Ah, Long Island — land of Amy and Joey, birthplace of the bellicose Baldwin brothers, where Lizzie Grubman plowed her SUV through a nightclub parking lot and Billy Joel slammed three cars into assorted inanimate objects.
Tabloid fodder, all — but with the Lohans of Merrick, the media mania is multiplied by three.
Daughter Lindsay seems headed for her third rehab stint this year following a California arrest on suspicion of drunken driving and cocaine possession. Back home, “momager” Dina and rehab-prone dad Michael shuttle between Long Island courthouses, trying to end their two-decade marriage as cameras flash and videotape rolls.
Their last court appearance drew more than two dozen paparazzi, camera crews and reporters, all for a divorce case once thought settled two years ago. The Lohans are also battling over visitation issues involving Lindsay’s younger siblings.
Press reports that Lohan had traveled to Long Island last weekend set off a local media frenzy, but on Monday no one had pinned down the starlet’s location. Some reports had her in Utah while others had her holed up back in mom’s Merrick home.
With a family like this, how could the celebrity media resist?
“I feel like a second parent in the sense that I helped raise my family,” Lindsay told Allure magazine earlier this year. “And I was put between my mother and father a lot. Well, I would put myself between them to try and keep the peace, and I felt good doing that.”
The 21-year-old strawberry blonde began modeling before kindergarten, taking an exhilarating ride from suburban obscurity to Hollywood stardom. Yet even as her name graced movie marquees, she never quite escaped her dysfunctional upbringing.
Lohan directed a 2005 autobiographical music video, “Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter to Father),” depicting a husband resembling Michael verbally abusing a blonde-haired beauty who could easily be mistaken for Dina. A child in a tutu (Lindsay’s younger sister, Ali?) quakes in fear in an adjacent bedroom.
“It was really to let girls, boys, anyone that’s in an abusive relationship, anyone who is going through things like that ... to put it out there that it’s OK to express how you feel,” she told The Associated Press in December 2005.
Father has gone through rehab, jail
Michael Lohan, a former Wall Street broker, married Donata “Dina” Sullivan in 1985. Matrimony soon turned to acrimony.
In the late 1980s, he was sentenced to four years in prison in a stock fraud case. He returned to jail in 1998 after violating his probation by leaving the state to visit Lindsay on a California movie set. He received another 27 days in 2000 after violating an order of protection obtained by Dina to prevent him from seeing their children.
The born-again Lohan has repeatedly said his daughter needs to do the same.
Dina Lohan has told interviewers she considers herself a single parent, since Michael was behind bars for years. All four of her children tried show business, but it was the eldest who became a superstar with movies like “Mean Girls” and “Freaky Friday.”
Life of a ‘momager’
Dina became her combination mother and manager. Along the way, she’s enjoyed enough reflected glow from her daughter’s stardom to get a second-hand sunburn.
She worked for the syndicated “Entertainment Tonight” show as a red carpet “reporter,” and claimed in bios that she was once a Radio City Rockette although the landmark theater says it has no record of her high-kicking on the big stage.
A Harper’s Bazaar profile earlier this year, complete with provocative photos of the 40-something mom, found Dina boasting about living the American dream. And while she told George Clooney that she was Lindsay’s assistant, rather than a parent, Dina insists she’s no “party mom.”
Yet Michael Lohan has insinuated on a number of occasions that his estranged wife may have been drinking or using drugs, possibly with Lindsay — claims Dina has vehemently denied. Only last week, in what he called an effort to make the peace with his ex-wife, did Michael drop a Family Court bid to have Dina drug tested.
Both parents, and their younger children, will undergo counseling before a decision is made on his visitation rights; currently, he’s limited to phone calls.
It’s easy to blame her parents for Lindsay’s addiction woes. But is it fair?
Dr. Mitchell S. Rosenthal, a child psychiatrist and founder of the nationally known Phoenix House drug and alcohol treatment program, declined to comment specifically on the Lohans. But, he noted, “parents who use drugs or abuse alcohol have a much higher incidence of kids who use drugs.”