DETAILS have emerged from a video of Heath Ledger allegedly at a drug binge party at a Hollywood hotel.
The footage is understood to have been shot two years ago at Los Angeles celebrity hangout Chateau Marmont at a January 29 (2006) party following the Screen Actors Guild awards - where Ledger had missed out on two awards for Brokeback Mountain despite being favourite in both categories.
Ledger had appeared at the ceremony alongside his girlfriend Michelle Williams but she did not attend the private party and was reportedly sleeping in a room upstairs with the couple's daughter Matilda.
The footage, which was taken through a window into a hotel room, showed Ledger talking and shows at least one guest sniffing a "cocaine-like" substance off a drug-filled table with a rolled up bill in his hand. At one stage, Ledger's face is noticeably twitching as he speaks.
"I'm gonna get so much sh*t from my girlfriend," Ledger said. "We have a baby three months ago - Matilda, Matilda Rose. "I shouldn't be here at all."
During another point in the video, Ledger talked about his marijuana habit. "I used to smoke five joints a day for 20 years," he said, in a slurred voice.
The footage was taken only hours before Ledger was nominated for the best actor Oscar for his role in Brokeback Mountain. Its content has become highly sensitive given Ledger's still unexplained death in New York on January 22 and emerging stories in foreign media outlets claiming the 28-year-old Australian had been battling drug abuse problems.
Entertainment Tonight did not end up airing the footage during its program tonight but showed the lengthy promotional clip on the eastern half of the US in the lead-up to the east coast version of its bulletin.
The footage was not shown on the west coast - with legal pressure believed to have been applied to the American program after the initial airing of the footage.
Entertainment Tonight today said it decided not to show the explosive footage out of respect for Ledger's family.ET said, however, Australia's Nine Network had obtained the tape and was preparing to show it in Australia - something that Nine denied tonight.
Nine spokeswoman Alex Phillips said the network did not have possession of the tape.
"We are not showing the video because we don't have the tape,'' Ms Phillips said.
US reports said Entertainment Tonight had paid almost $A225,000 for the tape.But earlier Nine Los Angeles bureau chief Rob Penfold had indicated Nine had planned to air the tape told The Daily Telegraph that the Australian network had not paid for the video.
"Definitely not," he said today. "There was absolutely no money involved at all." Penfold said following Ledger's death, the tape had become one of the most in-demand celebrity videos being chased by television stations across the world.
"This tape has been in circulation and a lot of people have been trying to get hold of it," he said. "It was always going to surface.
"It would appear that what the magazines have been writing about (Ledger's alleged drug addiction) has been true." During the west coast version of Entertainment Tonight, host Mary Hart said the program would air the Ledger footage in tomorrow night's episode.
A statement on the program's website later said the show and its sister program The Insider, which are both on the same network, had renegged on airing the footage.
"Out of respect for Heath Ledger's family, Entertainment Tonight and The Insider have decided not to run the Heath Ledger video which has been circulating in the world media," the statement said late yesterday.
Excerpts from the video were shown widely on Australian TV today.The video was allegedly made two years ago at the hotel where actor John Belushi died - the Chateau Marmont, in Hollywood - while Ledger's girlfriend Michelle Williams and his daughter Matilda Rose were upstairs.