5. Lindsay Lohan
With some celebrities it’s hard to pinpoint just one meltdown and Lindsay Lohan is a sad example of that. Her frequent visits to rehab, her chaotic love life and her reliance on drugs have all become far more of the LiLo identity than the films that originally made her famous. If you had to pick two words to associate with her in 2013, it wouldn’t be “Mean Girls”. It would probably be “arrested again”. But back in 2006, she still had a fairly pure image and her career trajectory was on the up. Then came her hospitalization for “exhaustion”, which prompted studio executive James G.Robinson to blast her hard-partying habits in an open letter, claiming that her drinking was the real cause of her exhaustion. After that it all collapsed for Lohan, with arrests for drink-driving the following year (see above) and then many, many failed alcohol and drug tests, rehab stints and court appearances. A meltdown in spectacular style that has never really stopped.
4. David Hasselhoff
Around the same time that Lindsay was receiving her first court summons, a video emerged of another star who was in serious danger of total meltdown. David Hasselhoff’s career had been on the slide for a long time, since the peaks of “Knight Rider” and “Baywatch” in the 80s and early 90s. So, as many failing actors do, he turned to drink. The 2007 videotape was made by his 16-year-old daughter Taylor Ann and features a shirtless and very drunk Hasselhoff trying -and failing – to eat a cheeseburger. Apparently she made and released it deliberately to show him just how badly he behaved when drunk, and it did seem to work as a wake-up call. Subsequently, he had his own reality show, which chronicled his attempts to revive his career, but he has not yet regained the popularity of his golden years.
3. Christian Bale
Christian Bale is what you might call a “method actor”. That means he really gets into character. When he played Batman, he bulked up especially and when he starred in “American Psycho” it’s quite likely that he went on a murder spree or two, to really get inside Patrick Bateman’s head. So, he’s not an actor to mess with, as one hapless Director of Photography found out on the set of “Terminator:Salvation”. Wandering through the set to check the light, he found himself the subject of a massive rant by Bale, blaming him for ruining the scene and containing more expletives than you could possibly count. The most bizarre thing about the meltdown – which was captured on film and released to the general public – is that Welsh Bale delivers it all in an American accent. As I said, he really gets into character!
2. John McEnroe
In a time before the internet, it was easier for celebrity meltdowns to go unnoticed. What happened on a film set would stay on a film set, and when embarrassing pictures were taken, the lack of “instant upload” gave publicists some time to intervene and stop them escaping onto the open market. But SuperBrat John McEnroe managed to meltdown in an utterly public way during Wimbledon 1981 when an umpire’s decisions pushed him over the edge. “You cannot be serious!” he yelled at umpire Edward James “The ball was in…you’re the pits of the world”. A stand-out moment in the history of tennis and one of the most famous meltdowns of all time.
1. Charlie Sheen
But then there’s Charlie Sheen. Not so much a single meltdown as a lifetime spent in meltdown. With his hard-partying ways, his co-habiting “goddesses” and his bizarre rants about “tiger blood”, Charlie Sheen has taken to the public arena to exhibit his fragile mental state on more occasions than anyone can remember. Most detox-ing celebrities are banned from drinking – Charlie should be banned from webcams. One of his defining moments was an hour-long webcast where he and his goddesses rambled incoherently at the camera about anything and everything. When asked later whether he was bi-polar, he said “I’m not bi-polar, I’m bi-winning“. And that just about sums Charlie Sheen up…