Say what you want about Lindsay Lohan, but the actress so often referred to as "troubled" was anything but in an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday night.
Lohan was poised, funny and pleasantly self-deprecating throughout the interview. She was even sympathetically sweet at one point, shedding a tear after Letterman praised her for having the courage to come on his show and face the trademark grilling he reserves for stars with messy private lives (Paris Hilton comes immediately to mind).
"You have enough spine, enough sense of yourself, enough poise, to come out here and talk to me," Letterman told her at the end of the interview, and by then it seemed like a justified compliment.
Lohan, 26, has had multiple legal problems, including convictions for driving under the influence and misdemeanour theft, and last year she famously did community service in a Los Angeles morgue. Most recently, Lohan pleaded guilty to reckless driving and providing false information to a police officer and was ordered to do three months in locked-down rehab, a sentence she will begin serving May 2.
Letterman, like other comics, has used Lohan's misadventures as a dependable source of material for jokes on previous shows, some of which he read back to her off a transcript.
"Lindsay Lohan appeared on the Today show this morning. The appearance went well. Only one camera is missing," Letterman deadpanned. Lohan just laughed and recounted how she'd thought of coming onstage with a sales tag dangling from her dress, which delighted Letterman and the audience.
From there he bluntly asked her, "Aren't you supposed to be in rehab or something?" And then, "What will they be rehabbing this time? What is on their list?" That caught Lohan off-guard at first, but she remained composed and eventually said she saw her coming sentence as something that will ultimately allow her to get back to work in film and television. "I think this is an opportunity for me to focus on what I love in life. And I don't think it's a bad thing. I think it's a blessing."
The "blessing" statement, which has garnered Lohan a fair bit of positive press, didn't come across as rehearsed, and the actress developed a warm rapport with Letterman as the interview went on. She acknowledged she had been "immature" in the past, and she sounded like a person who is sincerely trying to deal with her personal problems. "You grow up and you mature," she said. "And I've said that a million times, I know that, but what else am I supposed to say when it's a process of life? … I'm not trying to deny any situation I've been in."
One caveat: After the interview was taped, Lohan reportedly went to a New York nightclub till the early morning hours.