“Stars Are Just Like Us!,” or some variation, is often a section in celebrity gossip magazines. With photos of celebs doing daily tasks and captions such as “They Have Their Arms Full!,” “They Get Caught in the Rain!” and “They Guzzle Water!” (Really?!), the magazines attempt to show us we aren’t that far removed from the rich and famous. But this summer, Us Weekly took it to the next level when showing how stars are just like us, and maybe not the best of us.
On July 24, the aptly named “Twipocalypse” occurred: Photos were released showing Kristen Stewart, 22, cheating on her longtime boyfriend and sun-glittering “Twilight” co-star Robert Pattinson. The accomplice? Rupert Sanders, 41, the director of her film “Snow White and the Huntsman,” who is married with two young children.
While accusations of cheating constantly flash across the front pages of glossy magazines, Us Weekly had evidence to back up their claim: photos of Stewart’s saucy rendezvous with Sanders.
According to the Us Weekly article that broke the story, photographers caught Stewart driving with Sanders to a secluded location in Los Angeles on July 17. They began a steamy makeout session, which was captured in grainy photos by the paparazzi and show Stewart smiling (a first for the forever-frowning starlet) and fully caught up in her moment with Sanders.
After the photos were published, both Stewart and Sanders issued public apologies to their loved ones and families, owning the mistakes they made. But the backlash for both Stewart and Sanders had already gained full force, making them the latest enemies of the Hollywood scene.
When Us Weekly received the photos, they had a choice to make: rock the entire world of a happy family and a young girl whose fans tattooed her face on their bodies, or secretly inform Pattinson, the wife of Sanders and the two canoodlers of the act of unfaithfulness — or remain silent. Obviously, they chose to expose the scandal and send gossip sources and “Twilight” fans around the world into a tailspin. But did they go too far in exposing the mistakes they made?
Stars are just like us, but their moments of success, failure and everyday activities are much different. They are flashed upon the pages of magazines and turned into not only the talk of the town, but the talk of the nation. Had a similar Stewart/Sanders scandal occurred between two students in Ann Arbor, someone might have viewed the act of canoodling in the Arb, but they wouldn’t document the moment with their iPhone and splash the photos across their Facebook page without the consent of the two individuals.
We can’t justify Stewart’s actions; the mistake she made in cheating is evident. But what we can recognize is the larger mistake she made in failing to recognize the pressure put on her as celebrity. Celebrities can’t get away with any mistakes, whether it’s a nip slip on the red carpet or a tumble on the sidewalk.
The errors Stewart and Sanders made happen every day to regular people: They make mistakes! They cheat on their significant others! They aren’t the best at finding secret spaces to canoodle in the Hollywood Hills! But Sanders and Stewart, in the heat of their make out, forgot to realize they aren’t just like us. They can’t escape the media! And moreover, they can’t escape the critique of the entire world!
I feel bad for Pattinson and the wife of Sanders for any pain they’ve endured, but I mostly feel bad for all the celebrities involved. This embarrassing scandal was revealed to them and the entire nation at the same time, and once the photos were released, there was no stopping any tweeter from stating their opinion on the matter in 140 characters or less. Going through a cheating scandal is tough, but to have everyone from a Twi-hard in Kentucky to the host of the MTV Video Music Awards weigh in on the issue adds pounds of salt to the wound.
But now, People.com reports that Pattinson and Stewart are back together after their post-cheating hiatus. The two have been spotted spending time together in the homes of their mutual friends. Maybe their press tour for “Breaking Dawn” won’t be the hot, awkward mess everyone was envisioning. Hopefully, these past few months have taught Stewart not to make her mistakes again (hooking up with her married directors), but also to realize her celebrity status will amplify any further mistakes she makes. It’s not fair, but it’s the way the celebrity gossip world works.
The public is fascinated with celebrity success, but engrossed by their failures. And maybe these moments are so tantalizing to the public because they show us they are just like us, not perfect humans who have it all. Or maybe they just make for good conversation in the awkward ten minutes Michigan time gives us before class starts.
Whether celebrities are “Wheeling Luggage!” or “Flying Commercial!,” we want to see the photos. But realize the fact that we are viewing a photo of Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise catching a commercial flight shows the difference between the celeb life and our own: Their lives are ours to watch, scrutinize and #tweet.