A delightful new entry in the Celebrities Behaving Badly file comes to us this week from Atlanta, where the Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, 37, arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, apparently confused the traffic stop with an audition for an American Express commercial:
“Do you know my name?” she asked the cop who arrested her after she interfered with her husband’s drunk driving arrest. “You’re about to find out who I am.”
Sunday, the chastened actress apologized: “I clearly had one drink too many and I am deeply embarrassed about the things I said. It was definitely a scary situation and I was frightened for my husband, but that is no excuse. I was disrespectful to the officer who was just doing his job. I have nothing but respect for the police and I’m very sorry.”
Still, before we put this episode behind us, the police report offers up a good lesson in how not to behave when your husband gets pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving in a place where they don’t really care about the box office gross on your last film.
According to the report by Georgia Department of Public Safety Officer J. Pyland, on Friday, at 12:40 a.m., Witherspoon and her husband, Hollywood agent James Toth, 42, were pulled over after Pyland observed their silver Ford Fusion drifting across the double yellow line more than once.
During the stop, Pyland noted that the driver’s lids were “droopy,” “bloodshot” and “watery.” Also, his breath had the “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage.”
Toth, who at some point popped a mint in his mouth, said he had consumed one drink. The officer asked Toth to take a field sobriety test. Toth agreed.
That’s when Witherspoon’s Celebrity Entitlement Syndrome kicked in.
She got out of the car, was ordered back, and was told she’d be arrested if she got out again.
As the officer was conducting various sobriety tests, he wrote: “Mrs. Witherspoon began to hang out the window and say that she did not believe that I was a real police officer. I told Mrs. Witherspoon to sit on her butt and be quiet.”
When Toth was placed under arrest on suspicion of driving drunk, Witherspoon got out of the car again and refused to get back inside. According to the report, she said “she was a ‘US citizen’ and that she was allowed to ‘stand on American ground.’ ”
Clearly, she retained nothing of value from her celluloid stint as a Harvard law student in “Legally Blonde.”
When the officer tried to arrest the actress, she resisted, but he was able to handcuff her “without incident” as her husband helped calm her down.
“Do you know my name?” she asked Pyland.
“No, I don’t need to know your name,” he replied.
“You’re about to find out who I am,” she said.
“I am not worried about you ma’am,” he said. “I told Mrs. Witherspoon that she was obstructing my investigation of Mr. Toth. I placed Mrs. Witherspoon in the rear of my patrol car on the right side.”
As she was placed in the cruiser, he reported what appears to have been her only moment of clarity: “‘You are going to be on national news.’ I advised Mrs. Witherspoon that was fine.”
Monday, according to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, a judge continued Witherspoon’s case to May 22.