Keeping Tabs

Win One for the Giffords

Will Frank and Kathie Lee keep it together? The experts weigh in.

Concern about the health of the Giffords’ marriage—that’s Frank and Kathie Lee, in case you haven’t been in a supermarket checkout aisle in the last five years—has long been lingering, sub rosa, in Keeping Tabs’ consciousness. But as was the case with JonBenet Ramsey, it’s sometimes tricky to know just when to weigh in on such an evergreen tabloid story. After the couple’s recent joint interview with Diane Sawyer, however, the tabs are in full-blown Gifford mania, and Keeping Tabs feels obligated to give it her full attention.

Let’s begin, as usual, with the Globe, which last week devoted no fewer than four pages to a thorough investigation of all things Frank ‘n’ Kathie Lee, pointing out that the interview was their first “since GLOBE uncovered Frank’s shocking infidelity.” One might quibble with the choice of the word “uncovered,” given that the Globe paid flight attendant Suzen Johnson to bring Gifford to a New York City hotel room and secretly videotape what ensued. But the Globe chooses instead to take issue with Gifford’s assertion that his fling-cum-sting (or is it sting-cum-fling?) was just a momentary lapse and laboriously rolls out the transcripts to prove its point. It’s always a special treat when the Globe gets all high-minded on us; here they huffily insist that Frank is “still lying” to his wife because the tapes prove that the cheating was “no accident.” According to an “insider,” there was “NOTHING spontaneous about Frank’s two-day seduction of Suzen Johnson. He wanted to bed her and he got what he wanted.” Having never had a spouse, much less one whose adulterous encounters ended up in the pages of the Globe,  perhaps Keeping Tabs should stay mum, but she can’t help thinking that all things considered, even Kathie Lee Gifford wouldn’t really consider this revelation the “shocker” of a lie promised on the Globe’s cover.

The Globe employs no fewer than four authorities to provide perspective on the Gifford crisis—their very own McLaughlin Group, if you will. The first, “internationally known body language interpreter” Maxine Fiel, declares that Frank “has had more than enough of [his wife’s] abuse.” The second, “renowned lie test expert Martin Markowitz,” performs “a computerized voice-stress analysis test,” which reveals that despite her statements to the contrary, Kathie Lee has not forgiven her husband. Most impressive was Markowitz’s assertion that Kathie Lee’s voice pattern showed not just animosity but “a thirst for revenge.” Finally, we get word from two “top” psychologists, both of whom make vaguely gloomy predictions about the future of the marriage.  

The Star, not to be outdone, has “marriage expert” Dr. Jamie Turndorf (last seen predicting that Rosie O’Donnell’s good Samaritan tendencies could cause her to become “seriously ill“) averring that “there’s a lot of rage in [Kathie Lee], and because Frank’s guilty, he’s willing to be her emotional punching bag.” (The tabloid expert patrol has been working overtime: In just the past two weeks, we’ve heard from a “posture expert,” who lets on that Celine Dion “sits on one butt cheek, which puts her out of balance”; guinea hen experts—don’t ask—and two more “psychology experts” who use their considerable education to predict that “viewers will be riveted to their TV sets” for the upcoming TV show Survivor.)

At any rate, the Star comes down squarely in Frank’s corner, claiming that Kathie Lee’s “savagely patronizing” attitude during the ABC appearance was “just the latest in a long string of public humiliations that Frank has suffered at Kathie Lee’s hands” since the Johnson imbroglio. “Pals” are said to believe that Kathie Lee “will never stop seething with anger, resentment and bitterness” toward her husband, whose life she has made “a living hell.” Kathie Lee has apparently stopped seething just long enough, however, to have been “secretly romancing” Kevin Costner for three years; their flirtation, says this week’s Star, is the “worst-kept secret in town.” The Star tries to bolster its case with a photo of Kathie Lee wearing a “sexy see-through dress” in Costner’s presence, although Keeping Tabs found it both a) relatively chaste and b) completely opaque.

Another wanderer said to be getting his comeuppance is President Bill Clinton. The Star reports that Hillary Clinton has “assigned” her mother, Dorothy Rodham (alternately referred to as “eagle-eyed” and a “pit-bull”), “to spy on [Bill’s] every move!” “This is Hillary’s revenge!” explains a White House insider. According to the Star, Rodham’s unofficial position as the White House “eternal spy” has been kept hidden from the public because she “has become skilled at watching Bill without making it obvious.” When photographers are around, for instance, she “discreetly” steps out of the way “so that it won’t be obvious to the world that Hillary’s got Bill on a short leash.” Apparently, those five huge Star photos of Rodham and the president, her head prominently circled in red in four of them, were taken on days she wasn’t quite feeling her stealthiest.

Dorothy Rodham might do well to take a lesson or two from Prince William. The Globe reports that a member of the Royal Protection Squad has written a “strongly worded memorandum” accusing the prince of believing he’s “Errol Flynn and James Bond rolled into one.” The memorandum is part of much generalized hand-wringing at the palace over the “wild, wild” prince; the Globe says there are “fears that he could slip into a self-destructive spiral of booze, fast women and drugs.” In standard tabloid format, William’s transgressions are helpfully bulleted and include: not wanting to be king, drinking too much beer, being “obsessed with sex,” refusing to condemn drug use among his friends, and having a quick temper. (Gee. Sounds like he’s … 17.) When all else fails, the Globe tries the dreaded “you-are-who-you-high-five” approach: When he goes nightclubbing, he’s “frequently seen sharing high-five handshakes with coke-sniffing, whisky-drinking scoundrels who have unlimited funds and no other aim than having a good time,” says a “well-placed source.”

According to the Globe, bodyguards are said to be particularly worried that William will become a playboy. The evidence speaks for itself: “He oils and mousses his hair, has taken to wearing gold bracelets and slaps on wraparound dark glasses that he calls his ‘pimp-shades.’ ” (Oh no! Not the pimp-shades!) As for his always interesting love life, William is now said to be in the thrall of Aussie pop star Natalie Imbruglia, with the Star reporting that he’s even torn down his Britney Spears poster and replaced it with one of Imbruglia. If Spears is upset, she’s not letting on: The Star reports that the singer, apparently doing her best Yoko Ono imitation, is busy encouraging beau Justin Timberlake “to say so long” to ‘N Sync and pursue a solo career. “She thinks he could be bigger than Elvis,” says the Star. Hmmm. Do you think we could get an expert opinion on that one?