November 2004 - Hugh Grant, the British star of the film Four Weddings and a Funeral, was arrested in Hollywood yesterday and charged with indecent conduct with a prostitute in a public place after meeting her on Sunset Boulevard.
Grant, 34, whose girlfriend is Elizabeth Hurley, the actress, was arrested by vice squad police, who alleged that he drove up to a prostitute at about 1.30 am.
Officer Lorie Taylor, of Los Angeles Police, said: "Grant was observed to drive a vehicle up to a prostitute and allow her to enter. They drove a short distance to a residential street and engaged in lewd conduct.
"Vice officers walked up on the car and observed the act. Both the prostitute, described by police as a black woman named Divine Brown, 23, and Grant were taken into custody," said Officer Taylor.
Officer Cory Palka said Grant was "extremely embarrassed" when the two officers introduced themselves, but was "very nice and very co-operative". Grant was released on bail. He and Brown, who was charged with soliciting, are due to to appear in court on July 18.
Eduardo Funes, a police spokesman, said that Grant would not have to appear. He could be represented by a lawyer.
"It's a misdemeanour charge, which carries a custodial sentence," he said. "You could be sent to jail for up to six months or have a $1,000 fine, or both.
"It's up to the judge. It depends on whether there is a track record."
The area in which police allege that Grant stopped is a notorious haunt of prostitutes, both male and female. It is also heavily patrolled by undercover police.
After his arrest, he said: "I did something completely insane. I have hurt people I love and embarrassed people I work with. For both things I am more sorry than I can say."
A friend of Grant's said last night: "This all seems very odd. It doesn't seem at all like Hugh."
Grant, one of the film industry's most in-demand actors, is in Hollywood to promote his new film Nine Months, advertised on posters along Sunset Boulevard.
Yesterday's press conference about Nine Months was cancelled abruptly, although some journalists had flown in from as far away as Britain for it.
Grant, who read English at New College, Oxford, before becoming an actor, won the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Golden Globe award this year for Four Weddings and a Funeral. He was virtually unknown outside Britain until he was cast opposite Andie MacDowell in that film, which was nominated for an Academy Award for best picture. Known for his beguiling smile and self-deprecating wit, Grant is now starring in The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain. After minor roles in repertory, Grant wrote and performed in satirical revues before James Ivory, the film director, spotted him and cast him in Maurice, an adaptation of E M Forster's sombre novel about homosexual lovers. He later appeared in Remains of the Day and Bitter Moon before being picked for Four Weddings and a Funeral, a low-budget production that turned out to be Britain's highest earning film and helped to turn him into an international star.