Last week Lindsay Lohan was formally charged with felony theft over a necklace she allegedly stole from a Venice jeweler. While it’s only the most recent story published with regard to Lohan’s alleged criminal exploits, it also demonstrates how very important parents’ roles are in their children’s lives.
Although I don’t know her personally, I feel so utterly disappointed in Lohan. I loved her in Tina Fey’s Mean Girls. She had blossomed from a cute little girl into a beautiful redhead not unlike a young Ann-Margret. At the height of her young career, she projected a much healthier body image than her starved waif-like counterparts.
And then it all went south. She got rid of her red hair in favor of a bleachy blonde and joined other young actors on the sickeningly skinny diet.
So why would a young celebrity who had it all – a budding career, fame, fortune – continue down the road of destruction?
Aside from the common refrain of “just another young star losing a battle to substance abuse,” I think there’s something much more meaningful to Lohan’s deconstruction: She has no one at home to take care of her.
It’s hard not to recall that frightening image of a bald Britney Spears taking an umbrella to a paparazzo’s van. Photos of that incident went viral, forcing everyone to see that the star – once not yet a girl not yet a woman – was a person who needed help.
When she was hospitalized after police discovered her under the influence of an illicit substance, her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, received sole physical and legal custody of their kids. In January 2008, she was committed to the psychiatric ward of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and subsequently placed under the temporary conservatorship of her father, James Spears, and attorney Andrew Wallet.
From all appearances, it seemed Spears’ dad took full responsibility of helping his daughter get well. She was shielded from paparazzi and other seemingly harmful influences, such as former manager Sam Lufti, ex-boyfriend and paparazzo Adnan Ghalib and attorney Jon Eardley, three men against whom Spears and her father obtained a restraining order for allegedly colluding to take over Spears’ affairs.
In addition to recovering from the downward spiral, Spears’ career bounced back with a bestselling album, Circus, critically acclaimed guest spots on How I Met Your Mother and Glee, and what looks like a full head of hair.
And for her part, Spears seems grateful to score a second chance with the public.
Lohan, on the other hand, seems hell-bent to prove she’s capable of so much worse just when you think she can’t help but get any better. As cliché as it sounds, it looks like her problems stem from her parents.
Unlike Lohan’s parents, who, if they aren’t at each other’s throats, are constantly seeking the next break in show biz, regardless of the toll it takes on their children, Spears’ parents mobilized to protect their daughter from becoming another sad celebrity statistic.
Her mother, Dina Lohan, now famous for continuing to exploit her children when they need her most, chooses to find excuses for her daughter’s behavior. These days it seems she’s trying to find excuses for herself.
Following Lohan’s recent hearing in which her probation was revoked, Dina told online blog PopEater that it was “all good” and that “God has a big plan” for her daughter, who was released on $40,000 bail.
Dear old dad isn’t doing much better.
Lohan’s father, Michael, recently dumped the blame for his daughter’s troubles at the feet of her managers in an interview with RadarOnline.com. He called them one-hit wonders who likely won’t have the same kind of success with Lohan as they did with Spears – yes, the same team who pitched in to help Britney are trying to do the same for Lohan.
Additionally, Dina and Michael also spend a significant amount of time ripping on each other. When an episode of Glee featured Katie Couric labeling Dina a loser, Michael told PopEater, “Dina deserves a lot worse of a title after all she has done to destroy the relationships with my kids and entire family.”
The two spend so much time making statements to the media that their kids, Lohan, Ali and Cody, seem almost accessories to a relentless barrage of self-promotion.
And that is the saddest thing of all. There’s a reason California uses the best interests of the child as a standard within family law – it’s because once you push Mom and Dad’s selfish issues aside, there’s still a child’s welfare at stake. For a family to succeed, even amid the breakup of the marital unit, the child’s best interests must be given first priority.
Sadly enough, Lohan’s best interests in this case may be to keep her parents’ at arm’s length. It may behoove the troubled starlet to try for a year with the divisively strict Tiger Mom. At this point it not only sounds like the setting for a great Disney film in which Lohan could star, but it may also provide Lohan the kind of grounding she needs for any hope of a comeback.