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30 Most Controversial Movie Stars

Kiefer Sutherland

The Controversial Star: The hard-drinking action-man has found himself in hot water over his boozing on a number of occasions, including an arrest in 2007 for drunk-driving. A 48-day stint in jail duly followed, although the actor’s uncompromising lifestyle remained more or less intact. He would continue to give tabloid hacks plenty of material over the following years, including a set of unflattering photos of the sozzled star passed out in the street.

Lowest Ebb: The 2009 incident in which he was arrested for headbutting fashion designer Jack McCollough at the Mercer Hotel. Save it for 24 , eh Kiefer?

Hugh Grant

The Controversial Star: Professional fish-out-of-water Hugh Grant stretched his clean-cut image to breaking point after his 1995 arrest by the LAPD Vice Squad. Having invited prostitute Divine Brown into his car for some in-vehicle “entertainment”, Grant was caught and charged with lewd behaviour in a public place. Not ideal for a man whose stock in trade was the bumbling but loveable hero.

Lowest Ebb:
Not only did his arrest cost him a $1000 fine, he lost girlfriend Liz Hurley as well. Which one do you reckon hurt more?

Paris Hilton

The Controversial Star: Whilst we all had a good chuckle at her wittily titled sex-tape (that’d be One Night In Paris ), Paris has hardly done her public image any favours with a series of driving offences including driving under the influence, speeding and driving with a suspended license. Since then she has fallen foul of the law again, this time for charges concerning the possession of drugs. Oh, it’s just not fair, is it Paris?

Lowest Ebb: Her bratty reaction to a judge’s decree that she must see out her 45-day sentence, in which she wailed “it’s not right”, before being dragged kicking and screaming from the courtroom.

Russell Crowe

The Controversial Star: Renowned argument enthusiast Crowe has been embroiled in more than his fair share of public bust-ups over the years, from a stand-up row with BAFTA officials back in 2002 (after his tribute poem to Richard Harris was cut short) to his furious reaction to Mark Lawson’s questioning of his Robin Hood accent. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

Lowest Ebb:
His arrest in 2005 following an incident in which he chucked a telephone at an employee of New York’s Mercer Hotel. Crowe would go on to describe the episode as, “possibly the most shameful situation that I've ever gotten myself in... and I've done some pretty dumb things in my life.”

Tom Cruise

The Controversial Star: As a practising Scientologist, controversy will likely follow Cruise throughout the rest of his career, but he doesn’t exactly make things easy on himself with the stuff he comes out with. Alongside the tabloid tittle-tattle concerning his ‘brainwashing’ of Katie Holmes comes more concrete evidence of wackiness, such as the bizarre appearance on the Today show in which he berated Brooke Shields for admitting to taking antidepressants. Cruise being an expert on postnatal depression, naturally.

Lowest Ebb: It has to be Oprah’s sofa. The man looks like a total loon. Or a toddler in need of a slap...

Christian Bale

The Controversial Star: Christian Bale... great actor, bit of a temper. Firstly there was a reported brouhaha at the Dorchester Hotel back in 2008, when a family feud erupted between the star and his mother and sister over a requested loan of money. No charges were brought, but the row was all over the tabloids. And then came the Terminator incident... argh, you f**king idiot! What are you f**king playing at! Sorry, somebody just walked into our eyeline. We hate it when that happens.

Lowest Ebb:
The aforementioned Terminator blowout. Years later, it’s still worth another look!

Dennis Hopper

The Controversial Star: Not content to stir up controversy through his on-screen endeavours (his contributions to films like Easy Rider and Blue Velvet earned a fair few headlines on their own merits), Hopper’s drug problems throughout the ‘70s making him a notoriously erratic character, prone to spirals of despair. As the man himself concisely put it, “all alcohol and drugs got me was a lot of misery.”

Lowest Ebb: The distinctly messy divorce proceedings in early 2010, which involved accusations of threatening behaviour and drug use on the part of the fading star.

Drew Barrymore

The Controversial Star: Having stolen audience’s hearts as the adorable moppet from E.T. , Drew set about packing the following years with more debauchery than most people manage in a lifetime. Smoking at nine, she followed that with booze at eleven, weed at twelve and cocaine at just thirteen years of age. Startling stuff.

Lowest Ebb: The suicide attempt that put her into rehab was the low point of a very troubled childhood.

Robert Downey Jr

The Controversial Star: The '90s were pretty rough on RDJ, with his long-running struggle with heroin and cocaine addiction eventually landing him with a year-long stint in California’s Corcoran State Prison. All the more impressive then that he’s managed to turn things around in such spectacular style. If there’s a genuine success story on this list, it belongs to the Iron Man himself.

Lowest Ebb:
The arrest that led to his problems going public back in 1996. The police found him slumped in a child’s bed in the house of a next-door neighbour! Oh dear.

Oliver Reed

The Controversial Star: An incorrigible boozehound whose famous exploits included vomiting on Steve McQueen, scrapping with director Ken Russell and landing himself with 36 stitches in his face after a barroom brawl in the West End. That last escapade ended with Reed calling himself a cab to the hospital, only to become embroiled in a row with the cabbie after getting blood on his seats! Oh Ollie...

Lowest Ebb:
Performing an excruciatingly terrible rendition of Wild One on talk show Aspel’s People . Although that said, it was pretty funny!

George Wales
George is GR's resident movie news person, based out of London. He understands that all men must die, but he'd rather not think about it.