Rihanna & Chris, Jen & John: Hollywood's Revolving Door

Why do we care so much about celeb's love lives?


Rihanna & Chris, Jen & John: Hollywood’s Revolving Door

Why do we care so much about celeb’s love lives?

-Carrie Seim

There’s been a lot of making up and breaking up in Hollywood’s revolving door this week.

Rihanna Chris Brown duetMaking Up

Rumors that Rihanna recorded a duet with her alleged batterer, Chris Brown, were confirmed Thursday. 

As if it weren’t bad enough that she went back to him, now they’re singing about it? Together? Just days after Chris was charged with two felonies for allegedly bludgeoning her to unconsciousness?

It’s one thing to go crawling back to your abuser – it’s another entirely to sing a song with him that millions of impressionable teens are sure to hear.

Someone needs to sit Rihanna down and make her watch What’s Love Got to do With It (the disturbing biopic of Ike and Tina Turner) if she thinks singing with Chris is a good idea.

Interesting to note that in CNN’s original version of the story, the duet news was attributed to the publicist for the records’ producer, Polow Da Don. In later versions, the information came from “a source close to the record’s producer.” Looks like Polow’s publicist got cold feet about orchestrating a vocal reunion between Rihanna and Chris. Quick life rule: if you’re embarrassed to take credit for something, you probably shouldn’t have done it in the first place.

Breaking Up

Jennifer Aniston John MayerLooks like on-again-off-again couple Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer are officially off again. According to People, the couple broke up after Jennifer Aniston returned from a European press tour for Marley & Me. John stayed behind in L.A. to work on his female conquests music. 

So nice of John to stick around just long enough to be Jen’s Oscar date. As soon he swallowed his shot of the limelight, he promptly dumped her. Jen – you deserve so much better than this dorky singer. Your body is a wonderland; show it off with someone worthy!

And We Care … Why?

There’s your illicit romp of tawdry celeb gossip, ready for some morning-after regrets? Can anyone explain why we care about all of this?

We’ve never met Rihanna or Chris or Jen or John or any of them (if we’re lucky). Yet it’s difficult for us to look away from their love lives. Like a car crash – or an After the After the Rose Ceremony, we can’t help but stare – even though we know it’s wrong.

Is this a communal case of schadenfreude? Are we delighting in our stars’ downfalls – even more than we delighted in their rise? Is it true that we like to build up celebrities – but we absolutely love to tear them down?

I’m not sure we’re as evil as all of that.

I think that because we associate celebs with entertainment, we tend to extend that frame to their home lives. In fact, their movies or songs (or multiple-births) rarely hold a candle to the riveting drama of their personal lives.

Are stars’ problems worse than ours? Is that why they so raptly hold our attention? Perhaps. But I’d guess most of us know someone who’s had a bad boy break her heart repeatedly. Or sadly, a woman or man or child who’s been a victim of abuse.

The only difference is that their plights are played out on a larger and more sparkling stage. We’re naturally drawn to the sheer star wattage of their ups and downs.

On one hand, we sympathize with celebrities because we’ve experienced similar heartbreak in our lives. We’re interested because we can relate. But conversely, we’re also reassured by celebs’ vulnerabilities and failures.

Because if someone as glamorous as Jennifer Aniston, who just spent thousands of dollars on a hairdo – can still get dumped, then hey, we don’t feel so bad about our own love lives.

A snarky smugness often weasels its way into our consciousness when we ponder celeb misfortunes. We’re certain that if we were rich and famous, we would never blow $50,000 on a haircut. Or go back to the guy who smacked us around. We would know better.

It’s kind of like watching a movie where we know the ending and keep screaming at the characters, “Don’t open the door! Don’t open the goddamn door!”

Or in this case: “Don’t go back to Chris! Don’t go back to John! Don’t have a doctor impregnate you with eight fertilized eggs when you’re homeless, jobless and brainless!”

And one finally reason we’re so obsessed with the glitterati? In some weird, twisted way, it can bring us closer to friends and colleagues. Because having a star to gossip about could be a (relatively) harmless way of bonding. And, theoretically, it’s better than gossiping about your annoying boss or unwed preggers neighbor. (Okay, maybe that last part’s wishful thinking – you’re probably gossiping about your boss AND Rihanna.)

Anyhow, these are just my guesses as to why we’re so fascinated by Hollywood’s revolving romance door. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments – and also your opinion on whether any of this should be “news” to begin with.

Although it probably won’t stop me from staring at the door. Some habits die hard. Wait, is that Britney I see coming through? The circus never ends!

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