May 2, 2013 at 11:33 AM ET
Reese Witherspoon knows she's not above the law, so why is she laughing off her arrest? In a Thursday appearance on Good Morning America, the Mud actress spoke about her husband's DUI, and her accompanying disorderly conduct charge, for the first time. While she did acknowledge their "poor judgement," she also joked about how it was just "one of those nights." Really, Reese?
"We went out to dinner in Atlanta, had one too many glasses of wine. We thought we were fine to drive and we absolutely were not," said the actress. "And it's just completely unacceptable. And we are so sorry and embarrassed. And we know better."
Having "one too many glasses of wine" sounds pretty innocuous—except that her husband Jim Toth's blood alcohol level was .139. That's the slurred-speech, staggering level of drunk. It also means that he had a lot of drinks: 4 to 7 in a single hour, or more over the course of a night. (An entire bottle of wine is around 5 drinks.)
What we're trying to say is that getting behind the wheel that night wasn't a simple mistake; it was a dangerous, and illegal, decision. Toth was caught driving in the wrong lane. He could have easily killed someone. Celebrities get off the hook for this stuff all the time, but if Reese cares at all about setting a good example, she shouldn't be downplaying the seriousness of what happened.
As for Reese's own behavior that night—yelling at the arresting officer, refusing to stay in the car, saying "Do you know my name?"—she's trying to pass it off as the result of "panic."
"I have no idea what I was saying that night....I said all kinds of crazy things. I told him I was pregnant. I'm not pregnant!" she laughed. "You only hear me laughing because I had no idea what I was talking about and I am so sorry. I was so disrespectful to him. I have police officers in my family. I work with police officers every day. I know better."
The interview moved on from there—but will Reese's fans? It feels like Witherspoon is trying to paint her arrest as a dumb-blonde moment, a kooky comedy scene from one of her movies. But in real life, Reese isn't dumb. As it turns out, she's the kind of celebrity who asks "do you know who I am?" when she gets in trouble. (Kevin Smith told us so.)
As Witherspoon admitted to GMA, "I've played a lawyer so many times in movies, I think I am a lawyer—and clearly I'm not a lawyer." Maybe it's time for Reese to stop playing a character, and start re-connecting with her fans from a more honest place.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.