After a brief New Year’s lull, the tabloids are back with a vengeance. In just the last three weeks, we’ve been treated to some moments of sheer tabloid bliss. There was the Globe story in which a supposed former lover claimed that free-spirited model Anna Nicole Smith is fond of “daubing her breasts with hot pink paint and pressing them against the walls.” The National Enquirer ran a captivating photo of Kathie Lee Gifford under the headline “I’ve got sweaty armpits & gray hair!” (The sweat-stained armpits are reportedly real; the gray hair is a photo simulation showing what Gifford might look like without her dye job.) A Globe story charged that Monica Lewinsky’s svelte appearance in her new Jenny Craig ads is nothing but a “big fat scam” achieved through “photo trickery” (the story goes on to call Lewinsky “porky,” “beefy,” and a “portly pepperpot” and quotes an “eyewitness” harrumphing that the former intern’s “rear-end is just as large as ever”). And as if that weren’t enough, the Lewinsky story ran right next to the spectacularly tasteless photos of actor Keanu Reeves and his distraught girlfriend visiting the cemetery where they recently buried their stillborn baby girl. Just another day at the office for those upstanding photojournalists at the Globe.
Anyway, suffice it to say that the tabloids have begun the century enthusiastically. Although she’s yet to undertake a scientific study of the phenomenon, Keeping Tabs would venture that in the past few weeks, the words “shocking” and “secret” have appeared in a record-setting number of tabloid headlines. The “shocking reason” Oprah won’t wed? She’s reportedly fearful of being cheated on, says the Globe. The “shocking” reasons Hillary Clinton and Tipper Gore can’t stand each other? Well, true to form, the Globe never gets around to listing any actual reasons, but does include a litany of the deliciously snarky snipes the two women supposedly traded. Hillary reportedly called Tipper “an ordinary cookie baker” and a “female Gerald Ford” because of her jogging and Rollerblading mishaps, while Tipper retorted that “if anyone ever needed to find their way to a gym, it’s [Clinton].”
In other first family news, the Star claims to have the “shocking secrets of Hillary’s new house.” Ghosts, perhaps? A murder on the premises? Adult films being made in the neighborhood? Nah. The shocking secret is that the house is being transformed into a “super-secure fortress.” “If the Clintons want to put in a new bathroom, for instance, they can forget calling the local plumber,” explains a “Washington insider.” “The Secret Service will inspect every fixture. They will demand handrails for the tub—God forbid the president slips. And they’ll have to be titanium rails.” They can’t call a plumber? Titanium handrails? We’re shocked. Shocked!
The tabs’ “secrets” come in all flavors. The Globe has the “secret behind Billy Joel’s breakup,” the “tragic secret” behind the DUI arrest of Alf star Max Wright, and all the details on Ted Turner’s alleged “secret tryst” with a “gal pal.” The Enquirer, which blames a “dark secret” for Marie Osmond’s breakup, has an interview with a man who says he is the “secret son” of Katharine Hepburn and Howard Hughes, and reports on Denzel Washington’s “secret heartache.” The Star, for its part, weighs in on the supposed “secret druggie past” of Al Gore’s daughter Karenna, JFK and Jackie’s “secret love wars,” and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines’ “secret nightmare marriage” —about which her former mother-in-law Mariana LaRocca makes “shocking revelations”! The Star says LaRocca gives a “blockbuster interview” in which she “lift[s] the lid for the first time” on the singer’s brief marriage to her son, as if the world has been clamoring relentlessly for Mariana LaRocca to speak. You can just picture Sam Donaldson beating on her door, desperate for the truth.
The Star apparently got a little carried away with its two-part story on Dick Van Dyke: The “sizzling secret life” promised on last week’s cover somehow morphed into a “sad secret life” by the time the story began on Page 10. But fear not; this week’s issue tells of Mary Tyler Moore’s—you know where this is going—”secret love” for Van Dyke. The Globe, meanwhile, proves just how au courant they can be by sniffing out the secrets of two of television’s hottest shows. There’s a “probe” that claims to “bare [the] real-life secrets of TV’s top wise guys,” The Sopranos. And shocking secrets they are! Star James Gandolfini didn’t start acting until he was 25! Tony Sirico lives with his 80-year-old mother, “who taught him how to cook”! Robert Iler has a “hot secret crush” on Jennifer Love Hewitt! Jamie-Lynn Sigler enrolled in dancing school at 3! (A “secret” that can also be uncovered by visiting HBO’s Web site, but we digress.) KT’s favorite TV “secret” comes from the Globe’s seven-page look at Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, where security is reportedly so tight that host Regis Philbin has to be accompanied to the restroom. “A staffer is assigned to make sure Regis’ clip-on mike is removed before he goes in,” the story explains, “so that no bathroom sounds are broadcast to the studio audience.” Thanks for sharing.
Finally, the Enquirer reports that singer Celine Dion—whose infertility woes have been tabloid fodder for years—is pregnant at last … with twins! If there turns out to be even a shred of truth to this secret, Keeping Tabs would like to go on the record as saying she’ll be genuinely shocked.