Stars After the Fall
How to survive a sex scandal à la Paul Reubens, Hugh Grant, Charlie Sheen, and Eddie Murphy
So you’ve been publicly humiliated after a sex scandal, and your life is in shambles. Not to worry — others have stood in your stilettos, er, shoes, before. Here are some disgraced celebs of the past, and the career-survival techniques they employed.
— Shawna Malcom
PAUL REUBENS (a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman)
Transgression Arrested in July 1991 for masturbating in a Sarasota, Fla., adult-movie theater
Damage-Control Strategy Self-mockery. Two months after the arrest, Reubens appeared at the MTV Video Music Awards, where he asked the cheering crowd, ”Heard any good jokes lately?”
Career Fallout A wash. After pleading no contest, Reubens reemerged, minus Pee-wee, and began a critically lauded role on Murphy Brown. That led to a development deal with Carsey-Werner last October.
Trangression Arrested in June 1995 with prostitute Divine Brown for engaging in ”lewd conduct”
Damage-Control Strategy Public repentance. Two weeks later, Grant appeared on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, where he owned up to the incident, saying ”I did a bad thing, and there you have it.”
Career Fallout Minor. One day after he pleaded no contest and got two years’ probation, Grant’s Nine Months had a healthy delivery, with a $12.5 million opening weekend.
Trangression Exposed in July 1995 as one of Heidi Fleiss’ clients, spending more than $50,000 for prostitutes
Damage-Control Strategy Maturity spin. After an obligatory apology to friends and family, Sheen wed model Donna Peele in September 1995 and publicly embraced Christianity nine months later.
Career Fallout Massive, once his new image crumbled. He divorced Peele in February ’96 and pleaded no contest to battery involving a girlfriend this June. Meanwhile, his films have been mostly flops.
Transgression Was stopped after picking up transsexual prostitute Atisone Seiuli on May 2 in West Hollywood
Damage-Control Strategy Denial. The actor issued a statement saying he was simply being a ”Good Samaritan” and was giving the weary hooker a ride home.
Career Fallout Unknown. Murphy’s next film, a remake of Doctor Dolittle, doesn’t hit screens until May ’98.