The curse of Hello! magazine
Friday 09 May 2008
If you've ever been baffled by the separation of a celebrity couple, thinking: "But I saw them on the cover of Hello! last week, looking really happy," be baffled no more. It's a recognised phenomenon, known as "the curse of Hello!" – a mysterious hex cast on your romantic life the minute you appear in Hello!, especially if you are talking about how happy you are.
It arose in the early 1990s after a rash of post-Hello! splits, including Jane Seymour and David Flynn and Donald Trump and his then girlfriend Marla Maples. Talking of marriage, Trump and Maples posed for an eight-page photoshoot in Trump's New York apartment.
Days later, Trump announced that it was time to "step aside and look in other directions". With a handful of exceptions, any happy couple who appear in the magazine's glossy pages are probably doomed; whether they're in a 12-page wedding extravaganza or Hello! merely speculates on how in love they look, once the presses roll, the clock starts ticking.
Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman started dating Mandy Smith when he was 47 and she was 13. They were married six years later, and their wedding was one of the first to be covered by Hello!, in a 14-page spread. The magazine's 17 June cover celebrated with the headline "The fairy-tale wedding of Bill Wyman and Mandy Smith". They split two years later. Wyman blamed the whole thing on a "mid-life crisis".
Ulrika Jonsson sold her 1990 wedding to cameraman John Turnbull to Hello! for a six-figure sum. An exclusive photoshoot with their week-old baby in 1994 was sold for £25,000. They divorced in 1995, after Jonsson had an affair with another cameraman, Phil Piotrowsky. She later married Lance Gerrard-Wright and appeared on the front cover of Hello! with him in November 2003, two months after their wedding. Two years later, they separated.
On 27 August 1988, Prince Andrew posed with Sarah, Duchess of York on the front cover of Hello! with their new-born daughter Beatrice. In 1990, they appeared in another spread, gushing about their love for each other and their children. That issue sold half a million copies. Two years later, in 1992, they split following an unfortunate incident involving toe-sucking.
On 26 March, Earl and Countess Spencer posed on the front cover and in a seven-page spread with their new-born son. "Earl and Countess Spencer present their son and heir, Louis Frederick John," read the headline. They divorced in 1997, in a highly publicised court case, with Victoria accusing her husband of adultery. She went on to marry Jonathan Aitken (a model, not the former Conservative MP).
The same issue (297) carried a spread on Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett. The couple had married in 1993, three weeks after they met. About nine months after the Hello! piece, they announced their separation and got divorced. It was not the first time Roberts had fallen foul of the curse of Hello!; she appeared in the magazine with fiancé Kiefer Sutherland in 1991, a few weeks before she broke off their engagement almost on the eve of their wedding.
Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley were perhaps the most bizarre couple in modern history (apart from Liza Minnelli and David Gest). They celebrated their first wedding anniversary with a photoshoot in Hello!... and split up eight months later.
In a March issue, the model Helena Christensen declared that she and the wayward singer of INXS, Michael Hutchence, were going strong. "Michael and I love each other," she said. "Although we both have to travel a lot we have a very steady relationship." Alas, a week later, amid a maelstrom of rumours that Hutchence was seeing Paula Yates, the couple announced that they would be "spending time apart".
Amanda Holden and Les Dennis broadcast their marriage to the world with a cover special and interview with Hello! on 17 June 1995. She was 24, he was 40. It all ended in tears, after Holden made headlines for her affair with Neil Morrissey. She and Les were divorced in 2003.
Paul and Sheryl Gascoigne's marriage lasted 17 months after the couple sold the exclusive rights to Hello! for more than £100,000. They were originally going to do a deal with OK! magazine, but changed their minds at the last minute because Sheryl's hairdresser said Hello! was "posher".
On 9 January 2001, baby-faced Westlife member Brian McFadden and Atomic Kitten Kerry Katona went public on the cover of Hello! with details of their year-long engagement. They were married in 2002 and separated by 2004.
Hello! ran a piece in January gushing about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez's solid relationship. "Though touring without his fiancée Jennifer Lopez, the actor affirmed they're still very much an item. 'We've bought a country house,' said Ben. 'We like peace and quiet.'" A day after the magazine hit newsstands, the couple announced they were splitting up... amid stories that Affleck had visited a lap-dancing club in Vancouver.
England Rugby World Cup hero Josh Lewsey and his girlfriend, schoolteacher Tamsyn Leach, should have known better when they invited Hello! into their home for a photoshoot, soon after England's 20-17 victory over Australia. Two years later, they split up over a "personal matter".
Singer Sheryl Crowe and seven-times Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong were due to marry at the end of March at their ranch in Austin, Texas. Then Crowe gave an interview to Hello!, spilling secrets about the wedding and revealing that she would be wearing a strapless Ralph Lauren dress. "He just inspires my life," said Crowe of Armstrong. "He's my best friend. He's made me look at life differently." Weeks later, they split. No reason was given.
Celebrity Big Brother contestant Samuel Preston announced in Hello! that he wanted to marry his girlfriend of 18 months, Camille Aznar, a few weeks after he left the Big Brother house. "I'd like to marry Camille; she's intelligent and funny," said Preston. "We've touched on the subject since I left the house." He said of his housemate Chantelle (while admitting that he fancied her): "To be honest if I saw Chantelle in a club I'd assume she was a bit of an idiot." The same day Preston gave the interview, he split from Camille – and ended up marrying Chantelle in August 2006 – but they decided to split in June 2007. Preston is rumoured to be back with Camille.
Three weeks after appearing in a sentimental clinch on the cover of Hello!, Eminem filed for his second divorce from his wife, Kim. Their first marriage lasted two years and ended in a bitter divorce in 2001. Eminem tattooed "Kim: Rot In Pieces" on his chest and they fought a custody battle over their 10-year-old daughter, Hailie. Their second marriage lasted 82 days.
Kate Moss and Pete Doherty were featured in a four-page spread, which said: "Kate's relationship with Pete, while rather tempestuous, appears calmer and more stable of late." Ten days later, it was reported that Moss had the locks changed on her house and had thrown Doherty's belongings out on to the street.
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