It’s hard to watch a film clip of Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston or Britney Spears and not ask yourself that very question. Honestly, what could possibly have gone through their minds to do what they have done to their careers in general and lives in particular?
While there’s still hope that some of these celebrity head cases, especially Whitney Houston, might snap out of whatever funk they are in, poor Jacko is toast. Granted, I realize he came from a screwed-up family with screwed-up parents and all that, but the bottom line is he made his bizarre choices as a grown adult.
And please, don’t write me with they idea "they need help" — that’s obvious! Heck, I need help, but I’m not going out tomorrow and have plastic surgery so I can try and look like Brad Pitt. First of all, I’m scared of of anyone cutting on my face. Secondly, I couldn’t stand living with Angelina Jolie. I hear she’s too high maintenance.
Here’s my pick of the 10 biggest celebrity screw-ups of the past 25 years:
1. MICHAEL JACKSON: Jacko, soon to be 50 years old, should be loving life as the toast of American music. Instead, he’s a Barnum and Bailey freak show. Just about every lover of pop music born since about 1970 has asked themselves at least once in their life, "Why?" The plastic surgeries, whatever he did to his skin and hair and all the alleged abuse cases have completely overshadowed his amazing talents. My gosh, this guy could have been considered the finest entertainer of this or any other generation, but all he will utlimately be remembered as is a nut case.
2. WHITNEY HOUSTON: She was arguably the most appealing pop diva of all time. An incredible voice, personality and on-stage energy, Whitney was an American sweetheart of the first degree. Then she got hooked up with thug Bobby Brown and now spends most of her days trying to beat a crack cocaine habit. Whoever said youth was wasted on the young may have had Whitney in mind.
3. BRITNEY SPEARS: She will likely pass Whitney for the No. 2 position at her current rate. That head shaving episode was worth major points.
4. PARIS HILTON: While Michael, Whitney and Britney’s problems may be blamed on poor judgment and/or outside influences, simple lack of brainpower seems to be at work here.
5. TOM CRUISE: I often wonder if the diminutive Mr. Cruise has any idea how much people laugh at him these days? Listen to some of his recent interviews and you have to question yourself if someone made him drink that Kool-Aid or if he did it voluntarily. Tom, don’t you remember "Top Gun?" What happened?
6. O.J. SIMPSON: At least no one else on this list has been accused of killing someone.
7. LINDSAY LOHAN: This girl is only, what, 21 or 22? Is it just me or does it seem like she’s been a mess for a decade?
8. KEITH RICHARDS: How is our favorite Rolling Stone still breathing with all the illegal substances he’s had enter his body?
9. THE HOGAN KIDS: Brooke and Nick, the annoying daughter and son of former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, should both have to spend time behind bars for their personalities alone.
10. MICHAEL VICK: What, no one ever told him running a major dog fighting ring might be a bit questionable. Has any recent pro athlete found himself in as much trouble — not to mention prison — for something not tied to drugs, alcohol or guns? (Well, there were a few pot-related problems, but for the most part, Vick’s woes stem from — you have to be kidding me — dog fighting.)
Honorable mention: Amy Winehouse, and as soon as I figure out exactly who she is and what she does she is definite top-10 material.