The Tangled Life Alec Baldwin Made For Himself

The following article includes references to homophobic remarks and addiction.

Alec Baldwin has carved a praiseworthy track record on screen. The eldest of the Baldwin brothers stopped at nothing in his Hollywood conquest. From a humble six-episode start in the long-running show "The Doctors," Baldwin buckled down enough to spark guffaws all over America as the obnoxious network executive Jack Donaghy giving Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) sleepless nights on "30 Rock." On paper, Baldwin looks even more appealing, going by Forbes' revelation of his 2013 revenue post the season finale of "30 Rock."

When the cameras are set aside, however, Baldwin does not seem to catch a break. He makes news — often not for the right reasons — which has led to a clash with the paparazzi. In 2014, Baldwin retired as a public figure by penning a New York Magazine essay that read in part: "I started out as an actor, where you seek to understand yourself using the words of great writers and collaborating with other creative people." He further highlighted his experience with the by-product of his trade: fame. "Then I slid into show business, where you seek only an audience's approval, whether you deserve it or not. I think I want to go back to being an actor now," Baldwin wrote. 

It's a love-hate relationship that has gotten more complicated partly due to his doing, as he expressed, but it has traces of good in it. Here's a detailed history of Alec Baldwin's tangled life.

Alec Baldwin was arrested for assault in 1995

In 1995, a photographer bit off a lot more than he could chew when he tried to get a shot of Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger's newborn daughter, Ireland. According to the Chicago Tribune, Baldwin's confrontation with the cameraman, Alan Zanger, occurred when the latter wouldn't stop working the lens at Baldwin's request. The incident, which took place near the couple's Woodland Hills, California residence past noon, resulted in a broken nose and glasses on Zanger's part. Baldwin was also reported to have littered Zanger's truck, per People

In a statement shared by Baldwin's publicist, he alluded to the injuries inflicted on Zanger as being negligible, as the Los Angeles Times relayed. "Anyone with a shred of human decency would understand that there are times in your life when you want your privacy respected, whether you are a public figure or not," the star stated. "I do believe that bringing your wife and 3-day-old baby home from the hospital is one of those occasions. That Mr. Zanger felt it was appropriate to videotape my home and my family for his own profit is unacceptable to me."

Zanger sought legal action, and in 1997 — a little over two years after the scuffle ensued — was awarded a damage compensation to the tune of $4500. Baldwin, on the other hand, pursued litigation for breach of privacy and won. He was also relieved of assault charges.

That time he called his daughter a 'thoughtless little pig'

Back in 2007, TMZ got hold of audio from the Baldwin household, in which Alec Baldwin called the then-11-year-old Ireland Baldwin "a rude, thoughtless little pig" for missing an arranged call. Alec happened to be co-parenting with Kim Basinger since their 2001 split and subsequent custody battle, which was ugly, to say the least (more on that below). In the sound recording, Alec was quoted to have said of his ex-wife, "Your mother is a thoughtless pain in the a** who doesn't care about what you do."

He would later acknowledge his wrongdoing through a representative who spoke to "Extra," but accused Basinger and a legal representative of illegally releasing the audiotape to the press (via TMZ). A long note, published on Alec's website, went on to cite a taxing parenting relationship with Basinger, promising that more details would be made available in an upcoming publication, People reported.

True to Alec Baldwin's word, "A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce" was released in September 2008. Nevertheless, it's not all in the past. On different occasions since, both Alec and Ireland have referenced the occurrence on social media. Additionally, while promoting his 2017 book "Nevertheless: A Memoir" on "Good Morning America," the actor admitted, "It's a scab that never heals, 'cause it's being picked at all the time by other people. And ... I think my daughter, that's hurt her in a permanent way."

Alec Baldwin had a difficult divorce from Kim Basinger

The love story between Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger first brewed at a table read, right before the ill-fated movie "The Marrying Man" went into production, per People. They met up for dinner soon after, and as one thing led to another, their romance was distilled more on-set. Part of the crew hinted at the work environment being unbearable. "Their actions were vile, deplorable, despicable," a team member alleged.

The same intensity would play itself years later when Baldwin and Basinger, then a year shy of a decade-long marriage, finalized their divorce in 2002. However, they got caught up in a very public custody tussle for the next four years. "That point of my life is a blur," Baldwin told The Guardian in 2013, comparing the ongoing proceedings between 2000 and 2006 to war. "... It was a period that was so painful, I was staring off a cliff for six years."

For her part, Basinger had declined a role in "Sleeping with the Enemy" in favor of "The Marrying Man," and couldn't help but note an apparent paradox when she spoke to Net-A-Porter (via People) in 2016. "Isn't it funny that I turned down 'Sleeping with the Enemy' and then I went on to sleep with the enemy!" she exclaimed, but also added that they'd moved past their differences. "[Alec and I are] cool now, though," Basinger said. "... Life goes on."

The actor's weight loss journey

In 2011, Alec Baldwin had a diet change that saw him shed 30 pounds in four months. Per ABC News, Baldwin's diet was completely void of sugar, and he'd tailored a fitness routine that included Pilates, spinning, and a bit of yoga. The change was in part due to the influence of wellness enthusiast and soon-to-be wife Hilaria Thomas, as well as a pre-diabetes diagnosis.

Baldwin was so impressed by his progress that he got carried away and let his pants fall on the floor during a "Late Night with David Letterman" interview. And no, that wouldn't be the only time. A 2019 appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" would feature a re-run of Baldwin's bold move as an audience cheered on. "You want to see how much weight I've lost? Ready? My pants don't even fit me anymore," Baldwin asserted. 

Earlier that year, he'd revealed that his workout regimen also involved a hundred pushups per day on "The Howard Stern Show" — the newer plan came about as a tip from "Saturday Night Live" co-star Pete Davidson. However, the younger comic later admitted to Jimmy Fallon, "I didn't want to be rude and say like, 'I just still have metabolism.' ... To make him feel better, I was like, 'Oh man, I do a hundred pushups and a hundred situps every day.' And he was like, 'Got it!'" With a laugh, Davidson added of Baldwin's weight loss, "He says it's all because of me."

Hilaria Baldwin's allegedly fake Spanish origin

Alec Baldwin isn't the only Baldwin getting the masses talking. His second wife, Hilaria Baldwin, had made some headlines of her own — her most controversial one surrounding questions about the authenticity of her lineage. The yoga instructor took to Instagram in late 2020 to reply to concerns over her allegedly falsified Spanish descent and seemingly alternating accent in two since-deleted videos.

"I was born in Boston and grew up spending time with my family between Massachusetts and Spain," her first caption read in part (via People). "My parents and sibling live in Spain and I chose to live here, in the U.S.A." Hilaria added, "When I was growing up, in this country, I would use the name Hillary, and in Spain, I would use Hilaria, and my family, my parents, call me Hilaria. ... Ethnically I'm a mix of many, many things; culturally, I grew up with the two cultures."

A number of details appeared to invalidate Hilaria's origin story in the eyes of social media sleuths. For instance, a now-deleted Creative Arts Agency bio initially implied that her birthplace was Mallorca, Spain, per Page Six. Similarly, she'd suggested on a later-removed interview on the "#MomTruths" podcast that, as an NYU alum, she moved to the United States in her late teens. Even more confusing, Hilaria's granddad David L. Thomas Sr.'s obituary seemingly placed her ancestry in Massachusetts. Hilaria later shared in another since-deleted Instagram post, "At this point I'm starting to think I'm being attacked for who I am and no answer is the right answer."

He was arrested in 2014 for cycling in the wrong direction

In May 2014, InTouch broke the news of Alec Baldwin's New York City apprehension. Information was leaked to the publication that Baldwin, who was cycling along Fifth Avenue, was taken into custody for biking in the wrong direction. An accompanying picture showed Baldwin — dressed in complete cycling gear and sporting a black cap — getting into a New York Police Department car while handcuffed.

Baldwin would later reveal the particulars of his disorderly conduct arrest in tweets that have since gone private. "Officer Moreno, badge number 23388, arrested me and handcuffed me for going the wrong way on Fifth Ave," one tweet read. "Meanwhile, photographers outside my home ONCE AGAIN terrified my daughter and nearly hit her with a camera. The police did nothing," the actor noted in another. Baldwin proceeded to criticize the city's administration in a third tweet, writing, "New York City is a mismanaged carnival of stupidity that is desperate for revenue and anxious to criminalize behavior once thought benign."

Deputy Chief Kim Y. Royster later explained to CNN that when authorities asked Baldwin for his ID, "He got belligerent and started arguing with them and using profanity." The star was released from custody shortly after and the charges were ultimately dropped months later. In a follow-up court appearance that July (via the Daily News), Baldwin simply replied, "Sure, sure," when the judge asked, "Can you stay out of trouble, Alexander? ... Be a good boy from now on."

Alec Baldwin was removed from a plane for using his phone

Aircraft rules might have been the least of Alec Baldwin's worries when his love for the game Words With Friends led to an altercation with an American Airlines flight attendant in December 2011. Baldwin was eventually escorted off the plane. "Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving," he later tweeted, per People.

However, there was apparently more to the story. "The passenger was extremely rude to the crew, calling them inappropriate names and using offensive language," American Airlines stated on Facebook (via CNN), alleging that Baldwin stormed off to the restroom when he was asked to turn off his phone ahead of takeoff. "He slammed the lavatory door so hard, the cockpit crew heard it and became alarmed, even with the cockpit door closed and locked. They immediately contacted the cabin crew to check on the situation."

While Baldwin apologized to his fellow passengers in a HuffPost column for any inconvenient delays caused by his behavior, he ultimately found fault with the airlines' choice of stewardesses — a sentiment he echoed on Twitter: "Last flight w American. Where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950's find jobs as flight attendants." Also on Twitter, American Airlines issued another response in time for Baldwin to vanish off the platform for a while: "Our flight attendants followed federal safety regulations regarding electronic devices. ... We do our best to treat all customers with the utmost respect regardless of who they are."

The star allegedly punched a man in 2018

Alec Baldwin's tangled life led to another headline-making twist when he went head-to-head with Boston Marathon bombing survivor Wojciech Cieszkowski in a parking lot in November 2018. According to Page Six, Baldwin's spouse had reserved space for the "Still Alice" actor when Cieszkowski, who was behind the wheel of a Saab, bolted in.

What ensued was an alleged show of fury on Baldwin's part, as narrated to the publication by unnamed observers. "Alec was yelling 'Shut the f*** up!'" an onlooker claimed, noting that the actor had apparently also yelled, "What do you think you're doing!" Things reportedly got physical enough for Baldwin to land in a Greenwich Village detention cell. Through Twitter (naturally), Baldwin maintained his innocence, writing in part, "The assertion that I punched anyone over a parking spot is false." He added, "I realize that it has become a sport to tag people w as many negative ... charges and defaming allegations as possible for the purposes of clickbait entertainment. Fortunately, no matter how reverberating the echos, it doesn't make the statements true."

A Cieszkowski home visit by the New York Post proved that he was in good condition. "I'm recovering," he revealed (via Page Six), adding, "You know, sore, but I'll be fine." Still, Cieszkowski filed a slander suit against Baldwin after he spoke about the incident in the talk show circuit. In December 2019, a summary of the legal proceedings showed that this charge was dropped. However, Baldwin would complete an anger management course, having previously pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment.

Alec Baldwin's use of anti-LGBTQ+ slurs

Alec Baldwin went up against the paparazzi in November 2013 in front of his Manhattan flat. A clip shared by TMZ showed an irate Alec coming face to face with the man in question, who'd been taking pictures of his family. "Get away from my wife and the baby with the camera!" Alec commanded. Following a short-lived chase, he turned to a second cameraman who'd been capturing the exchange and called him a "c***sucking f**" before hopping onto his ride. 

"Mr. Baldwin can't lend his support for equality on paper, while degrading gay people in practice," a representative for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation told the gossip rag. "It's clearly time he listens to the calls from so many LGBT people and allies to end this pattern of anti-gay slurs." Unfortunately, this would mark just one of Alec's many clashes with the LGBTQ+ community after making anti-gay utterances. The previous year, he'd allegedly made shocking comments while reportedly manhandling another photographer.

Not that he hasn't made attempts at making peace with the queer community. Following a series of explicit tweets posted in July 2013 after the Daily Mail published an unflattering piece about Hilaria Baldwin, Alec issued an apology to GLAAD that partially read: "I would not advocate violence against someone for being gay and I hope that my friends at GLAAD and the gay community understand that my attack ... in no way was the result of homophobia."

He kept his past struggle with addiction private for years

The '80s were admittedly quite a wild ride for Alec Baldwin. Amid his rise to fame, the actor spent two years excessively drinking and using drugs daily. "It was kind of a white-hot period where I ran around with people in L.A and did a lot of partying," Baldwin disclosed in a 2017 conversation with "CBS Sunday Morning." Noting that this was the culture in Hollywood at the time, the young star believed he had it together, but added, "It just made me very, very sick."

It was a past that Baldwin stacked on a shelf for a long time. Details of Baldwin's action-packed twenties were finally revealed in a 2008 book by Christopher Kennedy Lawford titled "Moments of Clarity: Voices from the Front Lines of Addiction and Recovery," and so were the events that led him to joining a support group and opting for a clean life just before turning 27 in 1985. "God got me sober. That day, God was a black, 65-year-old retired postal worker named Lenny," Baldwin wrote of the group's leader (via the New York Post). "Lenny said, 'You never have to feel this way again if you don't want to.'"

Speaking with "ABC News" while promoting his memoir "Nevertheless," Baldwin reflected on this painful time ahead of his journey toward sobriety at a young age: "I know that, at that time, and when I describe overdosing on drugs, which I've kept very private for years and years and years, I think I would have gotten it eventually."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The charitable side of Alec Baldwin

The fact that Alec Baldwin has made big bank as an actor isn't news. But with the same vigor that Alec splashed $1.75 million on a 50-acre Vermont estate in 2022, he's also exhibited a charitable spirit that has gone a long way.

In solidarity with The Owen Hart Foundation, Alec decided to forgo a 2018 performance charge for "An Evening with Alec Baldwin," contributing it to the organization instead. He previously donated his earnings for an advertising job with Capital One. "It's going to be given to arts organizations that I'm involved in like the Hamptons Film Festival and Guild Hall," Alec told The Wall Street Journal. "... The arts really matters to people. We're cutting funding there, and I think that's a huge mistake."

Giving, it turns out, is an act that was instilled in Alec at home. His mother, Carol Baldwin, was a breast cancer survivor who headed The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund Inc. In 2007, board member Alec opened up about the organization's goals to raise awareness and funds. "I would like to see early detection, to see breast cancer rates drop precipitously," he told Energy Times. When Alec announced his mother's death via Instagram in May 2022, it was revealed that they had raised millions. "My mother taught me about second acts," he stated. "... She spent the last 25 years of her life as a fighter and a champion for the cause to which she devoted so much energy. We are all enormously proud of her accomplishments."

Alec Baldwin holds strong political views

Alec Baldwin commands a large following online in the neighborhood of 3.5 million between Twitter and Instagram. As such, it's not uncommon for him to declare his political stances. For example, in 2012, renowned democrat Alec, who's publicly sought voters for the party's candidates, voiced his support for then-President Barack Obama. "Some complain on Twitter about Obama. You wanna go back? To Bush? Cheney? Paulson? Rumsfeld? Unfunded wars? Death of U.S. soldiers and innocent civilians for oil?" a string of tweets read in part, as captured by Entertainment Weekly

Six years later, Alec joined a long list of celebrities who opposed the viewpoints and operations of the National Rifle Association in a movement dubbed #NoRA, per The Guardian. But when Alec took on the daring task of performing his recurring Donald Trump gimmick on "Saturday Night Live," it eventually led to animosity between him and his conservative brother, Stephen Baldwin. 

"I don't want to be a party pooper here, but I don't think it's very funny," Stephen told "CBS News" in 2016. During an interview with "Faithwire" two years later, Stephen revealed that the political atmosphere had been so intense, that they hadn't been in contact in years. "[I] still haven't talked to my brother, Alec, since the election. And I'm cool with that. I love him to death," Stephen said, before arguing of Alec's Trump impersonation, "It goes too far." He explained, "If you don't like Trump, do what you got to do. But don't pick on peoples' families. That's not cool."

His long-running gig as a radio host

Although he has made a name for himself on screen, Alec Baldwin would, in another world, make it as a voice on the airwaves. Baldwin's choice as a host of the New York Philharmonic's weekly radio broadcast was a seemingly divine pairing deeply rooted in his connection to classical music. "There's something serious [about classical music]. There's something beautiful," Baldwin gushed of the genre in a 2009 conversation with The New York Times. "There's something that's really carefully rendered, that I want to be a part of, no matter what my contribution is." It was a connection that the orchestra had kept track of by noting Baldwin's perfect concert attendance.

However, Baldwin's penchant for radio also extends to his podcast "Here's the Thing," a public radio turned iHeartRadio collaboration that has dug into the finer details of the lives of newsmakers since 2011. His approach toward guests leaves room for flexibility, a fact that some of Baldwin's listeners may dispute, as he remarked in a 2016 interview with PBS NewsHour. "I don't view the show as an interview. I view it as a conversation," the star explained. "People have complained, 'Oh Alec, shut up!' ... But I'm kind of trying to push them toward something I think we don't already know about them."

Alec Baldwin mistakenly fired a prop gun on the set of Rust

In October 2021, Alec Baldwin found himself involved in a catastrophic turn of events: While rehearsing a scene on the set of the Western "Rust," a prop gun the actor-producer was holding accidentally went off, wounding director Joel Souza and killing 42-year-old Ukrainian filmmaker Halyna Hutchins.

"There are no words to convey my shock and sadness," Baldwin tweeted, as Nicki Swift previously reported. In an ABC News special dubbed "Alec Baldwin Unscripted" that December, he recounted the incident, attributing it to a misstep with on-set gun handling protocol. While there was a rule in place to avoid a direct aim at anyone within production premises, there were exceptions. "Unless the person is the cinematographer who's directing me where to point the gun for her camera angle," Baldwin said. "That's exactly what happened."

As of this writing, Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, which could warrant an 18-month jail term and an additional $5000 fine, per CNN. Through a legal representative, Hutchins' kin showed their trust in the justice system, saying, "It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law." Meanwhile, Baldwin's attorney argued that he "had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set. ... We will fight these charges, and we will win."