Fame….it’s not all red carpets, tables at the Ivy and air-conditioned limousines you know. Life in the lens of the paparazzi certainly has its perks but there are undeniable downsides too: the ever-present public gaze, invasions of your privacy, loss of the freedom to walk down the street to the shops whenever you like.
Performers will often be isolated from friends and families for months at a time on film sets and concert tours, with the ever-present temptations of the attractive strangers, colleagues and employees milling around them.
Nowadays almost everyone has a camera phone with them at all times and many of those are connected to the internet. If a famous person wanders into a nightclub with some friends in search of relaxation, candid snapshots of the celebrity could be all over Twitter and Facebook before they’ve even left the building. Unless they bring a gang of bodyguards to intimidate the other revellers into putting away their phones, that is – but that means travelling a further distance from normality.
It’s the proverbial life in a goldfish bowl and puts a lot of pressure on family life – albeit pressure of a comfortable kind. So perhaps it’s no surprise really that the phrase ‘celebrity marriage’ has sometimes seemed like an oxymoron.
For years people have joked about the ‘curse of Hello! magazine’, whereby any happy couple featured in a spread extolling their happy family life was doomed to a rancorous split within months. But really, we can’t help but wonder as we read about the latest glamorous couple going their separate ways: “They seemed to have it all. They seemed to be living the dream. How did it all end?”
I’m sure many celebrity marriages wither for exactly the same mundane reasons as those in the real world: personality clashes, deep-rooted incompatibilities, the seven year itch, infidelity. But when you’re living the goldfish bowl of celebrity things are just different: you don’t have neighbours and bridge club friends: you have bodyguards, cooks and feng shui consultants. You see these people every day and they play a big part in your life. And sometimes they end up playing an even bigger one.
Just look at the number of celebrities who are reported to have had relationships of various kinds with the hired help – nannies, secretaries and similar figures in their daily lives. They include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jude Law and Ethan Hawke – the former Mr Uma Thurman.
This may not be particularly noble but it is understandable. Employees are known quantities, people who are used to day-to-day life with the famous, with all its pressures and restrictions. Many have probably also signed privacy-protecting legal agreements.
For several months allegations have swirled around the gossip columns the latest example of trend: German supermodel Heidi Klum, who is currently going through an acrimonious divorce from British soul singer Seal (Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel to the taxman).
The pair, who have been married since 2005, announced their separation in January this year. Then, shortly afterwards, Seal alleged that the model had been having an affair with their bodyguard during their marriage. He swiftly retracted the claim and she also insisted that her relationship with Martin Kristen had been strictly professional before she and Seal separated. But since then, Heidi and the bodyguard have become “very close” according to the site TMZ.
In many ways this sounds like a familiar divorce lawyer’s tale of raw emotions and bruised egos. Klum and Seal officially filed for divorce in April and the stories suggest that Seal was bitter about his former wife forming a new relationship before the papers had even been signed.
Interestingly, in this particular marriage the wife was far wealthier than the husband: the Huffington Post estimates Klum’s wealth at $70 million, compared to Seal’s decidedly more modest $15 million. I wasn’t at all surprised to read then there is a postnuptial agreement in place. No doubt the divorce lawyers will be going through that with the finest of tooth combs!