I missed my best friend from high school’s bachelorette party because a certain daughter of a certain music icon was rushed to the hospital in an apparent drug overdose. When 911 is called for a celebrity, my boss calls me. That’s usually how it works.
My friend understood.
Weeks later at the wedding, when I wasn’t on the dance floor shaking my hips to the Black Eyed Peas with the bride, I was text messaging back and forth with a certain well-known father of eight.
My date – a guy friend – understood.
Later that night when our filets arrived, I looked around the table at my other friends with their husbands and pregnant bellies, and I realized something.
I was the only one who was still single, with the only ring on my finger being the one I got at the Lia Sophia event during Fall Fashion Week, right after I interviewed Paris Hilton.
I didn’t understand.
Before I explain my story, I want to go on the record and say this is not a “woe is me” pity party. In no way am I labeling myself the poor, pathetic single girl – because I’m not.
I’m just the single girl who’s a little behind in the department labeled “marriage, kids, house with a white picket fence.”
And I think I know why.
For the past six years, the main men in my life have been Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and most recently, Tiger Woods. No, I’m not the sixteenth mistress, but it is my job to find out if others are out there.
I’m an entertainment journalist, which means I have a journalism degree with real writing, reporting and editing skills, honed at “real journalism jobs” like newspapers. Until one day, during one internship at a celebrity magazine, I fell as quickly into the wild world of Hollywood news as Alice did down the rabbit hole.
Suddenly I went from covering local knitting clubs to star-studded record release parties and movie premieres in New York City. I went from wearing Coach loafers at work to four-inch stilettos. My new world was exciting, fast-paced and earned me more than a few bragging rights with my friends.
There was one night where I was pressed up against one of the hottest, coolest young male pop stars in an overcrowded club on Halloween. I had nowhere to move, especially with the fairy wings on my back poking everybody around me. He had nowhere to move either, and if I had just leaned in a few inches, I could have easily kissed him. Instead, I playfully tapped him on the head with my silver glittery wand, which evoked a smile so large I was the one who was under a spell. But then his angry blonde then-girlfriend pushed him along, glared angrily at me and cursed loudly at him within earshot, quickly interrupting my fantasy – but giving me a juicy story to write the next morning about the couple’s public spat.
There was another night I ended up elbow to elbow at a bar with the male half of one of Hollywood’s biggest power couples. After a source of mine had sent me a text message detailing the star’s whereabouts, I set out to see if his other half was with him. To my advantage, she stayed home, and I quickly learned why. He and I bonded over how difficult it was to get a drink and how difficult women could be at times. Yes, believe it or not, even one of Hollywood’s biggest A-listers sometimes has relationship problems and trouble getting a bartender’s attention. I let him vent and had another great story on my hands, wondering how a celebrity that well-known didn’t know better than to tell his life story to a bunch of drunk people in a bar. His publicist should have taught him better.
And there was the time I drank beers, slurped oyster shooters and watched football with a recently divorced former boy-bander poolside in a tropical destination while his girlfriend sulked in her room because he wasn’t paying enough attention to her. That time I was the one getting relationship advice from the celebrity; not a bad gig, I have to admit. There’s nothing not to like about my job, but trust me, just like with everything in life, there are downsides and things that get compromised along the way.
While each of these men’s leading ladies were conveniently M.I.A., so was my boyfriend of five years.
Oh, did I forget to mention I had a boyfriend while I was bopping from red carpet events to all-expense paid vacations to late-night V.I.P. after-hours parties? A boyfriend that I dreamed of marriage and kids with someday. A boyfriend that looked like Bradley Cooper, no less.
So why did I leave him home all the time? And why, more importantly, am I not still with him?
I lie in bed each night that brings me closer and closer to my 30th birthday wondering the same thing.
The easiest explanation I’ve come up with is this: My job and the lifestyle that goes along with it isn’t conducive to many romantic nights at home on the couch with a boyfriend and Tasti D Lite.
Plus, my ex-boyfriend was the beer-drinking, football-watching type; not a star-struck, clubbing wannabe, except for the time I introduced the lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan to his idol, Tony Romo.
He was thankful for my career choices that night.
But maybe if I worked less and if I partied less, my reality would be different now. My job has its minuses like anyone else’s job, but it sure beats writing about the United Nations or Iraq – not that I’m disinterested in those topics, but covering stories like that on a daily basis would depress me so much I’d have to negotiate a career-long supply of Paxil into my contract. Plus I’ve worked my way up the celebrity gossip ladder to a handsome salary and more-than-generous expense account, and someone has to pay my bills. Last time I checked there was no line of Sugar Daddies at my door.
So I’ve vowed to keep doing what I’m doing but to tone it down more than a few notches. I’ve decided to do more of my work in the office during normal hours and to choose yoga or catching up on DVR’d episodes of Millionaire Matchmaker instead of cocktail parties and movie premieres.
The reality is I have enough sources that I can still do my job without constantly being around celebrities, and more importantly, without being obsessed with them. And the only way I can be in a healthy, balanced relationship is if I stop revolving my life around them.
The truth about Hollywood’s rich and famous is they wake up in the morning and brush their teeth, just like you and I – well, some may not, judging from the odor when you get close enough.
But that’s my point: they have bad breath sometimes, they make mistakes and they have moments of vulnerability.
A while back during an interview with a female television star, who had recently divorced her husband after she discovered he cheated, the beautiful, strong, seemingly put-together girl began crying.
But she didn’t get up and go to the ladies’ room or run to her publicist or type away on her Blackberry. She gracefully took the tissue I had fished out of my bag, thanked me for taking the initiative to turn my tape recorder off, and she simply talked.
She talked about how hurt she felt, how betrayed she felt and how alone she felt. She talked about what she could have done differently in her marriage and her fear that she’ll never find love again or she’ll never find the strength and courage to move past the experience.
I listened, I shared and I empathized, having just lost the love of my life. This woman was ten times wealthier than I was, five times prettier than me, and yet she felt a hundred times lonelier.
It goes to show that even though we idolize, adore and even worship celebrities, they are people, too.
Still to this day, when I see that particular starlet at an event – events that end before 8 p.m., that is — she greets me with a big smile and a hug and genuinely wants to know if I’m OK and if I’m dating anyone new.
Next time we cross paths, I’ll tell her, yes, I actually am OK, but no I’m not dating anyone.
Then I’ll tell her I’m not worried. I’m just a little behind — but I’ll definitely catch up.
By Bella Violet