We live in a world where Paris Hilton makes approximately 20 billion times as much as your average public schoolteacher, and talk show host Oprah Winfrey has a net worth double that of a lot of small countries. What do these celebrities do to earn such riches? Sure, Paris had her reality show, but surely the guy who picks up your trash every morning before dawn sweats way more than she ever will. Does anyone really believe that George Clooney works harder than a middle school teacher? I sure don’t. So maybe it’s time that—instead of begrudging our stars their super-sized salaries—we make them earn it, by learning from their high-profile relationship ups and downs.
Jennifer Aniston: No matter how beautiful, rich and successful you are, if you’re not married with a baby by 40, certain people will still insist you’re a sad, desperate loser. Angelina Jolie: If you’re hot enough and perform the occasional charitable work, you can get away with publicly kissing your brother, wearing a vial of blood around your neck and taking up with a just-separated, but still-married man.
Eminem and Kim Mathers: Money can make things better, but also can come between a couple. Writing songs about murdering your wife doesn’t do much to help either.
Madonna: When choosing to take your husband’s side over your brother’s, make certain your brother signed a non-disclosure agreement before cutting him loose. No matter how much it costs you.
George Clooney’s ex-girlfriends (all of ‘em): When a guy tells you he’s not going to marry you, believe him.
Paris Hilton, Vanessa Hudgens, Kim Kardashian, et al: When it comes to digital photography, there is no such thing as “for his eyes only.”
John Edwards & Eliot Spitzer: Next time you get caught cheating, try eating crow with a slice of humble pie. It goes down much easier than futile denials and weak excuses.
Anne Hathaway: No more bad boys with suspicious incomes, like Rafaello Follieri, okay?
Don Draper: No, not Jon Hamm, the guy who plays him on Mad Men. The character. While Draper’s behavior lately has been reprehensible in an uncomfortably arousing way, it’s good to remind ourselves that what might be stimulating onscreen, would be considerably less than pleasant in real life.
The Hills’ Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag: You know those annoying couples who constantly shove their “coupledom” down your throat? It hasn’t happened yet for these two, but like Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck before them, those who brag too much don’t usually last too long.
Ashton Kutcher & Demi Moore/Bruce Willis & Emma Henning: Ashton’s 30, Demi’s 46. Bruce Willis is 53 and his current model du jour is 29. Sixteen years difference v. 26 years and yet who gets the cradle-robbing rep? Demi. Apparently it’s fine to hang out in front of the local high school for dates if you’re a dude, but less okay if you’re a lady.
Bret Michaels, Flavor Flav, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, Tila Tequila, assorted Bachelors and Bachelorettes: A depressing note to end on, but if you can’t find love on a reality series like Rock Of Love, Flavor Of Love, and A Shot At Love, and can’t maintain it on Newlyweds what hope is there for those of us cursed to walk through life unfilmed?