“Boy Meets World” alum turned-adult film star Maitland Ward is opening up about the “issues” she experienced during her years on the hit 1990s sitcom.
The 46-year-old actress played Rachel McGuire during the ABC series’ last two seasons from 1998 to 2000. In a new interview with Fox News Digital, she reflected on the culture of the time and the expectations that she felt were put on female Disney stars.
“You had to be virginal, but you also had to be sexual,” Ward said.
“Boy Meets World” star Maitland Ward recalled experiencing “issues” with the “Disney machine.” (Getty)
She continued, “The issues mainly came from Disney, and that it wasn’t so much with the cast members. It was more the whole Disney machine back then, especially back in the late ’90s and early 2000s when the girls were treated like meat.”
Reps for Disney did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
“Even though there were issues with Disney and production and my character and relationships, I do remember it as an innocent time, though, with a cast that was very much family,” Ward added. “And I mean that in all possible ways because it’s like with family. You fight with family, you have issues, but you still were connected. And I think a producer from the show told me no matter what, after all this time, we’re always going to be connected in this. You can’t change that. And I think that’s special and good.”
“The issues mainly came from Disney, and that it wasn’t so much with the cast members. It was more the whole Disney machine back then, especially back in the late ’90s and early 2000s when the girls were treated like meat.”
— Maitland Ward
In 1993, The Walt Disney Company ordered “Boy Meets World” for its “TGIF” Friday night lineup of shows aimed at a young demographic. Created by Michael Jacobs, the wholesome coming-of-age comedy followed the life of Corey Matthews (Ben Savage) from his middle school years through college.
The show also focused on Corey’s family, friends and love interests with an ensemble cast that included Rider Strong, Will Friedle, Danielle Fishel, William Daniels, Betsy Randle, Lee Norris, Lily Nicksay, William Russ, Anthony Tyler Quinn, Lindsay Ridgeway, Alex Désert, Matthew Lawrence and Trina McGee-Davis.
Maitland Ward played Rachel McGuire during the ABC series’ last two seasons from 1998 to 2000. (James Sorensen)
Ward made her acting debut at age 16 on the long-running soap opera “The Bold And The Beautiful.” She joined the cast of “Boy Meets World” in the show’s sixth season as the new college roommate of Eric Matthews (Friedle) and Jack Hunter (Lawrence), who both pursued her romantically.
“Boy Meets World” concluded its seventh and final season in May 2000. After the show wrapped, Ward landed a supporting role in the 2004 comedy “White Chicks” and made guest appearances on television shows including “Boston Legal,” “Out of Practice” and “Rules of Engagement.” However, the California native’s career later took a surprising turn when she decided to enter the adult film industry.
Ward detailed her journey from Disney actress to adult film star in her memoir “Rated X: How Porn Liberated Me from Hollywood,” which was released last September. In chapter 6 of her book, Ward alleged that she was asked to try on lingerie for “Boy Meets World” producers, “primarily men,” in the office “more than once” as her character’s personal style evolved. Ward said she was never sexually assaulted, but the overall experience made her “uncomfortable.”
Ward joined the cast of “Boy Meets World” in the show’s sixth season as the new college roommate of Eric Matthews (Friedle), right, and Jack Hunter (Lawrence), who both pursued her romantically. (ABC Photo Archives / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)
“Yes, it was uncomfortable and odd, and I wasn’t sure why I needed to be doing this,” she told Fox News Digital last September. “I thought it was my job to behave and be a professional, or whatever I thought that was at the time. But it was very uncomfortable and made me feel exposed and gawked at. Even Michael commented that he was so embarrassed about this because I’m so much like a daughter to him [that it] felt weird. I never understood why we didn’t just take pictures of everything in wardrobe and choose from there. Why did I have to put on a show?”
“My confidence was low with my body.” Ward said. “I was young, impressionable and thought this is what you do. It would never happen today because somebody would get called out on it. And let me just say, I’m in porn, and I’ve never had to walk into a producer’s office or whatever and try on the lingerie for a shoot.”
“You had to be virginal, but you also had to be sexual.”
— Maitland Ward
While she has previously said that not all of her former co-stars are supportive of her career choice, she told Fox News Digital that she has remained close with Friedle and McGee-Davis, who played Angela Moore, the love interest of Shawn Hunter (Strong) for three seasons.
“Like I said, we’re always going to be connected,” Ward said. “Will called me when my book came out, and before that, and he was so supportive of me, and he said how much he loved me. And Trina, I’ve been close with. Over the years, I have kept in touch with her a lot. And actually, after the book came out, the executive producer, Michael Jacobs, and I had a great long conversation, and we worked through a lot of stuff, and it was really cathartic.”
Ward detailed her journey from Disney actress to adult film star in her memoir “Rated X: How Porn Liberated Me from Hollywood,” which was released last September. (Atria Books)
“So, I think we’re in a good place,” she added. “And it’s like I say, it’s a family. It’s complicated. Like maybe you have issues with your father, but you work them out later or something. But the Disney stuff, I don’t know if they’ll ever work it out. That’s different. We’re dealing if you are talking the close cast and stuff. Yes. I mean, we’re all in different places now and that’s cool.”
Ward went on to say she was surprised that Savage had also made a big career pivot when he decided to enter politics. Last month, the 42-year-old actor announced he was running as a Democrat to replace Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., in California’s 30th Congressional District.
But she remembered from their time on “Boy Meets World” that he had always expressed an interest in politics.
“He was political,” Ward recalled. “He actually did know what was going on. And even at a young age, I mean, he’s aged now, so it’s much more nuanced.”
“He was definitely interested in politics and issues when a lot of, well, the writer was too, I guess,” she added. “But, you know, a lot of young people weren’t really back then.”
Ward noted that she was surprised by Savage’s congressional run because it was hard to reconcile it with her image of him from their time together on “Boy Meets World.”
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“I was surprised, especially he’s pretty young still as in relation to like, congressmen,” Ward said with a laugh. “When I think of political figures, it’s wild because he’s like a little brother. So, it’s like, ‘You’re going to be a congressman?’ But I think it’s really cool that Ben is doing something that he wants to do. It’s so unexpected. Even though to him, he’s probably been thinking about it forever, but the world, they are like, ‘What? Corey’s going to be a congressman?’ But it’s different. I mean, it’s not like he’s relying on his past.”
Ward mused that she saw similarities between herself and Savage as they both eventually decided to take paths that were very different from their earlier careers as Disney stars.
“That’s kind of like what I did in a different way, like in porn,” she said. “And he’s been sweet, too, because it wasn’t like I didn’t likem I love my time on ‘Boy Meets World’ and I’m grateful for it. And it was special. But it’s like if you love high school, and you had great friends, and you were a cheerleader, you were this or whatever, and you’re like, ‘But I don’t want to do that for the rest of my life.'”
Ward continued, “I didn’t want to go around to like the Comic-Cons and stuff and just be Rachel forever. … I’m not digging anyone for that. But I’m saying that’s not what I wanted to do. And I think he’s kind of in the same place. He wants to take his life and career in ways that he wants to go and not just totally be Corey forever.”
The California native said she is already busy working on a follow-up book that will further explore the world of adult entertainment. (Gabe Ginsberg / Getty Images)
After the release of her debut book last year, Ward said she is already busy working on a follow-up that will further explore the world of adult entertainment.
“When I think of political figures, it’s wild because he’s like a little brother. So, it’s like, ‘You’re going to be a congressman?’ But I think it’s really cool that Ben is doing something that he wants to do. It’s so unexpected.”
— Maitland Ward
“My next book is going to have a broader look at the sex industry, and not just porn but [the] sex industry in general,” she said. “There are a lot of different elements to it that people don’t even think of. But “Rated X” is how porn liberated me from Hollywood. It’s my memoir, and it definitely is my life and how I came from being a Disney actress and teen and early 20s and then becoming a top successful porn star at 40.”
She continued, “It’s funny because the porn industry — and I always say this, and it surprises people — gave me my acting career back. They gave me my writing career. I wrote a book. I’m able to write and direct projects for the sites that I’m with at Vixen Media Group and Deeper.com. And I’m able to have a whole new brand and identity, and I’m able to have a lot of fun that I wasn’t able to have in Hollywood because Hollywood has so many restrictions.”
“I’m able to play characters that are more dark and devious, and of course, I love sexually performing. And so it’s really fun that way where Hollywood was telling me I could only be the girl-next-door or the soccer mom as I got older.”
Ward recalled experiencing a career “low” after the success of “Boy Meets World” as it was often difficult to find work, and she frequently felt that she was being typecast. She eventually took a break from Hollywood and moved to New York where she fell in love and married husband Terry Baxter in 2006.
“That’s really when my sexual revolution or evolution, whatever you want to call it, but that’s when that really took place,” she said. “And I started discovering things about myself and what I wanted to be as a performer and also as a writer.”
“It really gave me my creative freedom, and I get more respect now that I’ve been in porn.”
— Maitland Ward
Ward said she studied screenwriting at UCLA and began building her brand on social media.
“And that’s when I was able to really let loose and show my audience, like, who I was and the real me,” she said. “And that’s when my following started growing in a different way. I was doing sexy cosplay. I was doing just fun things that they probably didn’t expect for me.”
In 2014, Jacobs and producer April Kelly co-created “Girl Meets World,” a Disney Channel spinoff of “Boy Meets World.” Savage and Fishel returned in leading roles while several cast members from the original series reprised their characters in recurring or guest spots.
Ward told Fox News Digital that the success she has enjoyed as an adult film star has been “amazing.” (Gabe Ginsberg / WireImage)
However, Ward didn’t make an appearance during the show’s three-season run. Though she hadn’t yet launched her career in the adult film industry, Ward said she believed that Disney and the show’s producers were not happy with the attention she was receiving from her social media posts.
“Disney and ‘Girl Meets World,’ they didn’t like that, any of that,” she recalled. “But then it got to a point where, listen, I’m building this brand and career and I don’t care. I want to be who I want to be. And so I stepped away from all that and did my own thing.”
Ward told Fox News Digital that the success she has enjoyed as an adult film star has been “amazing” and she is happy with her career trajectory.
“It really gave me my creative freedom, and I get more respect now that I’ve been in porn,” she said with a laugh. “They would have forgotten about me. People would have been like, ‘Oh, that girl who used to be on “Boy Meets World.”’
“But like now it’s, ‘Oh, she did something different, and it’s interesting to read about and hear about.’ So, it’s cool.”
Fox News Digital’s Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.