Selma Blair has claimed that her late father’s girlfriend tried to ruin her career by writing letters with false claims about her “violence and addiction”.
In her new memoir, Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up, the Cruel Intentions star wrote that when she went into rehab at the age of 22 for alcoholism, she was prescribed a drug called Trexan that made her feel “rageful”.
At one point, during a panic attack, she accosted a nurse, leading her to be taken off the drug. Unbeknownst to Blair, her father, attorney Elliot Beitner, had witnessed the incident. She has now claimed that he later “used that episode against me”.
After she left rehab, Blair started working on the 1998 drama Arresting Gena.
“That’s when the letters started coming,” the 49-year-old wrote. “Twenty letters a day arrived via FedEx at the production office of Arresting Gena, all of them written by a mysterious sender. They contained bogus information about me and my ‘violence and addiction’.”
Blair said the letters continued arriving for the next year and a half, leading her to be “fired from every job I booked”.
In a twist in the tale worthy of a Hollywood film, the actor was then contacted by a detective who was investigating Blair for writing death threats to fellow actor Drew Barrymore. After realising she wasn’t guilty of this, he told her he knew where the smear campaign against Blair was coming from.
“He said the letters were being mailed from my father’s office building in Detroit,” Blair said. “He gave me a description of the sender that just happened to match my father’s girlfriend at the time, I found out.”
In scenes not dissimilar to the Wagatha Christie case, Blair set a trap for her father’s girlfriend by telling three potential culprits three different stories about her next project, the movie Father’s Day.
“I told my ex-boyfriend that I had a screen test against Alyssa Milano,” she wrote. “I told a friend I had a screen test against Alicia Silverstone. I told my father I had a screen test against Drew Barrymore.
“The head of casting at Universal received no fewer than 15 letters saying I was a violent and dangerous person who held a grudge against Drew Barrymore.”
Blair said the whole saga left her feeling like her father was “dead to me”, adding that she didn’t speak to him for 12 years afterwards and that their relationship “never fully recovered”. Beitner died in 2012.
The Legally Blonde star did manage to hash things out with Barrymore, though, writing of their meeting years later: “I discovered she’d never truly known the whole story, only that it was a father thing, a messed-up situation.
“I told her I was so, so sorry about the letters she’d received. She hugged me and said, ‘Don’t worry. We all have wild family stuff,’ and her big embrace smoothed out some of those years-old anxieties.”
Earlier this year, Blair claimed that her former boyfriend Ronald Carlson physically attacked her. She was granted a restraining order against Carson, who has denied attacking Blair.