When celebrities are caught with illicit substances, it can spell disaster for their career. Some stars are able to put it behind them (and are offered ample opportunities), while others are thrust out of the spotlight. Athletes can generally chalk up their bad decisions to the mounting pressure to perform, while actors and pop stars are forced to think of a convincing justification. That said, substance abuse is a serious issue, and when the chips are down and they're facing prison time, it can be difficult for celebs to think of a decent excuse. That's when the public relations crew has to get creative.
Attempting to keep a straight face while boldly lying to a police officer is perhaps the toughest bit of acting these celebrities have ever undertaken.
Tatum O'Neal battled addiction from an early age, but she had been making progress and staying sober. However, in June 2008, she was apprehended by police while attempting to purchase crack. She allegedly asked the officer if he knew who she was before insisting the deal was research for a movie role.
When she appeared in court, O'Neal thanked the police for saving her and insisted that the passing of her 16-year-old dog had triggered her. She later pled guilty to disorderly conduct and was ordered to attend two half-days of treatment.
Lindsay Lohan was arrested in July 2007 after police were alerted to a verbal altercation involving her and another woman. Lohan had been following the woman in her car before she cornered her in the Santa Monica Civic Center parking lot and started yelling at her.
Lohan was taken into custody for impaired driving. When they searched Lohan, police found illicit substances in her pants pocket. She claimed the pants did not belong to her and that it was not hers.
In the early morning of December 11, 2006, motorists reported that a black Mercedes-Benz was traveling against oncoming traffic on the 134 freeway in Burbank, CA. When police responded, they found Nicole Richie sitting in her vehicle and talking on her phone.
Richie informed the officers that she was trying to follow a friend when she got lost. She also admitted to taking a Vicodin and using cannabis prior to her arrest for driving under the influence. She later claimed she took the pill to help relieve menstrual cramps. She was sentenced to 96 hours in jail but only served 82 minutes.
Paris Hilton and her then-boyfriend Cy Waits were pulled over in August 2010 when police thought they smelled pot wafting from the vehicle. Waits failed the roadside sobriety test and was arrested. Hilton searched her purse for lip balm and accidentally dropped a bag of illicit substances out of it. She told police she had borrowed the purse from a friend, and that she thought the bag of coke was gum.
Hilton was arrested and later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession and obstructing an officer for lying about the purse's owner. She received one year of probation.