[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! – Mark]
You think it's hard being a celebrity? Try being friends with a celebrity – it's a life fraught with fear.
That's evident from this week's tabloids, which repeatedly tell how "friends fear" for the well-being of stars.
"Portia de Rossi's terrifying appearance has friends fearing she is on the verge of a life-threatening anorexia relapse" claims the National Enquirer.
"Pals fear" that Kelly Osbourne "can't stop eating," and "may be eating herself to death" according to the Enquirer, which evokes images of Monty Python's spheroid Mr Creosote indulging one more wafer-thin mint, though Kelly seems slender by that comparison.
Michael Douglas is allegedly looking thin, and "friends fear his cancer has returned," says the Globe. Because who needs oncologists to carry out scans and tests when we have friends to live in fear for our health?
When friends aren't available, there are plenty of others around who can worry about the stars for them.
"Medical experts" are "fearful" that former Friends star Matthew Perry has suffered a stroke, reports the Enquirer, based on a recent TV appearance in which he appeared to be slurring words. As any trained barman can tell you, slurred words are almost always a predictor of a cerebrovascular incident. Right.
You don't need friends when you have family to worry about you. Beach Boy star Brian Wilson is "eating himself to death" – evidently an increasingly popular form of suicide, judging by this week's tabloids – fears his daughter Carnie Wilson, who is "petrified" and "worried sick," according to the Globe. The magazine hasn't actually spoken to Carnie, of course, but they have supposedly spoken to a "pal" who explains Carnie's fears for her father at great length. Because that's what good friends do: tell all your private concerns to a tabloid.
Michael Jackson's daughter Paris has a slew of "relatives worry" that she is "charging down the path to ruin" – an unusually poetic metaphor for the Globe – with her new rocker boyfriend. Her "family fears she could revert to her old ways," the tabloid is told, not by a relative, nor a friend, not even a source or an insider. We're not told what "her old ways" might entail, but the quote is credited to "a spy" – an extraordinary attribution. We're accustomed to unnamed (and possibly fictional) "insiders" and "sources" – perhaps a celebrity's hairdresser, chauffeur, dental technician or gardener – but a spy? Could it really be a CIA agent monitoring Paris Jackson? Or perhaps a foreign spy – Israel's Mossad? Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence? Or is there someone just stalking Paris, following her every move, eavesdropping on conversations . . ? Oh, wait: there's a name for that – a tabloid reporter.
Friends, family, insiders and sources also reveal such gems this week as Jennifer Aniston heading for a "$170 million divorce" because husband Justin Theroux allegedly still talks with a former girlfriend, according to the Enquirer, and "William and Kate Win The Throne" according to the Globe, which views Britain's Royal succession as some kind of reality TV game show. "It's official!" declares the Globe, which clearly doesn't understand the meaning of the words, since there is absolutely nothing officially announced (or likely) about the Queen abdicating in June and by-passing her son Charles to give the crown to her grandson as "a fitting tribute" to the late Princess Diana.
Back in the real world, Us magazine brings us the "stars' diet secret tips" on its cover – what, is it summer already? Jennifer Lawrence eats chicken and asparagus salad, Ellie Goulding runs half-marathons, Khloe Kardashian avoids cheese, Britney Spears lifts weights, Jessica Alba easts organic produce, Kate Hudson favors pilates, Sheryl Crow eats fiber, Jennifer Lopez meditates, and Anna Faris hikes. I'm exhausting just reading this.
People magazine offers "The Untold Story" of Natalie Wood, recounted by her daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, who remembers childhood parties with Audrey Hepburn and Bette Davis, "toys and parties and dinners . . . and animals everywhere." But she can't shed any light on the enduring mystery of Natalie Wood's death, because she was only 11 at the time, and simply wasn't there when the actress fell – or was thrown – overboard from a boat off Catalina.
Fortunately we have Us magazine's intrepid investigative team to tell us that Nicole Kidman wore it best, Elisabeth Moss carries "five lip glosses, vitamin powder and deodorant" in her handbag, Lionel Richie loves oatmeal cookies and drinks a glass of hot water with lemon every morning, and the stars are just like us: they eat with chopsticks, carry boxes, train their pets, and put product in their hair.
But it's the Examiner which brings us the week's best story: "Curse of the Ice Man!" Seven scientists and researchers who discovered or worked on preserving the 5,300-year-old remains of a Stone Age hunter dubbed Oetzi have reportedly died prematurely, often with shocking deaths. One succumbed in an avalanche, another of a blood disease, one in a car crash, another fell 300 feet off a cliff, and the man who recovered the latter's corpse died of a heart attack. "Stone Age mummy has claimed seven lives since his discovery!" says the magazine. No doubt friends of the Stone Age hunter fear that he's cursed. Because that's what friends are for.
Onwards and downwards . . .