Oscar-winning actress Tatum O’Neal was arrested Sunday and charged with possession of a controlled substance when cops witnessed her trying to buy crack cocaine. According to the NY Daily News

The 44-year-old O’Neal initially told cops she was “doing research for a part,” a police source said. When cops searched her and found two bags of drugs – one with crack, one with regular cocaine – and an unused crack pipe, she changed her story, sources said.

“I’ve been clean for a long time,” the teary-eyed actress pleaded as she asked cops to give her a break, sources said. “Today was the first time I was relapsing, but you guys saved me! Can you let me go?”

“Researching a part” is perhaps the most brilliant excuse I’ve ever heard. And applicable on so many levels, too! Like, “I’m not a compulsive overeater; I’m researching the part of Britney Spears.” Or, “I’m not maniacally promiscuous; I’m just researching the part of Paris Hilton.” And “I’m not luring children up to my apartment to feed off their souls; I’m researching the part of Dina Lohan.” The possibilities are practically endless!

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