PIERS MOR­GAN

Lind­say Lo­han’s a fib­bing lit­tle minx

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - CONTENTS -

I’m wor­ried about poor old Jeremy Pax­man. He used to make news for his with­er­ing as­saults on fork­tongued politi­cians, earn­ing him the well-de­served so­bri­quet ‘the BBC’s rot­tweiler- in- chief’. But then he mor­phed into the ‘noth­ing-to-do-withme-guv’ jour­nal­is­tic hero who was nowhere to be seen when the Jimmy Sav­ile scan­dal ex­ploded at News­night, and, lat­terly, for sport­ing an ab­surd grey beard on air.

I’ve met Pax­man a few times, and rarely en­coun­tered such a supremely nar­cis­sis­tic, pompous bore — a man who pos­i­tively drips in smug, sanc­ti­mo­nious, su­per­cil­ious self­sat­is­fac­tion. And also a man whose ev­ery wak­ing mo­ment is spent care­fully nur­tur­ing his ‘Paxo’ brand.

I can just pic­ture him look­ing at his flag­ging rat­ings (his show has at times dropped to 200,000 view­ers) and think­ing: ‘Hmmm, time for The Beard. That will get them all talk­ing about my favourite sub­ject. . . me.’

He even wrote a lengthy ar­ti­cle about The Beard, feign­ing shock at all the fuss it gen­er­ated, when that was clearly the sole pur­pose of grow­ing it in the first place. Let me help you with the in­tel­lec­tual anal­y­sis of The Beard, Jeremy: you look like a cross be­tween Step­toe and Harold Ship­man.

‘The ed­i­fice of il­lu­sion crum­bled... Lind­say, the

fib­bing lit­tle minx, did me up like a kip­per’

close to land­ing the role of Veron­ica Corn­ing­stone (even­tu­ally played by Christina Ap­ple­gate) in my all-time favourite com­edy, An­chor­man. Four months ago, I sat down with Lind­say Lo­han in New York to con­duct an in­ter­view for this very mag­a­zine. She was about to en­ter a re­hab clinic for the umpteenth time.

‘I’m go­ing to tell you the ab­so­lute truth about ev­ery­thing,’ she as­sured me. ‘How many times have you taken co­caine?’ I asked. ‘Ev­ery­one thinks I’ve done it so many times. But I’ve only done it maybe four or five times in my life,’ she replied. ‘Re­ally?’

‘Yes, I don’t like it. I took it four times in a pe­riod from about the age of 20 to 23.’

‘Peo­ple will be very scep­ti­cal that you’ve only taken co­caine four times,’ I per­sisted.

‘It’s the truth.’ I looked into her big blue/green eyes, and I be­lieved her. As for al­co­hol, when I asked, ‘Do you drink a lot?’ she replied: ‘Not re­ally. I’ve never been a big drinker.’ Again, I be­lieved her. So much so that when the in­ter­view was pub­lished and jour­nal­ist friends of mine who’ve moved a lit­tle closer in Ms Lo­han’s so­cial cir­cle mocked me for my shock­ing naïvety, I in­sisted that they were wrong and I was right.

Tonight, I sat and watched Oprah Win­frey in­ter­view Lind­say, in her first pub­lic ap­pear­ance since com­ing OUT of the clinic. ‘I read that you said you’d re­ally only done co­caine three or four times?’ said Oprah.

‘I re­ally haven’t done it . . .’ Lind­say paused, and a slight guilty smirk ap­peared on her face.

‘I re­ally haven’t done it more than . . . 10 to 15 times.’ And then came the I own one car — an As­ton Martin Rapide — that I keep at my house in Los An­ge­les.

My Amer­i­can as­sis­tant Ju­liana kindly takes care of it dur­ing my nu­mer­ous ab­sences.

Un­for­tu­nately, she was nowhere to be found this morn­ing when I ran out of petrol — and ac­tu­ally had to go to a sta­tion, and at­tempt to fill up the tank my­self for the first time in a year. This rel­a­tively sim­ple act re­quired one cru­cial piece of knowl­edge — the lo­ca­tion of the fuel tank re­lease but­ton.

For 15 in­creas­ingly lu­di­crous min­utes, I tried and failed to find it — even por­ing over the man­ual.

It was a mo­ment of ex­cru­ci­at­ing em­bar­rass­ment, where you just hope and pray no­body recog­nises you.

There was a tap on the pas­sen­ger win­dow, and I turned to see a blonde in hip­pie hot­pants cack­ling with laugh­ter at my dis­com­fort.

‘Need some help, dar­ling?’ she asked me, at which point my heart sank.

It was Amanda Holden.

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