You know it's a quiet news week when the tabloids lead with a list, invariably conjured out of thin air in the absence of any scoops (real or imaginary), like America's most hated, or fattest, or that old favourite: stars given just months to live.
"Hollywood's 20 Meanest Girls Unmasked!" screams this week's cover story, promising "Lies! Bullying! Cruelty! Suicide!"
There's Taylor Swift (allegedly feuding with Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry), Maria Carey (diva behaviour – shocking!), Nicki Minaj (feuding with Cardi B), Demi Lovato (branded a "douche" by comedian Kathy Griffin), and Britney Spears (targeting Alyssa Milano).
They are all minor, petty quibbles, she-said/she-said disputes that barely register on the official Margaret Thatcher Meanness Scale, while being blatantly sexist: it's hard to imagine the 'Enquirer' ever running "Hollywood's 20 Meanest Guys Unmasked!"
As for those stars who the tabloids predicted would soon shuffle off this mortal coil, let's take a moment of silence for Val Kilmer, given "3 Months To Live" in December 2015; Michael Douglas, given "3 months" to live in February 2016; and Nick Nolte, given "4 Weeks To Live" in August 2016.
Oh wait – they're all still alive and kicking.
"King Charles Exiles Harry & Meghan!" The Duke and Duchess of Sussex voluntarily left Britain in 2019, settled in Montecito, California, and have shown no indication of wanting to return to Britain. So how did King Charles make them exiles? He has evicted them from their cottage on the grounds of Windsor Castle where they haven't lived for three years. Can they ever return to Britain? Absolutely. Can they choose to live wherever they wish in the UK? Certainly. So much for being exiled.
"Oh La La! Brad Plants Seeds Of Love!"
Brad Pitt is reportedly "talking babies" with his alleged girlfriend Ines de Ramon. Why the faux French headline? Because the duo attended the Cesar Awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars, in February. An unnamed source claims: "They're open to having a baby together." Of course, the happy couple were kind enough to tell the 'Enquirer' first.
"No Sexy Time For Battling Bennifer!"
Persisting with its dive into celebrity boudoirs, the 'Enquirer' targets Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, claiming that "the stressed-out newlyweds' once-sizzling sex life has fizzled and the couple is sleeping in separate beds".
They shared their first Valentine's Day as husband and wife by getting romantic tattoos, but the 'Enquirer' can see right through such subterfuge.
"Robot Raises Hitler From The Grave!"
Well, not quite. The 'Historical Figures' artificial intelligence app reportedly allows users to interact with the computer simulation of some 20,000 historic figures, including Adolf Hitler, who it should be noted, did not have to be exhumed from his grave for the app to work.
Doing what tabloids do best, the 'Enquirer' reports on a "Dead Dude's Ashes Mailed To Stranger!" with the notable aside that it was a "grave error."
Hell hath no fury like a tabloid scorned, and the 'Globe' proves that its former love for Donald Trump has turned to loathing, with its cover story: "Trump's Secret Talks With Putin Revealed!"
The rag claims that the former president was playing "Russian Roulette" in a historic July 2018 meeting with Putin in Helsinki, where only the two leaders and their translators were present.
Promising to expose "what ex-president is hiding from America," the 'Globe' flexes its geopolitical muscles to claim that "Trump sold out Ukraine while begging Putin for election help and dirt on his 2020 opponent Joe Biden," according to unnamed US intelligence experts.
Would those intelligence experts find Trump's plea somewhat surprising, since Joe Biden didn't announce his candidacy for the White House until April 2019, nine months after Trump met Putin?
Did Trump ask Putin to also dig up dirt on any other Democratic rivals for the White House: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Michael Bloomberg, Amy Klolbuchar and Tulsi Gabbard?
Of course not. That would be like playing roulette and putting a chip on every number at the table.
"Madonna's Big Brother Didn't Want To Be Saved!"
The singer's troubled older brother Anthony Ciccone, who died in February aged 66, allegedly "killed himself in booze rehab," the rag claims, assuming facts not in evidence. The 'Globe' declares that "he decided to end it all – ripping off feeding and breathing tubes that were keeping him alive."
But other insider reports only claim that Ciccone attempted to remove breathing tubes two days before he died. – and was unsuccessful in the attempt.
"Clothes Horse Amal Clooney Has $2M Closet!"
And just imagine how much she paid for the clothes that she keeps inside that $2M closet.
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie died in January, his granddaughter Riley Keough inherited the estate along with her two half-sisters Finley and Harper, aged 14, and Elvis's widow Priscilla is challenging the will, giving 'People' mag its cover story: "The Fight Over Graceland."
The magazine explains the "Presley family drama" and looks "inside the fractured dynasty."
At the heart of the dispute is control of Elvis's lucrative estate. A little less conversation might be helpful.
Disco queen Gloria Gaynor claims: "I have not only survived, I have thrived."
Which is all fine and dandy, but it doesn't sound so good when you sing it.
"My Father Is A Serial Killer," says Jenn Carson. Well, nobody's perfect.
"40 Years After Dallas . . . " – no, not JFK's assassination, but rather the TV soap opera – actress Charlene Tilton reveals she is "Finding Joy After Her Painful Past."
She reveals her late mother's schizophrenia, her fiancé's sudden death, and how her 'Dallas' millions were lost, her house foreclosed, and her plunge into depression.
"I see the bright side of things, and that's served me well during tumultuous times," she insists.
"Love, Loss & Risking It All." It's a headline that could have dozens of celebrity names attached to it, but claiming the honor this week is cover girl Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the actress-producer and former Miss World who reveals "the sacrifices she made to build her empire." Inexplicably, Chopra Jonas appears to have broken with tradition and actually spoke with 'Us Weekly.'
The same can't be said of Elvis Presley's granddaughter, 'Daisy Jones & The Six' star Riley Keough, despite the front page headline proclaiming: "My Side of the Story." It's her side of the Preslecy clan clash, but told by unnamed sources, not by Keough.
Thankfully we have the crack investigative team at 'Us Weekly' to tell us that Barbie Blank Coba wore it best (though it looks like she didn't wear the PrettyLittleThing ensemble so much as had it sprayed on), that actress and veteran of TV's 'Friends' Maggie Wheeler (Chandler Bing's high-pitched on-off girlfriend) reveals "my beauty trick is singing in harmony with others," and that the stars are just like us: they buy snacks, hail cabs, and cut their children's hair (though Matthew McConnaughey's butchery of his ten-year old son's mane looks like a scissor-snip away from a raid by Child Protective Services.)
"Hollywood Dating Hell!" proclaims the cover, boasting photos of Jennifer Aniston, Charlize Theron and Kelly Clarkson. "Why Single A-Listers Can't Find Lasting Love."
While it's true that all three have seen marriages or long-term relationships shattered, that's also true of half of all those who get married. It's not so much that dating in Hollywood is hell, but that marriage and dating can be hell anywhere.
"Most men just want fame or sex," says an insider, getting it half-right.
'Life & Style'
Courteney Cox supposedly reveals "Life Lessons I've Learned," after surviving "Divorce, Motherhood & Botched Botox."
Naturally, she recites the tabloid mantra: "I'm the Happiest I've Ever Been!"
Onwards and downwards . . .