Never has so much attention been paid to a manicure.
Less than 24 hours after Lindsay Lohan was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 90 days in rehab for violating probation on two drink-drive charges, the talk isn't about her troubles, but about her fingernails.
The 24-year-old actress sported a colorful manicure in court that included obscene messages on each of her middle fingers.
Close-up photos taken by a courtroom photographer revealed the tiny letters, saying "f**k U".
Were the messages intended for the judge, who levied the harsh sentence on Tuesday? Directives to the ever-present paparazzi who follow Lohan's every move? Perhaps a silent snub to her estranged father, who attended the proceedings?
Lohan let her middle-finger messages speak for themselves until last night, when she took to her Twitter account.
"It had nothing to do w/court," Lohan wrote. "It's an airbrush design from a stencil."
Written expression on her hands is nothing new, though.
Lohan also has a tattoo on her right index finger that reads "Shhh..." Inscribing fingernails with messages is an emerging trend with the younger set, said celebrity manicurist Jenna Hipp, adding that she wrote a secret message beneath Gabourey Sidibe's manicure when the Precious star was preparing for the Oscars.
"Kids are just starting to play a little bit more with their fingernails," Hipp said. "Now with Lindsay doing it, of course, it's going to go crazy."
The look is easy to create at home, she said, with a Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen topped with a coat of clear polish.
Lohan's criminal defence attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, who sat beside the actress during Tuesday's hearing, was in court yesterday and not immediately available to comment on the naughty nails.
Ed McPherson, Lohan's civil attorney who attended Tuesday's hearing and sat near her in court during breaks, said he did not notice the message painted on her fingernails and does not think she meant to disrespect the court.
"Absolutely not," he said.
He said Lohan's tearful statement in court Tuesday was sincere. "I think she thinks that she's come a long way," he said. "Obviously she's very upset about this."
The actress had some good news yesterday: A probation report said her six drug screenings since May were clean of illicit drugs and alcohol. The reports showed the screenings occurred after the actress missed a court hearing and a judge imposed new restrictions, including wearing an ankle alcohol monitor.
The report was released a day after the judge sentenced Lohan to 90 days in jail and a stint in rehab for missing court-mandated alcohol education classes.
The report showed Lohan was taking a variety of medications for which she had valid prescriptions, and their use did not constitute a probation violation.
In addition, the Mean Girls star got a reprieve yesterday in another pending court case when a judge delayed a civil trial stemming from one of Lohan's 2007 arrests.
Her attorneys and four people suing her agreed to delay a trial scheduled for later this month, citing her upcoming jail sentence, which is set to begin July 20. No new date for the civil trial was set.