By Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith
They've binged on drugs, alcohol, and women. Their exploits have been enough to cause directors to shudder and parents to shut off celebrity news reports on their TV sets. And then...they've reformed.Behold, the ranks of Hollywood Bad Boys Gone Soft are growing.
Charlie Sheen, Eric Roberts and Mark Wahlberg are just three of those purported to have gone from wild and woolly to straight and narrow.
Consider Christian Slater, who in 1997 hit the depths of bad boy behavior when he bit a man, roughed up a woman, and tried to grab a police officer's gun while in an alcohol and cocaine-induced rage. By then, the actor's reputation as one who had drug and alcohol problems was deeply entrenched in the minds of the public and industry alike. Even his hot romances with Tinseltown beauties Winona Ryder, Patricia Arquette and Christy Turlington were overshadowed by his extreme behavior. In '89, he kicked an L.A. cop in the head while resisting arrest after slamming his car into a telephone pole ? and spent 10 days in jail. In 1994, he spent a night in jail after being found with an unlicensed handgun in his carry-on luggage at Kennedy airport.
Few would have been surprised to see Slater wind up crashing, or overdosing and dying on the street as his friend River Phoenix had done. Instead, after trying and failing at rehab before, Christian made it. Today, he's married to producer Ryan Haddon and they have a son, Jaden, who'll turn four this year, and a one-year-old daughter, Eliana. Due to be seen in "Masked & Anonymous" in July, Christian's list of potential projects includes "Fairhope, USA," in which he'd play -- get this -- a kindly minister.
Speaking of religion, Mark Wahlberg says these days he gets down on his knees and prays every night. Maybe it was divine intervention that helped him become a top Hollywood leading man -- and overcome being thought of as a hip-hop ex-con punk. Now he talks about hoping to settle down and start a family. It's hard to believe the "Planet of the Apes" star is the same guy who once served time for robbing a liquor store while on an angel dust-induced rampage, gouging out a man's eye in the process.
It would be hard to find a worse reputation than Charlie Sheen's in the mid-?90s. The bad boy who spoke in court about his penchant for prostitutes had repeatedly been in trouble with the law. He'd overdosed on drugs. He'd been accused of domestic abuse, and more. Then he got himself sober and turned his reputation to his advantage -- by playing a reformed bad boy on "Spin City."
Today, Sheen is awaiting word on a CBS sitcom pilot he made with Jon Cryer, filming the spoof "Scary Movie 3" -- and playing happy Hollywood glam couple with his bride, Denise Richards.
Considering just how bad some reformed Hollywood bad boys were before turning their lives around, perhaps there's hope for the likes of Eddie Furlong and Brad Renfro yet.