Truth is the first casualty of the paparazzi
In Entertaining Welsey Shaw, my novel which I am still in the process of trying to get published (life has just been very busy lately, in a good way, but not in a way that helps me get my manuscript any attention), Welsey, my movie star heroine, has to contend with the fact that the media willingly and happily distorts her life to sell papers and get clicks. This means viewing her is like looking in a house of mirrors: everyone sees something different all the time. And most of it isn’t true. There’s really no way you can know the people you think you know so well.
That’s one of the points of Entertaining Welsey Shaw.
People think they know celebrities because they “see” them all the time. But their lives are as much a production as their movies. The only difference is on a movie everyone is trying to make things look good. In real life a lot of the “supporting cast” want to sabotage your life.
The most recent case in point is Kaley Cuoco, the tremendously talented comedian who stars as Penny on The Big Bang Theory. Her whirlwind courtship of tennis pro Ryan Sweeting was topped only by her whirlwind marriage (21 months) that led to a whirlwind divorce announcement.
Since then no two stories have agreed on what’s happened. That’s always largely true, but it’s been especially noticeable with this celeb split. First it was said that their differences were just irreconcilable. Then some said Sweeting was just not motivated and Cuoco wanted a husband who worked. Then issues with prescription painkillers came into it. Then it was that and alcoholism.
But not so fast! Other “insiders” to the Cuoco-Sweeting breakup say it was her fault, that she was mean and bitchy and she fought with Sweeting every night. She may seem like America’s sweetheart, says one source, but she’s not.
It’s Kaley’s fault. It’s Ryan’s fault. He’s a drug addict and an alcoholic. She’s a bitch and chronically unhappy. —Oh, and then Johnny Galecki, Cuoco’s Big Bang co-star, is dragged into it. Other “insiders” say Galecki ran interference in the Cuoco-Sweeting marriage. (Galecki and Cuoco used to date in the early days of the show, and, say some, still have feelings for each other.)
As the saying goes, it’s complicated.
We’ll never know what happened. But since both Kaley and Ryan are in the spotlight, everyone is chiming in. It’s hard to know if this is a matter of blind people feeling a different part of the elephant and coming away with a different conclusion or outright malice, a chance to slander Cuoco, Sweeting or Galecki by people who for whatever reason don’t like them (probably some of both) but it’s clear we’re in a house of mirrors situation. Celebrities can never have private lives, and they also can never really be understood. No matter what they say or do, even if everything is truthful, it will all be parsed, peeled, examined, distorted and outright lied about. This is something Welsey has to face as the price of fame. But it also means she can’t let her guard down, ever, or be seen as a real person, ever. And it may not seem apparent to everyday people, but that can be, and is, very taxing, even depressing.
It’s hard when success won’t let you be a human being.