Celebrities use rehab to clean up image

Katherine Roth

The newest trend for celebrities has arrived, and it’s not a new purse or a must-have gadget. It appears that celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Miss USA Tara Conner and Isaiah Washington have checked themselves into rehabilitation and counseling centers. But are they actually getting help, or is this just a ploy to fix their images, which they themselves have caused to crash and burn?

Lohan has been making headlines ever since she emerged on the scene as the star of “Freaky Friday.” From her asthma attacks to bouts of exhaustion, Lohan appears to be a frequent visitor to Los Angeles-area hospitals. On Jan. 4, Lohan was admitted for an emergency appendectomy. A day later, she appeared miraculously healed. Less than two weeks later, news emerged that Lohan had checked herself into rehab.

In a statement issued through her representative, Leslie Sloane Zelnik, Lohan says, “I have made a proactive decision to take care of my personal health. I appreciate your well wishes and ask that you please respect my privacy at this time.”

As an outpatient of Wonderland Rehab Center, Lohan’s dedication to her rehabilitation has been questioned, which makes sense after several sightings of her outside the walls of Wonderland, particularly on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles and on a shopping trip to Christian Dior on Sunday.

“Our philosophy is a policy of integration into life – not isolation,” says Dr. Howard C. Samuels of the rehab center. “We do not isolate the individual; we integrate recovery into the individual’s life. That is what we believe in.”

Dr. Samuels defended Lohan to “Access Hollywood” after her commitment to getting clean was questioned.

If you are a fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” and you have not heard the drama going on with the beloved show, then you must be living in a cave somewhere. Quick recap for those who have no idea what’s going on: Isaiah Washington, who plays Dr. Preston Burke, taunted Patrick Dempsey, who plays Dr. Derek Shepherd, by saying, “I’m not your little faggot like [name withheld].” A few days later, T.R. Knight, who plays Dr. George O’Malley, revealed to People magazine that he’s gay. The fight seemed to blow over and things returned to normal. That was until the Golden Globes, where Washington denied ever having said the offensive slur in the press room after the cast had accepted the award for Best Television Series – Drama.

“I’m going to be really honest right now,” said Katherine Heigl, who plays Dr. Izzy Stevens. “He needs to just not speak in public. Period. I’m sorry, that did not need to be said, I’m not okay with it.”

Washington apologized for his behavior.

“I apologize to T.R., my colleagues, the fans of the show and especially the lesbian and gay community for using a word that is unacceptable in any context or circumstance. By repeating the word Monday night, I marred what should have been a perfect night for everyone who works on “Grey’s Anatomy.” I can neither defend nor explain my behavior. I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I’ve asked for help.”

After the public apology, Washington checked into a residential treatment facility in a bid to retain his job on the set of “Grey’s.”

Miss USA Tara Conner is another “hot mess.” Conner sat down with Matt Lauer and came clean on abusing alcohol and cocaine. The former party girl dressed down for the interview in an attempt to leave her “manipulative, dishonest” life behind. But we won’t forget.

In early December, it was suggested that Conner would lose her crown over her behavior in several New York City bars. Executives of the Miss USA pageant – Donald Trump and its broadcaster NBC – met the same day that the news erupted to determine whether to release Conner from her duties. On Dec. 19, the Donald held a press conference saying that Conner was not dethroned as Miss USA.

“I’ve always been a believer in second chances,” Trump says. After a 31-day stint in rehab, Conner tells People Magazine she’s a “completely different person.”

So what’s the purpose of these overly-publicized rehab stints? Whether it is to bring the limelight back to their oh-so-egotistical selves or actually conquer some real problems, it’s true to say that these will not be the last celebrities to check-out of Hollywood and check into rehab.