The ''Brokeback Mountain'' and ''Independence Day'' actor's arrest in Texas is the latest chapter in a curious fall from grace


It sounds like the plot of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Two lovers on the lam, holing up in hotels in the Southwest, getting busted by sheriffs in a tiny Texas town. Sadly, though, the saga of Randy and Evi Quaid — who were arrested near Marfa, Tex., last week for allegedly skipping out on a $10,000 bill for a stay in a Santa Barbara hotel — seems to be a thriller unfolding mostly in their own minds. A source once close to the 59-year-old Independence Day star and his 46-year-old wife reveals what may be the real reason the couple have been behaving (especially) oddly these days: They’re convinced they’re being hunted. ”They think someone is out to get them,” says the source. ”That’s why they’ve gone off the grid.”

This is hardly the first time the Quaids have acted strangely during their 20-year marriage. There was the 2006 lawsuit against the producers of Brokeback Mountain, in which Quaid (the older brother of actor Dennis Quaid) argued he’d been underpaid for his supporting role. He later dropped the suit. Following the 2007 Seattle run of the stage musical Lone Star Love, more than 20 performers filed complaints with Actors’ Equity, charging Quaid with verbal and physical abuse (he reportedly slapped an actor on the back of the head and referred to a female cast member’s ”gynecological instruments” while on stage). At the time, Quaid denied the accusations; the guild won’t comment on specifics but confirms that Evi Quaid responded to the complaints by bursting into its Hollywood offices and harassing a 76-year-old receptionist. According to court documents, she kicked the man in the shins with high-heeled shoes and called everyone in the office Nazis.

Today, the actor who made a name for himself with The Last Picture Show and National Lampoon’s Vacation has no Hollywood agent, publicist, or lawyer as far as EW can determine, and his commercial agent in New York was unavailable for comment. But in a handwritten note sent to last week, the Quaids, who could not be reached for this story, emphatically denied that they’d stiffed the Santa Barbara hotel. They’re now out on bail and are expected to appear back in Marfa for a hearing soon. Whether a local hotel will let them spend the night is another question altogether.