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During these years, he became one of the biggest and most popular teen idols of the day, thanks to, as he later said, "a mega publicist, who put out an image of me that seemed ideal." He couldn't go anywhere in public without being pursued by his numerous fans. As Chad later put it, "It was difficult going to the malls, or trying to do the things I wanted to do. I felt bad in that the teen magazines portrayed me as a perfect teenager." Elsewhere he commented, "I was in teen magazines all the time and in reality, what was I? A 13-year-old who's as fucked up as every other 13-year-old across the country."

By the time My Two Dads ended in 1990, Chad was unsure about whether he wanted to go on with acting. He was 16 years old, and even though he had gone to a normal primary school, he hadn't been to a regular school since age 12, instead being taught by private tutors on the set. He felt he was missing out on a lot of normal life. "I left the business, went back to high school, joined the swim team, became vice-president of my class, did everything. I tried to be a normal teenager." He now describes it as "probably one of the best decisions I ever made", even though his fame initially made life difficult for him in school. "In high school I was sneered at a lot. I was the teen magazine guy, half the kids followed me around like disciples and the other half were going to kick my ass".
 
 After high school, Chad was accepted as a student at New York University, however he decided to put off college when he was offered the part of Matthew Cooper on Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman. With this new role he became one of the few former child stars to successfully make the transition to a career as an adult.
 
 When Dr. Quinn was canceled after its sixth season, Chad said, "When we shut down I wasn't so sure that we were going to come back, I wasn't so sure I was wanting to come back. In six years, we had done ten months out of every year -- which is a lot of work -- in a remote location with a lot of dirt. But over the course of our hiatus everybody had been planning on it. They'd been writing scripts and stuff. So it was just a surprise. I'll miss the people. It was a fun part for me.
I had a great damn time. We put so much into it for so long, and to not have the opportunity, as actors, to say good-bye to each other has been really gut wrenching. And to not be able to say good-bye to the fans has been hard, too."
 

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