“The thing about celebrities is that they are really, really good at making whoever they are talking to at that exact instant feel sooo special,” says a London publicist who has been in the business for decades. “So if they start coming on to you, it can be pretty irresisitible.”
But, a huge body of experience shows, it’s actually a temptation the regular person would do well to resist.
Dating a celebrity is a challenging exercise for outsiders, even for James Packer, a billionaire Australian casino operator and the son of the late, legendary gambler Kerry Packer, who has reportedly dumped Mariah Carey.
Packer has been citing her “excessive spending” as the cause of the break-up to friends.
To be fair, Carey, who is estimated to be worth a half-billion dollars herself, has legendary spending patterns. She reportedly spends $45,000 a year on spa treatments—for her dogs.
But James Packer is hardly short of cash himself. He is so rich that he is letting Carey keep the $10 million engagement ring he bought her in the interests of a peaceful separation. Yup, $10 million folks. That’s more than double what Kanye spent on Kim’s notorious (and now stolen) dazzler.
But keeping up with a celebrity lifestyle doesn’t only involve spending vast amounts of cash.
It can also involve being on-call all hours, arguably a more wearing experience.
I had a non-famous friend who went out, briefly, with Cameron Diaz, after meeting her on a film set about 10 years ago. He called it quits after a few weeks. None of us could believe it. James had dumped “Cam”?
He explained that among the things he couldn’t deal with was her complete inability to understand why, when she rang him at 4 a.m. he wasn’t an enthusiastic conversationalist and when she implored him to “come over” he wouldn’t just hop on a plane immediately to wherever she might be.
“She doesn’t understand I have a fucking job, man,” he explained in a dingy London pub to his starstruck mates one night, making a solemn vow to never date a celebrity again.
This lack of understanding of the tedious details of the normal world is a common complaint of the non-celeb dating the celeb.
Of course, some do get it; the actor Cillian Murphy once told me in an interview that he resisted the temptation to ask his wife and kids to visit him on the set of In The Heart Of The Sea, Ron Howard’s whaling epic, because he was on a starvation diet and the dinner conversation would have gone, “I’m having a boiled egg, what about you?”
But sensible actors like Murphy are the exception.
More often celebrities are so used to their lives of cocooned absurdity, ushered from boutique hotel to private jet to luxury spa, that unquestioning obedience to every request is demanded.
If you want to date Tom Cruise, for example—or indeed be his kid—you have to drink the Scientology Kool-Aid.
There’s a rich seam of fiction about the problems of mismatched celebrity love affairs—indeed Dick Diver’s affair with actress Rosemary Hoyt is a key plot point in the unravelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last completed novel, Tender is The Night. The movie Notting Hill features a floppy haired everyman, Hugh Grant, being whisked off his feet by a superstar actress played by Julia Roberts.
Life went on to imitate art in this case as Julia Roberts married non-famous cameraman Danny Moder in 2000, but there are rumors that even this hitherto successful celeb/non-celeb pairing may be in trouble, with Moder reportedly living in a separate house across the street from Roberts in the Hollywood Hills.
Insiders claim that Roberts, 48, “is controlling, and that Moder, 47, has wearied of being told how to live his life,” according to one report.
“It’s very hard to be friends with an Oscar winner,” one socialite tells The Daily Beast, “So god knows what it’s like to try and date one.”
Not easy, by all accounts.
There are a few notable exceptions. Nicholas Cage’s wife Alice Kim was a waitress in L.A. when they met in 2004. Tobey Maguire married Jennifer Meyer, a jewelry designer, in 2007 and Conan O’Brien met his wife Liza Powel (they married in 2002) when she was an audience member at one of his shows.
Conan and Powel seem a solid and happy couple, but comments she made after he was dropped from The Tonight Show demonstrate just how out of touch with real life celebrities can get.
Powel recalled to Rolling Stone: “Literally every 10 minutes, he’d poke his head in the room and say, ‘I don’t wanna bother you, but do you know where the Band-Aids are?’ ‘I don’t wanna bother you, but do you know how to use the phone?’”
There’s a reason why the Kims date the Kanyes, the Jays date the Beyoncés and the Davids date the Victorias—not least is the fact that neither of them knowing how to use the phone helps the course of celebrity true love run smooth.