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The Biggest Celebrity Meltdowns: Shia LaBeouf to Christian Bale

Variety logo Variety 7/14/2017 Dixie Limbachia
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Shia LaBeouf was arrested for public drunkenness in Savannah, Ga., over the weekend — his latest bungle in a long line of missteps. In his essay “Error Breeds Sense,” the 31-year-old actor discusses his first time getting arrested for stealing a pair of Nike Cortezes at age nine, and again at 11 for running off with a Game Boy.

His third and fourth offenses occurred in his 20s — once when he attempted to stab a neighbor and another when he refused to leave a Walgreens. In 2014 at age 28, LaBeouf was charged with disorderly conduct during a “Cabaret” performance.

LaBeouf’s most recent instance of erratic behavior saw him arrested for public intoxication, obstruction, and disorderly conduct. Things got even more scandalous after videos surfaced of the actor calling a police officer a “f—ing bitch” while also saying a black cop was going to hell due to his skin color.

LaBeouf has since apologized for his tirade, but the outburst calls to mind other notable celebrity meltdowns.

Amanda Bynes

The former Nickelodeon child star first caused an uproar with a series of disturbing tweets involving her former co-star Drake Bell and stars like Rihanna, Sarah Hyland, and Chrissy Teigen. She was later arrested in May of 2013 for possession of marijuana and reckless endangerment after she threw a bong out of her Manhattan apartment window. Two months later, Bynes was placed under involuntarily psychiatric hold when she started a fire on a stranger’s driveway.

Christian Bale

Bale stirred controversy in February of 2009 after TMZ leaked an audio clip of what sounded like Bale going off on a ballistic tirade on the set of his then-upcoming film “Terminator Salvation.” Later, secret footage of a man (obviously Bale) with a blurred face showed him ranting and lashing out at director of photography Shane Hurlbut. Hulburt had apparently walked into Bale’s path during a photo shoot, which apparently triggered the actor. “F—sake man, you’re amateur,” Bale berated.

Mel Gibson

Who could forget Gibson’s horrific fall from grace in 2010? In a series of taped phone conversations, the “Braveheart” actor verbally attacked his then-girlfriend with profane and racial slurs. He called her a “f—ing pig in heat” and threatened that she would be “raped by a pack of n—–s.” Also, Gibson was also not shy about offending and attacking people based on race, sexual orientation, gender, and immigration status.

Kanye West

West stopped his concert last November to deliver a 17-minute-long rant. Why? Because he was “sent here to give y’all (his) truth.” The rapper, just after performing three songs during his “Life of Pablo” tour, went off about how ex-friends Jay-Z and Beyonce, Mark Zuckerberg, former President Barack Obama, and many other celebrities were “fake.” He then canceled the rest of his tour dates.

Britney Spears

Spears showed the world her not-so innocent side on Feb. 16, 2007, when she attacked a paparazzi car with an umbrella. Just days before the incident, the “…Baby One More Time” singer was seen shaving her head at Esther’s Hair Salon in Tarzana, Calif. Earlier that year, Spears justified her outlandish behavior as preparation for an upcoming film. “I was preparing my character for a (role) in a movie where the husband never plays his part so they switch places accidentally,” she wrote on her official website. Spears later confirmed that she hadn’t acquired the role.

Charlie Sheen 

In 2011, Sheen startled his fans with a series of live-stream videos. After what at first seemed to be incoherent ramblings, the “Two and a Half Men” actor proceeded to blurt out phrases like “phones were built by trolls” and “we are in the middle of a movement, odyssey of epic proportions.” The video showcases a frenzied and manic Sheen as he talked about “his plan” for a different world.

Michael Richards

Richards may no longer be a household name, but Kramer’s still everyone’s favorite fictional neighbor. The former “Seinfeld” star experienced quite the meltdown during a 2006 performance at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. The comedian caused controversy after spewing racial slurs, most offensively the n-word. Richards then started to talk about the Jim Crow era and lynching, killing his own career in the process.

Robert Downey Jr.

Downey Jr.’s comeback story is one for the history books. The actor infamously struggled with drug addiction for years before getting clean and ultimately taking on a decade-spanning role as Iron Man. At one point, the actor was fired from the sitcom “Ally McBeal” after being arrested for trespassing into a neighbor’s property. While Downey has resurrected his career since, he still gets riled up when the subject of his bad boy days comes up.

Lindsay Lohan

It all started in 2007 when Lohan ran into some legal issues with substance abuse, ultimately resulting in a DUI. Court footage surfaced in 2010 of Lohan crying and apologizing for violating her probation. The “Mean Girls” actress broke down when the judge sentenced her to 90 days in jail and a required rehab stint.

Tom Cruise

Last, but definitely not least, Cruise shocked the world when he guest-starred on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” back in 2005. The awkward appearance involved the “Jerry Maguire” star jumping all over Winfrey’s couch and professing his love for then-girlfriend Katie Holmes (now his ex-wife). In an interview with Matt Lauer later that year, Cruise lashed out at the “Today” host and  model Brooke Shields for their beliefs regarding psychiatry and prescription medication. Not long after, Cruise proclaimed his dedication to the Church of Scientology.

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