Terence Blacker: The life of a celebrity toddler is not an enviable one

In a landmark decision, a judge decrees that the child can stay with his adoptive parents, provided he gives 30 per cent of his fame to his father

Share
Related Topics

Celebrity, we would probably all agree, is getting tired. The options are drying up, week by week. Once people were famous for doing things well (Bobby Moore, Christine Keeler). Then they were famous for doing things badly (Eddie the Eagle, Neil Hamilton). Finally, there were those who found fame simply by wanting it very much (Jade Goody, Chantelle) . Where does it go from here?

The answer is with the younger generation. The shape of gossip columns to come lies in the celebrity toddler - its sweet little designer clothes, its shy but knowing poses for the camera, its celebrity growing-pains as it tries to come to terms with life in a goldfish bowl. Already we have little role-models - Brooklyn Beckham, Apple Paltrow, Suri Cruise - but these children have more or less entered the public arena by the conventional route: a much-photographed bump in the mother's stomach, a heart-warming moment on the hospital steps and then, within a year or so, an adorable smile for the paparazzi as they leave for a much-needed family holiday.

This month's celebrity toddler is far more interesting, having hit the ground running, publicity-wise. Only just over a year old and David Madonna-Ritchie is reaching parts of the newspapers which other famous children would give their milk teeth for. He has been adopted by a grade A and a grade C celebrity. He was the subject of a mercy dash to Africa and comes from Malawi, whose previous celebrity output was frankly minimal.

Clearly little David has an eventful future, but Madonna is famous for the detail of her planning. Close family friends are predicting the following milestone events in the his childhood.

2007. Madonna and Guy realise their son is in danger of being a misfit among celebrity children. Angelina Jolie has Shilow, Mick Jagger Beauregard, Frank Zappa had Moon Unit, David Blunkett Little Lad - beside them, David sounds drearily civilian. At his second birthday party, attended by Sir Elton John and Ricky Gervais, the child is officially named David-Baobab, or DB for short.

2008. DB's father in Malawi, having had to put his son up for adoption for reasons of poverty, announces that interview fees from the world's press have allowed him to review the situation and ask for him back. In a landmark decision, a High Court judge decrees that DB can stay with his adoptive parents on condition that he gives 30 per cent of his fame to his father. Max Clifford, appointed to represent Baobab's father, announces that his job is to control the press and protect his client from over-exposure. He reveals that a £300,000 advance has been paid by Bloomsbury for his memoirs and that he is in discussions with the producer of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

2010. DB is at the centre of press frenzy when he attends his first school. From a podium in the school playground, Madonna reminds journalists that her son is just another kid and that his privacy should be respected. Later that year, she and her son make history be being the first mother-son duet to have Christmas No 1 in the charts.

2012 A Panorama report reveals that some of the inhabitants of the village where DB was born had been under the impression that it had been the real Madonna who had visited them back in 2006. A religious revival has since taken place in the area, with large congregations gathering every Sunday to sing their favourite hymns, "Like a Virgin" and "What It Feels Like To Be a Girl". There is controversy when the new Archbishop of York supports Madonna-worship as "a valid expression of Christian goodwill".

2016. In a celebrity tug-of-love battle, Madonna and Guy Ritchie make separate appeals for custody of DB. After the judge asks the 11-year-old celebrity which parent he would prefer to live with, DB astounds the court by opting for his real father on the grounds that his adoptive parents have not appeared in Heat for two years, whereas DB Snr now has his own BBC1 chat show. A request by Madonna for a percentage of her former son's future fame is rejected.

Miles Kington is away

React Now

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

Key stage 1 and 2 teachers required for the Vale of Glamorgan

£90 - £110 per day + Travel Scheme & Free Training: Randstad Education Cardiff...

Foundation Phase Teacher required

£90 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Exciting opputunities availabl...

Learning Support Assistant

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Learning Support Assistant - Newport

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Prime Minister David Cameron walks on stage to speak at The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference on November 4, 2013  

Does Cameron really believe in 'British Values'?

Temi Ogunye
The Lada became a symbol of Russia’s failure to keep up with Western economies  

Our sanctions will not cripple Russia. It is doing a lot of the dirty work itself

Hamish McRae
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz