Parents of celebrities throw propriety aside

As we grow up, our relationships with our parents can be quite difficult to manage. The phone calls they insist we make everyday, the birthday wishes that so often slip our minds and the inconvenient trips back home all contribute to the constant activity and intense stress levels that college students already face.


Daily Trojan

Sure, there is no denying that family is important, yet that grueling organic chemistry midterm or the 10-page English literature paper due this week will more than likely take priority.

No longer reliant on mommy and daddy to tuck us in at night, we have become independent, responsible and self-sufficient young adults — or so we would like to think. The divide between having parents who hover over our every move from more than 5,000 miles away or having ones that barely notice we’re even gone (and since moving out, our rooms have transformed into home gyms) is hard to measure — we can’t decide which we’d rather have. Many of us have already had to institute a ban on our parents from joining Facebook.

On the surface, the role of parenting in Hollywood should not be too different, right? It can be assumed that parents of young stars will still take on the same responsibilities as they did before they became famous: raising them to become upstanding individuals, providing them love and guidance and always being available to bail them out of trouble. For Tinseltown’s newest generation of rebel rousers, the latter is basically guaranteed.

But as these young celebrities reach exponential heights of success, a pattern of poor parenting seems to be the case. Mom and Dad abandon the standards they once held themselves to and instead find ways to greedily capitalize on their child’s new found fortune.

When Macaulay Culkin, the child actor behind the Home Alone series, enjoyed his first taste of the spotlight, his notorious stage dad was there to cut the celebration short, opening legal battles that disputed custody rights and access to Culkin’s money (he was a minor at the time).

Actress Drew Barrymore faced problems with her parents from the get-go and filed for emancipation at the early age of 15.

The mother of Friends star Jennifer Aniston penned a tell-all book about her daughter after their falling out.

With fans knowing anything and everything there is to know about their favorite celebrities, today the territory of a star’s relationship with their parents is never off limits.

Michael Lohan, the father of tabloid spectacle Lindsay Lohan, has had stints in jail, and is battling allegations of domestic abuse. Since his very public release from jail, Michael Lohan says he has been dedicated to finding help for his daughter, but all the while continues to generate revenue from media outlets each time he gives an interview about Lindsay Lohan.

Last week, perhaps looking for another lucrative opportunity, Michael Lohan topped his history of outlandish fatherly behavior and sank to a new low: recording an emotional phone conversation he had with a tearful Lindsay and leaking the tape to numerous online entertainment sites online.

Though his true intentions of revealing Lindsay Lohan’s private feelings will never be known (he claims he wanted the world to know her condition so she can be pushed into rehab), the repeated parental practice of selling out and cashing in on their kids has evolved into a disgusting sport that is so commonly played out in Hollywood.

Lindsay Lohan’s mother offered no comment on the situation, as she is too busy living like she’s 21 again, enjoying the rounds at the hottest nightclubs in New York and Los Angeles — all on her daughter’s tab, of course.

Today, the degree to which the public is so openly exposed to the falling outs between stars and their parents can be catastrophic. Family feuds are broadcast loudly to riveted audiences and gossip reporters are digging far into background checks for a scrap of dirty laundry. Usually, it’s the parents looking for a piece of the limelight who come forward with the goods.

Meanwhile, while 16-year-old Miley Cyrus is busy gyrating on stage in a dominatrix-esque leather jumper for a performance at a charity event, people wondered, where were her parents? For young celebrities, parental negligence is hitting an all-time high.

So for college students: Enjoy the care packages parents occasionally send and embrace the sometimes-annoying display of interest they show when wanting to know everything about their child’s lives. Pick up the phone, give Mom a call and just be thankful it won’t be recorded and sold to TMZ or OK! Magazine.

Christopher Agutos is a junior majoring in public relations. His column, “Pop Life,” runs Tuesdays.

1 reply
  1. Tina
    Tina says:

    Great article, but you have to wonder if it’s all real. Some of these instances of “parental negligence” could potentially be publicity stunts. I wouldn’t put it past Hollywood.

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