Basic Instincts

Basic Instincts

Basic Instincts

A summary of what's been in the tabloids.
July 10 1998 3:30 AM

Basic Instincts

The Hollywood life cycle: Get married, spawn, separate, and divorce.

This month's tabs are filled with news of an elemental nature, examining the desires of celebrities to marry, divorce, procreate, and swoop, godlike, into the lives of others, changing them forever.

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The recent big life events are the marriage of Barbra Streisand and James Brolin and the impending divorce of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. Because of their deadlines, the supermarket tabs were unable to reveal this week if they managed to breach Streisand's perimeter of security. But the rest of the gossip media did their best to glean details of the wedding when they weren't being driven mad by Streisand loudspeakers blaring music from the same heavy metal band, White Zombie, once used by the military to drive former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega from his compound, according to the New York Daily News.

Emily Yoffe Emily Yoffe
Emily Yoffe writes the "Keeping Tabs" column for Slate. You can e-mail the author at eyoffe@hotmail.com.

The News reported that Streisand--a well-known, um, perfectionist--almost delayed the much-rescheduled wedding because the caterer delivered San Pellegrino water instead of the requested Perrier. According to the Globe, since the couple met two years ago Brolin, pitchman for AAMCO Transmissions, has been badgering the reluctant singer to go to the altar. For the past three decades, ever since the collapse of her marriage to Elliott Gould, the publication says, the idea of remarriage has given her cold feet. But before this condition caused her to resemble one of those ancient, frozen corpses that occasionally turns up in the Alps, Brolin melted her. He was so overcome during the ceremony, reports the News, that he blubbered; Streisand remained dry-eyed. The News did not report if this had anything to do with the terms of the couple's prenuptial agreement.

Way back in 1987, when they got married, Bruce Willis was a mere TV actor and Demi Moore was just one of the members of the Hollywood Brat Pack, and neither was thinking about a prenuptial, says the Star. That's why the tabloid is salivating over the prospect of just how these now-full-fledged movie stars will divide their $150 million fortune, which consists of everything from real estate to an interest in the Planet Hollywood restaurants to a doll collection that numbers in the thousands. All three supermarket tabs agree the reason for the split was the basic one: the wandering eye. The Star and the Globe both place the bulk of the blame on Willis. "I can't go on with this charade," Moore sobbed to a friend in vintage tabloid-speak, according to the Star. The publication links Willis with everyone from his young Armageddon co-star Liv Tyler to a group of Hawaiian Tropic swimsuit models. But Moore, who once played a liposuctioned Hester Prynne, is not portrayed only as the wronged woman. The Star brings up her "flirtations" with actors Brad Pitt and yet another Armageddon star, Ben Affleck.

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T he National Enquirer reports Moore hired a private eye to detail Willis' activities, which included, it says, both individual girlfriends and a penchant for hanging out at strip clubs. The couple agreed to split after the Armageddon première, but then Moore found out Willis had "installed a secret mistress in a love nest." So she made a secret plan to announce the end of the marriage before the première. During a Father's Day brunch at the Ramada Inn in Farmington, N.M., where the family had gone to be with Moore's dying mother, a friend called Willis with the news, the Enquirer alleges. After the two stars had a shouting match, Willis stormed out and installed himself in the Best Western motel across the street.

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The Globe, in a contrarian mood, blames Moore. It reports Willis' latest philandering was retaliation for her "dates" with, who else?, Leonardo DiCaprio. In the tabloid world DiCaprio is becoming the equivalent of the Norse god Loki, a handsome, mischievous shape-shifter who leaves chaos in his wake.

The Moore-Willis split is not the only uncoupling of the month. All three supermarket tabs report the end of the marriage of singers Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, a decision the Globe says was cemented by his latest arrest, this time for allegedly having touched a woman against her will. The Globe says the usually forgiving Houston is unmoved by his plight, but both the Enquirer and the Star say she is concerned that sexy videotapes they made to spice up their marriage may end up spicing up the Internet. And aging bad boy Gary Busey, 54, is getting divorced from Tiani, his 30-year-old wife of less than two years, reports the Globe. Although she saw him through sinus cancer and a drug overdose, she tells "sources" his abusive behavior landed her in rehab. "Being Mrs. Gary Busey is hell," the Globe says she told a friend. The publication also reports that the other Mrs. Busey, the actor's mother, is shrugging off his latest troubles. "Unless he's laying bleeding in the street [a sometime occurrence with him], I don't allow myself to get too involved," she's quoted as saying.

Despite the frequency with which celebrity love dies, celebrities this month are obsessed with having babies, although in some cases it's unclear whether the process or the outcome is the chief motivation. Lustful newlyweds actress Sharon Stone and San Francisco Examiner Executive Editor Phil Bronstein continue to go at it. "We just have sex constantly," the Enquirer quotes her as saying. But it's all for a higher purpose: "That old biological clock is really racing away," she says.

Reproduction is also the reason newly coupled Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt can't keep their hands off each other, according to the Globe. The star of Friends allegedly confided to a friend: "Every time Brad and I sleep together I hope I'll conceive. I'm totally serious. I want a baby Brad." But, according to the Star, other desires may be at work here. The publication reports that after the couple snuggled backstage at a Washington, D.C., rock concert, Pitt desperately--but unsuccessfully--canvassed the musicians for a condom. For the record, Aniston's spokesman says the two are "not lovers."

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A nd recent Oscar winner Helen Hunt is determined to have a baby with or without her fiance, actor Hank Azaria, according to the Star. "I'm going all-out to get pregnant," the publication reports her confiding to a "pal," although it doesn't explain what she plans to do if Azaria refuses to cooperate. Azaria's reluctance to marry stems from the fact that her earnings dwarf his--she is making $1.25 million a week to star in the sitcom Mad About You. Perhaps, once he gets back from his honeymoon, James Brolin could do a little counseling.

Not all celebrities are having such a hard time being fruitful. The Enquirer has a photo display of Tony Randall, 78; his wife, Heather, 28; their 14-month-old daughter; and their newborn son. In one picture, Randall is flat on his back, with the infant next to him and the toddler on his chest. Unfortunately, it looks as if the child is performing CPR on her aged father. Randall tells the Enquirer the baby, Jefferson, is named after 19th century comic actor Joseph Jefferson but does not say if Randall actually attended any of the actor's performances.

Finally, this month's tabs seem to give an implicit warning that too close contact with a celebrity can have unintended consequences for the not famous. Take the case of Diane Sawyer and the little girl she began tutoring in 1995. According to the Enquirer, Sawyer became a sort of second mother to the child, whose own parents were recovering drug addicts with no steady employment. The newswoman helped arrange a larger apartment and psychiatric care for the family. She gave the girl clothes and gifts and took her to her Connecticut estate for weekend pony rides, according to the Star. "How was I supposed to compete with that?" it quotes the mother as asking. Then, says the publication, while the mother was in the hospital giving birth to her sixth child, the girl called Sawyer's office to ask if groceries could be delivered. The Enquirer, however, says the girl called Sawyer's office to say men with guns were at the apartment. Sawyer's assistant then called New York's Administration for Children's Services to report the situation. Thinking they were about the find themselves part of a PrimeTime Live exposé, says the publication, the bureaucrats swooped in and placed all the children in foster care. In a statement, Sawyer said she "played no role in this decision."

The soon to be ex-husband of a makeup woman for Oprah Winfrey also says he couldn't compete with the trips and gifts the generous talk show host lavished on his wife, according to the Globe. "Any time I tried to talk to her, she would cut me short and say she was being elevated to a higher level," the husband says. Although he tries to imply a romance between the two women, even the Globe doesn't believe him. They report the makeup artist took another man on a multimillion-dollar, Oprah-hosted cruise.

And according to the Enquirer, being famous is better than being young. At least, that is the lesson Australian beauty queen Alison Brooks, 30, says she learned when actress Barbara Hershey, 50, set her sights on Brooks' fiance, Simon Lowe, also 30. Hershey was in Sydney working on a film and, according to Brooks, "[s]wept into town with her big-time Hollywood ways, saw Simon--and decided 'that's for me!' It didn't matter that she was old enough to be Simon's mother." Hershey's spokeswoman says the actress is barely acquainted with the couple. But Brooks, who moved out of the apartment she shared with Lowe, says of Hershey, "I just wish she'd go back to Hollywood and pick on somebody her own age!"