Lindsay Lohan's Father Comes Clean
With Lindsay Lohan set to return to jail today, public scorn is once again being heaped on her parents. In a remarkably candid recent interview, the star's father rose to his own defense—spilling the beans on his relationship with Lindsay and how his bitter battle with ex-wife Dina led to his daughter's addiction.
Linday Lohan is in trouble yet again after getting kicked out of her court-order community service program at Downtown Women's Center in LA. She faces jail for violating the terms of her probation from her drunk driving and shoplifting convictions—although it's possible she could serve her time wearing an ankle bracelet at home, as she did earlier this year. The star's ever-mounting problems can only invite more scrutiny of her parents, who are already viewed by some not only as parasites piggybacking on their daughter's fame, but as major contributing factors to her addictions. Her father, Celebrity Rehab alumnus Michael, gave us a very different side of the story back in July.
Michael Lohan is pacing the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel in Manhattan, yapping on his cell phone. Snooki tan and Gordon Gekko slick, he’s wearing a white button-down shirt, light, baggy Dad jeans, a belt with a phone holster and Ferragamo loafers with no socks ("Don't ask me about my underwear because I'm not wearing any"). Downstairs, he kicks back in a chair and puts his feet up on a table. He’s charming with a dash of perviness, handsome with a sprinkling of cheese, and—even though he’s been doing press all day and must be exhausted, eager to talk about his problems with drugs and alcohol, life on Celebrity Rehab and his troubled relationship with Lilo.
They've surely asked you to do Celebrity Rehab before, right?
It’s come up before, but this was a time in my life when I felt like, what I had to share—Lindsay, my daughter and my family’s in a place where I really need to understand what I had to do.
Wait—you have a daughter? Just kidding.
[Laughs] Actually three: Ali, Lindsay and Dina. She’s my third child.Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m the nicest guy in the world. When you go after my family, or you put your hands on me, then I’m a different person. But I forgive everybody. I’ll put my hand out to anyone. I’ll help anyone. I’ll give you the shirt off my back.
So why now?
Because it became a point when Lindsay’s recovery became really, really important. She went through four months at Betty Ford. She was going through this whole thing in court, and I felt like I really needed to know what the right steps were to go forward and to fix whatever was wrong with me. My codependency issue was really having an effect on my family’s life as well as my own.
That’s what you’re being treated for on the show—codependency?
Not substance abuse?
You’ve been sober for how long?
Since February 23, 2004.
Did Celebrity Rehab “work” for you?
I definitely feel like it worked. I’m in a much better, different place than I was before. I’m looking at relationships and my choices—how I gravitated toward people or even situations that weren’t good for me—differently.
I’ve heard you say you were always the one who tried to solve everybody’s problems.
I was the caregiver. I was the problem solver.
Have you always been like that?
Always. And you know what—it’s funny, because the one thing I always stick by, I’m a minister, and I went to bible college and all that. One scripture that always stood out in my head was, “Blessed are the peacekeepers.” I really feel it’s better to make peace than war. It’s always better to overcome things. If you’re going to forgive, you truly have to forget and move forward. If you don’t forget, it’s a cloud that’s going to hang over your head for the rest of your life—you’re never gonna be able to move forward.
When did you become this enlightened? You’ve obviously had a lot of controversy in the past.
And you’ve not necessarily been the nicest guy in the press.
(Laughs) Listen, anyone who knows me will tell you I’m the nicest guy in the world. When you go after my family, or you put your hands on me, then I’m a different person. But I forgive everybody. I’ll put my hand out to anyone. I’ll help anyone. I’ll give you the shirt off my back.
Did you know any of your castmates before the show?
Jeremy Jackson and I have been friends for years. We go to AA and work together. So I walked in, and we looked at each other and I said, “What are you here for? Did you relapse?” And he said, “No. How about you?” And I said no. “Well, why are you here?” And he said, “Steroids.” And I said, “No kidding.” I was shooting steroids, too, at the time.
You were doing steroids at the time?
Oh, yeah. Because I was boxing.
Let’s back up. You were pretty straight growing up, in terms of partying and stuff.
Yeah, until I went to Wall Street.
Most high school and college kids drink and party or at least dabble. Was it a conscious decision not to?
I was really into sports. And my father’s an alcoholic. So I stayed away from everything. I hated cigarettes.
Did you always know he was an alcoholic?
I knew he drank all the time, but I didn’t identify that with alcoholism until when I was in my 20s. I didn’t look at things that way. I just thought it was a normal lifestyle to make a lot of money, go out and drink after work on Fridays, and do coke. In the 80s, that was the thing to do.
You were like a Bret Easton Ellis character. Did you hang out at The Odeon?
Oh my God, every place. Marrakesh, Studio 54.
Any good Studio 54 stories?
Oh my God. There was just coke laid out on the tables, and people having sex—it was insane. And although all that was going on, I still was pretty rational about what I did. I wouldn’t party during the week. I just worked. But on Friday night, when that bell rang on the exchange, you got in touch with any one of the clerks on the floor and they had coke.