At a party for the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED swimsuit issue three years ago, Indians pitcher Chuck Finley posed for photos with his wife, actress Tawny Kitaen. The two, who had posed for the SI annual that year, were all hugs and kisses and looked like that rarest of things: a happy celebrity couple.
There was nothing happy, however, about Kitaen's April 1 arrest on charges of spousal abuse. According to police, Finley and Kitaen were driving to their Newport Beach, Calif., home when, during an argument, Kitaen repeatedly kicked Finley with her high heel shoe, cutting his right leg and arm. Police arrived at their home after an unidentified third party called 911. Kitaen was charged with battery, and her bail was set at $25,000. When Finley didn't pay, Kitaen spent two days in jail before being released. If convicted, she could face a year in prison.
Kitaen and Finley, who have two daughters, are a study in extremes. Finley, a 16-year veteran, is quiet and consistent. Kitaen, before meeting Finley in 1990, dated O.J. Simpson, did drugs and danced in Whitesnake videos. In December she was charged with vandalism after she allegedly scratched up a stranger's car with a key. "Tawny's a beautiful, appealing woman," says Michael Levine, her former publicist. "But she's mercurial." Finley declined to comment after he rejoined the Indians on Friday. Said Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro, "He's going through the regular ups and downs people go through in their personal life."