Who’s lining up for the next ‘Celebrity Rehab’? Tila Tequila is out; Jeremy London considers it
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The bread and butter of ‘Celebrity Rehab,’ the VH1 show that attempts to get troubled Z-listers back on the wagon, is the drama the cast experiences on the road to recovery.
So it’s not all that surprising that the show’s casting process has itself been a bit sensational. Over the last couple of months, it has been rumored that a wide variety of somewhat recognizable personalities may participate. The most recent tally includes ‘A Shot at Love’ reality TV star Tila Tequila; ‘Party of Five’ actor Jeremy London; London’s wife, Melissa; Lauren Conrad’s ex-boyfriend and former ‘Hills’ star Jason Wahler; Playboy playmate Shauna Sand and oil heir Jason ‘Gummi Bear’ Davis.
A number of these participants have continually confirmed or denied their involvement with the upcoming season of the show, but VH1 has remained mum.
In June, Tequila announced on her blog that she was checking into ‘Rehab’ due to an addiction to prescription painkillers. But in an e-mail sent to The Times on Tuesday, she said she ‘was having anxiety attacks at the last minute and decided to back out.’
She added that the decision not to appear on the program had to do with the show’s contract, which ‘says that [VH1 has] a right to mis-represent you.’
‘I feel toying with that is not something ok,’ she wrote.
Meanwhile, Radar Online reported last week that London and his wife would appear on the show. The actor made headlines in June after claiming that three men held him hostage on a hours-long joyride during which he was forced to smoke drugs.
London’s publicist, Dominic Friesen, confirmed that ‘there is interest’ in the actor and his wife joining the ‘Celebrity Rehab’ cast, though their participation has yet to be confirmed.
The actor has had an ‘outside relationship’ with Dr. Drew Pinsky -- the show’s host -- in the past, which might lead him to sign on, Friesen said.
‘The thing with Jeremy is, having grown up in the spotlight, he’s a very private person and he successfully dealt with his issues privately. I think making that public is always a consideration,’ Friesen said of London’s concern about participating. ‘I think that’s always a challenge with reality TV, is really getting a sense of what you’re signing up for. Something like [‘Celebrity Rehab’], you don’t really have control over the experience.’
A representative for Wahler did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a representative for Sand said she was not allowed to confirm any news because her client ‘wants to get paid for that.’
A spokesperson for VH1 said the network was not allowed to comment on the cast until show participants actually move into the rehab facility in Pasadena, which has yet to occur. (A production date for the show has yet to be determined.)
A representative for Pinsky said he also could not comment on casting decisions. But Sherry Gaba, a psychotherapist and life coach on “Celebrity Rehab,’ explained the criteria for potential contestants this way:
“They usually have some sort of disease. When they come in, they’re usually not clean,’ she said.
While in treatment, she explained, participants spend a number of hours each day in group psychotherapy and in meetings, learning how to have “sober fun without being loaded” and “how to get along with other people.” But a televised rehab experience is undeniably different than a private rehab experience, Gaba said.
“It’s not the same as private, and they make their choice to be public,” she said. “Some of the people that come in are pretty down and out. Is it the same as going to a regular rehab? No. But at least they’re getting something.”
-- Amy Kaufman (follow me on Twitter @AmyKinLA)
Upper photo: Tila Tequila. Credit: Toby Canham / Getty Images
Lower photo: Jeremy London. Credit:Dan Steinberg / Associated Press