We applauded her when she nonchalantly announced "I'll suck your cock for a thousand dollars" in The Big Lebowski. We panted for her as the chaste but wavering Vicky in American Pie. We ogled her ubiquitous belly button in thousands of paparazzi pop shots, and we cursed when she met Carson Daly in Mexico and ended up, as she put it, "kissing and dancing on a bar."
But after that, as bubbly turned to blitzed, things didn't look so pretty. Since her split with Daly, her former fiancé, two years ago, Tara Reid, 27, has been swept up in a tsunami of bad press. Tabloid reports have found her falling down and crying with inebriated abandon at a Las Vegas club, getting booted off a flight from Maui for intoxication (her publicist—since replaced—blamed the incident on "bad fish"), toting around a Yorkie named Stoli, hanging with Lizzie Grubman in the Hamptons just hours before the PR princess plowed into 16 people, and photographed through it all with bleary raccoon eyes. Now Tara Reid is starting to realize that the party may be over and that no one wants to be the last girl to go home.
But, defiantly, she's sticking to her story: No, I don't have a drinking problem. Yes, I like to work hard, play hard. Can't a girl have a little fun once in a while? Public opinion, however, has decided that, no, a girl may not have that much fun. And so Reid declares that she's not going out anymore. Well, not as much. She's certainly not going to make a spectacle of herself. And she intends to avoid getting photographed with a drink in her hand—especially when she's mid-blink (that's how an unkind camera can make her look so wasted, she explains).
"It's ridiculous," Reid says, curled up on the sofa in her Hollywood high-rise apartment, her still-wet blonde hair in a ponytail and her belly button modestly hidden beneath a blue Yorkie-print T-shirt. The girlie homestead is half dorm room, half starlet boudoir, scattered with oversize couches, pink heart-shaped candles, and pictures of her family and friends and actors she's worked with (including Robert De Niro). One corner is dedicated to her stuffed-animal collection. "Part of me wants to be like, Fuck you, and just do what I want. Another part says No, you can't, because I've got to play the game right now."
While Reid acknowledges that her reputation as America's favorite boozehound may be hurting her career, she isn't issuing any mea culpas. "I didn't run over anyone. I didn't get a DUI. I didn't go to rehab. Colin Farrell? You watch that guy smoking cigarettes, every other word is 'Fuck, fuck, fuck, I'll screw any girl in the world.' If I did that I'd be blackballed out of the industry. He does it, he's a rock star." Yes, there's a double standard. On the other hand, Colin Farrell works with Spielberg and can hold his Guinness. We do enjoy the spectacle put on by other party-hearty celebrities like Robert Downey Jr. and Matthew Perry. But there came a point when we just wanted to put Reid in a cab.