Notorious bigmouth Rush Limbaugh began his career in radio as a DJ in Pittsburgh, and didn’t start clogging the airwaves with Righteous blabber until the mid-eighties. His show went national in 1988, and when the Republicans swept Congress in ’94, his fat-cat pals named him “honorary member of Congress” in thanks for all he did to ensure their majority rule. And with that, the King of the Conservative Party was born.
But just because this cigar-fiend dished a diehard conservative creed didn’t mean Rush lived by his own rules. In October 2003 — the chunky chat-man confirmed National Enquirer reports that he was addicted to prescription painkillers and was headed for rehab. When prosecutors lobbied the court to trash his doctor-patient confidentiality rights so that they could interrogate his docs, Rush found an unlikely ally in the ACLU, who went to bat for him. He was eventually busted for “doctor shopping” (visiting multiple providers to score prescriptions) and turned himself in on April 28, 2006. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charges if he’d cough up $30,000 to cover the investigation’s costs, undergo therapy for 18 months, and submit to regular drug testing. Rush took the deal, and the case was closed.
While Limbaugh’s drug disgrace could have ensured his downfall, the hoopla surrounding his shady pill obsession proved to be a lot of hot air — just like him! In July 2008 Rush signed a contract extension that will keep him gabbing through 2016 — for a record-breaking $400 million.
He was just another regular kid with an ’80s icon dad and a hit reality show, when one stupid thrill-seeking move left his ass in jail, his family in ruins, and his best friend comatose.
On August 26, 2007, Nick Hogan – a trained Formula D driver, and son of wrestler Hulk – lost control of what he called his “pussy magnet” (a Toyota Supra) and slammed into a median strip while drag-racing with friends. He and his pal John Graziano, who was in the passenger seat, were taken to the hospital for treatment. Hogan walked out of there the next day. Graziano, however, sustained serious trauma to his brain that will keep him hospitalized for the rest of his life.
When Amy Winehouse‘s breakthrough album, Back to Black, hit U.S. shores in early 2007, it was hard to say which Winehouse was a bigger mess: the lovelorn persona on record who explicitly said no to rehab, or the drunken persona in public whose YouTubeable antics implicitly said no to rehab. Mere months later, that the latter had the much bigger problem was abundantly clear. Like oh-my-god-she-really-might-die-any-second-right-in-front-of-our-eyes clear.
Though capable of temporary composure (like her gorgeous performance of “Love Is a Losing Game” at the Mercury Prize Awards), Winehouse has spent the past year or so in a drug-induced haze. Publicity shots of her looking positively zonked appear virtually daily on blogs, and a YouTube clip surfaced in which she pulls something from her hair and seems to snort it.
On May 2, 1997 Sheriff’s deputies in West Hollywood pulled over a Land Cruiser driven by Eddie Murphy after they observed a known pre-op transsexual prostitute get inside. In case you’re wondering “pre-op transsexual” is the fancy medical term they use for “chicks with dicks.”
The incident occurred at 4:45 AM near the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Formosa Ave., an area popular with homosexual prostitutes and their johns, but Eddie tried to explain it all away with some story about insomnia and a desire to help streetwalkers. Having trouble sleeping, he drove to a newsstand to get something to read (later confirmed) before picking up a “Hawaiian-looking woman” and offering her a ride home.
The “woman,” Atisone Seuli, 20, told a slightly different story. Murphy, she said, offered her $200, confirmed she was a transsexual, and inquired about lingerie modeling and what kind of sex she liked. As it turns out, Eddie’s wife and kids were out of town at the time.
Seuli was arrested for outstanding warrants, but Murphy was released after cops determined he’d done nothing illegal. Soon enough though, other transvestites materialized claiming to have had relations with Murphy, including one named Diamond who appeared on The Howard Stern Show.
Ironically, Murphy was in town filming Dr. Doolittle, which co-starred Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens, but unlike Reubens who had his own brush with the vice cops, Murphy’s career continued unabated. Since Dr. Doolittle, Murphy has appeared in more than 20 films, and has even been nominated for an Oscar.
Courtney Love sat down with Vanity Fair writer Lynn Hirschberg to debut herself as Nirvana front-man Kurt Cobain‘s wife with a rock star career of her own, but she ended up temporarily losing her newborn infant. “We went on a binge,” she told Hirschberg. “I did heroin for a couple of months.” The catch: her “binge,” in January1992, overlapped with her pregnancy.
When the article hit newsstands in September 1992, Children’s Services of L.A. removed baby Frances Bean from the Cobain household. After several months of legal wrangling (and a voicemail from Cobain calling Hirschberg and another reporter “insane c*nts”), the couple regained custody.
Despite her father shooting himself in the head when she was a toddler, being taken away yet again from her mother for 15 months when she was 12 (after Courtney’s 2003 overdose), and having an “alter ego” named Cherry Kookoo, Frances Bean appears to be relatively stable. In 2008 she became an intern at Rolling Stone, following in Hirschberg’s footsteps.
If a supermodel does cocaine off-camera, did she really do it? Don’t ask Kate Moss! In September 2005 the former Calvin Klein sex goddess was videotaped sniffing the snow at a West London recording studio, with pals including then-boyfriend Pete Doherty of Babyshambles fame. When the amateur video went viral, Moss caught a new nickname: “Cokate.”
Moss’s success in the early ’90s, as poster skeleton for heroin chic, had led Bill Clinton to dis the fashion industry for pushing the anorexic “waif” look. And while she had always denied using coke, in the grainy 2005 video she handles it like a dusty pro — chopping chunks into powder on a CD case and coaxing it into lines with a credit card, smiling all the while. When a less-skilled druggie pal tries to lend a hand, she shoos him away, insisting “I’ll do it, I’ll do it!”
In classic sin-snagged-celeb tradition, Moss immediately apologized to “All The People I Have Let Down.” Contracts with Burberry and H&M were canceled, and she was exiled to Arizona for rehab, causing her to miss her daughter’s third birthday party. The fact that her annual income rose $3 million in 2006 was surely coincidental.
Unlike most rappers, Eminem has never felt the need to pretend his romantic life consists solely of anonymous sex with an ever-growing stable of hoes. The megastar has been a one-woman man for most his life, and he’s not afraid to say her name: Kim. He’s also not afraid to brutally murder her in song and beat a blow-up doll of her on stage. What can you say? He’s a heart-on-his-sleeve kind of guy.
The couple first met as young teenagers in 1989, and had a daughter, Hailie Jade, five years later. But the couple didn’t marry until after the release of his breakthrough album, 1999’s The Slim Shady LP. Despite the album’s “’97 Bonnie & Clyde,” in which Eminem takes his daughter to a lake to help dump her mother’s dead body, Kim hoped marrying would keep him faithful on tour. It didn’t. But it wasn’t until after 2000’s “Kim,” a prequel to “Bonnie” which described his wife’s murder in gory detail (“bleed, bitch, bleed!”), that their family drama made headlines.
Salman Rushdie won the hearts of critics with his controversial 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, but many Muslims worldwide were enraged at what they saw as its blasphemous anti-Islamic message. 21 protesters were killed and 223 were wounded while rioting against the book in India, Islamabad, Pakistan, and Kashmir. On February 14, 1989, the Iranian Ayatollah issued a fatwa against Rushdie, urging all good Muslims to kill him.
With an alleged $6 million price tag on his head, the author lived for nine years in hiding under the protection of British police. Musician and Muslim convert Cat Stevens (a.k.a. Yusuf Islam) said that if Rushdie showed up on his doorstep, he “might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like.” In 1998 Iran’s government formally distanced itself from the death warrant. Salman came out of hiding, married smoking-hot Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi (it lasted 8.5 years), and in June 2007 was knighted by the Queen of England.
Others involved with the controversial book did not escape the wrath of angry Muslims: two of its translators were stabbed, one fatally, and his Norwegian publisher narrowly survived an attempted assassination. Hard-line groups in Iran continue to insist the fatwa is irrevocable. Salman reports that every year on February 14 he gets a special “Valentine’s card” from Iran, reminding him that the vow to kill him has not been forgotten.
John Belushi‘s hilarious portrayal of Bluto Blutarsky — a whiskey-guzzling, toga-partying frat boy in Animal House — rocked audiences with laughter. But the real-life hard-partying ways of the Saturday Night Live comedian, which led to his OD via speedball at the age of 33, were not so funny.
On the night of March 4, 1982, John went out for some Hollywood debauchery with druggie/groupie pal Cathy Smith and SNL writer Nelson Lyon. Between stops at a restaurant, nightclubs, and ultimately John’s bungalow at the notorious Chateau Marmont, he ingested mass quantities of liquor, cocaine, and heroin. Famous party friends Robert De Niro and Robin Williams stopped by, but left after allegedly being creeped-out by Belushi’s drugged-up state and shady pals. Williams reportedly said, “If you ever get up again, call.” Belushi never did. His trainer Bill “Superfoot” Wallace found his horribly discolored corpse the next morning, curled in the fetal position with his tongue sticking out of his mouth.
Belushi had been battling problems with overeating, nicotine, pills, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol, but Cathy Smith told the National Enquirer that, ultimately, “I killed John Belushi. I didn’t mean to, but I am responsible.” She revealed that she accidentally injected lethal amounts of heroin into his system, at his request, hours before he died. Smith served 15 months in a California prison and John was buried in Martha’s Vineyard below a tombstone that reads, “He made us laugh, and now he can make us think.”
Cocaine hidden in the walls, more than half a million dollars stuffed in hidden trash bags, and a “secret” set of accounting books listing celebrity clients’ favorite drugs were just a few of the scandalous items the FBI found when they busted New York hotspot Studio 54 in 1978. Owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager enjoyed a three-year reign as the kings of New York nightlife during disco’s heyday, attracting high-profile regulars like Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, Liza Minelli, Calvin Klein, and Halston. But the duo’s flashy lifestyle and boasts (“only the Mafia does better”) helped sink their ship — temporarily.
After spending 13 months in prison for tax evasion, neither Ian nor Steve could get a checking account, a driver’s license or a credit card. Still, in 1984, the duo talked financiers into helping them open Morgans, a boutique hotel. The pair turned the hotel into a chain worth $200 million before Steve died of hepatitis in 1989. (Rumors swirled that it was AIDS that got him.) For Ian, who has since opened hotels in New York, London, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, the party hasn’t stopped.