Wednesday, August 25, 2010

P.R. for the Sex, Drugs & Rock'n'Roll Disasters

Okay, who hasn't been at least peeking at the headlines of the latest celebrity train-wreck splits?  Vicodin rehab, sex addiction clinics, rock star lovers, etc etc.  Of course, whoever's in the news today is in the recycle bin tomorrow.  Then it starts all over again, and we get regaled anew with tales about other rich, famous, glamorous people who've unzipped their pants one too many times, or left rings of white powder gobbed around their noses in public, or cussed out a self-styled journalist who posted the video all over YouTube.

I know, I know. I totally watch this crap, too.  Thinking stuff like, better them than me. Or, if I had all that money, I'd never do that. Or, how could someone that talented end up like that?

And then I hear all the snarling about the lawyers for these people.  Publicity hounds. Greedy bastards  wallowing in their celebrity clients' misery.  Is it true?  Who's responsible for all the ugly P.R.?  What makes people think the train-wrecks didn't ask for the publicity themselves?

Lawyers who go issuing press releases about a sensitive case without permission have some serious issues if they breach client confidences.  Most experienced lawyers pretty much have the attitude of 'same old, same old'.  Custody and divorce cases don't get resolved in the court of public opinion, unless you want to count how an individual's career survives the hurricane headlines.  Remember Woody Allen?  Alex Baldwin? Christie Brinkley?  How did all the public noise about their personal travails affect their cases? Not one bit.  Now think about how it affected their careers.  Mel Gibson is a case in point. So what's the negative P.R. about one spouse or the other really all about?  Yeah, thought so.

Here's a great example, just hitting the headlines this week:  In the Woods's divorce, these highly-regarded bloggers were notably impressed that the lawyers said nothing about the details of the settlement.  A dignified conclusion to what had been a media circus.  

But for some reason (I don't blame her for being angry, but Lord knows how much the settlement actually was for their short-term marriage), silence won't suffice for the ex-Mrs. Woods.

Hmmm, do I smell a book deal?


  1. Terri, I wouldn't be surprised. I would be disappointed though. But I've always said, if either of those two went for the deal, it will be huge; an unprecedented advance. I think if he starts winning tournaments again (he's playing well at the Barclays) then he could do well with a book. I don't think he would make back what he spent on the divorce settlement. But he will do very well. If she does a book, yes, no brainer. Huge profits. Notwithstanding, I hope neither of them does a book. They should move on. Start dating again. So who do you think will make a good post-divorce mate for Tiger? (Elin should go after a prince, CEO, or presidential hopeful) We have a poll up at Divorce Saloon that includes Jennifer Aniston and Serena Williams. What do you think?
    Jeannie Goldstein

  2. What's fascinating to me about Tiger and Elin is that they are so public, and their marital destruction so tragic, that they make an interesting case for the rest of us to talk about. We can discuss Tiger's infidelities and Elin's money demands as sociological, philosophical, and even spiritual questions - with no repurcussions to our own personal lives. Taking sides on celebrity issues is like that.

  3. Excellent point, David. Thanks so much for your insight, and for commenting here.

    Of course, taking sides on anyone else's marital difficulties other than one's own, celebrity or not, is usually a risk-free activity (unless there's a chance of being drawn into the mess, e.g., if it's a close friend or family member).

    I suppose that's why matrimonial litigators garner so much public rage -- getting paid to take sides is somehow viewed as unseemly, even though everyone wants to bolster their own side with the 'toughest' lawyer they can afford.

    I've read your posting on Woods's divorce on your blog, and I full agree with your conclusion: "In the case of Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods – if Elin clings to the image of her marriage, wondering why it fell apart, she’ll struggle to make sense of Tiger’s world. If she lets go and moves on, she’ll have a chance to heal."

    Unfortunately, I'm not convinced she will move on - I think the temptation to attract more public sympathy and attention (and money) may prove irresistible. Why else would she have done the PEOPLE interview? I fear we haven't heard the last of her on her troubled marriage.