The Biggest thing to overcome

What's been the biggest thing you feel you've had to overcome?

It's always hard for some like me where people find my personal life more interesting than my work. That becomes really discouraging because you want people to focus on you as an actor as opposed to you as a celebrity or a figure in the public eye. I understand that I brought a lot of that on myself. I was quite young when I became well known and I don't think I knew what I was doing. I hadn't really evolved yet as a person. You call attention to your personal life by being a bit outlandish. You still hope that being a good actor will overshadow everything else somehow. But it doesn't. It's the media machine. It's insane. They make stars out of people in one day and then they destroy them the next. You have to look at that and ask yourself what the most important thing is. Do I want to be defeated of do I want to continue doing something that I enjoy doing. You have to find the different aspects of the business that you actually like. For me it's the acting part of it because it's a really tough business to be in. People don't realize what a competitve business this is. There's so much back-stabbing and gossiping. As actor you have to distance yourself from the business aspect of it. You have to find friends who are outside of it. That way when you go home you're separated from the bullshit that goes on between the agents and the lawyers regarding how much money you can make them. You have to find a way not to get sucked into that yet at the same time remain very appreciative of the fact that you even have a job. It's a fine line to walk. I've been around people in the past where all they wanted was to get a job. Once they got a job all they did was complain about it. You sit there and look at these people and ask, "What are you doing"? 95% of the actors in SAG (Screen Actors Guild) don't even work. You have to find a way to thank God everyday for the time that you are able to work.

You were sentenced to 540 hours of community service for one of your "incidents." How much highway trash can one pick up with that sharp stick?

I don't know. It depends on how much money you're willing to pay government to get out of your community service. For me it was something like $60,000. Could you imagine the pictures? There's something to be said for that neon-orange vest, but it would have been hellish. Let me say, though, that I actually wanted to go to court. It was over some guy who called me a cunt and spit in my face. I didn't do anything to him. 'Cause you know that? I'm not going to jail. I'd get beat up severely there. I'd be some big woman's bitch. She'd be like, "Come here, small girl. Come here, Hollywood."

What's the most ridiculously extravagant thing in your trailer?

My whole trailer is ridiculous. The whole thing has skylights, hardwood floors. I have a double cobalt-blue sink for my kitchen and a refrigerator, an oven and a microwave. And all of the cabinets are glass with steel trim.

Back to your trailer, what's the most embarassing thing about it?

We have guys that go in there to clean out the toilets. That probably the most embarassing part. Once a week they come, and somebody knows who craps the most out of all of us.

A case of chronic bowel syndrome, perhaps?

No, but I have Crohn's disease. It's a parasite in your body; it can kind of mess with you. There's nothing sexy about women saying, "I got to go take a crap."

In what sense are you a loner?

I don't like lots of people. It's not that I don't meet people all the time and love them, it's just that I tend to like to be by myself a lot. I value my own time. I also have a handful of close friends who I have known for a very long time and whom I trust implicitly. It's very hard to meet new people and open up and get to know them because you just never know. When I do go out, it's always with the same people.

Do you get the impression that some people want to talk to you just because you're famous?

I think that does happen, but there are also people who want to talk to you because you're nice. You can't totally shut yourself off from meeting new people. I love meeting new people and what they can bring to your life, but I guess there's always a trust issue.

You've also had supposed friends going to the papers with stories about you…

I think that's pretty sad. It makes you stop and think that you can't even trust your closest friends. A girl who was one of my best friends did it. I felt very sorry for her - she did it because she needed to do it for her own reasons. I sympathise with her for those reasons but that doesn't make it acceptable to do something like that to someone who trusts you.

You've said you're quite wary of the press…

I sometimes wonder when it became such a cruel medium. You develop a thick skin, but it's hard. It also affects my family - people are made to wonder what kind of child my parents raised, who is apparently doing all of these crazy things. There were extreme cases with me where I would get out of bed and there would be photographers in my back yard. That is one of the most horrific and frightening experiences you could ever go through, to know that these people now where you live and can show tip at any time.

Are these experiences the reason you have become such a strong individual?

I think that when you go through an experience like that you do get a lot stronger, but the funny thing is it's more outwardly stronger. I think internally I am absolutely no different. Things still affect me in the same way, they hurt me the same way, but you deal with them differently to try and put a stop to them.

These are the low points of fame - what have been the high points of your career so far?

Things like working with people I respect a lot, like [film directors) William Friedkin and Kevin Smith. It's the opportunity sometimes to meet people you adore, like sitting next to Martin Scorsese for ten minutes and listening to this genius talk about how he did a movie. Those opportunities are phenomenal for me.

How would you describe yourself now?

I think I would say very hard-working, fiercely loyal, self-conscious, very private and a bit of a loner.

If you weren't an actor what career would you choose for yourself?

Horses. Besides acting horses are my number one passion in life. I'm trying right now to set up a side business of breeding and trading horses.

Would you like to apologize to those who sat through your movie "Satan's School For Girls"? (2000)

I wouldn't put that on the top of my resume and say this is my proudest piece of work. But I don't really know if I'd apologize. Ratings-wise it was unbelievable. More people sat through it than clicked it off.