The parents who pulled the balloon boy hoax in hopes of landing a reality TV show were sentenced to jail Wednesday — 90 days for him, 20 days for her — and barred from profiting from their newfound celebrity status for the next four years.
Choking back tears, Richard Heene apologized in court for the frenzy he caused when he claimed his 6-year-old son Falcon had floated away in a giant helium balloon shaped like a flying saucer.
"I'm very, very sorry. And I want to apologize to all the rescue workers out there, and the people that got involved in the community," said the 48-year-old Heene, a UFO-obsessed backyard scientist who turned to storm-chasing and reality TV after his Hollywood acting career bombed.
The sentencing was the culmination of a saga that transfixed the nation in October with the sight of the silvery balloon hurtling through the sky on live television. In the end, it was all a publicity stunt by a family broke and desperate for attention and money after networks kept rejecting their reality TV show pitches.