Obama marriage crisis and new China plague in this week's dubious tabloids

An essential guide to this week’s inessential news

You just can't win with the tabloids, who find the cloud in every silver lining. If Michelle Obama is enjoying success, it must be killing Barack, according to the tabloids. If Dick Van Dyke wants to keep working at 95 it will be the death of him, they say. If Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are "woke," they must be cutting off all their friends who are deemed politically incorrect. And if Chinese scientists are studying a virus, it must be about to unleash the next "China plague."

National Enquirer

"Scientology Cover-Up Exposed!" screams the cover story. "Damning Testimony at Masterson Sex Crimes Trial." It's a clippings job with attitude. Couldn't happen to a nicer cult. Actor Danny Masterson's rape trial "threatens to expose the sci-fi religion's dirtiest secret," according to unnamed sources: "how it covers up for celebrity members by thumbing its nose at the law!" If that's Scientology's dirtiest secret, we've been over-estimating them for years.

"Queen, 95, Heartsick Over Harry's Betrayal. Blindsided by vicious attacks!" is another clippings job, this time with extreme attitude. "Hothead Harry Knifes Queen In The Back!" Naturally, unnamed sources "blame his high-maintenance wife, Duchess Meghan, for egging him on." Just in case you missed the lack of journalistic impartiality there, the 'Enquirer' also calls Harry a "raging redhead," "hostile" and "hateful."

"Ben & J.Lo Answer the Call of Booty!" Because in the tabloid universe everything is about sex, and if Affleck and Lopez are together it couldn't possibly be because of elective affinity or a meeting of the minds. Their romance has heated up in Miami, Los Angeles and Montana, allegedly.

"Portia Pushes Ellen To Go Down Under!" It's a non-story for the sake of a bad pun headline. Portia de Rossi allegedly wants partner Ellen DeGeneres to move with her to Australia. Never going to happen, but the "Enquirer' gets to make it into a crude joke.

"Kim's Blame Game!" Kim Kardashian allegedly faults estranged husband Kanye West for lapses that led to a lawsuit by seven former employees claiming they were not paid in full. Because Kardashian, despite being the head of a billion dollar industry built around her name, is just an innocent young woman who couldn't possibly be responsible for anything in her marriage, could she?

"Perry Odd Man Out!" Matthew Perry allegedly "feels his 'Friends' have abandoned him" because the didn't laugh at his jokes during their reunion TV special. Did anyone laugh at those jokes?


"New Obama Marriage Crisis!" proclaims the cover story. How come Barack and Michelle are still together – weren't they supposed to have divorced years ago according to the tabloids? This time the former president has allegedly suffered "a devastating blow" as Michelle Obama takes the reins at their Higher Ground Productions and he "is forced to play second banana." As if Barack – who runs the production company with his wife – wouldn't be delighted by his wife's successes. Nevertheless the 'Globe' claims their marriage is "hanging by a thread." Right.

"Harry & Meghan Play Celebrity Favorites!" The "self-proclaimed do-gooders . . . are callously culling their contacts list," eliminating anyone who isn't "woke," claims the rag, despite little evidence to support this. Those expected to stay on the renegade royals' invite list: George and Amal Clooney, David Foster and Katharine McPhee, and the Obamas. That's a very small group of friends indeed, especially if the Obamas are about to divorce and Harry & Meghan have to choose sides. And how does Harry's Montecito neighbor and docuseries co-producer Oprah Winfrey get omitted from the list? Do the insiders know something we don't know? Unlikely.

"Grave Fears For Dick Van Dyke, 95!" No, he's not in hospital, or terminally ill, or suffering dementia. The 'Mary Poppins' star is proving his longevity by planning a one-man show, which naturally prompts the 'Globe' to claim that unnamed insiders fear it will all "end in tragedy." But if he stayed home they'd call him a recluse, and if he went golfing they'd call him frail in his final days. You just can't win with the tabloids.

"China Unleashed Covid on World!" The 'Globe' can't hide its glee to see its months of stories claiming that coronavirus was a Chinese bioweapon that escaped a Wuhan laboratory coming close to confirmation. It reports that a House Intelligence Committee probe found "significant circumstantial evidence" that Covid originated in the lab. But that's not entirely accurate. The claim of circumstantial evidence came in a minority report from Republicans on the committee, while the full committee continues its investigations, and sources confirm that US spy agencies have not yet reached a conclusion on the source of the virus.

"Next China Plague Is Deadlier Than Covid!" Move along, nothing racist to be seen here, move along. The 'Globe' claims that the Nipah virus, a rare disease with an alleged 75 per cent mortality rate, is being studied in Chinese laboratories, according to unnamed "intelligence sources." As if the act of studying a deadly virus is enough to warrant calling it a "China Plague."


Singer and actor Ricky Martin dominates this week's cover, with the headline: "Ricky Martin Gets Really Personal – 'No More Secrets'"

He came out as gay a decade ago, and evidently has no other secrets left to tell. But admittedly it's a better headline than: "Ricky Martin Gets Personal – I've Nothing New To Say!"

Us Weekly

They make a loving cover couple: "Gwen & Blake – Our Dream Wedding." But despite the headline, the happy couple Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton haven't spoken with 'Us' mag, which is probably why they're so happy. They tie the knot some time this summer, and the rag promises: "$5M party will go down in history!" Will it, though?

"Brad Wins Joint Custody – I've Got My Kids Back!" Not so fast – Angelina Jolie is appealing the judge's custody ruling. And since Brad Pitt hasn't made any comments on the situation, he certainly didn't tell 'Us' mag: "I've got my kids back."

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Melissa Gorga wore it best, that James Brolin has seen wife Barbra Streisand in concert 41 times since they married (does that qualify as spousal abuse?) and that the stars are just like us: they drink coffee, use sunscreen and go for walks. Scintillating as ever.

It's yet another week when 'Us' apparently couldn't find a D-List celebrity left who hasn't yet spilled the contents of her purse for the mag's "What's In My Bag?" feature. How will be survive the week without it?

Onwards and downwards . . .