updated 12/11/2009 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 12/20/2009 AT 10:00 AM ET
In an industry where privacy is hard to come by, celebrities prefer to keep their dirty laundry behind closed doors. But a recent string of extortion plots against Hollywood players has them coming out swinging – no matter the risks of humiliation or hardship.
Larry Stein, an attorney who represented actor Rob Lowe and his wife in an alleged extortion plot by their former nannies, says, in fact, more celebrities are willing to face down their blackmailers.
“Celebrities have to let people know that they re not going to be extorted, or that they re not going to be threatened,” Stein says. “It s important to distance yourselves from these people and tell them you re not going to be bullied by them People are prepared to stand up to it now.”
The days of handling things “privately” are long gone. Celebrities are willing to testify in open court, pursue criminal charges and even admit to embarrassing love affairs – all in the name of justice.
“A number of celebrities have taken it and taken it and then, finally, enough is enough. I m finding more and more people are fed up with the false accusations and the intrusion into their privacy,” says Stein.
Here s a look at some of the most recent blackmail schemes gone awry: