Editor’s Note: Christine Michele is a contributing editor at Socialite Life where she writes about pop culture.
NEW: Jessica Simpson confirms her pregnancy
There is speculation that Jessica Simpson may be pregnant, but not much buzz
Simpson has been spotted around town rubbing a protruding belly
It seems that in recent years, Hollywood has been “baby crazy,” and celebrity followers have flocked to entertainment shows, websites and magazines with a voracious hunger to get the latest news on which stars are expecting a visit from the stork.
Gossip columns relish in playing the “Is she or isn’t she?” game. Magazines engage in fierce bidding wars to run the first photos of a new celebrity baby. Celeb kids such as Violet Affleck, Suri Cruise and Kingston Rossdale often get as much, if not more, press as their famous parents. Baby bumps and due dates are increasingly popular topics of conversation on the red carpet.
You’ve seen the names in recent headlines – Benicio Del Toro, Mariska Hargitay and, most recently, Bruce Willis – but one celebrity has been slightly ignored in the realm of celebrity baby watchers: Jessica Simpson.
Rumor has it that the singer/actress/reality show star/fashion designer is pregnant with her first child with her fiancé, former NFL player Eric Johnson. But, besides from some idle speculation, not much has been made of the blessed event – well, except for some jokes at Jess’ expense.
She has been seen strolling around with a rotund tummy, most recently holding hands with Johnson while rubbing said belly. On Monday tweeted confirmation that she is pregnant by posing in a mummy costume and cradling her belly with the words “It’s true – I”m going to be a mummy!”
Despite the added tidbit that Simpson’s ex Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo recently announced at a local event that “I actually have one on the way” with his wife, the interest in a Simpson’s pregnancy seems decidedly muted.
According to outlets like the New York Post, Simpson’s father/manager, Joe, hasn’t even been successful in getting the media to bite. Stories are circulating that he has been trying to sell the story of the alleged pregnancy (and, of course the first mama/baby photos) to the tabloids, possibly because his daughter has been seen about town sporting what appears to be a rather obvious baby bump. So why aren’t the celebrity-driven media going ga-ga about this star mama?
You could try to attribute the lack of interest about the future baby boy or baby girl Simpson to some sort of collective “baby fatigue,” but that theory doesn’t stand up to the hoopla that surrounded the first public appearance of Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon’s twin babies, Moroccan and Monroe (accompanied by not only a “20/20” interview with Barbara Walters but a week’s worth of teasers showing just the backs of their heads). We’d like to offer a couple of theories as to why the entertainment industry and fans are generally apathetic to the Simpson pregnancy:
The Maury defense: We know who the father is
When actresses fail to disclose the name of the child’s father, we become all the more curious about the offspring. Take the recent case of “Mad Men” star January Jones. A number of actors have been fingered as potential fathers of Jones’ son, Xander.
The mystery daddy isn’t a new phenomenon. Remember when Melissa Etheridge and her then-girlfriend enlisted the services of an undisclosed sperm donor to father their children, only to get even more attention when it was revealed that the donor in question was legendary rocker David Crosby? Johnson has been the only man in Jessica’s life for quite a while, and there’s no doubt as to paternity. If Simpson had been seen around town with maybe a former flame like John Mayer or even the aforementioned Romo, she could have gotten some tongues wagging.
Scandal? What scandal? Exactly.
It may boil down to a lack of interest in Simpson as a headline-grabbing celebrity.
Many women, myself included, would say she’s got an impressive line of shoes, but as of late, she hasn’t done much of note – either famously or infamously. She hasn’t had a hit single in quite a while. Her films have been largely straight-to-video flops (“Major Movie Star” or “Blonde Ambition,” anyone?) and she’s not been able to replicate her success in the reality TV genre after the demise of “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica” (“The Price of Beauty” on VH1 just didn’t cut it).
Poor Jess can’t even register much of a blip in the scandal sheets. Her biggest scandal in the past few years revolves around her questionable taste in pants (the infamous “Mom Jeans” incident of 2009). Her upcoming reality project, “Fashion Star,” could get her back in the headlines, but we suggest a Demi Moore-esque nude pregnancy photo shoot to get a little tabloid love.
The name game
Maybe we just have to wait until Simpson gives birth to draw some attention to her imminent motherhood. The announcement of celebrity baby names is quite a big deal in the entertainment press, especially when the chosen name isn’t one you’re likely to hear on the playground any time soon, like Jason Lee’s son Pilot Inspektor or Nicolas Cage’s son Kal-El. If Simpson wants some guaranteed media attention, she could name her kid Chicken C. Simpson.
It’s no secret; millions of people have babies every day. But, it’s slightly ironic that a woman whose first marriage and divorce we watched faithfully on the boob tube has lost the audience for the possible birth of her first child. Regardless if anyone outside her immediate family cares, since she’s due for a blessed event, that should be her top priority – headline or no headline.