Life as a Hollywood couple means perpetual breakup rumors — which means perpetual insistence that “things are good.” But sometimes those denials simply mask the truth — which inevitably emerges in full view.
Just one day before Renee Zellweger filed for an annulment from Kenny Chesney, she said their marriage was fine. One month before Jennifer Lopez announced that her engagement to Ben Affleck was kaput, Affleck told The Associated Press “everything is fine ... everything is good.” And one wonders why Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie would initially deny what now seems obvious.
The latest question of plausible deniability concerns Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. The couple’s publicists responded to magazine reports Wednesday with a statement claiming “Nick and Jessica have not separated. Rumors to the contrary are simply not true.”
The three-year-old “Newlyweds” may well be doing fine, but Us Weekly (which was first to report the split Wednesday) stands staunchly by its story.
“I expect an announcement,” said Us Weekly editor-in-chief Janice Min.
But why would they delay it?
“Nick and Jessica have been a huge business,” Min told the AP. “They’ve performed duets together, they’ve recorded together, ‘Newlyweds’ is one of the most widely successful reality shows of all-time.”
There have also been grumblings that confirmation of the split has been delayed because Simpson reportedly has been paid to break the news only with OK! magazine.
Marisa Schneer, a publicist for the new U.S. version of the British mag, said Wednesday that OK! doesn’t disclose the details of their arrangements with celebrities — but that no story was “in the works” on Simpson.
Hmmm. Sounds like a denial.
What’s undeniable is the short shelf life of past denials.
“Celebrities and publicists, they don’t want a problem until they need to deal with it right then,” said Min. “And sometimes publicists don’t know. I think celebrities tell their publicists on a need-to-know basis.”
Timing also can be a factor: Relationship news can affect movie releases and other projects.
Celebrities and their publicists might also take a page from Bill Clinton and play games with semantics.
The Simpson-Lachey statement of “Nick and Jessica have not separated” leaves wiggle room for divorce — it could be argued that it denies only a legal separation.
Well, that depends on what your definition of “separated” is.