Dear Hugh Grant

Well blow me! The ultimate Nice Young Man has been arrested for beastliness abroad. How thoroughly lacking in class, says a former admirer
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The Independent Online
I've just got off the phone to Liz, who had just got off the phone from you, so my advice about using the pins from that dress to try and hold your relationship together was not appreciated. All I heard before the receiver went down was her howling about Madonna once offering to sleep with you for nothing and you turning her down, so why did you have to go out and spend good money on some slut you picked up on Sunset Boulevard. (Most heterosexual men will be wondering why, when you've got Liz, you should need to go anywhere else.) I guess Liz must be the only person in the world who didn't see Pretty Woman. Maybe she just doesn't believe in checking out the competition (Julia Roberts, I mean).

We both know from Liz's performance in Mad Dogs and Englishmen that she's no student of human nature (now, don't wrinkle your face up in that belligerent fashion, as if you were, like, loyal to her or something). So I'll try to supply an answer to her question. Firstly, you've recently joined the ranks of multi-million dollar stars, and that's an experience that can go to your head - and at least one other bodily extremity. You think you're indestructible, even when engaged in what looks like, from the outside, an act of sheer self-destruction. Stardom is a state of permanent disorder, so even the most bizarre acts can seem as if you are exerting control over a situation, when actually you are spiralling into chaos. You think you're entitled to do what you want, if only to get the pressure off, and that's when the trouble starts, because you still haven't quite realised that fame follows you everywhere. Right into the police station, in fact, where both your photograph and autograph are wanted for reasons other than celebrity.

To misquote Fitzgerald, there are no small acts in American life (particularly in LA - ask your agent ... if he's still taking your calls). Not if you're famous, and after the release of Four Weddings and a Funeral and your latest, Baby, you are very famous indeed; famous for being that cute, inexperienced monogamous British fellow with the nice smile that boyishly whispers seductively to every woman who sees it. Of course, that's an image you have previously expressed loathing for; you even took the role of a sadistic, nicotine-stained queen in An Awfully Big Adventure to shake it off.

What some movies can't do, some arrests can. If your intention was to rebel against what a naive world expected, then, boy, have you succeeded. Those catching up with Four Weddings on video are going to watch the scene where you express dismay over Andie McDowell's previous list of sexual partners and laugh for reasons other than those dictated by the script. Thanks to a well-developed sense of irony, this may bother you less than the tabloid assault you will undoubtedly face today, particularly from the Sun, gunning for you since you called its brand of journalism "disgusting". The British have always enjoyed building up idols only to tear them down. Which is a pity - especially when the toppling is occasioned by an act as trivial and, given who you are - dare I say it - so lacking in class.

JOHN LYTTLE

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