I am obsessed with other people’s folly.
My mother subscribed to People magazine, which meant I was up on all of the publicist-approved dirt of the 1990s (the innocent time prior to the most tragic breakup of all, the one between Tom Cruise and his brilliant publicist Pat Kingsley).
“Old Loves” is the kind of site that I can’t get enough of. I’ve read the entirety of it, and I visit more than once a week to make sure I haven’t missed any new posts. My innate voyeurism, my desire to know everything I can about everyone else’s business, and my utter fascination with the transitions made in the lives of celebrities makes this site among the greatest things that have ever happened to me.
It crystallizes all that is the agony and ecstasy of the internet. We can never NOT look back, unless we refuse to play. And who among us refuses to occasionally dig in and do a little…research about what has become of those who we left behind, or those who left us behind? This somehow feels safer than me trying to find out what happened to the guy I was in love with when I was sixteen.
Some of my favorites to reflect on:
1) John Mayer and Jessica Simpson. There was something so exquisitely lost about Jessica in the midst of this relationship. We’ve all been there: you break up with a Ken Doll when you were supposed to live happily ever after, you meet the bad boy you can change, you try to make him take you seriously.
I don’t know John Mayer. I have suspicions about what he might be like as a person, but I don’t know him. What I do know is that he’s not into this relationship and I would gather every moment that did not involve the deployment of sexual napalm was a struggle. Seeing Jessica Simpson work so hard to try to make this work: the brown hair, the reading of books (I recall reading somewhere that she “loved” Chuck Palahniuk during their relationship)…agony. It reminds me of that time in high school I tried to be a Republican for two days to impress upon a young man that I was worth his time. It did not work.
2) Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton. Reds was the catalyst for their breakup; I will let Diane tell it because she tells it beautifully:
“I remember the first time I ever saw Warren. I must have been about 26,” Keaton recalls, placing the incident in the early 70s when her career was just beginning to flower. “It was at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. They used to have a bookstore there, and I was inside, and I looked out and saw him in the lobby. I thought, My god, he’s so beautiful. It was like there was a light. He looked at me for a second, and then [his eyes] passed me by. I thought, I’ll never know him. He’ll never be somebody in my life.”
Warren Beatty is well documented (both in Peter Biskind’s brilliant Star and in Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”) for being difficult, for being deliciously self-involved, and for playing the numbers game in his conquest. (This David Cross quote sums up Beatty’s method.) How anyone gets the upper hand in a relationship with Warren Beatty is utterly beyond me, given all of these attributes, combined with his being so beautiful it’s stupid.
It bothers me and comforts me that Diane Keaton – beautiful, unique, hilarious Diane Keaton – felt this way.
3) Jason Priestley and Shannen Doherty. Oh, look, Brandon and Brenda Walsh, making out. No big deal. It certainly goes a bit of the distance in explaining why the Walsh siblings were so handsy in a window of life where most brothers and sisters exhaust themselves trying not to spend time together.
4) Molly Ringwald and Adam Horowitz. Were these two the Bieber/Gomez of their time? Discuss.
5) Robert Evans and Ali MacGraw. Robert Evans also played the David Cross numbers game, but he loved Ali. And she left him for Steve McQueen. (Side note: this is what she said about McQueen: “I remember seeing him across the swimming pool and my knees were knocking. He radiated such macho energy.”) Even though Steve McQueen was a dreamboat, my heart breaks a bit over these two, because I love their F. Scott Fitzgerald-esque courtship and marriage (well-documented in The Kid Stays in the Picture, book and documentary).
6) Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder. I was a little too young to understand what was happening here WHEN it was happening, but I can understand why die-hard fans of these two keep the candle lit for them to reunite. (And hey, life is long, who knows what could happen). They were the Marlboro-smoking Romeo and Juliet in leather jackets. The way they spoke about it at the time, it seemed like neither of them had ever experienced anything like it.
7) Drew Barrymore and Corey Feldman. Talk about a couple of kids my mom wouldn’t have let me hang out with. I love that these two dated.
8) Diane Lane and all of these dudes from the 1980s. First, HOW. How does she look like that? Second, that beautiful white hooded cape. Third, Bon Jovi.
ANYWAY. Please visit the site and tell me what it means to you.
Sara C.'s crafting career began when her grandmother sent her to lessons at age nine. Public relations, show tunes, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Tuesday Weld are among her areas of expertise. She will put anything on a canvas for you. www.etsy.com/shop/CarsonZickersham
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