'Grey's' Isaiah Washington Going to Rehab

ByABC News via logo

Jan. 25, 2007 — -- "Grey's Anatomy" star Isaiah Washington has announced that he will check into a treatment center for psychological evaluation, following the controversy over his anti-gay slur against co-star T.R. Knight.

"I have begun counseling," Washington said. "I regard this as a necessary step toward understanding why I did what I did and making sure it never happens again."

Washington is just the latest in a string of celebrities and politicians who have sought psychological or addiction treatment following public scandals.

Do all of these people need rehab, or are they using it as an excuse for bad behavior?

At first, Washington denied reports that he had referred to Knight by an anti-gay slur. Then he raised eyebrows with a public statement at the Golden Globe awards.

"No, I did not call him a f--t," Washington said in front of reporters.

That made the whole thing worse, though. Knight appeared on the "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," saying that he was shocked by Washington's denial.

On "Access Hollywood," another "Grey's Anatomy" co-star Katherine Heigl said: "He [Washington] just needs to stop talking."

Washington apologized and planned to meet with gay rights groups; then he announced his decision to go to rehab.

That move could backfire, however.

"Going to treatment is a good option for people who need help, but going to treatment for people who are looking just to shift the blame and otherwise avoid the consequences is not a good thing," said William Moyers, an addiction treatment expert.

Some say more celebrities and public figures seem to be using rehab to clean up their image instead of vanquish their demons.

After much criticism about her partying, Lindsay Lohan checked into treatment, but came out a week later.

Donald Trump was accused of a publicity stunt when he spared a misbehaving Miss USA, who he said had agreed to go to rehab.

Mel Gibson went to rehab after blaming an anti-Semitic rant on alcohol.

Even former Reps. Mark Foley and Bob Ney sought refuge in treatment after scandal.

There is no question that rehab has saved millions of lives, but skeptics wonder whether it can save a career.

"Addiction is an explanation, it's not an excuse," Moyers said. "Treatment is a way to find help. It should not be a way to avoid consequences."