Celebrities Deserve Privacy When the Need is Great.

we-are-all-addictedPrivacy is such an odd term these days, isn’t it? I can do a quick search to find out your address, how much you paid for your house, a photo of your kids, and what you liked on Facebook last week. Even so, there is a definite firewall of privacy that blocks especially painful information for private citizens. Suicides, affairs, bankruptcy, and so on all become sacred and untouchable when they happen to neighbors, friends, and family.

So why is it when it happens to those in the public eye that we feel ownership, even obligation to comment? What makes it suddenly okay to pass judgment and call them “fucking losers” or “privileged trash” or whatever suddenly seems appropriate as a way of venting bitterness towards those who have created a career in the public eye?

It’s easy to dismiss those who have played characters or had their photographs taken at various venues and galas as flighty or shallow. That fact is, that life is bigger than a paparazzo’s photo or the latest theatrical success. Children attend school.  Life partners have arguments over household chores. Friends call to say hi. Parents love. Sadness falls. Nails are gnawed over life decisions no matter who you are. No matter how many red carpets you’ve walked or interviews you’ve given.

Sure. Absolutely. Celebrity is addictive and showy and envy inducing. But our jealousy at sparkly gift bags and flash photos doesn’t mean that the person — PERSON — behind the celebrity deserves to be vilified, exposed, denigrated, especially after death.

You want to make a snarky comment about addiction? About “He deserved what he got”? Consider your familiars. Consider yourself.

Has anyone in your circle of friends or family ever had a gambling problem? A food addiction? Carried on a sexual affair that endangered the physical safety of a spouse? Gotten lap-band surgery to control weight? Driven while tipsy? Drunk? Showed off manliness (or hard-core womanliness) with a firearm? Worked overtime when you weren’t asked to? Filled up on alcoholic beverages until they passed out? (oh, haha! how funny!) Tried to quit smoking? Again? And again? Sworn by a wake-and-bake routine? Shoplifted for fun — especially as an adult? Gotten angry to the point of lashing out when “real life” interfered with a video game? Worked out to the point of missing a menstrual cycle? Stayed on Facebook well after your bedtime? Calmed anger or nervousness through shopping? Cut themselves to feel pain? And then there’s porn. Ever choose to stay in to watch it when you kinda-sorta wanted to go out?

Addictions, all.

Addiction is a manipulative master. Each of us responds differently to triggers that give us joy even as we know — we KNOW — they will also give us pain. Even great talents. Even feted celebrities. We all deserve some semblance of privacy. Even more, when we end up digging a hole too deep to climb out of, our families, our children, deserve to mourn with the very best memories they can hold. We as the public — as people — don’t own other people or their actions. Even celebrities. Perhaps especially celebrities.

Rest in peace. And peace to those left behind to mourn.


About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to car culture, dealing with leaving a career I loved, and spouting off along the way. #RESIST
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28 Responses to Celebrities Deserve Privacy When the Need is Great.

  1. johar1 says:

    To judge is one of those things that seem to come with the package in human beings. We see, we judge. And it seemed to serve some survival purpose long, long ago but today I think it is something we should excersise caution with. As a first time mom I wanted to do “all the right things” which turned out fine, not so fine and plainly wrong. That has tought me that everybody has a story, a view, a road that will never be the same as mine. To understand others and give them the benefit of the doubt, to not feel like we can decide in one facebook post what they are or were is something that I would like to see more.

    • Yes. The initial knee-jerk reaction is natural, and sadly easily shared thanks to social media. But the more thoughtful responses — the introspective ones — are those that should guide us. Thanks for your commentary. Un beso.

  2. Stacie says:

    Thanks for writing this Kristin. I had a lot of FB friend who were mad, who called him selfish and all sorts of other bad things. He was sick. Period. It’s sad he couldn’t beat his demons and be there for his kids. He doesn’t need people judging him. He tried his best, I’m sure.

    • 20+ years is a long, long time to be sober. And the fight is never over — it just comes in waves. He was a good father, a loving partner, and a very good friend to many. And – like many of us – he had his challenges and demons.

      • Karen says:

        23 years is a long time to be sober. And the fact that he went from clean and sober, to using, to dead in less than a year is terrifying. Thank you for all you said in this post, for acknowledging the humanity in each of us, and for reminding all of us to do the same.

  3. Natalie DeYoung says:

    Addiction is not fun and nothing anybody would choose for themselves. I was nothing but heartbroken when I heard about his death, because I have lost too many good people to this cunning and powerful disease. Thank you for this perspective.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your losses. Caring for someone who is an addict, especially when it’s something so deadly, is living while always waiting for the other shoe to drop. And that’s true for regular folks or royalty.

  4. erinific says:

    I could not agree more. Loss is loss no matter what the circumstances. Just because he died at the hands of an addiction doesn’t mean his loved ones are hurting any less.

  5. People with stones and glass houses.
    People who have no idea what they’re talking about. Ignorance really shines through when they say things like ‘they deserved what they got’. Makes my heart hurt for humanity and the world where I’m sending my children.

    • I know that many times the harsh reactions people have to addiction come from their own experience in families and friendship circles, or even with themselves. But just as addiction doesn’t excuse behavior, nor does having been hurt by it. We can understand where it comes from without condoning it. Thank you for stopping in, Farrah!

  6. So beautifully said. As a child of an addict I completely understand the mixed feelings people have. Addiction is selfish and it hurts those who love you so much. But it also a disease and often self-medication for mental illness. It’s not black and white.

    • Yes. Addiction hurts loved ones so badly, so when I hear nasty responses to someone’s death or “rock bottom” arrival, I try to remember that. But as I said in response to Farrah earlier – addiction doesn’t excuse behavior, nor does having been hurt by it. We can understand where it comes from without condoning it.

  7. Natalie DeYoung says:

    Absolutely. Every word here.

  8. aishasoasis says:

    Thank you for all that you’ve said in your post, and especially the point that we ALL are users of something, to some degree more or less, that we don’t need judgemental critique on from anybody!

  9. RChillax says:

    Too often we forget celebrities are just people too, but addiction doesn’t differentiate. Loss is loss. I agree, people in mourning need privacy, not our judgments.

  10. Marcy says:

    Such a loss. People love to throw stones, and it’s easy to forget we’re all just doing the best we can.

  11. Robin says:

    Addiction is a chronic disease. It might go into remission, but there is always the possibility it will return. Why? This disease rewards the brain with pleasure and that is a memory that is never forgotten. I say you should walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you judge their steps – or missed steps.

  12. You know what? There’s this tiny part of me that wishes for one time, some stranger to come up and say, “Hey, you’re the guy that writes that silly little blog!” But that would be about it. I can’t imagine the pressure someone must feel to have everything you do, everyday of your life, be put on display in a fish bowl. I imagine, some people are better equipped to deal with it than others, and there are those who try to find escape in any way they know how.

    I feel sad for this guy and his family, but to judge him without wearing his shoes is not fair. He should be respected for what he accomplished, and not have that tainted by how he died.

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