Bette Midler Reveals Why She Should Have Sued Lindsay Lohan

CBS via Getty Images
CBS via Getty Images

In a bit of celebrity beef you probably never saw coming, Bette Midler has said she regrets not suing Lindsay Lohan.

During an interview on David Duchovny’s podcast Fail Better, Midler discussed some of her various career failures, which she said includes not “asserting” herself after her early-aughts sitcom Bette began to fall apart. Lohan, who was around 14 years old at the time, had signed on to play Midler’s daughter on the show, but backed out after shooting the pilot. She was later replaced with actress Marina Malota for the remainder of Bette’s one and only season, but Lohan’s exit threw things into chaos, Midler said.

“Lindsay Lohan was cast as my daughter in the pilot,” she began. “Well, after the pilot, Lindsay Lohan decided she didn’t want to do it, or she had other fish to fry. So Lindsay Lohan left the building—and I said, ‘Well, now what do you do?’”

Duchovny pointed out that Lohan’s contract should have prevented her from leaving the show, but Midler replied that she hadn’t been “in her right mind” to enforce any rules at the time. “If I had been in my right mind, or if I had known that my duties were to stand up and say, ‘This absolutely will not do, I’m gonna sue,’ then I would have done that,” she said.

This isn’t the first time Midler has talked about Lohan in the press since their failed collaboration, though she’s previously been quite warm toward her former co-star. In 2010, she expressed her regrets at watching Lohan go “off the deep end,” implying to British newspaper Metro that bad press was to blame for Lohan’s downfall amid her highly publicized stints in jail and rehab at the time. “[Bad press is] cruel, unsurvivable,” Midler said at the time, adding that she’d “watched some of these young people go off the deep end like [Lohan] and Britney [Spears]. And now because of the cameras and the ubiquity of the internet, you can’t have your failures or your meltdowns in private any more.”

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Midler admitted in her interview with Duchovny that Lohan’s exit from Bette wasn’t the show’s only problem—she couldn’t get a handle on the production, even though she served as an executive producer. “I seemed to have been [blocked] in some way, that I couldn’t get to the writer’s room,” she said. “I couldn’t speak to the showrunner. I couldn’t make myself clear—and there were so many competing personalities.”

The breakneck pace of making a sitcom was also a surprise to her. “I had no idea how fast people make [sitcoms],” she said. “You have to give people so much credit when it’s great, because the speed of it is so taxing, and if you didn’t keep up, you were in big trouble. I was booked on David Letterman and he said to me, ‘How do you like it so far?’ I said, ‘It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me in my entire life. It’s like being a dung beetle and pushing a pile of shit up a hill every day.’ And of course, the next day I was fired.”

As for Lohan, she seems to have nothing but fond memories from working with Midler. Just last week, the 37-year-old actress posted a throwback photo of her and Midler on the set of Bette, with the caption, “Had such a blast filming with the incredible [Bette Midler].”

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