From l.-r., Billy, Stephen, Alec and Daniel Baldwin arrive for the Lotus Cars launch in L.A. in 2010.
There’s something about Alec.
Indeed, America’s fascination with the brothers Baldwin knows no tabloid bounds.
With reason. Lots and lots of them.
It was just last week that Alec reportedly blew his top — again at a newspaper photographer and reporter. The “30 Rock” star denies he hurled a racist epithet.
The star was accused of similar bad behavior last year.
His brothers have had their own share of trouble.
Brother Daniel suffers from drug addiction and has five kids with four different women.
The youngest, Stephen, battled a cocaine habit before finding Jesus and declaring bankruptcy.
And then there’s Billy, who can’t land a movie role and nearly divorced his wife.
So we’ve put the foursome on the virtual couch with relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle and showbiz journalist Rob Shuter to find out.
“Usually what happens in families is that the older sibling is the overachiever,” says Dr. Gilda. “A lot of times, the others siblings try to emulate their older brother.”
The Baldwin brothers, and their two lesser-known sisters, Jane Sasso and Elizabeth Keuchler, were raised in Massapequa by Carol and Alexander Rae Baldwin, a former Marine and high school football coach.
“Billy told me that they were really rambunctious kids that were always beating each other up and running around the house,” says Shuter. “Their dad was always encouraging this and I think that ‘Let boys be boys’ behavior never stopped.”
Alec was the first to gain fame with his role in “Knots Landing,” soon followed by parts in “Beetlejuice,” “Working Girl” and “The Hunt for Red October.”
“Even people who don’t like Alec can agree that he can act,” says Shuter. “He’s easily the most talented brother.”
Alec overcame a midcareer slump with his role as Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock” and a slew of high-profile movies including “The Departed” and “It’s Complicated.”
Alec Baldwin and brother Billy arrive at the Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in L.A. in 2007.
Yet Alec’s career, even his recent marriage to a yoga instructor 26 years his junior, is constantly overshadowed by anger issues. He called his daughter a “rude, thoughtless little pig,” was kicked off an airplane for arguing with a stewardess and later tussled with multiple photographers.
According to Dr. Gilda, “Anger is generally an acceptable emotion for boys. It’s possible that this aggressive behavior was encouraged by his football coach father when Alec was growing up and it has carried over.”
Two years Alec’s junior, Daniel followed in his brother’s footsteps, starring in mediocre movies before finding a modicum of success on TV, most recently in “Hawaii Five-0.”
While Daniel’s film career failed to take off, his drug addiction flourished. He was famously arrested in 1998 for cocaine possession after police caught him running naked down the halls of the Plaza Hotel yelling “Baldwin!” His drug issues led to a string of relationships that produced five children with four different women.
“There are always the comparisons between siblings and that can be tough to deal with,” says Dr. Gilda. “Sometimes, the younger sibling want to emulate the success of the first brother, but the high life lends itself to the kind of environment where drugs are readily available.”
Brother No. 3, Billy, was also influenced by Alec, who introduced him to Calvin Klein. Billy initially became a model and then parlayed his good looks into roles in “Flatliners,” “Backdraft” and “Sliver.”
Billy’s big-screen career, however, has tailed off as his boyish good looks have faded.
“I think Billy was probably more successful because of the way he looked, rather than his acting talent,” says Shuter.
“He always played those really hot sexy men but was never up for an Academy Award. He was the best-looking of the Baldwins, but I think he knows he’s really just a model.”
The youngest of the Baldwin brothers, Stephen, tried hard to differentiate himself while still fulfilling the family’s Hollywood legacy. He found early success in “The Usual Suspects,” but has since become famous for voting Republican, preaching Christianity and filing for bankruptcy.
“I’d suggest that the oldest (Alec) being a liberal and the youngest (Stephen) being a conservative is the competition taken to the nth degree,” says Dr. Gilda. “One stands for one thing, the other stands for another, and this sets them apart. Maybe Stephen is looking to establish his own identity.”
One thing is for sure, the Baldwins are not incredibly close.
“Here is Stephen bankrupt, and Alec is living in a fantastic Manhattan apartment,” says Shuter.
But that’s to be expect from a family of highly competitive brothers.
“When you follow in the footsteps of your older brother,” says Shuter, “you’re often walking in his shadow.”