Keeping Tabs

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

The tabloids zero in on celebrity siblings. 

The last two weeks have been a veritable cornucopia, the tabloids brimming with the kind of material Keeping Tabs lies awake at night praying for. Exhibit A: a typically tasteful Globe headline about the suicide of one Joseph See—“As Paul Finds Love Again … Linda McCartney’s 1st Hubby Blows Brains Out.” Exhibit B: Charlene Tilton letting her “Tilton Talk” readers know that: 1) she never misses an episode of Touched by an Angel; 2) it took her 33 minutes to fill out her census form; and 3) she loves ballpark hot dogs, but not necessarily baseball itself. Exhibit C: the Enquirer’s story about how Sandra Bullock is “battling a mystery brain illness,” which turns out to mean that she’s having severe headaches after hitting her head in a snowboarding mishap. While Keeping Tabs is well aware that the brain is indeed located in the head, well … do we really have to explain? And, finally, in just two weeks, the tabs have achieved some sort of trifecta, pulling Julia Roberts in three perfectly incompatible directions: The Globe reported that Roberts and boyfriend Benjamin Bratt are planning to start a family this year but definitely won’t be getting married (she’s “dreaming about picket fences and baby carriages,” says a source); the Star reported that the two are already engaged, ring and all; and the Enquirer has Roberts insisting that domesticity is the last thing on her mind. “I’m obsessed with shoes,” the actress is quoted as saying. “I don’t see marriage and children as an aspiration. It’s not on my wish list.” So glad we’ve cleared that up.

But even in her most self-indulgent fantasy, Keeping Tabs could never have predicted that she would reach tabloid nirvana this week. In Mike Walker’s National Enquirer column, nestled between an item about how John Goodman supposedly blew up at a woman who made the mistake of suggesting that he “really shouldn’t smoke” in an airport lounge (he reportedly called her, in no uncertain terms, “a m——f——— c—s——!”) and a truly fetching photo of Helen Hunt’s butt crack (which, for the record, makes clear that she and Monica Lewinsky share similar taste in underwear), Keeping Tabs discovered an item suggesting that her own flesh and blood—her brother Eric, the very person who taught her how to ride a bicycle and who recently joined her at Slate’s ” Breakfast Table“—has a “bizarre relationship” with Emmy-winning actress Edie Falco of The Sopranos. The evidence? The two have been having breakfast “every morning for 12 years” and he’s “NOT her boyfriend.” Keeping Tabs sends her heartiest congratulations to Mike Walker for printing an item that she can confirm is—dare we say it?—pretty much true! (The breakfast get-togethers were recently mentioned in TV Guide, among other places, so let’s not give Walker too much credit for intrepid reporting.) Surely, there must be some sort of ritual to celebrate the arrival of one’s family in the pages of the Enquirer. Will the Ramseys be calling soon to welcome us aboard?

Speaking of the Ramseys’ phone habits, the Globe reports that in their new book, The Death of Innocence, the couple reveals that a family friend tried to embarrass Globe Editor in Chief Tony Frost on their behalf by calling his wife and pretending to be a disgruntled mistress. “How low can you go?” a peeved Frost asks rhetorically. Keeping Tabs is almost certain that Frost doesn’t really want her to answer that question but, should he change his mind, she’s got almost a year’s worth of Globes on hand and would be more than happy to remind him.

Back on the sibling beat, Leonardo DiCaprio is said to be having an existential crisis of sorts over the arrest of his step-brother Adam Farrar on suspicion of attempted murder. “He’s been asking himself what all his fame and money are for if he can’t help the people he loves most,” an insider tells the Globe. Lisa Kudrow, on the other hand, is reportedly having no such trouble. The Globe accuses the “cold and uncaring”Friends star of shunning her “down & out” half-brother Derek Epps, who is said to be longing for the kind of relationship that Kudrow’s TV alter ego, Phoebe, shares with her brother. “If only Lisa would show me the same love and compassion,” Epps is quoted as saying. The other big Tinseltown sibling news is that Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes, will become a big sister this fall. And not a moment too soon, given that the Enquirer reports she’s “been asking for a little brother or sister since she turned 2 1/2.” It’s in all the child development books. Go look for yourself.

The Globe has a cover story (“I Blame John for Crash!”) on Lisa Ann Bessette, sister of the late Lauren and Carolyn Bessette. The Globe paints a moving portrait of Bessette’s quotidian life as a graduate student at “a large Midwestern university.” “She walks with her head down and won’t acknowledge anyone unless they say hello first. Considering she lost two sisters, her solitude makes sense.” Bessette is said to be a “regular at a small neighborhood deli, where she stands in line to order her usual lunch of soup and a sandwich. She often takes home a loaf of sliced Paisano specialty bread.” OK, we’ll bite: Is the assumption that when John F. Kennedy Jr. was your brother-in-law, you no longer had to wait in line at delis for soup and sandwiches? Does the sliced Paisano specialty bread simply appear on the dinner tables of the siblings of the rich and famous? Maybe Keeping Tabs will soon find out.

Sadly, the one sibling relationship that Keeping Tabs thought was truly ripe for scrutiny, that of new Oscar winner Angelina Jolie and her brother James, is barely a blip on the tabloids’ collective radar. The only mention of the joined-at-the-hip twosome comes from the Enquirer, which dismisses their eyebrow-raising closeness and “bizarre displays of affection” as nothing more than Angelina being, well, Angelina. She “flaunts their relationship because she’s a trail-blazing, trendsetting shocker,” explains a “source close to the swollen-lipped cutie.” Trendsetting, shmend-setting. This is one Hollywood trail that might best be left unblazed.