Falling Out of Favor in Tinsel Town: When a Split Can Mean the End of a Career
by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith
For the dropped mate of a superstar, a split can mean more than personal grief. It can be the end of a career.Cris Judd has admitted that he feared no one in the industry would want to hire him as a choreographer once he and J.Lo
were no longer together. To her credit, Lopez made it clear that she held no ill will toward Judd. In such an instance, a star spouse's public declaration that "we are still friends" can be a lifeline for the less powerful ex, a signal to the industry that hiring the star's former mate -- or for that matter, a business partner, relative or any person who has fallen out of favor with a star -- will not be held against you.
Oftentimes, the opposite is true.
There is not exactly a long line of artists knocking at the door of lyricist Rene Elizondo wanting to work with him since his split from Janet Jackson. Their marriage was kept a secret for nine years until he filed for divorce in 2000 -- opening an acrimonious dispute over money, with Elizondo trying to get their prenuptial agreement nullified.
Indeed, the most the public has heard of Elizondo was in Janet's "All For You" album, in which she sang "Son of a Gun" and "Truth" apparently (though she denied it) aimed at her ex: "I had a career before now, didn't I? Sold out around the world, didn't I? I had a few hits before now, didn't I?"
When Roseanne and Tom Arnold split in 1994, "She had him locked out and thrown off the lot and did everything in her power to bad-mouth him and knock him out of work," Arnold's attorney Manley Fried told the Los Angeles Times. But in Hollywood, he said, Roseanne's behavior was only unusual in that it was out in the open.
"Everybody here takes care of everybody else because today they're on top, tomorrow they're out of a job, and they want people to take care of them when their day comes. So it's very easy over a cocktail to make it known: If you've got a choice, don't help [my ex] out."
Clint Eastwood's companion of 14 years, Sondra Locke, complained that was exactly what happened to her. She starred in six films with Eastwood while they were together. After they separated, over the next ten years she had only two roles on the big screen.
When it comes to treatment of the "out of favor," Hollywood is at its coldest and most cruel. Stories are legion of exes getting phone calls uninviting them to parties and meetings with people they THOUGHT were close friends.
Producer Deborah Pratt, who used to partner with ex-husband Don Bellisario ("JAG"), working on such shows as "Quantum Leap," compared the phenomenon to "Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War.' You do not side with the losing army."
When Tinsel Town isn't sure which side in a breakup constitutes "the losing army," a whole different scenario comes into play. Then, the name of the game seems to be keeping the parties apart at parties and other events.
Though she stood by him while he was on trial in New York on weapons and bribery charges (eventually cleared), J.Lo was not to be found in close proximity to ex Sean "P. Diddy" Combs for quite awhile after their split.
As a matter of fact, when the two finally did meet at a party at super agent Ed Limato's annual A-List pre Oscar party, they were the only two celebs to show up with bodyguards. Guess each wanted to be ready, just in case.
A clear case of tension between the armies of Justin and Britney was in play when the exes were present at "The American Music Awards" in January. Host Sharon Osbourne poked fun at the situation, announcing from the stage, "I'm going to take him, Britney. He's all mine."
A big deal was made over whether Tom Cruise would bump into ex-wife Nicole Kidman at the Academy Awards last year -- when the former mates were at a bitter stage of estrangement. Cruise handled the situation by avoiding Nicole's playground, the red carpet, coming in a back entrance and leaving after opening the 2002 show. (Kidman won the Oscar this year.)
Now that Tom and Nicole are on friendlier terms, you can almost hear the town sigh with relief.