July 17, 1995
(CNN)--Because of savvy spin control, Hugh Grant can be assured that his career will last more then nine months. By apologizing publicly, Grant has taught celebrities facing scandals in the future a lesson in how to defuse a crisis.
Hugh Grant was the toast of Tinseltown until he was hit by a scandal after his encounter with a Hollywood prostitute, but now he has been embraced by U.S. audiences because of the stylish way he handled this crisis.
Unlike Leona Helmsley, Grant did not refuse interviews, nor did he defiantly cancel appearances like Michael Jackson. Instead, he apologized on shows like "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and CNN's "Larry King Live." The gist? "I'm very sorry," Hugh simply said.
This behavior is very unusual for a celebrity, says Howard Rubinstein, who has handled crises for clients ranging from politicians to entertainers.
"Most stars go into seclusion and don't talk and get angry and attack the media," said Rubinstein. "He did the reverse. He apologized right away, he went on every talk show possible, he apologized to his girlfriend, and the public applauded him. They're breaking down the doors at the movie."
Many are also applauding Grant for his refreshing honesty in a culture that has become fed up with overuse of the word "abuse," but Grant did not resort to an excuse.
Grant said on "Larry King Live," "I could accept some of the things that people have explained, 'stress,' 'pressure,' 'loneliness' -- that that was the reason. But that would be false. In the end you have to come clean and say 'I did something dishonorable, shabby and goatish.'"
This is a different approach from Woody Allen, who was unapologetic about his affair with his girlfriend's daughter, or the Menendez brothers who blamed their parents for their crime. And according to radio hosts like Scott Shannon, calls have gone from jeers to cheers. Shannon said, "He went ahead and faced the music and handled it with tongue and cheek."
But if the public has been forgiving, will the tabloid press be so also? No way, says Daily News Gossip Columnist George Rush. "The American public may have forgiven him," said Rush. "But I don't think Elizabeth has, and until she takes him into her bed, we'll be on his case."
But at least Grant can sleep better knowing that his career will last longer than nine months.
July 11, 1995
BURBANK, California (CNN)
Hugh Grant took the talk show hot seat July 10, speaking publicly for the first time after his monumentally publicized arrest on lewd conduct charges last month. In answer to those charges, he told Jay Leno, "I think you know in life what's a good thing to do and what's a bad thing, and I did a bad thing..and there you have it."
Grant originally booked the Tonight Show appearance to promote his new movie, "Nine Months." But Grant's meeting with a prostitute on Hollywood's Sunset Strip is now prime tabloid fare--much of it questioning his relationship with model Elizabeth Hurley. According to Grant, the speculation is unfounded. "I've done an abominable thing, and she's been amazing about it. And contrary to what I read in the paper today, she's been very supportive and we're going to try to work it out."
Ironically, two days before his arrest, Grant joked in an interview with CNN that he and his on-screen nemesis in "Nine Months," Tom Arnold, often end up in tabloid trouble.
Grant: "I always used to get--I still do get in a lot of trouble with the British tabloid press, and it was him having trouble here. We both loved each other's misfortune. I used to come in the morning and reenact my favorite scenes from those miniseries in his life and he'd come in and pin up headlines from the News of the World or the Sun saying "Hugh Arrogant Git" and things like that.
In "Nine Months," Grant portrays a Porche-driving child pyschologist who hardly seems ready for children of his own. But his girlfriend, played by Julianne Moore, gets pregnant. So there goes the lifestyle, and the car.
"Nine Months" follows Grant's overwhelming success in "Four Weddings and a Funeral." The film is Grant's first big- budget, big-studio film complete with perks. How does he feel about that? He naturally said, "I love all that. I love the perks, that's great. They give you a phone. Then they give you a trailer--a huge trailer you know..."
"Nine Months" is winning critical praise, and fan support. Grant hopes his fans laugh all the way to the box office, and forget whatever happened on the Sunset Strip.
July 11, 1995
HOLLYWOOD, California (CNN)--British actor Hugh Grant pleaded no contest today to lewd conduct.
He was fined $1,180 and was placed on 2 years probation. Grant was arrested last month when police found him in his car, engaging in oral sex with a Hollywood prostitute. In addition to the fine, Grant will attend an AIDS education program. He was not present in court today.
July 11, 1995
BURBANK, California (CNN)--Beleaguered actor Hugh Grant took the talk show hot seat last night, speaking publicly for the first time since his monumentally publicized arrest on lewd conduct charges last month. The gamble paid off -- Grant received two thumbs up from show attendees and held his own with "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno.
"I think you know in life what's a good thing to do and what's a bad thing, and I did a bad thing," confided the tousle-headed Hugh. "And there you have it." Regarding his girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley, he said, "She's been amazing about it. Contrary to what I read in the paper today, she's been very supportive and we're going to try to work it out."
Many fans granted Hugh the benefit of the doubt -- and then some. One came bearing a sign that read, "I would have paid you Hugh." Her rationale? "I thought about it a couple of days ago. It's just to say, 'We still like you Hugh, and he made a mistake, but mistakes can be forgiven.'" Another argued in true American fashion, "Everybody knows who he is now. I mean, it's really going to do a lot for him." The Hugh horde clustered outside the show prompted Leno to yell through a bullhorn: "Isn't there a war in Bosnia?"
Ironically, two days before his arrest, Grant joked in an interview with CNN that he and Tom Arnold, his costar in the upcoming "Nine Months," often find tabloid trouble. "I still do get in a lot of trouble with the British tabloid press, and it was him having trouble here. We both loved each other's misfortunes. I used to come in the morning and re- enact my favorite scenes from those mini-series in his life, and he'd come in and pin up headlines saying, "Hugh Arrogant Git" and things like that."
Grant could only dream of such mild words now. Recently dubbed "Lewd Grant," his ordeal has made for such catchy headlines as "Hugh's Sorry Now" and "Hugh and His Hooker." Still, the actor presses on. He's sweeping the talk show circuit this week to promote his new movie. Look for him at 9 PM EDT Wednesday on "Larry King Live" on CNN.
July 1, 1995
4:00 PM EDT
British actor Hugh Grant is trying to mend his relationship with longtime companion Elizabeth Hurley. The pair are spending the weekend in seclusion after Grant was arrested in Hollywood on sex charges.
Adding to the media feeding frenzy a London stabloid announced today it has paid the prostitute involved for a "detailed account " of the incident leading to Grant's arrest. The article is due to appear tomorrow in "News of the World."
June 29, 1995
Hugh Grant's girlfriend, British actress Elizabeth Hurley, says she is "very much alone." This is her statement issued in London today to the British Press Association:
"I am still bewildered and saddened by recent events and have not been in a fit state to make any decisions about the future. For many years I have turned to Hugh for help during difficult times and so now, even though my family and friends have been very kind, I am very much alone. This is all very painful for me and if members of the press could find it in their hearts to give me some time I would be very grateful."
Copyright © 1995 Cable News Network, Inc.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.