The problem with the Age of Knowing Everything About Celebrities is that we get lulled into believing the stars have shared everything with us -- not just their beautiful bodies and inconsistent talents, but stuff like their dreams, their love lives and the way they've decorated their houses. Yet it isn't long before there's a huge hole in the story, some area that remains completely off-limits.
Children, for example. Except for occasional, polished appearances with Mom and Dad at red-carpet events (usually the opening of a kid-friendly movie), the lives and upbringing details of famous spawn are a more taboo subject than box-office flops, Oscar snubs or rehab. After the news of a celebrity pregnancy or adoption wafts away, and parental protectiveness kicks in, the stars will do almost anything to keep their kids out of the story, which is no doubt admirable.
But it leaves us to wonder how the stars manage -- even with great schools and a full staff of child-care providers on multiple continents -- to balance parenthood with the busy stuff of gossip columns. Reader Leanne Guido of Herndon holds forth in a recent e-mail: "Why doesn't anyone ever ask the starlet who marries or is about to marry a man with children how she will handle being a stepmom? Katie Holmes is going to be a stepmom to two 'tweens. Excuse me, that's a big responsibility. Does J. Lo put her divahood aside to change her stepson's diaper every other weekend? Britney is going to be a new mom and is already stepmom to two toddlers. I married a man with a 6-year-old, and we added two more along the way. It's not a walk in the park. Do you think much thought is given to the reality of parenting before a celeb says yes to a man with kids?"
We'll most likely never know, since that's uncharted territory even in the divulge-all era. But let's not forget to flip it around on the fathers, too: At what point does Tom Cruise loop in his kids on the Katie situation? What exactly does Jude Law tell his children about the sudden disappearance of the nanny and of girlfriend Sienna Miller? Take lots of notes, celebrity kiddos; we're all waiting for your books and reality shows.