The gossip apex.
We are not a gossip blog, but come on, this is the apex of celebrity gossip. Or as I like to call it, the low part of culture high and low. Love as we know it is officially dead! Last night at 10:28pm Western Australian time, TMZ broke the news that Angelina Jolie, half of the most famous portmanteau of all, has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt. This comes after 12 years and six kids together.
Citing irreconcilable differences, she has asked for sole physical custody of their children. Jolie retained Hollywood’s go-to divorce lawyer Laura Wasser who is said to favour TMZ to put out information. Jolie’s camp apparently blind-sided Pitt with this filing and have got out on the front foot of narrative control with details about his weed and alcohol consumption. This means the split is not amicable. Pitt has already leaked that he will be going for joint physical custody.
Apparently Jolie wants a political career in the UK and Pitt wants to keep making movies. Those two things are clearly incompatible. But The Fox and the Mask is not a gossip blog- if you want the real juice on what went down I would look here and here.
Who not to trust.
The reason I’ve directed you to those two articles is because to me they seem most plausible. These two enormously famous people will now each be trying to control the narrative about the situation. This means their “teams” (managers, lawyers, agents) will be providing information to various sites and publications. They do this in an attempt to paint their clients in the best possible light.
If you are going to be reading about celebrity gossip, as with anything, always consider your source. Firstly, you have lower-tier tabloid gossip, which is usually nonsense and very often literally made-up bullshit for subscriptions and clicks. (In-Touch, Star, New Idea, Woman’s Day, OK and Hello magazine, Famous, New Weekly). They like to pretend they have inside information but they totally don’t. They are just completely fucking unscrupulous about headlines. These outlets will also pay literally anyone with a profile to pose for them. They do this in order to give themselves a false sheen of credibility when it comes to celebrity gossip.
Who to trust but still, keep your critical head on people.
Secondly, you’ve got Who Weekly or their parent, People Magazine, US Weekly and Vanity Fair. These publications, especially People and Vanity Fair, have traditionally maintained good relationships with actual celebrities. This is because they offer favourable coverage in exchange for access, scoops and profiles.
So be aware that you are not getting the most accurate information (it’s biased in the celebrities’ favour) but at least some journalistic standard is in play. That is, reporters will actually be talking to legitimate sources and providing you with genuine quotes. I would include sites like Buzzfeed, NYmag and Jezebel in this tier – these sites don’t tend to break gossip news. Rather, they report on it and post interesting opinion pieces about it.
Thirdly you have TMZ , The Daily Mail and Newscorp. These are notoriously sexist and morally reprehensible outlets but they throw a lot of money at getting the celebrity scoop. However, I know from impeccable sources that sometimes they also make shit up.
Finally there are gossip sites like D-Listed, Perez Hilton, The Superficial, Just Jared etc etc. Most of that stuff is just straight up shit-chatting when it comes to A-listers. These guys are not getting those tips, but can be hilarious, especially D-Listed.
Who to trust.
I do trust Elaine Liu from Lainey Gossip. If you are interested in what she calls the celebrity eco-system and in hearing a cogent, funny and intelligent argument for why we gossip, see her TED talk here.
Basically gossip on the internet is a bit of a sewer. But as with anything if you know who to trust it can be interesting shit.
One interesting thing about Angelina Jolie is that she has no publicist. She has a manager, an entertainment lawyer and now Hollywood’s best and most ferocious divorce lawyer. For a celebrity of her calibre that is super unusual. And she is a stone cold boss at this shit. As Laineygossip said: “Brad Pitt is about to find out what it feels like on the other side.”.
This is interesting because I’m genuinely feeling like Poor Brad. For so long after Pitt left Jennifer Aniston the dominant narrative was “Poor Jen”. Whether or not this was accurate is not the point. People felt sorry for her, which must’ve been incredibly humiliating on top of whatever pain she was actually feeling. People are speculating today that Pitt was cheating on Jolie with Marion Cotillard and that’s why she’s filed. I don’t buy that. Whether he was or not (I don’t care) Jolie is way too smart and way too good at her self-presentation to let the narrative become “Poor Angelina”.
But it is a little bit of poetic justice that anyone with the nous to decode all of this is feeling super sorry for Brad Pitt.
More to come…