Monday, February 19, 2007

Keith's Playgirl Pic, Sara's Ugly Divorce Barely Made The List Of Country's Ugliest Moments

Music magazine Blender's March '07 issue counts down the worst moments in country music history and Urban's and Evans' recent woes look small by comparison to some of the past scandals. The countdown:

11. Mr. Kidman Poses for Playgirl!

Keith Urban's recent jaunt to Betty Ford shocked those who knew him only as Nicole Kidman's hunky husband, but his closet has skeletons aplenty. When his career stalled in the '90s, a coke habit reduced him to scouring the floor of a Nashville drug den for crack. After getting clean, Urban posed seminude for Playgirl.

10. Hobo Hosts a 10-Year Party!

Merle Haggard grew up in an abandoned railroad boxcar and spent years in and out of juvenile detention. He once hatched a plan to rob a local restaurant after-hours, but got so drunk, he tried breaking in while it was still open. He was jailed, promptly escaped and was recaptured. He made the most of his time behind bars, brewing his own beer and running a gambling racket from his cell. Released after three years, he made a fortune in country music in the '80s, then blew it all on bad investments, expensive divorces and a decade-long party on his houseboat. Haggard righted his ship in the '90s

9. Star Leaves Porno Pol!

Multiplatinum singer Sara Evans appeared to be living a rags-to-riches fairy tale until she cut her 2006 'Dancing With the Stars' appearance short to file for divorce. Her official complaint alleged that her husband, former Republican congressional candidate Craig Schelske, kept a stash of porn that included pictures of himself having sex with other women, used Craigslist to solicit threesomes and anal sex, looted the family's "church tithing" account of $66,500, and had an affair with the nanny.

8. Crackhead Marries Seven Times!

After his 1986 Guitar Town topped the charts, Steve Earle began taking as much crack, smack and Dilaudid as he could afford. At the end of the '80s, he picked up two assualt charges and quit music to hang around South Nashville crack houses. In July 1994, he was released on bond after a drug bust and later that day was caught smoking crack and was arrested again -- "Still in the f---ing tie I'd been wearing in court," he said. After four months in prison, he finally got clean; he recently married -- for the seventh time.

7. Ex-Con Found Living In Cave!

David Allan Coe was the outlaw even outlaws were leery of. He spent 20 years in prison for offenses including armed robbery, and claimed to have killed a man who threatened him with sexual assault in a prison shower. When a reporter challenged this story, Coe wrote "I'd Like to Kick the S--- Out of You" in his honor. In the '70s, Coe recorded two albums of X-rated and racist tunes. Money troubles followed. He lived in a cave in Tennessee after the IRS seized his home in the '80s, and in 1990, Feds stormed a stage to repossess a guitar right out of Coe's hands.

6. Meth Man Flashes Cop!

In May 1995, Ty Herndon's debut single went to the top of the country charts. A month later, he was on his way to play a Texas Police convention when he made a stop in a nearby park, allegedly exposed himself to a man and asked him, "What are you into?" Unfortunatey for Herndon, the man was into being an undercover cop conducting a sex-sting operation. When Herndon was searched, the officer found crystal meth in his billfold. Rehab followed but didn't really take: Herndon scored several more hits in the late '90s, but after ditching Nashville for Hollywood, his career bottomed out and he reacquainted himself with his old friend crystal meth. In 2004, he was coaxed back into rehab by his family.

5. "Possum" Goes to Funny Farm!

George Jones's endless string of country hits made him a star, but his wanton misbehavior made him a legend. At 20, he got stabbed in the belly after jumping the repo man who'd come for his car. His booze and cocaine addictions through the '60s and '70s led frequently to gunplay, fisticuffs and enough missed concerts to earn him the sobriquet "No Show" Jones. After accusations of punching his fiancee and trying to shoot his best friend, Jones was eventually committed to a mental hospital. After starring in a televised police chase in the early '80s, he finally sobered up -- but tumbled off the wagon in 1999, drunkenly wrecking his SUV and puncturing a lung. Surprisingly he lived and is still making records.

4. Cheerleader Battered!

Just before releasing a 1991 debut that would spawn four Top 10 singles, Tracy Lawrence was shot four times during a mugging. Three years later, some teenagers gave the star the finger while he was driving; he followed them home and fired his .357 magnum in the air to scare them, precipitating a $4.2 million civil suit. In March 1997, things began looking up: Lawrence married a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. But by September, they'd separated, and by December she'd filed charges against him for allegedly throwing her into a wall, punching and threatening to kill her. Lawrence was eventually convicted of battery and suspended by his record label until he got "his personal matters straight."

3. Accused Rapist in Sky-High Brawl!

Johnny Paycheck ditched home at 15 and later joined the Navy, where he nearly crushed the skull of a superior officer in a fistfight. In 1958, he made his way to Nashville, where he became a player in country's burgeoning outlaw movement -- and an incorrigible drunk. The '70s brought not only Paycheck's biggest hit ('Take This Job and Shove It') but also a paternity suit, bankruptcy and a prison sentence for check forgery. A scuffle aboard a Frontier Airlines plane in 1982 resulted in a $175,000 civil judgment against him. The year before, he was accused of raping a 12-year-old girl; and in 1985, he shot a man in a bar brawl and was locked up for two years. He died in 2003 at 64.

2. Drunk Driver Botches Suicide! Twice!

Mindy McCready's 1996 debut sold 2 million copies. But after that, her life slowly declined: She was arrested for buying OxyContin with a fake prescription in 2004, and again in 2005 for a suspected DUI. Then her ex-boyfriend Billy McKnight reportedly broke down her bedroom door and choked her nearly to death. McKnight was locked up, and McCready lit out for Arizona with a con man and later was charged in a scheme to help him obtain two luxury boats. She reconciled with McKnight, but after discovering she was pregnant with his baby, made two suicide attempts in three months. She gave birth in March 2006; McKnight is now disputing his paternity.

1. Sex-Cult Wife Murdered!

Now almost forgotten, in the '40s Spade Cooley was known as the King of Western Swing. But he was also a heavy drinker with a jealous streak and an appalling temper; he once tried to toss a female vocalist off the Santa Monica pier because she had quit his band. In 1961, convinced that his wife, Ella Mae, had joined a sex cult and had an affair with Roy Rogers, he attacked her in their home. He beat her, choked her and burned her with cigarettes in front of their 14-year-old daughter. Ella Mae was dead upon arrival at the hospital. Convicted of murder, Cooley was granted a three-day prison furlough in 1969 to play a benefit concert. After performing, he strode offstage and died of a heart attack.

I guess (hope?) it's a sign of success that the tabloids remain so interested in our stars of today and yesterday..

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