Thursday, November 1, 2007; 2:00 PM
When stars shave their heads, couch-jump, commit a fashion faux pas and or random acts of tomfoolery, washingtonpost.com Celebritology blogger Liz Kelly shares the buzz, offers perspective and provides crucial links to juicy alternate news sources and, of course, takes your reaction in her daily blog.
Join Liz every Thursday at 2 p.m. ET to gab about the latest celebrity pairings (and splittings), rising stars (and falling ones), and get the scoop on the latest gossip making waves across the Web.
Before she started blogging about celebrities, Liz ran washingtonpost.com's Discussions section, where she enjoyed talking to really interesting people -- including some Post reporters -- on the phone. She still produces both Carolyn Hax's advice discussion and Gene Weingarten's Chatological Humor.
Liz Kelly: Welcome back to the Redskins chat -- this hour we'll be talking about the clashiness of maroon and gold and count down the days until the end of football season.
Okay, I kid.
Welcome back. Let's get started...
Lance Armstrong and Ashley Olson: More or less creepy than Evan Rachel Wood and Marilyn Manson? I vote more creepy, if only because Armostrong must have seen her on TV when she was a baby and he was a teenager, and I don't know how he could get over that initial (at least) ick factor.
Liz Kelly: Seriously, I'm not sure Lance Armstrong could drop much more in my estimation. Here's a guy who went from hero to zero in the space of a few short years. I never wore a Ride Strong bracelet or anything, but I had to admire the guy's gumption. I guess this is a good example of separating a man's professional and private lives and being able to admire one while getting skeeved out by the other.
Initially it seemed that this pairing might just be the stuff of tabloid dreams, but with each successive day this week there have been more stories, more sightings. Is it just me or does it seem like it would almost be more appropriate for him to take up with a Penthouse pet?
Washington, D.C.: So I have a journalistic question: That "story" about Spears offering some random struggling "musician" to snort cocaine off her chest...how much effort does the tabloid put into "confirming" that actually happened before running the story? I remember on "Dirt" that Courtney Cox would require at least some corroboration of stories. But how would you even confirm that happened? Ask his buddy what he saw? But wouldn't they have conspired if it was all lies?
Basically, I guess I'm questioning how much we actually know about Brit's partying. Yes, she shows up to clubs without panties. Yes, she maybe gets drunk and falls down (but who doesn't at bars?). But all this other stuff? Isn't it really just made up by people who want to get their name in the papers?
Liz Kelly: Well, while it's wise of you to measure reality against a TV dramady, I wouldn't necessarily consider "The Dirt" gospel. If so, I'd have to start believing that tabloid editors look like Courtney Cox and, well...
But your question is good. Unfortunately, I may not be the best equipped person to answer it. I've never worked for a gossip rag (and like where I am very much, thanks). I would guess that story corroboration varies from publication to publication. I suspect some, like the National Enquirer, actually do try to reach some basic standard of "truthiness" before putting a story out there. Not only does it lend them a little credibility, it also saves them worrying about getting sued. And, trust me, celebs are not afraid to sue when a false story does make it into print.
Liz Kelly: Others aren't quite so discerning and, especially in this age of "blog first and ask questions later," that's how we end up with much of the material that makes it into the rumor mill (in general, not necessarily mine).
And to be super-specific, we tend to shy away from that second category of fodder in Celebritology. There is far too much material that is backed by some shred of verifiable data to start bringing the really out-there stuff into the blog.
Liz Kelly: Unless, that is, the story itself makes news. F'rinstance, earlier this fall when the story was circulated about a possibly pregnant Myley Cyrus. I didn't report on the rumor, but on the fact that it had been proven that someone had doctored a page to make it look like the item appeared in a magazine.
Arlington, Va.: Do you think that Gwenyth Paltrow and Chris Martin are headed for a split? I know, I know, why should I care, but I would really like to see ONE couple last for 25 years or more. Note to actresses: don't marry rock stars...
Liz Kelly: I think this is a tenuous call -- meaning we just don't have enough information. We haven't seen much of them out together, but a rep for the couple says they have an agreement to not appear in public together at events. Why would they have such an agreement? I don't know. Doesn't make much sense to me.
As for actresses marrying rock stars -- should it perhaps be that rock stars shouldn't marry actresses?
Any examples come to mind where this construct actually worked for the long haul?
Wait, what?!: Lance Armstrong and Ashley Olson? Seriously? I guess, silver lining, at least it's not Mary Kate? But... gah!
Liz Kelly: Oh boy -- this is going to be today's topic. I can feel it in my bones. All [many] of them.
Seriously? I don't know. They may not be laying the groundwork for a relationship, but they have definitely been spotted enjoying each other's company over the past week.
Owen Wilson and Jessica Simpson: Ick Factor: 12 years difference (not as bad as Lance and Ashley), and wondering if Owen has his head together after two months -- really?
Liz Kelly: Well, does he have to have his head together to start dating Jessica Simpson? Is that a requirement. I know most therapists would advise against jumping into a relationship while trying to get your own head straight, but I have to see this as a positive sign. A couple of months ago Owen was suicidal, now he wants to get himself some Jessica Simpson. That sounds like will to live.
Interesting -- for some reason the Jessica-Owen age difference doesn't strike me as anywhere near as icky as that between Lance and Ashley. Maybe it's because we still partly see Ashley as that little pumpkin on "Full House."
Shepherd Park, D.C.: BURGUNDY and gold, not maroon. Don't make me buy a pair of burgundy pleated pants to wear as a protest to your callous insensitivity to our beloved local sports franchise.
Liz Kelly: Hahaha -- consider your button pushed, sir.
It's a stretch on the actor front: But aren't Paulina Porizkova and Rick Ocasek still married? Talk about an odd couple...
Liz Kelly: I believe they are. Okay, there's one -- though Paulina was a model, not necessarily an actress. Does one season on "Dancing With the Stars" count as acting?
Pemberley: Paging all you Mr. Darcy fans out there: I urge you to check out the BBC miniseries North and South (the one with Richard Armitage, not Patrick Swayze). Mr. Thornton is bad in a very good way. He can smolder like no one's business. [smolder smolder.]
Liz Kelly: We interrupt this discussion for an important announcement regarding chick pr0n.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Marriage questions: Interestingly, Keith Richards has been married to model (okay, not quite an actress) since the 80s.
Broader question about celebrity marriages: Why do celebs seem to only marry other celebs? Yes, there is the Julia Roberts Exception (she married the assistance cameraman from one of her movies, and it seems to be lasting). But why do we never hear about a marriage between a celebrity and Joe or Jane Q. Average?
Liz Kelly: I know this sounds flip and I don't mean for it to, but let's look at this from the other end. Why not ask why your pals don't date supermodels or soap stars? Because the answer is easy -- they don't have much opportunity to meet them. I think that's to some extent true for celebs, too. They spend their lives surrounded by other stars and we kind of tend to hunt in our own territory.
There are a few other examples, too -- though not all worked out. Anne Heche and her soon-to-be-ex cameraman, Harrison Ford's wife was a screenwriter, I believe. That is until he left her for Calista Flockhart.
And, hey, how about a hand for Michael Jackson and his nanny.
Logan Circle, Washington, D.C.: David Bowie and Iman are still married, right? I think that David Bowie counts as both a rock star and an actor.
Liz Kelly: True. And Iman counts for fabulous.
I love David Bowie. I was just listening to "Life on Mars" in my car. Sigh.
byool, IN: Owen Wilson has it backward: FIRST you date Jessica Simpson, THEN you try to kill yourself.
Liz Kelly: So that's why we haven't seen much of Nick lately.
Eddie and Val: Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli managed 20 years before splitting. You didn't say if the wife had to be a movie actress or if Lifetime specials would suffice.
Liz Kelly: Okay, but Eddie was (and is) certifiably insane. And Lifetime specials notwithstanding, I remember a time when "One Day at a Time" era Valerie Bertinelli was totally drooled over by my brothers and their friends. This was roughly around the era when "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" was filmed, tho.
Paulina and Ric: It's not odd that they're together. A lot of models date ugly rock stars. Axl Rose and a Victoria's Secret chick dated for awhile. I know she accused him of hitting her. Stephanie something.
The odd part is that it's lasted.
Liz Kelly: That's right! Stephanie Seymour -- who appeared in the "November Rain" videeo wearing a skanky mini-skirt wedding dress.
Olsen-Armstrong, Icky: I think it was the MSN gossip page that helpfully pointed out that Ashley is closer in age to Lance Armstrong's 8-year-old son than she is to Lance Armstrong.
Liz Kelly: But hardly the only relationship out there with a vast age difference. Hello, Larry King and his bride. Donald Trump. Hugh Hefner. Michael Douglas.
Rockville, Md.: I'm just curious -- are Sabrina and Mark (from "Dancing with the Stars") a real couple? It certainly appeared that way on the last episode.
Liz Kelly: Ya know, I haven't been watching that closely, but I'll put this out there in case someone else has...
Ick factor breakdown: Maybe the ickiness arises because Ashley, Jessica and Owen all seem sorta kinda vaguely adolescent still, while Lance is an adult (with three small adorable children).
Liz Kelly: But consider this -- Owen is two years older than Lance.
Throwing phones: Isn't Iman the one who likes to throw phones at people? Oh, wait, my bad. That's Naiomi Campbell. Nevermind.
Liz Kelly: Yes, Iman would never sink so low. Speaking of Naomi -- she's spent the past few days in Venezuela meeting with Hugo Chavez.
Arlington, Va.: Hmmm. It seems best when rock stars marry "non-famous" people, like Bono and his wife (married since 1982), Sting and his wife (married since 1992). Maybe you just have to have a singular name.
Liz Kelly: Tho Trudie (Sting's wife) is hardly a wallflower. And those two reportedly keep things fresh by indulging in a shared love of strip clubs. In fact, this morning's Mix included an item about Sting visiting a club in New York last weekend.
Baltimore, Md.: Jeez...I thought today's chat would be wall-to-wall Dog the Bounty Hunter, who had the plugged pulled on his show by A and E at the first mention of the N-word. Heard Dog had called Al Sharpton to apologize. Which makes about as much sense as calling, oh, Vanessa Williams, but every white boy in trouble seems to think Sharpton's the go-to guy for forgiveness from the black community.
Liz Kelly: Listen, just because CNN is wall-to-wall Dog, doesn't mean we have to follow suit. What's to say? He's the latest in a string of idiots to (thankfully) show his true colors. If TMZ.com is to be credited, A&E has suspended production on his show. Good. Now I don't have to look at his fake-baked, bleached-out, paunchy self anymore.
Why do celebs seem to only marry other celebs?: Hmmm. Glenn Close and her husband. Matt Damon and his bartender. J. Lo and her back-up dancer. Liz and that construction guy from rehab. (No, not YOU, Liz, the OTHER Liz).
Liz Kelly: Yes, but most of your examples didn't last.
More rocks stars and models: What about David Coverdale of Whitesnake fame and Tawny Kitaen?
How surprising that didn't last...
Liz Kelly: Indeed.
I had a boyfriend in high school who had a dog named Tawny.
Longest Marriage of Actress/Rock Star: Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach, a BOND girl.
Liz Kelly: Good one! Was she in "Caveman?"
Alexandria, Va.: Michael Douglas and CZJ have been together eight years or something and seem genuinely happy. Why do we have to assume a difference in age makes something icky? Ashley Olsen is hardly your typical 21 year old. She runs an empire. I just hate all this judgmental attitude.
Liz Kelly: And let us not forget Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, who have been together for ages now and seem to be quite happy.
Porizkova : Well, she has about 20 acting credits listed in IMDb (movies, sitcom guest spots),s o yeah, I think she counts as an actress.
Liz Kelly: Fair enough.
Lance and Ashley: I'm about to marry a guy 13 years older than me (though I'm 30), so I'm not weirded out by the age thing. But the Olsen twins still look pre-pubescent, even in their oversized designer clothes and scary makeup! It's just ick!
(And this chat is a fabulous way to prep for a job interview in 1.5 hours, so thanks)
Liz Kelly: I think you're right. It's all in the look. We assume Lance is older than Owen because Owen still looks like a college kid. And, unfortunately, Ashley -- tho 21 -- still looks like she's 15. Hence the ick.
A co-worker just pointed out that Lance probably won his first Tour de France while "Full House" was still in production.
Celebrity marriages: I can think of a couple that have worked out, where they were together since before they were stars: Bono and Ali Hewson, Michael J. Fox and his wife Tracy (?) (although she was an actress and they met on "Family Ties.") maybe it has something to do with "I knew you when you were struggling and not on the cover of magazines, etc." Frankly, I also think these two (Bono and MJF) are more grounded than a lot of the younger stars today.
Liz Kelly: Though that didn't work for Billy Bob Thornton and his first wife, who he left shortly after rocketing to fame with "Sling Blade."
Liz Kelly: Wait -- we were wrong. Armstrong won his first Tour in '99 and "Full House" went off the air in '95. Oh well, it sounded good.
Michael Douglas and CZJ have been together eight years or something and seem genuinely happy.: er, but he was MARRIED when they started dating...
Doesn't that get some sort of asterisk in the records books?
Liz Kelly: I dunno... does it? Just because Michael had a past it doesn't necessarily diminish his current relationship.
Olsen-Armstrong, Icky (Again): "But hardly the only relationship out there with a vast age difference. Hello, Larry King and his bride. Donald Trump. Hugh Hefner. Michael Douglas."
Yes, but in those cases, the wives are firmly in adult territory, no? I know I wouldn't classify my 21-year-old self as an adult (even if I was, legally). This hook-up definitely creeps me out.
Liz Kelly: Fair enough.
Sting: While relaxing in front of the TV very late one night last week (letting the alcohol settle in for the night) I caught the first hour of Sting's feature film "The Bride" with Jennifer Beals. I spent the first half hour stunned by this celluloid image of a fresh-faced younger Sting, and the second half wondering if this is what he watches when he feels the need to relive his glory days, a la Norma Desmond. I hope not...
Liz Kelly: Ya, he was totally hot in "The Bride." An underrated movie.
FINALLY!: There's someone else on this planet who has a distaste for Lance...almost as much as I do! That guy makes my skin crawl. Total sleaze.
And I'd prefer that he keep his steroid-riddled body away from Michelle Tanner.
Liz Kelly: Show of hands -- any more Lance haters out there?
Celeb/artist?: Meryl Streep and husband, sculptor Don Gummer (married since 1978) Only I guess Meryl is really an artist, too, and not a celeb.
Liz Kelly: True. Though Meryl is a great example, in many ways.
Washington, D.C.: I heard some clown DJ mention on the radio last night that Kanye West is engaged/expected to marry this winter. Any confirmation on this and to who?
Liz Kelly: I haven't heard this one yet, but will get right on it, chief.
En fuego!: New personal best, Liz! You've used three of my questions/comments today. Woo hoo!
Liz Kelly: Hat trick!
RE: Speaking of Naomi -- she's spent the past few days in Venezuela meeting with Hugo Chavez. : Thank goodness she's doing her part for the downtrodden. Where would the workers of the world be without her support?
Liz Kelly: Seriously -- now if only Paris Hilton would get her trip to Rwanda back on track.
Baltimore, Md.: I have not seen CNN today. Is it really wall-to-wall Dog the Bounty Hunter? That can't be what Ted Turner had in mind. Are the End Times truly upon us?
Liz Kelly: Boy, you must've fallen asleep in 1998 and not seen CNN till now.
Kevin Kline/Phoebe Cates: Sixteen-year age difference and married since 1989.
Liz Kelly: Good one! I love these two -- anyone ever see that movie "Princess Caribou" that they teamed up on. Silly, but not awful.
Gene Simmons: and Shannon Tweed, although not married, have a very normal longstanding relationship, kids and all. He definitely qualifies as rock star and she did movies after the Playboy thing.
Liz Kelly: Yes, but is all really hunky-dory there?
St. Louis, Mo.: Why is it I can gleefully read and write snarky comments in your blog, but feel dirty when I try to watch TMZ or ET?
Liz Kelly: I don't know, but I like it. Remember, Celebritology good, everyone else bad and scary.
Trickortreat: Hi Liz --
Thanks for the chats and daily blogs.
What were you for Halloween?
I was the Tinman -- and busted my mad robot dance moves all night.
Liz Kelly: Sadly, I was a sweats-wearing blogger in need of a shower.
My seven-year-old niece, however, was Cleopatra and looked so fab -- like a little Clara Bow, complete with beaded headdress and big eye makeup.
Mr. Liz had an interesting Halloween party story from work, but I would need his permission before telling it.
Just because Michael had a past it doesn't necessarily diminish his current relationship: No, but the fact that he was MARRIED when he started courting his current wife CERTAINLY calls into question his faithfulness as a husband, and thus the overall 'wonderfulness' of his marriage. You can't aruge he's the longterm kinda guy when he starts cheating when he gets bored.
And he gets an ick label just like Lance, cuz cheating on your wife is much worse than dating a young airhead.
Liz Kelly: Okay okay -- your comment is now on record. All I'm saying is that we are none of us perfect and we none of us do things right 100 percent of the time.
I do like Lance, but...: ...didn't he also leave his wife (who stood by him during the whole cancer thing) for Sheryl Crow?
Liz Kelly: So it would seem.
It also seemed that he left Sheryl Crow perilously close to the time when she announced that she had breast cancer.
Answering a question from the top of the hour...: I work in media relations for a large university, and in a weird way think that offers me perspective on how gossip rags work.
We've experienced - -within the last couple years as blogs have hit their full stride -- a lot of uncorroborated reporting from our regional press corps. Lots of legitimate reporters will, for example, call our office during a crisis or big breaking news story and cite information they got on a blog, and then ask us to confirm it. We've seen some shocking examples of rumors published in newspapers or run on local TV news, based solely on the fact that the information first appeared on more than one blog.
So, if this happens in a world of slightly less dramatic news, I suspect that a lot of the gossip rags, and biggest celeb blogs, require VERY LITTLE validation of fact before trying to beat their competitors to scoops.
Liz Kelly: Absolutely -- the journalism landscape has changed in many ways as the news hole online continues to grow exponentially. Some changes are for the better -- like these discussions -- and some worse.
Alexandria, Va.: Is Britney Spears at this point simply famous for being famous? She cannot appear to sing or dance, and is no more attractive than the average young woman.
How long can her current type of fame last?
Liz Kelly: Well, that's why I pay attention to her -- for the maelstrom that is her life -- but then I remember that some sick twist of fate set her new single securely atop the pop charts and that her album -- though nothing new -- was actually well-reviewed by several critics (though not all, like The Post's own Josh du Lac.
Liz Kelly: Okay, Mr. Liz has given me the go-ahead to tell his work Halloween story.
So apparently his company had an afternoon Halloween party where employees were given the option of coming in costume. Out of roughly 200, about 10 showed up in dress. One employee, who Mr. Liz describes as a quiet guy who normally blends into the background at company functions, surprised everyone by showing up at the party dressed as Leonidas from "300."
Let me make this crystal clear.
Mr. Liz says the room kind of went silent as people tried to figure out where to look. One pal of Mr. Liz's stood in the corner trying to surreptitiously snap pix with his cell phone.
If it matters, the guy was apparently buff.
Liz Kelly: If things seem slow, they are. The one day I come into the office to do the chat we have trouble with our building's Internet connection. Bear with me here.
Cold turkey: Liz -- Will we really be without Jon Stewart and Colbert and the SNL crowd if the writers strike? Can't any of these folks write their own material? Maybe you and Gene could assist them?
Liz Kelly: Well, we couldn't legally write for TV without joining the union. Then we'd be on strike, so we'll need to come up with another work around.
Between you and me, I wouldn't notice if "SNL" went off the air.
At Home, Va.: Another couple, not married, but long, long term... Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.
Liz Kelly: And Snake Plissken may as well be a rock star.
Actresses & Rock Stars:: Ozzy and Sharon Osborne have been together for a long time although she wasn't really an actress although now she's been on a few reality shows.
Liz Kelly: Ya, Ozzy would pretty much fall apart without Sharon.
Dog the Bounty Hunter: I am sick sick sick of people running to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson for forgiveness after being blatantly racist. Whaaaaa?
More importantly, why are these leaders of the civil rights community kow-towing to insincere celebs?
Or am I being too cynical?
Liz Kelly: It's okay to be cynical. You'd be ripped apart by this world otherwise. I wouldn't go so far as to say Al and Jesse are kow-towing -- after all, who are they to say no when Dog or Michael Richards or Imus come looking for absolution?
My cynicism, actually, rests with them. Shame on them for being the hypocrites they are, then scrambling to stop the slide once they see their potential net worth slipping away.
I hate to admit it: But I can't stand Lance. He's an amazing athlete and he was able to beat -- and then draw national attention -- to a terrible disease. Still, he doesn't seem like he's nice, ya know? Ditto that on leaving wife # 1 after he recovered for Sheryl and then leaving Sheryl shortly before her public announcement. It's just gross. Plus, he has skinny girl arms.
Liz Kelly: Oooh, that's gotta hurt.
Lance, et al: If you read his autobio, he says flat-out that he's not a nice guy. I guess you don't conquer testicular cancer and win the Tour all those times by being a sweetie. BUT, lest we all be judged, the chickie is hardly a newbie to the 'scene'.
Liz Kelly: Well, there we go -- he apparently revels in being a cad.
Lance Hater?: Eh, I don't know about hater, but I do think Sheryl dodged a bullet there. My first clue was a picture of Lance standing between his wife (mother of his kids) and his mom, that was in a mountain biking mag. I swear to you Liz, the mom and wife looked exactly the same. Can anyone say Oedipus? Lance is flat-out messed in the head and any woman that gets involved with him now...
Liz Kelly: Well, I know Lance is close to his mom, but I don't want to go here.
Washington, D.C.: Okay, to set the record straight on CZJ and Douglas, he had been separated for many years but Deandra Douglas refused to give him a divorce. He met Catherine at the Deauville Film Festival in France in August 1998; they began dating in March 1999 and got engaged on New Year's Eve 1999. His wife finally gave him a divorce in May or June of 2000 b/c CZJ was pregnant.
Liz Kelly: I don't have time to check this out, so I'm just putting it out there for discussion.
Gene Simmons & Shannon Tweed: I would not use them as a measurement of a normal, happy relationship. Gene has a pretty dim view of marriage, and thinks that as long as he doesn't marry Shannon it will keep her on her best behavior. He has actually come out and state this. He likes to say that their relationships is so strong they don't need to be married, but everything else he says indicates that he uses the lack of marriage as a way to keep Shannon from being too confident.
And, he's always talking about how he has to live up to his partying, womanizer image to please the public. His excuse for going out surrounded by sleazy women hanging all over him.
This is not a relationship I would want to be in.
Liz Kelly: To be fair, though, we need to consider that this may just be the persona that Gene is presenting to the public. Although his reality show was one of the most contrived pieces of television I've ever seen, I do have to begrudgingly say that there seemed to be genuine affection between the two and -- the true test of any relationship -- their two children seem incredibly grounded, happy and thriving.
Liz Kelly: Okay, I give up. The connection here is off more than on.
See you here next week and in the blog tomorrow.
Thanks for hanging in there.