Lindsay Lohan's Dad Defends His Behavior

ByABC News

Feb. 24, 2005 -- -- Lindsay Lohan's father says he doesn't think his behavior has hurt his daughter's career, despite the fact that he has -- wittingly or unwittingly -- insinuated himself into his daughter's spotlight and caused embarrassing headlines.

"She's got more offers than ever now," Michael Lohan told ABC News' John Quiñones. "Don't they say any publicity is good publicity?"

Lindsay Lohan, 18, has been called the "queen bee of the teen girl set." She burst onto the scene in 1998 when she was just a freckle-faced 12-year-old in "The Parent Trap."

Since then she has made star appearances on the silver screen in "Mean Girls" and "Freaky Friday," and was host for the New Year's Eve show on MTV. She also recently released an album, "Speak," which debuted at No. 4 on the pop charts.

Meanwhile, her father has in recent months subjected her to a litany of embarrassments.

In May 2004, Michael Lohan was accused of assaulting his brother-in-law and pleaded guilty. He says his brother-in-law was drunk and provoked him.

In July 2004, he was arrested on charges of skipping out on thousands of dollars at a hotel. He says his wife never told him there was a hotel bill sent to his house. "I didn't know about until I came to court and they put cuffs on me," he said. A judge ordered Lohan to pay the bill.

In October 2004, he was accused of punching a sanitation worker and pleaded guilty. He says he pushed the sanitation worker after the worker hit him with a garbage bag.

This week, Lohan was charged with drunken driving after crashing into a telephone pole.

Us Magazine editor Janice Min says the press involving Lindsay Lohan's father is not good for her career. "She has to avoid becoming the girl who got stuck in a crazy battle between her parents or the girl whose father is crazy and they needed a restraining order," Min said. "She has to get back on track as Lindsay Lohan the movie star."

Michael Lohan told Quiñones, "The nature of the beast is bad publicity. People don't write about good things. They write about bad things."

He has appeared on radio talk shows and held press conferences, but denied wanting the spotlight. "I'm a selfless human being. But I will not be selfless to the extent where people will drag me through the mud," he said.

When Quiñones responded, "But if you love your daughter, why is that so important?" Lohan asked whether he should be expected to "be a martyr for the rest of my life?"

Lohan insisted, "I'm not doing anything to hurt my daughter."

Last month, Lindsay Lohan's mother, Dina, filed for divorce in Nassau County Supreme Court. Michael Lohan responded by demanding half of the 15 percent their daughter allegedly gives her mother -- a sum that could be in the millions.

Michael Lohan told ABC News he would drop the lawsuit if the family agreed to participate in a reality TV show. "We have to commit to being on camera," he said.

He imagined the reality TV show following them through the course of their divorce.

Michael Lohan denied he was motivated by the potential payoff. "It's not about the money. It's about showing both sides of the coin," he said.

The Lohans were married in 1985. He was a Wall Street commodities broker whose family ran a lucrative pasta business. She was a Radio City Rockette. They raised four beautiful children in an upscale New York suburb.

But in 1990, Michael Lohan was found in contempt of court on charges of defrauding clients and sentenced to 36 months in jail.

During that time, Lindsay Lohan started working. She made appearances in over 60 television commercials.

Lohan admits that his wife was primarily responsible for building their daughter's career, but he told Quiñones: "I'm the one who supported them all their life. I'm the one who gave them their diamond rings and their fur coats and their cars and their Mercedes and Jaguars and every other thing they had... I'm the one who paid for everything."

However, he also told Quiñones his daughter does not owe him anything. "Parents owe children. Children don't owe parents," he said. "The only thing children owe parents is respect. That's it."

Michael Lohan is now living apart from his family and with his parents. His wife has taken several restraining orders out against him. He, in turn, has taken out a restraining order against her.

Lindsay Lohan and her father haven't spoken to each other for months. The restraining order taken out by her mother forbids him from calling her.

The starlet also pays for round-the-clock security for her mother and siblings. Michael Lohan continues to speak out, but his daughter has avoided talking about her father or the divorce.

In 2004, Lindsay Lohan was crowned queen at the Teen Choice awards. She mentioned almost every member of her family, but not her dad.

"That hurt," he said. "Do I think Lindsay said that on her own volition? Absolutely not."

If he had the chance to talk to his daughter, Michael Lohan said he would tell her: "I love her more than anything in the world, with all my heart. And I'm sorry that this has gotten to the extent it has. I just want to be her dad again, like I always was, and a father to the rest of my children."