Amy Jenkins: Riding through the glen, storming out of the studio

Celebrity meltdown

Related Topics

It's well documented that money – beyond a certain necessary level – doesn't make you any happier.

But what about worldwide acclaim? Surely that kind of recognition and success would make one feel better about oneself. And what about rock-solid A-list movie star status? What about an Oscar, a Bafta and a Golden Globe? Nope. Sorry. It just doesn't wash. You're still hanging in the wind with the rest of us.

This week the towering Russell Crowe – gladiator, hunk, action hero-who-also-plays-intellectuals – was felled by one small question in a Radio 4 interview. In fact, he stomped off in a huff like a recalcitrant 14-year-old. Crowe threw his wobbly when, on Radio 4's Front Row, presenter Mark Lawson questioned him about the accent he uses in Ridley Scott's new blockbuster, Robin Hood. Lawson's question was fairly anodyne. He even implied that the tinge of Irish he'd heard in Crowe's accent might have been due to new research into Robin Hood's ancestry.

Crowe responded, "You've got dead ears, mate," before going into a press-release type monologue about the movie's fresh approach to the legend. Spiel over, Crowe couldn't resist coming back to the Irish slur. "I don't get the Irish thing, brother. I don't get it at all...." Lawson tried to start a new question but Crowe swore to himself audibly. When Lawson then asked him whether – as alleged in a new book – he initially refused to say the famous Gladiator line "I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next", Crowe simply got up and walked out.

You'd think that a movie star with this much success under his belt and this much experience would have developed a slightly thicker skin. But then again you'd think that someone on Twitter with nearly one and a half million followers would be able to stomach a bit of carping. Stephen Fry couldn't. When a lone voice said he was a bit boring, he threatened Twitter suicide. Then there was the almost universally adored Ricky Gervais who went ballistic the other day in a newspaper interview when he was asked about rumours that he'd succumbed to Hollywood pressure to lose weight, raving: "Someone said, 'I saw him in The Ivy and he was having a salad.' 'Yeah, I had a salad. I also had f****** deep-fried scampi and followed it with ravioli, you lying f****** c***!"

And what about the recent Gordon Brown example. After a fairly uneventful encounter with a now famous Rochdale resident, Brown called their brief exchange a "disaster" – the kind of over-reaction that is clearly commonplace in this world of huge and fragile egos. But anyone who knows anything about low self-esteem will know that he was really attacking himself. Psychologists tell us that negative feelings are often projected outwards. When cornered, the voracious ego at bay inevitably snarls and attacks.

All of this is because of the pull of the negative. They say that gamblers get a bigger kick out of losing than they do out of winning. Winning – the euphoria is over in a moment. Losing gives you much more emotional turmoil to get your teeth into. In fact, it gives you a problem, and humans are problem-solvers by nature – that's what the survival of the fittest drives us to focus on. There's not much point – in evolutionary terms – in focusing on areas where you're already winning. So we tend not to do it, which doesn't help our peace of mind. And the ego, for similar reasons, is programmed never to be satisfied.

Success, acclaim, wealth – you might have one or two moments in the sun but, after that – be warned – you'll just be back at the coalface digging out problems. May as well take it easy, folks, sit back, put your feet up – have more toast.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Letters: No vote poses difficult questions – so why rush?

Independent Voices
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside  

Autumn’s subtle charm is greatly enhanced by this Indian summer

Michael McCarthy
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments