On Wednesday, February 17, the news broke that controversial personality Rush Limbaugh lost his battle with Stage IV lung cancer.
For decades, the 70-year-old had a loyal audience of staunch conservatives — but the filthy-rich radio host prospered while covering up decades of bad behavior.
From drug busts to fiery feuds, scroll through the gallery below to dive deep into Rush's long list scandals and secrets.
From the start of his career, Rush faced troubling charges — with one reporter discovering that the political firebrand had never even bothered to vote for Ronald Regan. Rush sat out his hero’s presidential elections with Paul Colford discovering that “Rush didn’t even register to vote until 1986 when he was 35-years-old!”
Rush was also hit with charges of being a hypocrite after blasting Bill Clinton for smoking pot. Rush says he became nauseous after two tries at smoking marijuana — but disc jockey Randy Raley recalled seeing Rush toking up a storm in 1978. “If that was sick,” scoffed Raley, “give me some of that!”
That early claim foreshadowed Rush’s biggest scandal as his career entered the 21st century — as he went into rehab in 2004. Rush went public just as his housekeeper, Wilma Cline, claimed she illegally supplied him with thousands of painkillers over four years. Rush responded by accusing Wilma of blackmail.
“Blackmail never crossed our minds,” an outraged Wilma said at the time. “We went to the authorities because we finally decided it was the right thing to do!” Her attorney Ed Shohat added that Wilma “turned over hundreds of e-mails and phone recordings to the prosecutors in which Rush Limbaugh never once referred to being blackmailed.”
Rush managed to avoid a prison sentence, but was soon caught in a different kind of drug scandal in 2006. Custom officials at Palm Beach’s airport caught him with Viagra pills on another man’s prescription — as he returned from a vacation in the Dominican Republic, a country notorious for providing visitors with sex from male and female prostitutes.
"What was Rush doing with [erectile dysfunction pills] in the Dominican Republic?” wondered one Internet poster. The embarrassing bust promoted yet more speculation of Rush’s sexuality — gong back to September 1977 when Rush’s first marriage ended after 18 months amid his wife’s charge of “incompatibility.”
Rush went on to a series of short-lived marriages until tying the knot with socialite Kathryn Rogers in 2010 — and her wedding gift was her own condo where she reportedly spent “quality time,” according to a source. Their nuptials provoked another gay scandal, with Elton John blasted as “hypocritical” and “a pathetic excuse for a human" for playing their wedding.
Rush has indulged his own celebrity feuds, even blasting his biggest conservative rival by declaring, “Someone’s got to say it — Bill O’Reilly is Ted Baxter!” Beloved star Michael J. Fox also got into it with Rush after the radio host accused him of exaggerating symptoms of Parkinson’s for the sake of a political ad.
Amazingly, Rush always seemed to survive the angry backlash — and continued to prosper while being routinely profiled as “the most dangerous man in America” until his death.
The National ENQUIRER originally provided this reporting.