CULTURE

How Social Media Changed Celebrity Relationships

Social media has ruined celebrity relationships and built empires— from Chris Pratt to Kim Kardashian, tabloid culture has risen to explosive, new heights via Twitter and Instagram.

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Irina Shayk and Bradley Cooper broke up after 4 years of dating, which included almost a year's worth of rumors about Cooper's friendship with costar Lady Gaga.

Gaga was eager to gush about Cooper, gazing breathlessly into his eyes anytime they were on a red carpet. Their on-screen love led to off screen speculation about their undeniable chemistry. A Star is Born's press run concluded with many awards and, honestly, has yet to entirely end. The pair's charm began to wear thin as people became annoyed by Gaga and put off by Cooper's hubris.

The movie's press run was reminiscent of older Hollywood tactics, when co-stars pretended to be in a relationship to promote their films and each other's careers. Nowadays, celebrity relationships can be mutually beneficial arrangements that not only increase the star's respective cultural relevance and fan bases, but offer the opportunity to building a corporate brand around their romance.

When famous couples do break up, fans experience a fraction of the star's heartbreak because of months or years of investment in the couple—following their relationships online, in videos, and on talk shows. One of the most notable couples in recent years to use social media to address their break up was Anna Faris and Chris Pratt. Anna posted a text message to her feed and Chris posted the same on Facebook, personalizing the PR announcement.

Social media has offered celebrities a way to directly talk to the public and vice versa. In return, fans can begin to feel like they know their favorite celebrities personally, beyond the voyeurism of magazine readers. Online, the public has a voice that intervenes in the real life relationships of celebrities. Now, social media allows fans to relentlessly weigh in on stars' personal lives with relative anonymity.

Months after her separation from her Pratt, Faris detailed her marriage's narrative, explaining how the rumors about her then-husband and his co-star, Jennifer Lawrence, made her feel "incredibly insecure" during the Passengers' press run, with tabloids constantly covering the chummy pair. The media's speculation over who is dating who can be rooted in truth, but can also have real world effects on relationships.

Similarly, rumors of a romance between Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson percolated for a long period. In turn, fans' obsession about the two became paralyzing for the friendship. Back in 2017, Tomlinson commented on how their hyper-analyzed interactions ruined their relationship:

"It created this atmosphere between the two of us where everyone was looking into everything we did. It took away the vibe you get off anyone. It made everything, I think on both fences, a little bit more unapproachable."

The public's ability to comment whatever whenever online escalates the power of the media to insert themselves into celebrity relationships. The stampede of opinions from journalists and online trolls can be suffocating and destroy relationships, like the many who theorize to this day about Shayk and Cooper. Eventually, Lady Gaga told people to "f**k off" after being heckled, once again, about Cooper, a reaction that almost certainly came from a place of exhaustion from the constant rumors.

Meanwhile, celebrities in secure relationships are able to profit off social media by building their image around their personal lives. Chrissy Teigen became an internet sensation through Twitter, molding a career beyond modeling while expanding her family with John Legend. Last year, the husband and wife began starring in ads together, the first being for Google Duo. The pair even hosted A Very Legendary Christmas together on NBC, which proved the couple's immense marketability. Their relatability and online banter are easy selling points for those who care about a more down to earth, famous family.

Before the dominance of social media, the Kardashians were some of the first celebrities to utilize the platform to elevate their fame by connecting with fans and bringing them a step further into their "lives." At the time, Kim's relationship with Kanye was one of the first to demonstrate the possibilities for A-List influencers. Their relationship propelled Kim into another realm of celebrity and exhibited how the internet can heighten celebrities' reputations. Each Kardashian has been able to increase their visibility due to the people they date or wed. While that is not a new concept, the direct accessibility to the stars through our personal devices increases individuals' investment in following celebrities' daily lives. In the meantime, celebrities take advantage of their devoted fans. With the saturation of ads and promotional posts embedded in personal content, it can feel like one can't escape capitalism: Celebrities want us to conflate purchasing their endorsed products with being a supportive fan.

Unfortunately, the difference between social media and self promotion is becoming more difficult to differentiate. With the rise of social media, celebrity brands are more cultivated than ever, and the means of promoting those brands are through rumors and publicity about high-profile relationships rather than artistic work. The subconscious reckoning of tabloid culture manifests in a more personal, somewhat inescapable way which can ruin relationships or increase net worth, all while staying in a field of vision consumers can enjoy by taking toxic pleasure in gossip.

The prince aids national enquirer story proves the tabloid can always sink to new depths

Just when I truly believed The National Enquirer couldn’t sink any lower into the sewer, it goes and proves me wrong.

And, despite my steadfast agnostic mindset, it makes me believe there really is a special place in “hell” for this rag.

But, come on, you say...it’s just a stupid tabloid!

Why so harsh?

Well, read on….

This week’s front cover SCREAMS:

AIDS KILLED PRINCE

Then alleges:

HE DIDN’T HAVE TO DIE: Refused Medicine, Saying “GOD CAN CURE ME!”

In addition to:

AGONIZING FINAL DAYS: Seizures, chronic pain, and ADDICTED TO OPIATES

And, it doesn’t get any better inside.

According to “a music industry source” supposedly interviewed by The National Enquirer, Prince messaged friends on April 19 to inform them he had AIDS.

They quote the “source” as saying:

[Prince] was in bad shape.

Doctors told Prince his blood count was unusually low and that his body temperature had dropped dangerously below the normal 98.6 degrees to 94 degrees.

He was totally iron-deficient, very weak and often disoriented.

He rarely ate and when he did, it all came right back up.

The tabloid goes on to claim Prince contracted HIV “in the 1990s” and was diagnosed with AIDS six months ago.

They allege the 57-year-old had lost 70 pounds in weight prior to his death—and quote the “source” as saying:

His face was yellowish, the skin on his neck was hanging off and the tips of fingers were a brownish-yellow.

Then, as the front cover promises, they go on to detail Prince’s addiction to prescription drugs.

Now, the drug addiction part I believe.

I believe it because TMZ—who broke the news of Prince’s death—has written extensively about it.

Just today, TMZ posted a story about Prince’s long standing Percocet addiction.

According to TMZ, Prince developed a dependence on the painkiller after being prescribed it in 2009 when he was suffering from hip problems.

TMZ also broke the news that the singer’s plane was forced to make an emergency landing six days before his death, because Prince had OD’d on Percocet.

So, yeah, I’m going to believe TMZ’s version of events—because (in addition to a myriad of other reasons) they obviously have the inside track—and, as of now, they have yet to make one single mention of, or hint at, HIV/AIDS.

But, let’s go into the myriad of other reasons why I don’t believe one single word of the Enquirer front cover story.

First:

As a former tabloid editor myself I saw the signs—and the obvious angling at an AIDS “spin”—literally within an hour or so of news breaking that Prince had died.

Several gossip sites heavily played up the fact that Prince was suffering from “flu like symptoms” —that he had lost weight and looked frail.

They wrote about the “mysterious circumstances” of his death.

They talked about his "colorful sex life."

I remember talking to my sister about it and saying that certain outlets were gearing up for an AIDS storyline.

Second:

Tabloid industry egos dictate that if a “rival” news outlet breaks a major, huge, story then you better find some damn way to beat it.

Come hell or high water you just have to trump it—or at least come up with a better exclusive angle/progression/story of your own.

Third:

As the National Enquirer has proven time and time again, they're so utterly desperate to try stem their ever hemorrhaging newsstand sales, they will always take a gamble when it comes to truth and integrity.

They’ll always over-sensationalize a story and run with incredibly shaky off-the-record source quotes.

They’ll happily run photos of stars “on their deathbed” or even in their coffin.

They will run Oprah/Michael Douglas/Doris Day/Burt Lancaster dying front covers time and time again—and hey, nature dictates they will be correct in their supposed "reporting" at some point.

Hell, they'll even run "celebrity death watch" photo galleries

Anything, ANYTHING, to get the newsstand sales.

Fourth:

The Enquirer states that Prince had a raging addiction to prescription meds.

But then, they claim he refused to take AIDS meds because it went against his Jehovah Witness beliefs to take prescription meds.

Really?

Fifth:

Since managing to bully Charlie Sheen into going public with his HIV+ status, and scoring some huge newsstand sales, the Enquirer has also pinned an "AIDS battle" story line on David Bowie.

Because, well, sensationalist HIV/AIDS stories sell well it seems—oh, and the dead can't sue.

The Bowie story was also a BOMBSHELL WORLD EXCLUSIVE! (Their use of the exclamation mark—not mine)

You can read that gem of a story here

For those who feel they can't stomach it, let me treat you to this supposed "source" quote:

AIDS-ravaged David, who was also stricken with liver cancer, went to Switzerland for radical treatment. He was also taking new experimental drugs, but neither worked.

That's supposed to be an actual real undoctored/unedited quote from an actual "source".

"AIDS-ravaged David, who was also stricken with liver cancer...."

Oh, and the story kicks off with this

While fans were told the 69-year-old glam rocker secretly battled liver cancer for 18 months, sources have revealed his family deceived the world about the bisexual star’s death on Jan. 10.

"deceived the world about the bisexual star's death"

Right....

Seriously, I can’t even anymore with this fucking bullshit.

I’ve lost the energy.

This story is despicable and disgusting and deplorable.

But, above everything else—it is just desperate.

On an final note—National Enquirer:

Just because some “music source” (that you more than likely paid) tells you someone had AIDS, and died because they refused treatment, doesn’t mean you should print it.

And, just because it fits your sensationalized, bullshit, spin agenda, doesn’t mean you should print it.

And, just because it feeds into your pathetic ego by “getting a WORLD EXCLUSIVE” that supposedly beats another news outlet that scooped you with a story, doesn’t mean you should print it.

And finally, just because the subject/target of your outrageous front cover is dead—and therefore not able to sue—doesn’t mean you should print it.

But then, hey, you’re the ones who have to sleep at night.

For more entertainment, music and pop culture updates and news, follow Max Page on Twitter

ADD:

After looking through reader comments I want to make it clear that my anger and disgust at this cover story has absolutely nothing to do with AIDS, as a disease.

I do not feel they are “disparaging” Prince’s legacy or memory by linking him to AIDS—because I do not believe AIDS is a dirty disgusting shameful disease. I do not believe that at all. In fact, I’ve had numerous, very public fights, with people over that very subject—after they’ve tried to argue cancer charities are more “worthy” than AIDS charities because “you can’t help getting cancer”. And that dying of AIDS is somehow less "noble" than dying from cancer.

My disgust at this front cover has absolutely nothing to do with AIDS, in that sense ... trust me, I was equally enraged and disgusted by the Enquirer's recent sensationalist: Dying Michael Douglas The End! front cover.

My anger at the Prince story is fueled by my disgust at the Enquirer's well worn policy of attempting to "AIDS sensationalize" celebrity deaths at each and every opportunity—as just recently shown by the David Bowie "secret AIDS battle" story.

My anger is at the Enquirer painting Prince’s supposed AIDS diagnosis in such a disgusting salacious manner—complete with exclamation mark, after exclamation mark.

My anger is over the fact the Enquirer story is based purely on speculation and rumor which they have taken and then pinned on a "source".

Now, if it does turn out to be true, the Enquirer's story will STILL have been based purely on speculation and rumor—it will just be a case of them having taken a gamble and it having paid off.

And, if the official cause of death does not list AIDS as a contributing factor, then this story will live on anyway, because they built in an "autopsy cover up" angle...

All of THAT is what makes me mad.

For more entertainment, music and pop culture updates and news, follow Max Page on Twitter

 

Madonna drunk dialing

Madonna drunk dialing ‘everyone she knows’ hands down wins the best fake story of the week award.

Good job National Enquirer …. good job!

As with most great stories, it's so great, because you soooo want it to be true!

We can picture this so perfectly

Madge, looking like some kind of Blanche "Baby Jane" DuBois, make-up smeared, swigging from a nearly empty bottle of vodka, gnarled hands leafing through her well thumbed, battered old little black book.

“Ha! Warren Beatty, let’s give that old bastard a call,” she slurs to herself, taking another swig.

Ring… ring…ring….ring….

“Hey Beatty, remember me? You think you’re all that dontcha? Well let me tell you… you’re nothing but a washed-up has-been you cock sucker you……”

Hangs-up, sniggering to herself.

Picks up well thumbed, battered old little black book…..gnarled hands leafing through….takes another swig…

“Ha! Guy fucking Ritchie…. let’s call that arrogant British asshole…..”

It’s such a great visual

As Popdust previously reported, amid her ongoing custody battle with Ritchie over son Rocco, Madge has seemingly been losing the plot.

She’s been turning up late for concerts, and riding around on a tricycle dressed as a clown.

She’s sexually assaulted a teenager live on stage, has been accused of slurring her words and appearing to be drunk.

So, it’s a no-brainer to spin and weave a Madonna drunk dialing story—and what a wondrous drunk dialing web the Enquirer has weaved!

Epic meltdown

The tabloid claims the 57-year-old is in the midst of an “epic meltdown” and hitting the bottle hard.

A “source” alleges:

Madonna’s in a terrible state…

She’ll have a few too many drinks and start calling everyone from Guy to her daughter Lourdes, even her former hubby Sean Penn gets them!

And that’s not it!

Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore and ex-boyfriend Carlos Leon have also been on the receiving end of the Madonna drunk dialing rampage apparently.

Off the rails

But, what about Madonna drunk dialing Vladimir Putin? The Dalai Llama? Taylor Swift? Come on guys use your imagination here!

The “source” continues:

[Madonna’s] relying on booze to help her sleep, and when she can’t, she starts calling up people.

She’s really going off the rails and no one around her is strong enough to put a stop to it.

Oh no! Poor Madge! Somebody do an intervention, STAT!

Paging Ellen Degeneres!

Perhaps she can step in when she’s finished her completely made-up Justin Bieber intervention!

For more entertainment, music and pop culture updates and news, follow Max Page on Twitter

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madonna drunk dialing