How to tell if a celebrity relationship is fake
If you’re obsessed with the latest Hollywood gossip, you probably read the blind items. Those are the blog posts that reveal celebrities’ dirtiest secrets — but they don’t name any names. Nobody knows for sure who each piece of gossip is about.
Half the fun in blind items is racking your brain to figure out who they could possibly be about, and then texting your friends to say, “OMG, this news is WILD.”
And if you love blind items, you’ll be absolutely obsessed with “Blind Item,” a new book written by Kevin Dickson, a former editor at In Touch, and Jack Ketsoyan, a celebrity publicist.
It tells the story of an aspiring Hollywood publicist named Nicola who happens to run into a very hot, very A-list celebrity at a party for a disgraced former child star. Love, chaos, and run-ins with the paparazzi ensue.
And as if that wasn’t enough to make you want to rush to Amazon to throw it into your checkout cart, Kevin and Jack promise every piece of dirt in their book is something that actually happened in real life. But just like the blind items their book got its name from, they’re not telling which celebrities they based their characters on.
But luckily there were some things they were willing to tell us. Like why celebrities are more boring than they were 20 years ago, how studios force movie stars to use social media, and how to tell if a celebrity relationship is fake or real.
Hold onto your socks, y’all, cuz you’re about to get shook.
How did you guys decide it was time to decide it was time to take all the dirt you had on celebrities and turn it into a book?
Jack: So basically, me and Kevin met because Kevin used to work at Life and Style Magazine. We became best friends by having cocktail hour and talking about things we would hear and see with clients that we really couldn’t print. All of our friends kept saying, you guys need to put it in a book one day, you need to put it in a book one day. So that’s how it all began! We were like, you know what? It’s time that we put a book together. And here we are today.
Were there any stories that you really wanted to put in but you couldn’t or just didn’t for some reason?
Jack: There’s only one story that I wanted to put in but Kevin was like no way, we can’t do that. It’s too nasty and too gruesome for people to really believe in it. That was the only story we held back on.
Kevin: I actually really like that story. It’s really good Hollywood dish, but the characters for the novel have to be real enough people with boundaries, and when it got to the point where that would need to happen in the book, those characters would have evolved to the point where none of them would have accepted that happening to them or gone along with it.
Do either of you have a favorite piece of that you did include?
Jack: I would say the part when the two main characters go up to The Observatory in LA, and they have wild sex. It’s the ultimate, oh my god, we’re gonna do this, but we might get busted, but we’re gonna do it and have fun!
Kevin: In the book, there were two main dates, and I love the first date where they go out on a boat. I’ve heard stories about when you go out and date this very big celebrity that in order to have a private date, they have to go through all sorts of measures. So renting a boat and taking someone out to sea, and then having to hide in a shipping crate so the paparazzi doesn’t find you, but still managing to be romantic? I love that.
I feel like those are always the kind of celebrity stories that people hear and they’re the most enchanted with because they seem like pure fantasy.
Jack: The beauty of it is that these characters are fictional, but the stories you’re reading are true. We created a fictional campus around the story, but the stories themselves have happened.
On that, I know people always try and guess which characters are which. Which celebrities do people guess the most?
Kevin: It’s all over the place. People who have read it have called us and every single person has been different because people read it reflected in their own celebrity interests. And everyone is certain that they know what’s what and who’s who, and every single person has been wrong. No one has even been vaguely close. And it’s crazy because we didn’t expect it to be such a broad spectrum of guesses.
Jack: And that was our intention when we wrote the book initially. We wanted to make it a little more difficult to guess who these celebrities are. We didn’t wanna hurt anybody’s feelings out there, and we didn’t wanna be malicious to anyone whatsoever. This book is fun, and we wanted people to read it to enjoy themselves, and we wanted celebrities to read it and not feel like they’re being sold out.
Kevin: We didn’t actually sell anybody out. One thing we had in mind with this book is that times are pretty tough right now, and we wanted to give people a book that was like a guilty pleasure. It’s a really sweet dark love story, and when you’re done, you can call your friends or have them over for some cocktails and just laugh and try and guess and interact and make it more of a social experiment.
Jack: The other thing is, I said this yesterday too, a lot of people assume publicists have these glamorous job of walking their clients down a press line. And this really gives you a glimpse of what a publicist truly does with their client. So from beginning to end, from making someone who is a nobody into a famous starlet or famous actor, it gives you the real deal into what a publicist truly does. It’s an art form.
And obviously dating somebody is a big tool celebrities use to further their careers. Walk us through some of the signs that a celebrity is in a fake relationship.
Jack: So the fake relationship… the signs that I usually see are they break up after three years because most of the contracts are a three year contract deal, and the rumors that circulate about a certain someone being in one of those three year relations, 99% of the time, it is true. There are some cold, cold signs.
Things happen around when something’s about to come out for them, whether it’s a movie, TV show, or CD. It all depends on the career they have. Or a lot of these stars now are these little girls who audition and auditions and don’t get anywhere. So no one has time for them, but they get that big break when their agents call them and tell them, ‘so and so is interested in having a fake relationship, and it will change you life.’ And it does change their life! They become an overnight superstar. You can kind of tell when someone’s career is halted, and they come back booming again [because they started dating somebody new].
Kevin: I would also say that if you’re looking for signs, look for couples who will do every red carpet. And this is usually a private celebrity, so all of a sudden they’re doing interviews together for nighttime tv or the red carpet. They’ll do a couple covers together for strange magazines. And then you won’t see them until there’s another red carpet premiere for the other one. That’s a pretty good sign.
Would you ever have any reservations about covering a certain relationship if you knew it was fake?
Kevin: These fake relationships are actually gold because it means you have pretty cooperative couples who will be doing photos. And the art of the tabloids is weave a story around celebrities, so you need something to continue for maybe three months, maybe four months so you can keep checking back on them, because that’s how people relate since they love getting invested in a relationship. So even if it’s fake, it doesn’t really matter in terms of the tabloids because a lot of that is, not fictional, but kind of a fairy tale anyway.
But it’s funny because sometimes a celebrity will try to set up a fake couple without the contract because they realize that it’s good for them and the publicist of the more famous person will always sell them out to the tabloids. And then you’re stuck in a place where you have the photos, but the publicist is like, screw this, I actually wanna tell you the truth. Those truthful moments are more of what ended up in our book rather than tabloid stories.
Can either of you think of any couples that started out as something that was fake but ended up becoming real?
Jack: I don’t think that there has been one. Not one that I’m aware of to be honest with you.
Kevin: I think some people have made an effort to go longer because it’s been a successful business partnership. But when you’re faking something as intimate as love or a relationship, sooner or later someone’s gonna come along, and you’re gonna be thinking that you’d be much better off with who you actually love.
I’ve noticed that whenever a celebrity couple breaks up, in the press statement, they always mention at the end how they want to remain friends. Is that so they don’t alienate anybody who stans for their relationship?
Jack: That’s about the fact that the tabloids will scrutinize and turn it around to make things seem like it was an ugly breakup. That’s just to shut them down right away. But it never works out because the tabloids flip it and say what they wanna say.
Kevin: And also, from the tabloid’s standpoint, when someone breaks up, you get that e-mail that says they hope to continue to be friends, we request your privacy during these difficult times, and it’s exactly the same as getting an automated office reply from someone’s e-mail. You know it’s not true, and then you gotta start sourcing the people around them to find out what’s actually true and how much they actually hate each other.
The last thing I wanna talk about is how compared to the socialite scene of the 2000s, celebrities are boring these days. No one goes out, and everyone watches what they say. I was wondering why you guys think celebrity culture has shifted so much.
Jack: So here’s the thing. Back in the day, celebrities were celebrities because of the mystery that they had. They were more reserved and we didn’t get to see what was behind the facade. The times have changed, and even someone like Beyonce talks about how she had no choice but to get on Instagram and open up about her life because that’s the only way to connect with the fans, which is the only way celebrities are able to sell their music, or whatever else they’re selling.
The socialites nowadays give the public what they really want. The authenticity and the realness of what’s really going on in their lives. A lot of these celebrities are having a hard time with that because they’re not used to it. You look at certain celebrity accounts that have trouble because it’s a bonafide, ageless superstar, but they have only a million or maybe two million followers. But then you go onto this socialite’s Instagram, who’s just a makeup person or model, and they have eight to nine million followers. It speaks to how they relate to their consumer — to the people who are following them. There will be a day where they can wake up and do a picture with no makeup on because they’re being goofy or they’re being silly. They’re letting their followers see the vulnerability of the other side, but the celebrity is NOT.
Even now, I can still think of some celebrities who don’t really use social media, and that’s kind of their whole thing. Do you think we’re moving towards a future where there just won’t be any celebrities who will opt out of this?
Jack: It’s gonna happen because they want work, and if they wanna continue working, they have no choice but to do it. The only celebrity who can get away with that is someone who is one of those comic character celebrities who work on those big franchise movies. They get away with it. But even now, the studios are demanding for them to get on social media, so they have no choice. It’s part of their contract.
Social media is such a big marketing tool for them, because people aren’t watching TV now and they’re skipping through commercials because they have the option. Social media is the only way they can promote the trailer or movie. A lot of agents complain because sometimes somebody will have a million followers and will get access to fifteen movies all because somebody else doesn’t have enough followers or doesn’t bring enough cache to the movie. Times have majorly changed. Even if you look at branding, they are hiring more social media people than they are hiring celebrities because social media girls are more relatable to the consumers who are out there. Celebrities thrive on what you can’t have. But the social media people are basically me, but in a different world.
Definitely, or at least that’s how they’re trying to market themselves.
Jack: Exactly, and some social media people have been called out for being fake or for doing fake stuff. People are not stupid anymore. People smell the fakeness right away. Even when celebrities hire their social media people to post stuff on their behalf, the way they talk or the way they’re writing in the captions, people call them out. People will be like, this is not you posting. This is not how you write.
Which is so crazy, but it makes sense. With social media, you feel like you really know these celebrities because you have access to their world on your personal device 24/7. It makes sense, but it must be really hard to adjust to.
Jack: It’s very hard. Especially for a real actor who has acted for their whole life since they were a child star. All of a sudden to open up this different door and open up your home, it’s freaky for them. It’s not easy. They’re just like, “What do you want me to do? Why do I need to do this?” Back in the day, no one did that. You protected your client. You would not subject them to go out and do certain things. Nowadays, the world of paparazzi and the world of having to show what you do in your life is crucial.
On a scale of 1-10, how annoyed do you get when celebrities decide to complain about the paparazzi?
Jack: Whenever any of my clients have ever complained, I always say listen, it’s the nature of the business. It’s part of your job. There are certain instances where I completely agree that the paparazzi should leave certain people alone, whether it’s at funerals or if they’re playing with their kids out and about at the park. Kids haven’t done anything to us, they should be private. But if you’re out and about at a club and you’re going to a restaurant or the supermarket, I’m sorry, you just have to deal with it. That’s part of the job. So you should not be complaining.
Kevin: I have a similar opinion. If someone rented a castle in the middle of nowhere to try and get away for a romantic relationship and someone manages to get a topless photo from a million miles away, that’s horrible. That’s an invasion of privacy, and they’re going through a lot of effort to have their privacy. But those photos don’t usually get run. We would never run them at Life and Style or InTouch as much as those magazines may have done some pretty crappy things to people over the years. There are limits as to what you can use.
Jack: The funny part of it is that the celebrities who are complaining, moaning, and bitching about it, when it dries up and they’re not being followed, they’re complaining and moaning that the paparazzi is not following them anymore.
Of course they are.
Jack: So it’s like Catch-22. When you don’t have it, you want it, but when you have it, you’re also not craving for it.
Kevin: It’s also interesting to be put in that position where you’re working with someone who’s under the microscope for attention, it can suck in a way that that can stop in the blink of an eye. People move on, people forget, and then it’s not pretty to watch someone desperately try to get that attention back because it’s just not possible. You’re just not gonna get it back.
Buy their book “Blind Item” here.