On June 1, 2008, the 44-year-old actress was arrested for buying two bags of cocaine just a few blocks from her New York City home. Tatum was charged with a misdemeanor—criminal possession of a controlled substance. She spent one night in jail before being released the next day.
Tatum remembers the day clearly. She says it was just before dusk on a Sunday when she decided to go in search of drugs. At the time, Tatum says she'd been sober for 10 months. "I wish I could describe why I would make a decision like this," she says. "I really can't. It baffles me."
It didn't take long for Tatum to find what she was looking for. "I live in a neighborhood that actually, you know, there's still some activity…drug activity," she says. "I walked out of my apartment, [and] … I sort of saw a guy standing there, and in that moment, I think I would look and see if he was maybe using."
Tatum says she told the man she wanted to buy cocaine. "He looks like he's struggling. He looks like he's addicted to something. I don't know what," she says. "So I said, 'Can you do that?' We were walking, and he brought it to me."
The moment Tatum had the drugs in her hand, five undercover police officers burst onto the scene. "[They] said, 'What do you have?' I showed them what I had," she says. "He said, 'You're under arrest,' [and] put my hands behind my back. He arrested the other guy, and I was really horrified."
In July 2008, Tatum pled guilty to disorderly conduct. She was sentenced to attend two drug treatment classes and pay a $96 fine.