Keeping Tabs

Four Weddings and a Breakdown

The Tabs on Celebrity Marriages

With Sept. 11 a fading memory, at least for the tabs, it’s back to Globe gems like: “Belly Interesting,” a spread of photos of stars caught looking a little paunchy, and the Globe’s, um, titillating spread titled “Hollywood’s Treasure Chests: Can you match the boobs to the babes?” (Keeping Tabs could, thank you very much, but only because clues like “Everyone wants to be her Friend, but to this beauty, married life is really the Pitts” made it pretty darn easy.) The Enquirer, meanwhile, is back on the case with both a story titled “Snacks Can Make You Go Blind” about the little-known hazards of Twinkies and potato chips, not to mention the classic: “Ally McMeal: Wow! Calista gains 5 pounds.”

There’s no question that with war on the back burner, love is in the air in Tabloidland. Maybe it’s only because she recently became engaged to be married herself, but Keeping Tabs detects an undeniably Victorian undercurrent in Tabloidland right now. It’s like one big Edith Wharton novel out there. Take, for instance, the Globe’s story about how Geraldo Rivera’s girlfriend Erica Levy is “devastated” that he’s going off to cover the war in Afghanistan. Levy is allegedly fearing—what else?—that he will die. “She’ll pine for him like a princess in a castle waiting for her knight in shining armor to come home from battle,” a friend is quoted as saying. “For a couple in love, it doesn’t get any more romantic!”

Or witness the level of devotion Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt have apparently developed for one another. Oh—were you worried about that “Jennifer Aniston Caught in Bed With Another Man!” coverline? Or the “Jennifer Aniston’s Sex Romp With Another Man” headline inside? Fear not. Turns out, in finest tabloid form, that the reference is to a suggestive photo that has surfaced of Aniston and her ex-boyfriend Tate Donovan … taken back when the two were still a couple. (For those keeping score, this is the very same tactic the Globe used in its “JFK’s Final Hours With Another Woman” story last year. Read more about it here.)

And while the re-emergence of such a photo might not shake mere mortals, well, this is Brad and Jen, after all. “Like most newlyweds, Jennifer and Brad have blocked out the idea that either of them has ever had an ex-lover,” claims a source. “Their world starts and ends with each other. They’re so passionately devoted to each other, they don’t want to even think that there have been other people in their lives. ”

“The last thing she wants is for Brad to see this picture and be brought back down to earth about her past,” the source adds. Uh-oh. You’re not supposed to have a past? Who knew there were so many rules?

Evidently, all this collective denial and repression isn’t doing much for Brad’s mental health. The tabs are having a field day with his recent revelation to Vanity Fair that he spent a year and a half in therapy. KT has long noticed that the tabloids equate the act of visiting a mental health professional with being straitjacketed, sedated, and confined indefinitely to a room with padded walls. (An Enquirer story about the suicide of pop singer Monica’s boyfriend claimed that she was so distraught that she “desperately need[ed] psychological counseling,” as if that counseling were more the problem than the solution.)

Anyway, Pitt’s acknowledgement that he’d spent some time on the couch spurs the Star to run the “Jennifer Saves Brad … From Torment of Mental Breakdown” headline while the Globe’s subhead to its “Brad’s Breakdown” story reads: “How devoted wife Jennifer rescued him from shrink’s couch.” The Enquirer chooses the arguably more tasteful cover line: “Brad Pitt’s Breakdown: Family Secret That Drove Him Into Therapy.”

But life is not a bowl of cherries for everyone in Tabloidland, and the Pitts’ bliss aside, this week’s tabs contain plenty of cautionary tales for the newly affianced. The Enquirer reports that Marie Osmond’s marriage is “hanging by a thread” yet again. Also from the Enquirer comes the news that the hot and heavy romance between George Clooney and Renée Zellweger—said to be a sure bet on the marriage fast track just two weeks ago —is now, alas, reportedly kaput. The Globe’s cover also claims that Camilla Parker-Bowles, whose relationship with Britain’s Prince Charles is said to be crumbling, is preparing to “tell all” about how her affair with Charles destroyed his marriage to Princess Diana. According to the story, Parker-Bowles could not marry the prince, “because he needed to marry a virgin and she had already had 11 lovers when they met.” Another rule! How are you supposed to keep track?

Speaking of depressing marriages, last week’s Globe, meanwhile, reports that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman recently had an ugly showdown about their divorce. Cruise supposedly “came roaring up to Nicole’s house, stormed inside and insisted on thrashing out their disputes over money and property once and for all,” claims a source. According to the story, Cruise was so insistent that they finalize their agreement that he refused to let her leave for a planned trip until they had worked out the details.

“Tom forcing Nicole to stay confined until she agreed to a divorce deal is the most brutal example of controlling behavior,” says Dr. Carole Lieberman, a “noted Beverly Hills psychologist.” Is this yet another unwritten rule of marriage?  When “noted Beverly Hills psychologists” are diagnosing yours from afar, it may be time to seek therapy.

Lastly, the Star reports that Vanna White’s marriage to businessman George Santo Pietro—long a favorite target of tabloid gossip—is finally and unequivocally over. She’s “had it” with his “constant cheating and carousing” and is going to “make absolutely sure he doesn’t get any of her $20 million fortune in the divorce settlement.” Speaking of Vanna, one final question. Do you think there’s any way KT can put that Franklin Mint Vanna doll advertised in the Enquirer—“complete with evening shoes and sparkling rhinestone jewelry”—onto her wedding registry? Just wondering.