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Tara Reid Quit Hollywood After Being "Punished" by Media: "Never Even Got a Speeding Ticket"

The 47-year-old actor was a tabloid regular in the '00s.

In the late '90s and '00s, Tara Reid was everywhere. The actor starred in the American Pie franchise and appeared in other notable comedies, including The Big LebowskiJosie and the Pussycats, and Van Wilder. But, it wasn't just her career that had her in the public eye. Reid also made regular appearances in tabloid magazines and websites, and was known for partying in Los Angeles, much like her contemporaries Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton.

Reid has said that being portrayed as "a party girl" in the media took a toll on her emotionally and professionally. In a new interview, the former teen idol opened up about why she stepped away from Hollywood, the life choices that she believes are impeding her comeback, and why she thinks it's unfair the media "punished" her. Read on to find out more.

READ THIS NEXT: Former Child Star Says He Was "High" During Filming of Classic Family Movie.

Reid said she was "punished" for having a good time.

Tara Reid at the premiere of "Ocean's Thirteen" in 2006
Tinseltown / Shutterstock

Speaking to Mr. Warburton Magazine, Reid said that she was criticized in the media despite not doing anything especially scandalous or illegal.

"I was the first one that started this image [of the '00s party girl]. The difference is I never did sex tapes," she said. "I never did anything wrong. I've never even gotten a speeding ticket. But what I did get punished for is if I wasn't shooting, I went to Europe right away. I'd be popping bottles, and I had a great time!"

The 47-year-old continued, "I was just on an attack. Anything I did was on tape, it was pretty awful. And that's why I left. It wasn't because I was just a girl. It was because I was an easy target."

Reid made headlines for partying, rehab, and more.

Tara Reid at the premiere of "Titan A.E." in 2000
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

In the '00s, coverage of Reid in the press included reports of her partying all night and speculation about plastic surgery. She also starred on a E! reality series, Taradise, that showed her partying while traveling through Europe. In 2008, her rep confirmed to People that she had checked into rehab but did not share the reason why.

"I've done enough for a lifetime of everything," she had told People earlier in 2008 of her recent past. "I've had a great time. I partied. I had fun. I ate and drank whatever. I dated a million guys, but I'm so happy with where I'm at right now. I don't need to do anything anymore."

Afterward her rehab stay, Reid told InTouch, "Rehab saved my life. Before I used to think about tomorrow and I hated it. Now I can't wait because I am clean and sober and I am excited."

Then, in 2022, Reid revealed to BuzzFeed News that she had been in rehab to get away from a "destructive" man she was dating. "The only way was to go to treatment. Everyone thought I had a real problem, and that was the problem," she explained.

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She also thinks she's been judged for not having kids.

Tara Reid at the premiere of "Cruel Intentions" in 1999
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Speaking to Mr. Warburton, Reid said that she's not only judged for her wild past but for the life choices she's made as an older woman.

"I'm not married, I don't have kids … and I think, in Hollywood, if you don't have kids or you're not married, you're judged," she said (via Page Six). "So they still think you're that party girl from 40 years ago." She added that going down that path leads to women being perceived differently. "[A]ll of a sudden, if you have a kid and you get married, 'Oh she grew up, she's great,'" she said.

Reid continued, "What if you can't have kids or what if you don't want to get married? You can't judge people on that anymore. And it's the one thing that I think is really unfair about our society … If it's meant to happen, it will happen but you can't keep dragging people's face in it. Like get over it, there are other things to talk about."

She lost out on jobs.

Tara Reid at the Global Green 2019 Pre-Oscar Gala
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Reid wasn't just personally affected by her image; it also hurt her career.

"I didn't work for a while. That was really frustrating," Reid told Entertainment Tonight in 2021. "[It bothered me] that [people thought] I was just a party girl and thought I wasn't anything else because that wasn't true… It didn't make sense to get punished for having fun."

"I never got in trouble or got a DUI or do anything bad really," she said. "So I feel like it wasn't right. I felt really bullied by the studios and a lot of people and very misjudged."

She's making a comeback.

Tara Reid at Cirque du Soleil's VOLTA Los Angeles Premiere in 2020
DFree / Shutterstock

That said, Reid has continued acting consistently. In recent years, she starred in the Sharknado franchise and a slew of other movies, often appearing in multiple films a year. She made a cameo on the hit sitcom Ghosts this year and has also produced some projects.

"[T]here's an old saying," Reid told Variety in 2022. "'Once you're in Hollywood, you never get the taste out of you.' I've taken a break before and stepped out of it. But once it's in your blood, it's always in your blood, you can't help it. And no matter what, it's my true love. I love acting."

Of producing, she told the publication, "I finally decided, I'm not going to wait for people to cast me, I'm going to start casting myself. I'm going to make my own destiny, my own future."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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