Evi Quaid, Randy Quaid, Mug Shot

Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Office

Why are Randy and Evi Quaid always in trouble as a couple? Is just one of them crazy and the other playing along?
—Straight Shooter, via the inbox

Whoa, there, Tex. Let's not aim the insanity ammo at varmints who may not actually have tumbleweeds in them thar brains.

Yes, the Quaids are in legal trouble. Again. And together. For alleged burglary, this time. They say they own a certain house; the law calls them squatters. This comes after a string of similarly odd incidents, and some actual jail time.

But does that have to equate to crazy? Here's what may be going on:

Before this latest squatting squabble, the Academy Award nominee and his wife were busted in 2009 for ditching a $10,000 hotel bill, served a few hours in jail after repeatedly missing court dates, and possibly did some other stuff.

First, not actually knowing these folks, it's impossible to say for sure why this is happening. But there are some unique dynamics that come into play when a couple gets in consistent trouble together. One is commonly known as a folie à deux.

"Two people get detached from reality and you get total detachment from the real world," Dr. Paul Dobransky explains. (The Grey Gardens mother-daughter team is seen by some as an example of this.) "It's kind of artificial effect where each person reinforces the other's idea of reality."

Something similar may happen in couples such as the Quaids.

"Do you ever see a couple that are like nesters, who get all wrapped up in each other and don't contact family or friends?" Dobransky explains. "There can be an effect where they use only each other for testing what is reality, what is real. But we all need to measure our wisdom and judgment by cross-checking it with other people."

How might this relate to the Quaids?

Well, we're talking only hypothetically, mind you. But their alleged burglary charge stems from a dispute over housing. The Quaids claimed they owned a Santa Barbara house in which they were staying, an assertion that law enforcement disputes. If the Quaids have isolated themselves so much that they are the only two people reinforcing their own reality, they may have reinforced each other's belief that they have a right to that house.

Again, no way to know for sure; this could also be a simple case of two people who like to not pay for things—or who, just maybe, even, are innocent.

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