The world's longest probation (or, at least, what seemed like it) has come to an end, and Lindsay Lohan is a free woman! Yes, almost five years after the DUI arrest that sent her spiraling down a legal rabbit-hole, Lohan, 25, has fulfilled the terms of her probation.
During a Thursday morning hearing, Judge Stephanie Sautnerconfirmed that the actress had finally completed all of her required community service and therapy sessions, as well as paying all her court-ordered fees.
"She did it. She has done everything that this court has asked of her," said Sautner. "Probation terminates today. Now."
So is Lindsay out of the woods? Is she ever? The actress, who has served five jail terms for probation violations since her two DUIs in 2007, is still on "informal probation" for her 2011 necklace theft. "Informal" means that she doesn't have to report to a probation officer or meet any special requirements -- she just has to stay out of trouble until the theft probation ends in May 2014. (As Judge Sautner put it, "The only terms on that case are to obey all laws. It's not that hard.")
And if Lindsay does slip up? It's back to jail, for up to 245 days. (Which, given her record of shortened jail terms, would probably work out to about five minutes -- but would mean that she'd been in jail six times before she turned 30. Not exactly a win.)
During the hearing, Judge Sautner expressed confidence that Lindsay could go the distance, but she did have a word of advice.
"Live your life a more mature way. Stop the nightclubbing," Sautner urged.
And that's really the question now: Can Lindsay stay on the straight and narrow, or will her old habits lead her back into the jail-rehab cycle that she's been trapped in for five years?
If you're looking for signs that Lindsay is getting her life back into gear (and we always are), there's a big one on the horizon: She's actually working. She pulled off an SNL hosting gig in early March and is soon headed to Glee, both shows that require guest stars to put in serious rehearsal hours. She's not skipping out on press appearances, either -- which she was doing as recently as December, when she missed an appearance on Ellen related to her Playboy issue. And while feature films are still not taking a chance on her, she's been cast in the seriously competitive role of Elizabeth Taylor for an upcoming Lifetime biopic.
If Lohan stays out of trouble, maintains her work ethic, and turns in decent performances, we can absolutely expect to see her working her way back up the Hollywood food chain.
But here's the thing that still has us worried. Although Lindsay has been doing great these past few weeks, we haven't noticed any major changes in either her lifestyle or her attitude. In her recent Matt Lauer interview, Lohan admitted she still had work to do, but she remained cagey about things like how long she'd been sober and whether she had any regrets. Earlier this month, she was accused of a hit-and-run outside a nightclub, which sounds like exactly the kind of situation she shouldn't be in. Then there are those reports that she put herself on "house arrest" in order to stay out of trouble in the home stretch of her probation. It seems like after all that rehab, community service and court time, Lindsay's life should look different now. In other words: Lohan is on the up-and-up, but we're just not sure she's turned a corner.
At least she has the right attitude now. Speaking to paparazzi earlier today, the actress swore that she would "never" appear in front of another judge. (Watch the video below.) And that's as good a first step as any.