Editor’s Note: This article contains mentions of substance use disorder. Please take care while reading, and note the helpful resources at the end of this story.
A 2013 interview between David Letterman and Lindsay Lohan has resurfaced on TikTok, leading to widespread criticism of the talk show host’s treatment of the actress.
On Feb. 5, user @calabasaswings shared the uncomfortable interview in which Letterman, then in his 10th season as host of The Late Show with David Letterman, pesters Lohan about going to rehab. At the time, Lohan’s experience with substance use disorder was highly publicized — she was convicted twice of drunken driving and once for cocaine use in 2007, and was in and out of rehab in the subsequent years.
In the shortened clip that @calabasaswings posted, Letterman attempts to joke around about Lohan’s admittance to rehab, much to the Mean Girls star’s dismay.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in rehab right now?” Letterman asks.
“Do you know read anything that goes on in the tabloids?” Lohan responds as a matter-of-factly before giving him an exact date.
“How long will you be in rehab?” Letterman then asks.
“Three months,” Lohan replies.
The talk show host continues to push the conversation, asking the actress how many times she’s been to rehab and asking how “this time will be different.”
“What are they rehabbing, first of all?” he asks, as the audience chuckles in the background.
Visibly uneasy, Lohan, however, answers the host’s questions with class.
“To be honest, I’m the happiest when I’m working and the healthiest — and I think this is an opportunity for me to, you know, focus on what I love in life,” she says. “And I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think it’s a blessing.”
Unsurprisingly, TikTok users slammed the way Letterman handled the interview.
“This is so wrong on so many levels,” TikTok star Madison Beer wrote.
“I straight up would’ve walked off,” another user commented. “How did she keep her cool.”
“Oh my god he was too bold with these questions that’s not fair of him,” a third added. “She handled it really well though.”
In the full 14-minute interview, which can be found on YouTube, Letterman attempts to get a few jokes in at Lohan’s expense before she immediately shoots him down. Toward the end, he does try to make it up to her by commending her for appearing on his show.
“You’re a good sport,” he tells her, as she slowly tears up. “I mean, we never thought we’d never see you again honestly, you know, because of the jokes and stuff. But yet, you have enough spine, enough sense of yourself, enough poise to come out here and talk to me.”
Letterman now hosts the Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman while Lohan most recently starred in the supernatural thriller Cursed.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, call The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-662-4357 for resources, or find a treatment option near you through The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers directory. Visit the American Addiction Centers website to learn more about the possible signs of substance use disorder.
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