Celebrities forfeit much of their privacy as a result of being public figures. Sometimes there is frustration over this. When a celebrity is the one releasing private information about loved ones, it can cause severe family friction.
In a past episode of “I Am Cait,” entitled Family Interference, Kim Kardashian called out Caitlyn Jenner for saying “hurtful” things in a “Vanity Fair” interview. Kim pointed out a few things Caitlyn said during the interview that she thinks Caitlyn did not realize would upset family members. For instance, Kendall and Kylie were described by Caitlyn as “a distraction.” Also, Kim said Caitlyn told the reporter, “Had Kris been accepting to who I am, we would still be together.” Caitlyn’s assertion that Kris Jenner’s behavior was what caused their divorce did not sit right with Kim.
Kim’s reaction is understandable. Caitlyn was saying things in her interview that would have best been kept private or only shared with other family members. Reading about Caitlyn’s feelings in an article, for all the world to see, was too much brutal honesty for some of Caitlyn’s family members to see on public display in a magazine.
The “I Am Cait” episode showed an instance of a celebrity dishing on other celebrities. As much as it was difficult for Kim and other family members to read the “Vanity Fair” article, they are all still public figures and understand that their privacy will always be compromised just because of their status as a celebrity family. But what about instances where a celebrity interferes with the privacy of someone who is not a celebrity? That’s a completely different matter. Celebrities sign up for loss of privacy when they pursue fame, but the average non-celebrity is used to enjoying a higher level of privacy.
On Aug. 26, it was revealed that Rosie O’Donnell’s daughter, Chelsea O’Donnell, chose to move in with her birth mother. This comes less than three weeks after then 17 year old Chelsea went missing for a week, starting on Aug. 11, and was found by police with a 25 year old man.
While Chelsea was still missing, Rosie had issued a statement on her website stating that Chelsea is mentally ill, was not taking her medication as prescribed, and needed medical attention. Chelsea was returned to Rosie after she was found but moved in with her birth mother the day she turned 18. Why Chelsea chose to leave Rosie for a second time was eventually made public and her reasoning is understandable.
On August 28, it was reported in “The Daily Mail” that Chelsea’s birth mother stated that Chelsea is not mentally ill at all. Chelsea is unhappy that Rosie made a public statement referring to her as mentally ill and that led to her decision to move out upon reaching adulthood. Chelsea also told “The Daily Mail” that “everything is fine.”
Regardless of whether or not Chelsea is mentally ill, that kind of information is sensitive. It isn’t information that should be disclosed to the public without her consent. Celebrities often have their mental illnesses revealed to the public, because their mental breakdowns are documented by the media. But Chelsea is not a celebrity. If Rosie had not gone public with the information, there was a good chance that the public, including whatever future employers Chelsea might have, would have never heard anything about her having a mental illness. It’s not hard to understand why Chelsea chose to leave.
The lesson from these tales appear to be simple: what happens in a family stays in the family. Sharing deeply private information about family members, whether it’s negative feelings about them or sensitive medical information, causes family members to suffer. Celebrities must be extra careful when discussing family members with others.