OH, BROTHER! Pippa Middleton, Prince Harry, Roger Clinton, and Other Hazardous Siblings
After Pippa Middleton’s driver in Paris waved what may or may not have been a real handgun out the window, The Daily Beast rounds up other siblings who cause trouble for their more famous brothers and sisters.
He may not be heavy, but he sure is a career liability. A wayward sibling can do as much harm to a celebrity’s career as the famous person him or herself, and there’s nothing more dangerous for a star on the rise than a blood relation who refuses to keep his or her peccadilloes penned up. Kith and kin who lack a due sense of decorum—or with a penchant for, say, public drunkenness and other misdemeanors—can be the kiss of death for even the most promising of careers. While most of us can relate to the unfortunate messes that celebrities are left to mop up in the aftermath of the old flesh-and-blood’s race to the bottom, we’re left asking ourselves how much they’re responsible, just because of a few shared mitochondrial strands, for a sib’s bad behavior. From pistol-packing Pippa to the Clinton brothers, The Daily Beast gives you the brothers and sisters who left their family wishing that “close relation” was a bit more of a relative term.
Pippa and the Royal Family
Cain smote Abel, but
Pippa smoked the royal family when her driver whipped out what has been alleged to be a fake handgun and pointed it at a paparazzo while driving the sister of Britain’s future queen through the streets of Paris. With the French public already outraged by a string of brutal shootings, the British royal family jumped to Defcon 1—in their majestic and stiff-upper-lip manner. Pippa’s a private person, and has nothing to do with us, their spokesperson said. The Paris police say all four of the people in the car could face arrest and imprisonment whether or not the gun was real. Princess Margaret’s Affair
The thickest blood is blue, and misbehavior within
Britain’s royal family can have particularly disastrous consequences for the House of Windsor. While Pippa enjoys the advantage of not being a royal, Princess Margaret, also the sister of a future queen, did not. After the Second World War, she drew disapproving clucks when she fell for the divorced Peter Townsend, a flying ace in the Royal Air Force and the King’s equerry. And while that bulldog Winston Churchill growled his approval, calling it “a delightful match,” the mood of the court prevailed, and Margaret ended up entering an unhappy marriage with the more suitable Anthony Armstrong-Jones, whom she later divorced. Prince Harry’s Nazi Stunt
Didn’t he see the red flags?
Prince Harry rightly raised tabloid hell when he went to a costume party decked out in high Third Reich fashion. Photos of Harry’s Nazi uniform and swastika armband made front pages, and his actions were roundly condemned, especially as the prince was scheduled to participate in Holocaust Remembrance Day observances that same month. The photo was taken at a friend’s house at a themed fancy-dress party, combining two other things, colonialism and fancy dress, that have historically caused trouble for the royals. Harry apologized for his “poor choice of costume.” Jackie O’s Sis, Lee Radziwill
The thrice-divorced sister of the most glamorous
first lady, Caroline Lee Bouvier Canfield Radziwill Ross tried to get a career in acting off the ground in the 1960s with little success. Radziwill’s reputation as a bit of a lush, as well as the high-profile nature of her tempestuous romances, struck many as an effort by Radziwill to escape from the shadow of her more famous older sister. Others have drawn comparisons to the rakish flamboyance of the girls’ father, John “Black Jack” Bouvier. The Brothers Clinton
Son of Bill Clinton’s mother and stepfather, Roger Clinton didn’t rein in his bad behavior just because his brother was the 42nd president of the United States. After being pardoned by big bro for a drug conviction, Roger Clinton went out and got cuffed in 2001 for disorderly conduct and driving while intoxicated over a rowdy weekend in Hermosa Beach, Calif.. An actor and musician by trade, Roger could not keep himself out of the doghouse, and was codenamed “Headache” by Bill’s Secret Service detail.
Ronnie Ramsay, Serving Up Trouble
The younger brother of
Hell’s Kitchen star Gordon Ramsay has had a rough life, spending some time homeless on the streets of England in 2009. A heroin addict, the younger Ramsay served 10 months in Indonesia on a possession charge, and Gordon has reportedly footed the bill for as many as five of Ronnie’s rehab stints. Writing about Ronnie in his memoir Humble Pie, the celebrity chef said, “It’s the one thing I feel I’ve failed at. I find it hard knowing that there’s nothing I can do to help.” Matthew Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ of the Soul
Batman Begins director Christopher Nolan, Matt got into big trouble with the FBI in 2009 when they began looking at him in connection with a 2009 murder in Costa Rica. While being held in Chicago federal prison, Nolan stashed more than 30 feet of rope and other climbing equipment in his cell in what seemed to be an escape attempt worthy of the Caped Crusader. Matthew also tried to capitalize on his brother’s big-screen success. When his brother was filming The Dark Knight in Chicago, Nolan allegedly offered some fat-pocketed saps a ride in the Batmobile as part of a $700,000 bank-fraud scheme. Reese’s Brother, John Draper Witherspoon
Demonstrating again that having an unscrupulous sibling can be a liability whether or not one is in government, John Witherspoon proved to be a hazard to sister Reese when he was brought up on aggravated burglary and sexual battery charges in 2002. After allegedly slipping into his neighbor’s house, he began kissing and caressing a woman asleep on the living-room sofa, the alleged victim told reporters at the time. Witherspoon’s bond was set at $24,000.
The Inimitable Billy Carter
While Jimmy Carter sought to live down his image as a provincial Georgia hayseed, brother Billy lived it up, touting his bumpkin credentials even as his sibling held the nation’s highest office. A onetime Marine who abandoned the Corps for a less disciplined life, Billy was all too happy to brag to reporters outside campaign headquarters about his “red neck, white socks, and Blue Ribbon beer.” After Billy made a politically damaging trip to Libya with a group of Georgian politicians and businessmen in 1978 and made what were taken as anti-Semitic remarks, the president had to step in and say that he didn’t have any power over what his brother said, and “he has no control over me.” Billy also famously bragged about smoking marijuana on the roof of the White House.