The Charmed Lives of Celebrities: Is it All that It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Standing in line at a Ralph’s supermarket in Hollywood the other day, I couldn’t help but scan the covers of the tabloids. An A-list actress had been photographed just returning from rehab. Another had been photographed while on vacation — cellulite and all. Still another had just caught her husband having an affair. Reading these headlines, I began to wonder: amidst all of that disaster, are celebs really enjoying the charmed, coveted lives we mortals imagine they live?

On the one hand, they have so much: they live in ridiculously large homes, take ridiculously lavish vacations, own ridiculously expensive cars, and look, wellâÂ?¦ ridiculously good. They’re idolized and idealized; something we non-celebs will probably never experience. On the other hand, research has shown that with celebrity comes a host of potential troubles.

In his research, Jib Fowles, author of “Star Struck: Celebrity Performers and the American Public” (Smithsonian Institute Press), found that the average age of death for celebrities overall, was 58, compared to an average of 72 years for other Americans. His findings also showed that celebrities are almost four times more likely to kill themselves than the average American.

And not only is suicide a nasty downer, but celebrities are more prone than the average non-celeb to addictions and eating disorders.

Celebs are obsessed with living up to their image–an image based on the most unrealistic of expectations. To be a size zero. To not have cellulite or acne, or make mistakes in public that will tarnish that well-executed image.

They’re assaulted by the press, the critics, the public, and in some instances, stalkers. They live under the proverbial microscope. And for most, their glory will be fleeting, which leads the smart ones who realize it to constantly obsess about losing it.

Due to the nature of their work which awards them their celebrity, many, possibly even a majority, are consumed with some sort of neurosis: depression, lack of trust, chronic fear, and self-doubt. Some celebs turn to drugs to deal with the pressure. The list of celebrity deaths from drug overdoses is exceptionally long, and includes: Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Scott Newman, David Kennedy, John Belushi, and River Phoenix.

Eating disorders are also an epidemic in Hollywood. To name just a few who have graced the battlefield: Mary-Kate Olsen, Tracey Gold, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, and Justine Bateman.

It’s easy to see why. Those who let themselves exceed a size four are the perfect fodder to be plastered on the covers of tabloids and treated like circus sideshows. Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½So-and-so has gained 50 pounds!’ Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Look, another has cellulite dripping from her thighs!’

They also have an insane track record for failed marriages. Jennifer Lopez was married to Ojani Noa for 13 months. Alyssa Milano and Cinjun Tate were married for 10 months. Drew Barrymore, a favorite of mine, but one who has also done poorly in the relationship arena, was married to Jeremy Thomas for less than one month-then to Tom Green for a mere six months.

Celebrity life. Sure-their lives are glamorous, in many ways. But is it all that it’s cracked up to be? It’s definitely not without its share of troubles. But hey, I’d give it a try.

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