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THE PARENT TRAP

Nature or nurture? As Lindsay Lohan struggles with addiction and legal problems, her mother and father are fighting battles, too.

Ah, Long Island - land of Amy and Joey, birthplace of the bellicose Baldwin brothers, where Lizzie Grubman plowed her SUV through a nightclub parking lot and Billy Joel slammed three cars into assorted inanimate objects.

Tabloid fodder, all. But with the Lohans of Merrick, the mania is multiplied by three.

Reports have daughter Lindsay in her third rehab stint this year after a California arrest on suspicion of drunken driving and cocaine possession. Back home, "momager" Dina and rehab-prone dad Michael shuttle between Long Island courthouses, trying to end their two-decade marriage.

Their last court appearance drew more than two dozen paparazzi, camera crews and reporters, all for a divorce case once thought settled two years ago. The Lohans are also battling over visitation involving Lindsay's younger siblings.

"I feel like a second parent in the sense that I helped raise my family," Lindsay told Allure magazine this year. "And I was put between my mother and father a lot. Well, I would put myself between them to try and keep the peace, and I felt good doing that."

Lindsay, 21, began modeling before kindergarten, taking an exhilarating ride from suburban obscurity to Hollywood stardom. Yet even as her name made movie marquees, she never quite escaped her dysfunctional upbringing.

Lindsay directed a 2005 autobiographical music video, Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter to Father), depicting a husband resembling Michael verbally abusing a blond beauty who could easily be mistaken for Dina. A child in a tutu quakes in fear in an adjacent bedroom.

From prison to church

Michael Lohan, a former Wall Street broker, married Donata "Dina" Sullivan in 1985. Matrimony soon turned to acrimony.

In the late 1980s, he was sentenced to four years in prison in a stock fraud case. He returned to jail in 1998 after violating his probation by leaving the state to visit Lindsay on a California movie set. He received another 27 days in 2000 after violating an order of protection Dina obtained to prevent him from seeing their four children; besides Lindsay, there's Michael, now 19; Ali, 13, and Dakota, 11.

Two years ago, Michael Sr. was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison for drunken driving, brawling with his brother-in-law at a first communion party and other charges. He was released in March and entered a Christian-based drug and rehabilitation center in West Babylon, N.Y.

Michael says he is a born-again Christian and has repeatedly said his daughter needs to become the same.

A mother's glow

Dina Lohan has told interviewers she considers herself a single parent because Michael was behind bars for years. All four of her children tried show business, but it was the eldest who became a superstar with movies such as Mean Girls and Freaky Friday.

Dina became Lindsay's combination mother and manager. She worked for the syndicated Entertainment Tonight show as a red carpet "reporter" and claimed that she was once a Radio City Rockette, although the landmark theater says it has no record of her on its stage.

A Harper's Bazaar profile this year, complete with provocative photos of the 44-year-old mom, found Dina boasting about living the American dream. And while she told George Clooney that she was Lindsay's assistant, rather than parent, Dina insists she's no "party mom."

Yet Michael Lohan has insinuated on a number of occasions that his estranged wife may have been drinking or using drugs, possibly with Lindsay, claims Dina has vehemently denied. Only last week, in what he called an effort to make the peace with Dina, did Michael drop a family court bid to have her drug tested.

Both parents and their younger children will undergo counseling before a decision is made on his visitation rights; currently, he's limited to phone calls.

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