In her two decades as a star, Cameron Diaz has racked up a roster of A-list boyfriends (Justin Timberlake, Jared Leto, Alex Rodriguez, Matt Dillon) almost as impressive as her movie career. But now, finally, she has settled down with. . . Benji Madden?
Oh, that’s not quite fair. Madden, after all, is one of the biggest things to come out of Waldorf, Md., the other being his twin brother Joel, with whom he founded the pop-punk band Good Charlotte. “Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous,” remember? Those nice mall-Goth boys made good? The cute one out front — the singer, that’s Joel. The slightly shorter one with the hair — that’s Benji, the guitarist.
Him! That’s who married Cameron Diaz Monday night! Not as part of a “There’s Something About Mary” closing-credit gag either. For real!
It’s about the biggest news either of the Maddens have made in years; though they made a big splash on the pop charts in the early aughts, Good Charlotte hasn’t had a mainstream hit in a decade now. In fairness, Diaz’s career has cooled a bit too, but she remains Cameron Fricking Diaz. How does this kind celebrity fame mismatch happen?
Despite the conflicting star levels and age difference (Diaz, 42, was in her rom-com glory days when Madden, 35, was in high school) the pairing isn’t as random as you might think. Madden and his twin brother, Joel, have managed to keep themselves in the spotlight by mingling with the right crowd ever since Good Charlotte first launched on the pop-punk scene in 2000.
Their music was a big hit with angsty teens. Originally from Waldorf, they launched their band out of La Plata High School in Southern Maryland and were a big hit with the teen crowd.
“The Maddens mixed a little bit of hip-hop and reggae into their music, and they portrayed themselves as outsiders sentenced to serve their adolescence in a small-minded small town, which could have passed for any suburb,” J. Freedom du Lac wrote in a profile for The Post in 2007. “And then, somehow, they escaped their tortured existence and landed in a rock-and-roll fantasy world.”
Maybe it was the twin thing, but straight out of the gate, the brothers became regulars as VJs on MTV in the early 2000s, getting all kinds of exposure as songs like “Lifestyles” and “The Anthem” took off worldwide. They were soon fixtures among the young-and-beautiful Hollywood group as well, with many “it” stars of the moment: Benji had a long romance with actress/model Sophie Monk, and Joel made tabloid headlines for dating teen star Hilary Duff. Then Benji took up with Paris Hilton, and Joel connected with her pal Nicole Richie.
In the meantime, the band’s popularity faded, for all the usual reasons: Fierce competition, the music industry changing with illegal downloading, and the natural life cycle of debut acts.
“There’s a minute where you’re the new, hot band, and that minute’s over for us,” Joel said in the Post story, when the band was already starting to lose steam. “We’re not the hot band anymore. We still have a lot of fans; we haven’t gone away. But we have to prove ourselves. We have to make great records.”
While their record sales slipped through the years, the Maddens remained entrenched in Hollywood circles, playing gigs and becoming regulars on the celebrity DJ circuit; they started a clothing line. Even more importantly, near the height of Good Charlotte fame in 2006, Joel started dating Richie, a well-connected showbiz kid (an adopted daughter of Lionel Richie) then at the height of her reality-TV fame with “The Simple Life.” The pair had two kids together before getting married in 2010, which kept the Madden name associated with that circle.
That’s how Madden met Diaz — Richie, friends with the effervescent star for years, set them up. “I’m going to take responsibility for everything!” she told “Watch What Happens Live” host Andy Cohen when asked who introduced the couple.
It was a quick courtship, though thoroughly documented: Date nights, gym runs, sightings of Diaz in Madden’s hometown near Annapolis. Reportedly engaged around Christmas, now they are husband and wife, in a small ceremony that attracted a star-heavy invite list: Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, Gwyneth Paltrow and more, according to Us Weekly.