.

What many people fail to understand is that fame isn't solely an upward trajectory, and even if we may not see it, many of our favorite stars go through some rough patches.

This weekend, people were reminded of the not so glamorous side of fame when Geoffrey Owens, a The Cosby Show alum, was photographed looking disheveled and bagging potatoes at a Trader Joe's supermarket in New Jersey.

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The woman who took the picture, Karma Lawrence, told Daily Mail that "it was a shock to see him working there and looking the way he did."

"I would have thought after The Cosby Show he would maybe be doing something different," she added. "It made me feel really bad. I was like, 'Wow, all those years of doing the show and you ended up as a cashier.'"

Owens' photo spread over the internet like wildfire, and while some people and news outlets were quick to shame and pass judgement on the actor for his choice of work, there were many others who stood up for him.

The SAG-AFRTA Foundation started the trending hashtag #ActorsWithDayJobs and urged Owens' fellow actors, directors, and artists to share stories of their own struggles on social media. The point being that actors shouldn't only be seen as entertainers, but also as laborers who can have multiple jobs to survive and provide for their families.

“This #LaborDay, we honor #geoffreyowens & ALL of the hard-working actors & artists who work 1, 2, 3 day jobs in order to pay the bills, take care of their families & still work to entertain us," the SAG-AFTRA Foundation tweeted. “#ActorsWithDayJobs, share yours loud and proud! We’re here for you!"

Quantico star and Golden Globe-winner Blair Underwood wrote: #NOSHAME in good, honest, hard work. He’s being a man in doing what he needs to do to provide for himself and his family. Much respect to you Sir!"

NFL player-turned-actor Terry Crews also showed his support for Owens on Twitter.

"I swept floors AFTER the @NFL. If need be, I’d do it again. Good honest work is nothing to be ashamed of."

Owens' story resonated with General Hospital alum Julie Berman, and she also shared a tidbit about her life after leaving the show.

"Got a job as a hostess when I left General Hospital. Many didn’t understand why I’d leave #GH without another acting gig waiting for me. (If only we could all be so lucky)," she tweeted. "This is what dedication to your artistic happiness actually looks like. #actorswithdayjobs"

Pamela Adlon, Emmy-winning actress known for voicing Bobby Hill on King of The Hill, also chimed in to reveal that she held various jobs while trying to land her next big acting gig.

"I had been a working actor for years. Jobs stopped, as they do. I worked in retail. At a flower shop. I passed out flyers. It’s about the work. Work gives you pride and purpose. Your visibility as an actor never goes away. But the money sure does.  #geoffreyowens"

On September 4, Owens appeared on Good Morning America and opened up about the aftermath of being in the headlines over the last few days.

The actor, who played Dr. Elvin Tibideaux, Sondra Huxtable’s husband, on The Cosby Show from 1985 to 1992, admitted that he was initially "really devastated," but his spirits were lifted once he saw the number of celebrities and fans that came to his defense.

"The period of devastation was so short because so shortly after that, the responses, my wife and I started to read [them] … and fortunately the shame part didn’t last very long," he said. "It’s amazing."

He continued:

"It’s really overwhelming, in a good way. I kind of feel like that character in that Woody Allen movie that wakes up one morning and he’s a celebrity all of a sudden … it came out of nowhere. I really want to thank everybody out there … for the incredible support, the amazing support and positivity that they’ve shown for me. It’s quite astounding.”

Owens then explained that he has been working at the store for a little over a year, and he took the job so he could have the "flexibility" to continue acting while providing for his family.

He revealed that people used to recognize him "every day and they were very, very cool about it," but this time, he quit the job because of the excessive attention.

Owens, who has also starred in shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Leftovers, Divorce, Lucifer, The Blacklist, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Built to Last, and Elementary, told host Hoda Lee that he hopes his experience will change the way people think about "what it means to work, the honor of the working person, [and] the dignity of work."

Owens in "Lucifer"IMDB

“There is no job that’s better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper. But actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable."

"No one should feel sorry for me. I’ve had a great life. I’ve had a great career. I’ve had a career that most actors would die for. So no one has to feel sorry for me. I’m doing fine!"

As for his future in the entertainment industry, Owens said he has been approached by casting agents and there's been "all kinds of interest." He even got an offer from director Tyler Perry.

While he "wouldn't mind getting auditions," he made it clear that he "wouldn’t feel comfortable with someone giving me a job because this happened. He added, "I want to get a job because I’m the right person for that job."

We're glad to see Owens receive so much support. The world can be such a cruel place, but Owens is doing great job navigating through it all.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.