You know the saying: “You need a SAG card to make a movie, but you don’t need a license to have a kid.” With the spate of bad celebrity-parenting news, who's looking out for the children? Either you’re a celebrity, or you’re a parent. Here are 10 reasons why you can't have it all.
1. Innate inability to distinguish between healthy parent-child communication and “Glengarry Glen Ross.” The verbal abuse received by most kids isn’t nearly as eloquent as that now infamous (and well-annunciated) rant Alec Baldwin deposited on his 11-year-old (or 12-year-old, he doesn't seem sure) daughter’s voice mail. Then again, most dads aren’t mad-talented actors with booming Shakespearean chops. Nor are most moms bat crazy enough to leak such a voice mail to TMZ.com for everyone, including their daughter’s classmates, to hear — as Baldwin claims was done by mom Kim Basinger (and she denies). But hey, who wants to hear the emotional meltdowns of non-famous parents anyway? To paraphrase David Mamet, famous parents are for closers.
2. Amicable divorces even creepier than those that go DEFCON 1. Yes, yes, a decade-plus of well-publicized avarice among Baldwin and Basinger is shameful, ugly and undoubtedly damaging to their only child. When reading one famous divorce file, the mind shudders to imagine the dramatic throw-downs witnessed by the children of Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards. But battling parents is something we can all understand. Heck, they even make reality TV shows about it — “Nanny 911,” “Dr. Phil,” “Divorce Court.”
Video: Blame Baldwin or Basinger? But what exactly is up with the Willis-Kutcher-Moores? When Bruce and Demi hit the town with Rumer, Scout and Tallulah, along with Uncle Ashton, it looks like the former marrieds had an older son we never heard about. It’s even worse when Bruce brings a date – providing the illusion that B & D hired a really hot nanny. Which brings us to Reason 3. . . .
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3. Inability to choose appropriate stepparents. Uncle Ashton indeed! So here you are, young Rumer, Scout or Tallulah, on the verge of pubescence, experiencing your first crushes on the smooth-skinned boys of Tiger Beat magazine … and your mom brings home the cover boy! Not only that, she’s letting him take you out solo to various Hollywood shindigs. You know, as if on a date! No one’s implying any impropriety on Uncle Ashton’s part. Hey, he’s hardly Woody Allen. But it’s got to be weird for the girls. And for those steeped in Hollywood lore, it’s vaguely reminiscent of the whole Lana Turner scandal.
4. Insistence on wrecking soccer games for everyone. Who’s going to pay attention to little Isabelle or Connor Kidman-Cruise kicking a goal, when you can gawk at the paparazzi gawking at Tom Cruise and his pregnant fiancee Katie Holmes? Or gawk at Tom Cruise and wife Katie as they make out at Connor’s basketball game. (Hey! They must really be in love!) Or Tom and Katie, with new biological baby Suri in tow, looking like they hate each other at yet another game in which one of Tom’s adopted kids from his previous marriage to Nicole Kidman is playing? Who cares about sportsmanship, when look, Katie’s back to her pre-baby weight!
Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings 5. Don’t allow biological children nearly as much press as those Third World kids Mommy and Daddy keep adopting. It’s bad enough when rich-and-famous moms, dads or both force real-world values by making their kids do chores and throwing away toys left out of the toy box – just ask Madonna’s Lourdes and Rocco. Once the parental units start outsourcing kids from other countries, the less exotic children are lucky if the school photographer takes their picture. Check out Lourdes trying to jam into the picture with mom Madonna and new brother David on a recent visit to his home country, Malawi. Yeah, we were interested in Brangelina offspring Shiloh for like, a minute. But how soon we forget once Angelina Jolie starts talking about getting another kid from Chad.
6. Can’t find child-size Louis Vuitton dog carriers. Teacup Chihuahua breeders would do well to take note of People magazine’s popular “baby bump” issues, and cut back on their spring litters. More than ever before, the hot celebrity accessory this season is the child — domestic or imported. It’s only a matter of time before even Paris Hilton hops on this trend, ordering blond-hair extensions for her mini mirror image. Here’s hoping Paris Jr. isn’t as easily misplaced as Tinkerbell, the little dog once thought stolen, only to be found wondering lost in the Hilton estate.
7. Safety schmafety! Though it seems obvious to us regular folk, you don’t dangle babies from balconies (Michael Jackson) or in front of large aggressive reptiles (the late Steve Irwin). And while it’s easy to find fault with Britney installing a baby seat incorrectly, hey, at least she was using one! Same goes for letting the baby drive while she sits on your lap. It looks dangerous to us, but you never know when teaching a baby to drive might come in handy. What if Britney’s too drunk to drive herself? How irresponsible is letting the baby drive then? Huh?
8. The whole naming thing. This point is obvious and overplayed. Yet celebrities still don’t get it. Nobody’s getting a Golden Globe for the most messed-up moniker guaranteed to get your kid beat up for life. So stop with the Apple, Audio Science, Phinneus, Hazel, Pilot Inspektor, Kal-El, Shiloh Nouvel, Suri, Scout, Rumer, Tallulah, Lourdes, Rocco, Salad Fork, whatever. You know who you are. For all her faults, the late Anna Nicole Smith at least had the good sense to name her kids something normal — even if she could only think of one name for both kids.
9. Even more reality shows. If celebrities aren’t willing to put children first, at least they should consider their fans. Screwed-up celebrity children invariably spawn more celebrity children reality shows. From “The Osbournes” and “The Simple Life,” to the new A&E series “Sons of Hollywood,” starring Aaron Spelling’s son, Randy, and Rod Stewart’s kid, Sean, how soon until every network is jammed with the exploits of these overprivileged brats?
10. No wire hangers. Ever. We don’t want to read their tell-all memoirs either.
New York-based writer Helen A.S. Popkin is leaving this message to tell you that you have insulted her for the last time.