Celebritology Live

Apr 15, 2010

Join Celebritology bloggers Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney to gab about the latest celebrity gossip and pop culture news making waves across the Web.

We're here and ready to go.

A heads up: Starting this week, Celebritology will be appearing as a print column in Style every Saturday. So keep your eyes peeled.

We'll also be re-starting the buzziest celeb of the week ranking poll in tomorrow's Morning Mix, so -- umm -- vote early, vote often.


Let's get started!

And in other news ... a post that asks you to vote for your favorite SNL decade is going up shortly. And tomorrow, I am aiming to do the first post in what we hope will be a series: Profiles in 'Lost' Fandom. So if you know someone, including yourself, that really rises to the level of serious "Lost" geek, get in touch with us.

All right, let's get to those questions.

I'm so media manipulated. I read about the Jessica Simpson shoot on Jezebel and thought "hey, she's okay." I know that it's all pr, but what I feel is that she's doing something kind of admirable.

Which of course has made me wonder all the celebs and actors I do like -- do I really like them or do I really like their pr people.

It's like being in high school again and crushing on the senior soccer player because he's so popular, but probably a jerk.

Don't worry. You're not alone. I actually kind of like Jessica, too. She's come a long way from the days of eating tuna out of a can on "Newlyweds." No one is going to confuse her with one of the great minds of our generation, but I don't think she's trying to pass herself off as something she's not.

As Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire told me yesterday, Jessica is at a turning point in her life. She realizes that she was over-packaged and is over it. And, Joanna -- who got to spend some time with Jessica -- said the real Jessica is actually much more interesting than the packaged celeb we've been fed for the past several years.

She's now moving in a more genuine direction, and the Marie Claire shoot was a part of that. As is her constantly updated Twitter feed and even her VH1 show.

I'm not a huge Simpson fan, but I agree that she is doing something semi-positive, at least in celeb land, by tackling these beauty issues. Obviously it works in her favor to do that, but nevertheless...

I hope I'm not violating some kind of protocol, but I wanted to give a shout-out to Gene Weingarten on the receipt of his well-deserved Pulitzer this week. The article that led to it ripped my guts out - hats off to him for writing it. How is this win playing around the office, or can you comment on that?

Not violating any protocol. Weingarten is one of our favorite people, no matter how big his ego or how unkempt his hair. Praise away...

Agreed. I thought it was very well-deserved, and I think that's certainly the sense around the newsroom.

That story also ripped my guts out. I think they're still sitting on my bedroom floor next to my nighstand, where I left them after I finished reading the piece.

Good grief. Haven't any of these women noticed that he looks like a toad? Also, he can't be very wealthy with all that alimony.

I'm guessing he's wealthy enough.

Technically, toad is in the eye of the beholder. But um, yeah. You would think a beautiful, young-ish woman might not be so interested at this point.

Well, let's be real here. Shawn Southwick's parts may all have been in the right place. She's a leggy blond and all, but in the final analysis her marriage to Larry was about the biggest thing she had going for her. What was she doing pre-Larry -- hosting infomercials? They grow on trees, people. Larry will have no problem finding a replacement model.

As for Larry -- I'm with you. He doesn't exactly exude sex appeal. When I covered the Larry King Cardiac Foundation event last month for the Reliable Source I was struck by how scary he is in person -- he's never been a playboy, but now he's stooped and his face is as taught as a drum-head.

You were robbed!

Sigh. If only the Pulitzer committee gave out awards for celebrity/pop culture blogs.

The Pulitzer committee hasn't fully recognized Web sites yet, the well-deserved recognition for ProPublica not withstanding.So, um, I think that the odds of us winning an award are pretty much

Although frankly, I'm still steamed that Lost Madness didn't win a Pulitzer a couple of years ago. I really thought we had a lock on that Best Bracket Inspired by an ABC TV Show About an Island category.

Current accusations not withstanding, I don't think this is the first time Larry and Shawn have had "issues." Maybe Larry should take this divorce as the final signal that marriage might not be for him. And I encourage Shawn to take this opportunity to eat something! Jeez, she is scary skinny!

This divorce is blossoming into what may prove to be one of the juicier stories of the year. Or at least the spring. Over the last 24 hours, TMZ.com has become a veritable he said/she said of accusations -- each ickier than the last -- flying back and forth between these two. She says: Larry had an affair with her sister. He says: She was a little too close to their sons' little league coach.

I am eating it up with a spoon. I do feel sorry for their boys, though.

Liz, how would you rate your pregnancy so far, fashion-wise? My mom told me she wore the same orange muumuu the last few weeks she was pregnant with me--awesome, but not exactly runway-worthy.

I've been getting by pretty well on a few items. I didn't want to go overboard buying maternity clothes that I would only need for a few months, so I invested in a couple of pairs of brand name jeans that have been modified to compensate for big bellies and a handful of Gap maternity tops. Honestly, for the rest, I've been finding stuff in my closet that seems to still work with the bump. I had a lot of empire waist dresses that still fit and look kind of cute bumped-out. And casual tops these days tend to be getting longer and longer, so I already had many -- one of which I'm wearing now by Ella Moss -- that totally works.

This seems like such an odd thing to do given how successful she has been w/ her natural body. Also, by Hollywood standards isn't she starting to age out of "sexy babe" roles? What's the point?

On the plus side, she still looks normal unlike a lot of implant work out there.

Insider: Kate Hudson Got a Boob Job

I had the same reaction. It just strikes me as odd to decide at age 30 that you need a bigger rack. Especially since she'd been quoted in the past talking about how comfortable she is (or was) with her natural assets.

But, if it is true -- and based on the pix, it looks likely -- at least she didn't go for Heidi Montag-sized inflations.

It does make me a little bit sad, though. I think Kate Hudson was beautiful as is.

I don't know. Again, if it's true, she got a conservative enough augmentation that it doesn't bother me that much.

As far as the point, I'm not sure it has anything to do with the roles she plays. She may have been motivated by the same thing that motivates any woman, actress or not: she didn't like one aspect of the way she looked and she wanted to change it.

Eeeew, no thanks.

Remember how in "Slacker," that chick tries to sell a pap smear from Madonna? Yeah, that doesn't seem so outrageous anymore.

The Kathy Griffin poolside pap smear is causing quite an uproar in today's morning mix comments. So I can only predict that when the episode finally airs it will be a smash hit.

With the impending departure of "Lost," what series will Liz and Jen start tracking next?

Are you trying to upset us? Because there's just no clear contender out there. "Lost" is a once-in-a-generation show.

Agreed. I can't imagine something else sparking the same kind of debate and interest online, at least not for a good, long while.

Stories refer to Mel's "estranged" wife Robyn. Did the actual divorce never occur? (perhaps arguments over his fortune have stalled the final end game?)

Robyn filed for divorce last year but, as far as I can tell, no -- it hasn't been finalized yet. But apparently the two had been living largely separate lives for years before the official split was made public

The photo of Larry King and his soon-to-be ex just makes me cringe. I can understand the appeal of these younger women to the ol geezers, but don't they get that it only makes them appear even older, more frail, etc., than they would if paired with a woman closer in age? Are they deluding themselves, or just don't care?

Well, to be fair -- Shawn Southwick is 50, so Larry isn't exactly in Hugh Hefner territory yet.

I saw a woman at the gym the other night who would be all-too-common in Hollyweird, but here in the real world merited a double take. Skinnier than anything with ginormous fake basketballs bolted to her chest, obviously "enhanced" lips that looked rubbery, fake blond hair, and a face so tight there was no way she could register any expression.

The skintight, smooth face sure contrasted with the chicken neck, that telltale sign of her REAL age. It was freaky. Why do women want to look like this? How can they look in the mirror and think they look good?

I guess at night we all go to sleep with ourselves. Meaning we have to be happy with who we are -- both inside and out. It wouldn't be my choice, for sure, but i'm sure there are also plenty of women who look at me and think -- how can she not see that she needs to dye her hair/tighten up that chin/do some ab work/find a good make-up artist/stylist/etc.

Different strokes for different folks.

Never been a fan, but good for her. I also was impressed at her interview with the anorexic Isabelle Caro (I do not understand how it is physically possible that woman is still alive) to shed light on unhealthy beauty obsessions.

What a lot of young girls do not realize is that models, actresses, etc. do not look ANYTHING like the airbrushed, photoshopped versions they see in the magazines -- and that that standard of "beauty" is NOT REAL. Sorta like Heidi Montag, who was actually kinda cute before she became a walking freakshow.

Totally agreed, and again, this gives me an opportunity to share some words of wisdom from Marie-Claire editor Joanna Coles that didn't make it into yesterday's piece.

We talked about Heidi Montag's morph from cute California girl into walking Barbie Doll. Joanna's take is that Heidi hasn't seen much outside her own little reality TV plastic world so, of course, she sees surgical enhancement as THE only means to achieve the only standard of beauty she knows. 

Whereas Jessica Simpson's eyes have been opened somewhat by her travels for "The Price of Beauty" -- she's been exposed to cultures where differences are celebrated rather than corrected and things like a rounder figure are even desirable.

I think there's some truth to that. I also think that if Heidi has a limited worldview, she has no one to blame but herself.

He may need them if he keeps publicly saying that 50 cent is gay to the press.

Rufus Wainwright: 50 Cent Is Gay


I love, love Rufus Wainwright. Adore him.

Sounds to me like he was kidding. Or, perhaps, engaging in a bit of canny self-promotion, as in saying something provocative to get his name circulated more widely in the press. He has a new CD coming out on Tuesday, just by coincidence.

Well, it's pretty easy to be comfortable with your natural assets when you're beautiful and in your 20's.

Yes, but she's only 30. Hardly a crone.

Why does Kitty Kelley claim Oprah is both gay and that she dated John Tesh, or, does dating John Tesh make one a lesbian?

I can't believe I"m answering this, but I'll give it a shot.

John Tesh has now confirmed that he and Oprah dated in the '70s. Kelley maintains that rumors that have long dogged Oprah and BFF Gayle King are true -- that the two are gay. Both Oprah and Gayle have categorically denied this.

But -- Oprah aside -- you do realize it is possible to date men, then realize later you're attracted to women, right?

Liz, speaking of bumps, will you be sharing a photo of your pregancy progress anytime soon?

I posted one on Facebook a while back...

The problem with a decade poll is not as many people were around (and those who were around no longer remember: if you remember what has happened, there has been some brain cell damage along the way) from the Seventies.

No one had topped Belushi, Ackroyd, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase (back when he was funny), Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, and even Larraine Newman and Garrett Morris have faded a bit from memory, the whole cast were great together. The not ready for prime time players have never been topped by another not ready players team.

I remember the '70s, somewhat. Plus, some of those seasons are on DVD now, so it's possible to see episodes in their entirety even if you weren't alive back then.

I agree that the original cast and the daring nature of what they were doing as the first ones on SNL is unparalleled. But one point I make in the post is that SNL was only on the air for half of the '70s. So if you're judging a whole decade, is it fair to say '70s still rules when it was only on for five out of 10 years?

I have a feeling the '70s will still win anyway, but I was curious to pose the question for the very reason you mention: a lot of people are more familiar with the '90s and '00s. And I wonder if those younger audiences might vote that way, or still stick with original Not Ready for Primetime team.

I think enough of the '70s footage is available on DVD and online for people to have a familiarity with it. Me, though, I may be an early-'80s girl. I loved the Eddie Murphy/Joe Piscopo/Jon Lovitz stuff.

Well, the recent piece on Twin Peaks reminded me of the mania it inspired when it first aired. Although there was no on-line excitement for obvious reasons, it was obsessed over all the same. Maybe you can do a Twin Peaks club - I've been looking for an excuse to break out the dvds.

I say we just reset back to season one of "Lost" and do the watching/analysis all over. Then we can have this conversation again six years from now.

Can you imagine the insanity that would have ensued if the Internet had been more widely used and developed at that time?

I don't even want to think about how many times we would have relistened to the backwards-talking in the dream sequence.

I am not sure if enough people would be interested in a rewatch of "Peaks" but it's a fun idea. Worth considering .

Reading what you wrote about Heidi Montag's insular worldview gives me an idea. How about a prerequisite to being a celebrity is living in another culture/country for a minimum of 1 year?

Agents could put it in the contract. "No more acting parts, etc. until you meet this contractual requirement." And not in a reality-show way -- no cameras, no entourage, no being treated like a VIP. Real world, real life.

Then, once they meet this requirement and see a bit of the real world and how other cultures perceive beauty, they can come back and start acting again or whatever.

So it's like being Mormon?

Yes, without the suits and bicycles.

I have never met you but I think you are a pretty cool chick and I don't care if you need to dye your hair.

Well, thanks. I love your thinking, too!

Curious if the chat endorsement got you to pull it out of the pile.

Not yet, but I will. This week I was busy with Lost and Glee, and I have to get started on the next DVD I have to review ... blah, blah, blah.

I did stumble upon "I Love You, Man" on cable and of course got sucked into Rudd pretending to be James Bond for a few seconds.

I honestly don't think the old men care. All they think is, wow, look at me, I have this hot young chick so it's very obvious I'm rich.

And the hot young chick thinks, wow, look at me, I'm with this crusty old man who is SO rich.

To be fair, their only options are rich old dude or younger d-bag.

Nice site, Paul. But those chicks deserve those d-bags. In fact, we need to come up with a word to describe the female equivalent of a d-bag. Any ideas?

I'm kind of confused. Is Larry getting divorced for the 7th or 8th time? Can only read the headlines, can't follow the links (WashPost is an approved site here at work) so I'm not sure what the real number is.

This will be Larry's eighth divorce from his seventh wife.

He married one woman -- Alene Akins -- twice.

Just like couples proclaiming there's nothing wrong with their relationship, renewing their vows, or getting tattoos is an unfailing harbinger of the death knell of said relationship, female celebs proclaiming they are happy with their bodies is a dead giveaway of impending weight loss or plastic surgery.

Think Jennifer Love Hewitt, Tyra Banks, Jessica Simpson, Kate Hudson, the list goes on and on. Even Heidi Freaktag said some nonsense about beauty being on the inside.

This doesn't justify treating one's body like an ongoing Silly Putty sculpture, but I'll say this: show business is really brutal on women. Appearance is so much more of a factor than it is for men.

Imagine being in your field and feeling like you're just starting to hit your stride at age 30, which is pretty common in a lot of careers. Then imagine suddenly not getting opportunities because you're too old or your rear end hangs a little too much or whatever. You might be motivated to do some nipping or tucking if it meant being able to have more chances to do what you love.

In Montag's case, there is obviously a whole other set of issues going on. But if you're an actor who really wants to work, sometimes it may feel like that's the only choice.

Right. And don't point to Meryl Streep as incontrovertible proof that one can make it without giving in to the Hollywood image machine. The woman is wonderful, but an anomaly. There are limited roles for older (and by older I mean 30 or 35+) women in Hollywood and a handful of actresses tend to get those roles, Streep being one.

But it is troubling when younger women -- like Heidi Montag and Ashlee Simpson -- go under the knife to attain some ridiculous standard of beauty. They all end up looking like clones, anyway.


Hmmm, that could work.

OK, I'm going to go out on a limb here and ask -- why does it matter whether Oprah is gay or not? Is her private life not her own business?

It is her own business. But in the case of Oprah, she's such an advocate for confronting issues and being true to yourself and all that jazz, that if she were gay, it would seem a shame -- especially to people in the gay community -- if she hadn't been more open and forthright about it. Again, I have no clue whether it's true or not so I am speaking in hypotheticals here.

Those kinds of things matter most in cases where not coming clean about your orientation -- or other personal issues, for that matter -- represents some level of hypocrisy.

I thought she looked lovely in those Marie Claire photos. I had no idea that my granola approach to hair and make up was now being embraced by one such as she. I think every little girl needs to see the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty video showing how model photos are altered.

Did anyone else think that without all that spackle on her face, Jessica looked like a young Jennifer Jason Leigh?

What do we think of "Bombshell" McGee's "apology" to Sandra Bullock? Just another ploy to extend her 15 minutes of fame?

Could be. She hasn't come off as a very sympathetic character thus far, so why start now? Though at least she did it. That's more than most of Tiger Woods's alleged paramours have done.

But to be clear: The most important apologies in these cases need to come from the men who stepped out on their marriage vows.

A moment of rembrance, if we may, for Meinhardt Raabe, who played the Cornoner who prounced the Wicker Witch of the East dead in "The Wizard of Oz." He was 94. He was known for public appearances and being very nice with fans including children of all ages.

Fun NPR interview with Raabe from last year, on "Oz" turning 70.

Just putting this out there...

This just in from TMZ.com: Apparently Larry and Shawn had no pre-nup agreement in place. You'd think a guy would learn after seven previous failures. But no.

I think it must be easier to appear barefaced when you've pretty much hit the genetic lottery. I don't think a lot about her one way or the other but I have to admit she's easy on the eyes. Not so much the ears.

Yep. Jessica, like many other celebs, won the genetic lottery. So she's starting from a different place than the average person.

I try not to judge too much when it comes to people having some plastic surgery done or some kind of dye job or whatever. We don't know the real reason - though there are celebrities who obviously have more psychological issues (why else could we think we're not beautiful?) like Heidi who probably felt pressured by hollyweird to do this.

Me though, I'm only 25, but by the time I turned 16, I had a full head of gray hair. And not the flattering kind. I got it from my mother who had the same thing when she was a teenager. I've been dying my hair since.

Maybe Kate got a boob job because she felt one of them was bigger than the other or lopsided or something. It's not like she went to triple Gs or anything. I try not to judge - but I get it - even I fall in the "What were you thinking?" category sometimes.

Thanks for bringing us back to earth on this one. You're right -- if Kate did indeed have surgery (and Producer Paul, who fancies himself an expert, swears she did not) -- she may been motivated by something that has nothing to do with the typical Hollywood standard of beauty.

I'd also like to add that I so empathize with you on the gray hair. Mine started to turn when I was 18. Sucks, but I just didn't want to have white hair before I hit 40, so I've got to go the color and highlights route, too.

We all do small things to alter ourselves and feel more confident. Plastic surgery is a bigger step but, let's face it, we're all guilty to varying degrees. (The spectrum being: You/Me/Liz on one end, Heidi Montag on the other.)

If Rufus Wainright says Fitty Cent is gay, I'm inclined to believe Rufus. As a gay man, Rufus' gaydar should be better tuned than most. Sarah Silverman is probably kicking herself in teh vagina that she didn't think of the Pap Smear Presser. Maybe her show would have had a better chance of renewal if she had. Can anyone tell me what "Vajazzle" means? I get no help from the Urban Dictionary. Does it mean a bedazzled hoohah?

Okay, this has to be the weirdest link I have ever added to this chat:

Jennifer Love Hewitt Bedazzled Her Privates

I have nothing to add. And, no, I don't own a beadazzler. And never will.

It sure is. Just look at the aging male actors: Morgan Freeman, Jack Nicholson, and Gerard Depardieu come to mind. None have had any work done, Jack & Gerard have gained substantial weight, and it doesn't seem to have affected their ability to get great roles at all. Wonder why it is so brutal on women. Who is making the decisions behind the scenes? All crusty old men or something?

Right. Another: Alec Baldwin.

You got it. Women play more of a pivotal role in Hollywood than ever before, but men still rule the roost. And the prevailing perception is that we don't want to see "unattractive" women onscreen. And this is why we are sometimes expected to believe that Jessica Alba could actually be a scientist.

A poster just wrote:

"What a lot of young girls do not realize is that models, actresses, etc. do not look ANYTHING like the airbrushed, photoshopped versions they see in the magazines -- and that that standard of "beauty" is NOT REAL."

I will add to that by saying that actors and models, when encountered in real life, don't look much like they do in the movies or in photo spreads. Years ago, before she was a star, I interviewed Cameron Diaz when she was in DC promoting an Ed Burns movie she was in. (I think called "She's The One.")

It was early on a weekend morning at the Four Seasons in Georgetown and, in sweatpants and a T-shirt, she was simply a pleasant looking young woman, not someone who would turn heads on M Street. But, as I say, that was before she was famous.

I generally agree with you on this. When you meet a celeb in person, it's usually not like some massive beam of heavenly light glows from behind them. They, more often than not, look like regular people.

That said, I have also been in situations where I've been awestruck by how stunning a famous person is in-person. This happened essentially every 10 seconds on the red carpet at the Oscars; of course, that's a situation where everyone is done up to the 9s, 10s and 11s, so not necessarily an apt comparison.

When you put them in normal clothes and wipe away the make-up, there is some normalcy. The good news on that? If you get done up to such a degree, you too could easily look red carpet-worthy.


Jen, I know you spent more time with him than I did -- what with the movie game vid -- but when we bumped into Bradley Cooper at last year's White House Correspondents Dinner, my breath was literally taken away. He's just that good looking.

Oh, that's a great example. When I did that video with him, he had just come from the airport, pulled a cap off his head, was wearing the same clothes he wore on the plane (I think).  And he was a heart-stopper. I mean, regular guy but just a super-handsome regular guy.

Why do you think I suddenly forgot the entire Morgan Freeman filmography?

Thanks for spending another hour with us. Some good discussion today about standards of beauty and beadazzling. Come back next week. Same time, same place...

And don't forget to check this Saturday's print edition for Celebritology in Style!

Great, now I've got Bradley Cooper on the brain. And I'm supposed to get back to doing more work?? See you next week, all.

In This Chat
Liz Kelly
Accredited Celebritologist Liz Kelly monitors the ups, downs and in-betweens of the stars. She is uniquely qualified to write this blog because of her alarming interest in celebrities and pop culture -- and because Sandra Bullock, Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty attended her high school (not at the same time, but still...)
Jen Chaney
Also an accredited Celebritologist, Jen focuses on pop culture news and trends in the entertainment world.

In addition to overseeing movie content for the Post's Web site, she also writes regularly about film, DVDs and stars of screens large and small.

When she isn't blogging or at the movies, she's ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.

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