The Top 10 Celebrity Meltdowns of 2008

Originally published for and 


By Patrick Wanis, PhD

Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

Actors, sports players and politicians! No one was immune.

This year the famous really got drunk on sex, drugs and guns. The delusion of power and invincibility is enough to land celebrities in jail or end their career but when they mixed it with alcohol and drugs, the cocktail was deadly!

So what drives celebrities to engage in self-destructive behavior? Is it the intoxication of fame, fortune and power or is it simply stupidity, ego and delusion?

Celebrity Life Coach and Human Behavior Expert Patrick Wanis, PhD has compiled his annual list of The Top Ten Celebrity Meltdowns of 2008 along with his expert insights into their antics and dangerous behavior.

Can you guess the number 1 celebrity meltdown of 2008? And no, it’s not Amy Winehouse.

Here is the annual list of The Top Ten Celebrity Meltdowns of 2008 along with a few insights and possible explanations. Remember, meltdowns aren’t just emotional breakdowns, sometimes they are simply acts of ego or stupidity.

1. Mindy Mcready
Mindy Mcready hasn’t had a hit since 2002, but her personal life has consistently been taking a beating and last years she was no. 4 on this list. Now she tops the list as the no. 1 celebrity meltdown of 2008 as her life simply seems to worsen with yet another suicide attempt (her third in 3 years) and confessions of an affair with a married baseball player dating back to when she was 16.

In May 2005, Mindy McCready’s ex-boyfriend, Billy McKnight, was arrested and charged with attempted murder after beating and choking Mindy. In July 2005, McCready attempted suicide with drugs and alcohol. In September 2005, McCready, pregnant with McKnight’s child, attempted suicide for a second time by overdosing on antidepressants. In 2007, Mindy was charged with battery and resisting arrest when she allegedly scratched her mother’s face during a fight at their home, violating her three years’ probation after being convicted on a prescription drug fraud charge.

In November 2008, Mindy admitted to a decade-long affair with baseball player Roger Clemens dating back to when she was 16 and ending when Clemens refused to leave his wife for her. Just three weeks later, on December 17, 2008, paramedics were called to Mindy McCready’s home in Nashville after an apparent suicide attempt; they transported her to a hospital after finding wounds on her wrists. It seems that Mindy’s failed personal relationships with her mother and the men in her life continue to take their toll on her.

2. Amy Winehouse
2008 further solidified Winehouse’s notoriety, becoming more famous for self-destructive behavior than her music. Police held her overnight for slapping a man last April. In June 2008, Winehouse’s publicist reported that she had developed early signs of what could lead to emphysema, while her father relayed reports of an irregular heartbeat, stating these conditions were brought on by smoking cigarettes and crack cocaine. And it was revealed that Amy Winehouse had sex with her husband Blake Fielder-Civil before he was sent back to prison. Blake made a dramatic bid to see his wife by breaking out of rehab and dashing to see her at The London Clinic where he claimed her seduced her. For Winehouse, time for real help is running out.

3. Plaxico Burress
Not the first star footballer to give way to the delusions of power and invincibility but maybe the latest sheer act of stupidity and self-sabotage. Giants’ wide receiver Plaxico Burress was hit with two counts of illegal weapons possession after it was claimed that he had a gun in a nightclub and accidentally shot himself in the right thigh.  Luckily he didn’t lose his leg but he may end up losing his career. He was finished for the season, suspended without pay and fined, and he could get three years prison. Meanwhile, he got his Christmas present in the form of a raid by the Police resulting in the seizure of weapons and ammunition from his New Jersey home. The new year may bring new charges for Plaxico Burress!

4. John Edwards, Governor Spitzer and Tim Mahoney

Cheating & lying was the common theme for all three politicians. He had dreams of being the next US President but former Democratic Senator John Edwards admitted that he repeatedly lied about an extramarital affair with a 42-year old campaign employee, but strenuously denied being involved in paying the woman hush money or fathering her newborn child. And he had the affair while his wife had incurable breast cancer and Edwards wife stood by him in spite of the betrayal. But the wife of Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney filed for divorce a week after Mahoney admitted to “numerous” affairs. Mahoney has said he paid $121,000 to Patricia Allen, a former staffer with whom he was romantically linked, to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit Allen threatened. And NY Governor Elliot Spitzer said he was going to rid the city of corruption but it turned out he was part of it when he got caught and admitted that he was linked to a prostitution ring. It seems power got to more than just their head, and these are simple examples of the “secret desire syndrome” – people who publicly rally against immoral behavior all the while secretly and subconsciously desiring the very thing they denounce.

5. The Hogan family
This has been a tough year for everyone in the Hogan family and after highly successful seasons of Hogan Knows Best, a new family was revealed as it split into different directions with son Nick sentenced to eight months of jail last May in relation to a car accident, and Linda filing for divorce, followed by claims that she was having a romantic relationship with a teenager. Maybe the one most hurt is also the strongest and wisest, 20 year old Brooke who I predict will go onto doing much bigger things than music and being a pop-star; Brooke will go onto a career of helping and transforming people’s lives. Maybe it is true: “Brooke Knows Best!”

6. David Duchovny
Truth is stranger than fiction and David Duchovny’s personal life became a reflection of his TV role as sex-obsessed writer Hank Moody in Showtime’s Californication when he admitted to sex addiction upon entering rehab last August. In real life, Duchovny copied his TV character by engaging in self-destructive behavior off set. The dangerous irony is that Duchovny is back for a third season playing Hank Moody in Showtime’s Californication and this could just reignite his sex-addiction and drag him right back down. Too many actors don’t realize that consistently playing a character will affect their psyche -deeply and sometimes irrevocably.

7. Raffaello Follieri (Anne Hathaway’s boyfriend)
He claimed he had links to the Vatican and the Pope, but the man who had it all: wealth, fame and a celebrity girlfriend – Anne Hathaway, lost it all and now his only link is to a seven by eight foot room. Follieri was charged with 11 counts of fraud and money laundering for getting wealthy clients to invest in nonexistent real estate deals. Follieri was living in a $37,500-a-month rental apartment on Fifth Avenue with his girlfriend, actress Anne Hathaway. Today, he has a live-in cellmate. Follieri, it seems had a greater fascination with the money and power of the Vatican than it’s connection to God or spirituality.

8. Josh Brolin and Christian Bale
Boys will be boys and some men like to throw punches…In July, while filming the Oliver Stone biopic W, Brolin was arrested for getting into a bar fight in Shreveport, La. Charged with a misdemeanor for interfering with police. Ironically, Brolin plays Dan White (a murderer) in the new film, Milk. Meanwhile, the Dark Knight buzz was still building, when star Christian Bale was arrested in London after allegedly assaulting his mother and sister. The charges were subsequently dropped but it’s believed family tension wasn’t fully settled.

9. Kanye West
His mouth is powerful and it seems so are his fists. Rapper Kanye West was arrested after another scuffle with a photographer, first in the Los Angeles International airport last September and then in the United Kingdom.  West makes it clear on his blog about his fear and loathing of the paparazzi but his greatest fight is to sell his latest musical release which has only sold half of his last one.

10. Heather Locklear
First, there was the 911 call claiming that Heather Locklear was trying to commit suicide, then she admitted problems with anxiety and depression. Two failed marriages to rock stars, the first to Tommy Lee and the second to Richie Sambora finally took its toll on Heather Locklear, the TV star famous for her work on Dynasty. She was arrested last September for a DUI and charged with a misdemeanor for driving under the influence of prescription medications. She came out of rehab recently telling the world that she is back and has learned a lot from her experience. We are not sure what that means about her future relationships with men or with herself.

The Final Word
Recently, I was featured on VH1’s upcoming special on “Shocking Celebrity Divorces” (airing in February 2009) where I reveal that no amount of fame, fortune or power will compensate for a lack of self-love, low self-esteem or unresolved issues. More money and more power only exaggerate and exacerbate our deeper subconscious problems. While we might be able to fool the public for a short while, we can never fool ourselves; we can never run away or escape from our real selves or our own self-loathing. We always return to our subconscious roots and when we don’t subconsciously feel deserving of our success, we easily and quickly sabotage it. The mix of seeming invincibility, grandeur and money only serves to create grand-scale acts of stupidity and ego, unless we are grounded in a desire to give and help others, versus taking and serving only ourselves.

Listen to the radio interview with Patrick Wanis PhD with his list of The Top 10 Celebrity Meltdowns of 2008 

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