How Hugh Grant Became the Poster Boy for the Perfectly Executed Celebrity Apology

Oh, you don't remember that sex scandal? Interesting.

By Bruna Nessif Oct 19, 2016 9:00 PMTags
Hugh Grant, Mugshot, 90s ScandalsL.A. Police Department

You may be sitting there looking at this headline and mug shot wondering, "Wait, WTF happened to Hugh Grant?" And that is precisely why this story is being written.

Perhaps his scandalous arrest in the '90s was before your time, or perhaps it has been completely washed away from your memory until this very moment when you remembered, against your will, that Grant wasn't always that charming and perfect guy from Notting Hill.

Regardless of where you stand on this scenario, the truth remains—it's all because Hugh Grant managed to execute a flawless public apology.

Let's reminisce, shall we?

Elizabeth Hurley Lets Loose on Hugh Grant Controversy

Back to the Scene of the Crime: It was a (probably) breezy June night in 1995 when Grant's scandal took place. The actor—who at this time was only going onward and upward with his fame and celebrity after a number of successful roles and feature films, and was also dating Elizabeth Hurley—was caught cruising in his white BMW on Sunset Boulevard with prostitute Estella Marie Thompson AKA Divine Brown. Oops!

The Arrest: The then-34-year-old A-lister was booked for "lewd conduct in a public place," and even his mug shot makes you feel sorry for him. Between the sheepish look on his face and his seeming shrug of the shoulders (not to mention the glasses placed on his shirt), Grant also became the master of the pity mug for the mug shot.

More Importantly, the Apology: And then the real ride began—the PR-driven apology tour. It's nothing new that stars go on multiple shows or give in-depth interviews (or turn to social media) to express their regret over something that went awry, but here's what set Grant's above many the public has witnessed—it was raw, honest and genuine. That almost never happens in Hollywood.

The most notable was his arguably career-rescuing mea culpa on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "Let me start with question No. 1," the late-night host said. "What the hell were you thinking?"

To the crowd's amusement, Grant responded, "Well, it's not easy. People keep giving me tons of ideas on this one. I keep reading new psychological theories and stuff like that. You know, I was under pressure, or I was overtired, stuff like that...I was lonely, I fell down the stairs as a child, or whatever. But I think that would bullocks, really, to hide behind something like that. I think you know in life, pretty much, what's a good thing to do and what's a bad thing. I did a bad thing, and there you have it."

He went on to say the public had been "fantastic to the people who matter," and clarified he meant his "girlfriend and family," sharing that he'd received numerous letters of support from people ranging from high-profile celebrities to fans.

Hurley's Support: Despite finding out that her man was soliciting a prostitute, Hurley decided to stick by her guy's side. The celeb couple dated for 13 years prior to splitting in 2000, and have remained close friends. In fact, Grant is the godfather to Hurley's son, Damian, who is the son of Hurley's ex Steve Bing

Because of Grant's perfectly-executed approach to this compromising sexcapade, people tend to forget about the event 20 years after the fact. And even when various other scandals arise (alleged baby mamas and love children, for example), the actor continues to manage to stay out of the harsh celebrity fish bowl, and just swiftly rides out each wave with his undeniable charm, wit and English grace.

Touché, Hugh Grant. Touché.