Keeping Tabs has just returned from a weeklong visit to eastern Europe, where she found herself blissfully unaware of what was happening in Tabloidland. (The only English language newspaper available in her hotel was the decidedly stolid Financial Times, in which KT could find nary a mention of Jennifer Lopez.) Upon her return, KT thus found herself seized with nervous anticipation, wondering what cataclysmic events might have transpired during her absence that she would have to catch up on: Had Chandra Levy been found? Was Jennifer Aniston pregnant? Prince William dating any former Survivor contestants?
And so Keeping Tabs took a deep breath and spent a delightful afternoon reacquainting herself with the Globe, the Star, and the National Enquirer. The Star reports on a new tell-all Cher biography, which claims that Cher was once unable to sit down at a Passover Seder given by the mother of KISS bassist Gene Simmons because "she just had her tattooed butt surgically lifted." The Star also scored big with its story claiming that Drew Carey is "clean[ing] up his act" to avoid the dreaded "obese comedian syndrome" that claimed John Candy and Chris Farley. (KT wonders if this is akin to "new dress shirt syndrome.") And a hearty mazel tov to the Star for being the first tabloid out of the box with a Tom Cruise-Penélope Cruz wedding prediction. (They've now been out in public together at least twice, you know.) Friends of the couple are said to expect a marriage "before the end of the year," but Cruz's father is reportedly dead set against it. "Close family friend" Torrance Cerveza supposedly told the Star that Papa Cruz "would rather see his daughter marry a pauper in Madrid than walk down the aisle with Tom Cruise." Well, at least she won't have to worry about changing her name.
Those gems aside, turns out that Keeping Tabs didn't miss much, given that everyone in Tabloidland seems to have disappeared into a drug- or alcohol-induced haze. Both the Star and the Enquirer devote covers to Sen. Ted Kennedy, who they claim is very ill with cirrhosis of the liver brought on by heavy drinking. (In other Kennedy family news, the tabloid buzzards at the Globe and the Enquirer are rather suspicious about the recent heroin overdose of Gregory Coleman, a key witness against Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel.) Then there's Carlos Leon, father of Madonna's daughter, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for smoking marijuana. The Material Girl, says the Star, is "steaming." Explains a source: "Madonna treats her body like a temple. She does yoga, exercises constantly and follows a very strict diet. She hates drugs. She's never used them and doesn't let people who use them get anywhere near her or her kids." Madonna might want to avoid Michelle Phillips, who in an "exclusive interview" with the Globe reportedly claimed that she "can't imagine life without puffing on a joint. It's a gift from the Gods!"
There's much tabloid ink devoted to the rehab efforts of actor Ben Affleck, who the Enquirer insists is really battling cocaine—and not alcohol—addiction, but is being helped through his ordeal by actor Charlie Sheen; or, if you prefer to believe the Globe, he's leaning on his own recovering alcoholic father. And the "tragic secret" behind Mariah Carey's recent breakdown, says the Enquirer, is that she was "drowning in a sea of alcohol." A fellow patient at Connecticut's Silver Hill Hospital found Carey "tragic": "She was sitting all alone, wearing sunglasses and drinking a cup of coffee. She looked like a sad and fragile bird with a broken wing." The Globe suggests Carey was indeed drowning in alcohol but not how you think; a story claims that in a desperate bid to get her boyfriend, Luis Miguel, to propose, Carey filled a hotel bathtub with $25,000 worth of champagne and met him at the door in a see-through body stocking. Unfortunately, he was said to be unmoved.
Even the Chandra Levy story has a drug angle of late. This week's Globe claims that cops are investigating the "shocking scenario" that Levy overdosed on an illicit "sex cocktail" of ecstasy, Viagra, and amyl nitrate—a mixture supposedly known on the street as "sextasy"—that she tried at the behest of Gary Condit.
"Victims' brains can virtually fry and they can die," the Globe explains earnestly. "It's like a massive heatstroke," says an anonymous source. (What? No sextasy expert?) "Their blood pressure shoots up, they have panic attacks and their body temperature soars. They die from strokes or heart failure."
In their excitement over the sextasy scoop, the good people of the Globe seem to have forgotten that just last week, they claimed that investigators were hot on the theory that Levy is "is buried in a desert grave in an area close to where her congressman lover Gary Condit often took his mistresses for weekends filled with kinky sex." Back then, word in the Globe was that a pregnant Levy was abducted by two men, possibly drugged (but not, apparently, with the potent sextasy cocktail), and sent to Nevada to have an abortion because "Condit wanted her as far away from him as possible when it was carried out." The congressman reportedly "knows the towns and cities of the western deserts like the back of his hand and had many friends and romantic retreats there." "If he did want something done in secrecy, it's highly likely he would look to his friends and associates out west," says one "insider."
The Enquirer, meanwhile, says nothing about sexstasy or Nevada, rather claiming that Levy may have been "kidnapped and tortured by foreign assassins." Gary Condit's position on the Select Committee on Intelligence, they claim, made his young lover a "prime target for American's enemies because of top secret information Condit could have shared with her during pillow talk." A House investigator claims that "if terrorists found out Chandra knew anything about Condit's work on the Intelligence Committee, she'd be kidnapped, tortured for information and killed."
And while we're talking tabloid incongruities, even a bit of jet lag hasn't dulled KT's eagle eyes: Last week's Globe reported on a supposed feud between Rosie O'Donnell and her girlfriend, Kelli Carpenter, using a photo of the two at a basketball game to illustrate how icy their relationship has supposedly become. "Rosie, with son Parker, didn't even sit next to Kelli, with daughter Chelsea," the caption explains. The photo of the foursome looked familiar enough to make Keeping Tabs rifle through a few back issues. And sure enough, there was that same shot in the July 10 Star, illustrating a story titled "Rosie Steps Out With Her Family." Rosie, the story explains, "finally decided it was time to walk tall and proud with her lover and her children." An "observer" reports that the four "looked like one big happy family." Ahhh, yes. It's good to be back home.