Key Points:

Stars and strife make easy bedfellows. The general rule of thumb being the bigger the celebrity, the harder they fall.

Take shamed comic and TV personality Michael Barrymore, for example. Once a firm family favourite with his winning brand of observational humour and witty catchphrases, Barrymore fell from grace after a brush with the law in 2001. His career never recovered. And now he's back hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Yes, fame and notoriety often hang out together, but they don't always get on...

Note to celebrities: When you screw it up, every man and his dog will be watching. Here we present a selection of TV personalities who've ballsed it up, and ponder why the careers of some of those involved either sank or prospered after the controversy.

10. Darren McDonald
He was a golden boy of NZ broadcasting and his fall him from grace was startling and well-documented. In 2002, TV3 news reader Darren McDonald was charged with conspiring to supply methamphetamine and offering to supply ecstasy after a police sting at the Duxton Hotel. McDonald was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment and served much of his sentence in home detention.

9. Paris Hilton
The words Paris Hilton and TV star don't really deserve to be uttered in the same breath, but our use of them here is for ironic effect, obviously. The shamed socialite and TV star barely needs an introduction, but for those of you who've been living under a rock, Hilton is an heiress to a share of the Hilton Hotel fortune. She's currently in jail after being found guilty of violating her probation for a drink-driving conviction. Vacuous and not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, our Paris certainly gives blondes a bad name.

8. Craig Charles
Craig Who? Yes, we're scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but this guy's scandal is far too juicy not to share. Craig Charles plays the role of philandering taxi driver Lloyd Mullaney in soap opera Coronation Street. In June 2006 a photograph was printed in British newspaper the Daily Mirror that purported to show Charles smoking crack cocaine in the back seat of a taxi. According to the story, Charles spent four hours in the taxi smoking crack cocaine from an old drinks can, while instructing the driver to buy him pornography. These allegations resulted in Charles being suspended from Coronation Street until February 2007. Charles has not commented on these allegations whatsoever.

7. Ellen Degeneres
American actress and comic Ellen Degeneres is an example of a fallen TV star that fell from grace, but later resurrected her career with great style. Ellen's most memorable TV outing was in her sitcom, Ellen. Ellen's troubles began in 1997 when she publicly declared that she was gay on The Oprah Winfrey show, and subsequently 'outed' her character on the Ellen show. Bizarrely, ratings for her show crashed and it was eventually cancelled. Then there's her very public love affair with fair-weather lesbian Anne Heche, which all ended in tears. But Ellen's magic lives on as she's managed to re-establish herself as a successful talk show host.

6. John Leslie
John Leslie is a former daytime TV presenter in the UK whose alleged sexual exploits and drug habit ended his career in spectacular style. Leslie found his career in tatters in the wake of sex attack allegations. His public nightmare began in October 2002 when a TV presenter named him in connection with Ulrika Jonsson's rape allegation - a claim he has always denied. But he was axed from ITV's This Morning programme over the allegations. He eventually cleared his name in the courts but as yet has been unable to make a return to the small screen where he achieved his fame.

5. Star Jones Reynolds
Star Jones Reynolds is an American lawyer and television personality, best known for her stint as a co-host of the popular ABC weekday morning talk show The View. Former View presenter Jones Reynolds was booted off the show last year amidst a storm of controversy and conjecture. She told People magazine that the decision to leave was not her own. She found out her contract would not be renewed just days before Rosie O'Donnell's addition to the show was announced. Ouch. Details later emerged that ABC refused to renew Reynolds's contract because she talked excessively about her wedding plans on The View - which apparently alienated viewers.

4. Michael Barrymore
At the height of his popularity, Barrymore suffered increasing alcohol problems. But in mid 1995, it all went very wrong when Barrymore went to gay pub in London's East End, and serenaded a startled crowd of muscled young skinheads with the words: "Start spreading the news, I'm gay today." Within 48 hours, every tabloid newspaper had printed its own version of the evening's events. Michael was out and proud, but his career was down and out. And when in 2001 a party-goer was found dead in Barrymore's swimming pool, his career met with a similar fate.

3. Matthew Perry
Best known for his role as Chandler Bing in the American television sitcom Friends, a part he played for 10 years. Perry developed an addiction to alcohol and to ease this he then became addicted to painkillers. He first started taking prescription drugs after a jet ski accident in 1997 and checked himself into rehab. In 2000 he was hospitalised with pancreatitis as a result of his addictions. During that summer he lost 20 pounds, appearing noticeably thinner during the 7th season premiere of Friends. After hit show Friends ended, Perry has barely made any TV appearances.

2. David Hasselhoff
TV star David Hasselhoff, aka 'The Hoff' has been cheap fodder for the tabloids for a number of years. The Hoff rose to fame in 80s kitsch TV series Knight Rider, where he played the role of Michael Knight. Hasselhoff later went on to create the televisual feast known as Baywatch, which ultimately gave birth to Pamela Anderson's career - the woman with more front than a tropical cyclone. The Hoff's latest exploits include falling off the wagon (we're talking drunkenness) and being filmed by his 16-year-old rolling drunkenly on the floor of a hotel room while eating a cheeseburger. The clip has since become a YouTube favourite.

1. Isaiah Washington
Homophobic slurs are a no-no and too bad that such a a high-profile Hollywood star chose to wag his ignorant tongue so loosely. Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington came under fire earlier this year for reportedly using a gay slur about a colleague. In October 2006, news reports surfaced that Washington had grabbed co-star Patrick Dempsey by the throat. It was reported that the altercation was related to Washington's use of a derogatory epithet toward costar T.R. Knight and his sexuality. Shortly after the details of the argument became public, Knight publicly disclosed that he is gay. The situation seemed somewhat resolved when Washington issued a statement, apologising for his "unfortunate use of words during the recent incident on-set". But it all went south again when Isaiah used the derogatory word again when talking to press at the Golden Globes. Grey's Anatomy's creators recently confirmed Washington's character has been written out of the show.

- NZHERALD STAFF