Keeping Tabs

The Year of William

The English prince’s royal pain, and other top tabloid stories of 2000. 

Reflecting on the tabloid year that was, all Keeping Tabs can say is: William, William, William. Prince William, that is. The 18-year-old heir to the British throne was hands-down the person who most captivated the tabloids’ collective imagination over the last 12 months, even in a year in which Darva married Rick, Anne and Ellen split, and Madonna both got married and gave birth prematurely (although not in that order).

And what an exhausting year it was for young William! In between adamantly refusing to assume the throne (“I won’t be King—and neither you nor anybody else can make me!” the Enquirer claimed the defiant price told his father), being marked for “cold-blooded assassination” by “crazed animal rights extremists,” and fighting off being “brainwashed” by “evil palace plotters” who were “determined to make him forget his beloved mom” (or sosaid theGlobe), William managed to have a love life more active than Toys “R” Us at Christmastime.

While the early months of the year saw the tabloids insisting Wills and pop siren Britney Spears were an item, by March, the Globewasreporting that William had supposedly dumped her and “lost his heart” to “stunning” 19-year-old Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthope—the “girl who would be queen.” The story went on to say that both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles had already given “the royal stamp of approval” to the match. May found William pondering a future with Donald and Ivana Trump’s daughter Ivanka, while in June he discovered the woman the Star called the “real love of his young life”: Alexandra Knatchbull, a goddaughter of Princess Diana’s. “Although a marriage wouldn’t take place for several years,” reported the Star, “palace insiders already see Alexandra filling the void left in the hearts of the British people after Diana’s death.” (And speaking of Diana’s death, the Globe reported that Prince Charles spent a week living with Greek monks “in a monastery high above the Aegean Sea, praying for forgiveness and understanding” to help deal with his guilt over his ex-wife’s demise. “Your mother was a ship pushed out from a safe harbor into a restless and storm-tossed ocean,” he reportedly told his sons.)

In September, the Globereportedthat William had “fallen head over heels” for Camilla Parker Bowles’$2 22-year-old daughter, Laura. “Unlike her homely mom, Laura Parker-Bowles is a real looker with a sweet personality and a body to die for,” the Globe explained helpfully. The following month, the Globe claimed that William had fled to South America—where he was on an Outward Bound-like adventure and service project—to escape the “shocking allegation that a pretty blond store clerk is carrying his love child.” (November marked the debut of another love child in the National Enquirer: William’s “secret brother,” the son of a Welsh woman who claims to have had a longstanding affair with Prince Charles.) The Globe ended the year with a story saying William had “fallen head over heels” for a “smashing” American teen-ager named Sarah; he was said to be contemplating scrapping his college plans to “chase after” her. Rumors were said to be “flying” that 2000 would be the last year that William would appear in an official palace Christmas card because he “may be off following his heart in the United States next year”—a scenario Keeping Tabs has been desperately praying will come to fruition.

Herewith a look at some of Keeping Tabs’ non-William favorites from the year 2000:

Least eerie “eerie similarities”: The Globe’s story about the “spooky” likenesses between Kathie Lee Gifford’s daughter Cassidy and the late JonBenet Ramsey: Both girls are 6-year-old blondes, it said; they both have mothers who were in beauty pageants; and both had a tendency toward bed-wetting. What the Globe failed to point out is that both girls also were warm-blooded, bipedal mammals.

Story that must have sounded like a good idea during the planning meeting: Keeping Tabs was torn on this one. The Globe’s scintillating spread of photos of celebs pumping gas? The Star’s three-frame step-by-step of Jodie Foster changing her son’s diaper in a Hollywood park? The Enquirer item about how actress Marisa Tomei was “blistered” by an overzealous bikini wax? Nah. The winner is Globe advice columnist Ivana Trump’s first-person piece about losing her poodle.

Best headline: “Scooby Doo Stole My Wife,” in the Enquirer.

Most precarious proof of impending lifetime commitment: Mike Walker of the Enquirer reported that Kevin Costner had asked “fresh squeeze” Christine Baumgarten to marry him. “He hasn’t bought a ring and no date’s set—but he’s intro’d Christine to Mom and Dad in South Dakota!”

Most quickly forgotten lifetime commitment: Does anyone at the Enquirer remember Steven Rudnitsky? After one public date, they rushed out a story claiming he and Katie Couric were “madly in love with each other,” with Rudnitsky supposedly telling a “pal” that they were “talking marriage and it looks good,” only to have Rudnitsky disappear into tabloid oblivion as soon as Couric started dating TV executive Tom Werner, with whom she was immediately said to be planning a wedding.

Best love affair: Who could forget the Globe’s story about “off the wall” Shirley MacLaine’s romp with a Roman emperor? “We frolicked with underclothing on and talked of Moorish poetry,” MacLaine is quoted as saying.

Coolest Tabloidland accessory: the guru. According to the Enquirer, Courteney Cox swears by a guru who “feeds photos of his followers through a kooky machine that is supposed to give them good karma!” The Enquirer also reported on the “bitter battle” between Meg Ryan and soon-to-be-ex-husband Dennis Quaid over who would claim ownership over their guru, Gurumayi. Meg was supposedly claiming sole rights to Gurumayi, since Dennis had supposedly “consulted with other swamis such as Gurumayi’s rival guru, Satchidananda.”

Source whose contract the Globe needs to renegotiate: The one who, when called upon to opine anonymously on the rerelease of The Exorcist, affirmed that the movie “convinced many of us that possession by the devil was a plausible occurrence.”

And you thought an $8 million advance was big: Keeping Tabs is still breathlessly awaiting the publication of Chelsea Clinton’s “bombshell”-filled journals, as described by the Globe in September. Supposed sample entry: “My mom is a tiger when she gets riled up, and daddy is like a big dumb ox. He just stands there and takes it while she rips him to shreds.”

Best example of tabloid synchronicity: the headlines for stories about Married … With Children star Katey Sagal’s divorce. “Divorced with Children” from the Star, “Divorcing … With Children” from the Enquirer, and “Not Married With Children” from the Globe.

Most tenuous link from photo to story: The Star illustrated a story about the murder of the heir to the Gucci fortune with a photo of Gwyneth Paltrow. “Gucci style is all the rage in Hollywood among stars like Gwyneth Paltrow,” explained the caption.

Weirdest celebrity religious practice: A tie between Anthony Quinn, who the Globe reported is a “devoted druid who has a close, personal relationship with a maple!” and Buddhist Goldie Hawn, who supposedly enjoys meditating on the toilet for 20 minutes a day. “You don’t have to create a shrine. You are your own shrine,” the Globe quotes Hawn as saying.

Most questionable evidence that Carolyn Bessette may have been flying her husband’s plane the night it crashed: A Globe exclusive photo of Bessette just weeks before her death carrying a manual called Instrument Flying. Accordingly, Keeping Tabs has been faithfully carrying a book titled How To Be a Leggy, Curvy Supermodel in hopes that the Globe’s eagle-eyed photogs will catch her.

Most overly confident inaccurate prediction:Globe gossip columnist Charlene Tilton’s Aug. 8 assertion that Kathie Lee Gifford’s exit from Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee was “just smoke-and-mirrors” and that she had been “quietly booked to make multiple guest appearances on Live! from the fall clear through the holiday season.” As has been widely reported in the mainstream press, Gifford has actually been all but banned from the set and was not even invited on the show to promote her new album. “Just remember that Charlene gave you the heads up,” cooed Tilton at the time. We’ll remember, Charlene. Happy New Year to everyone in Tabloidland.