Why does this always happen?
A household name. A star. A celebrity. Hits the big time. Has a lucrative career. And then something inside them snaps.
Is it destiny? Are personalities who crave attention merely ripe for a fall? Predestined for substance abuse? Ego is programmed to override sensibility?
Sometimes you see the snap coming years before it actually happens. Think Michael Jackson.
Other times, it catches you by surprise. For me, it was with Bill Cosby and Tom Hanks.
Sometimes the snap is illegal. Oh, for example, drugs, murder, shoplifting, prostitution, fraud.
Other times it’s just an ego, too big for the interview room surrounded with 14 adopted children, a God-like authority on every subject matter, peppered with condescending comments about the little people.
But it’s undeniable. Something happens when a celebrity gets too big for his or her britches.
They begin to feel, they start to believe, that they are untouchable.
I have admired many a celebrity who seemed so down-to-earth. So real. And then watched them in an interview, years into their career, bantering with Barbara Walters with an over-inflated air of superiority.
Such a disappointment.
But they’re human. I can only imagine what it must be like to be told day after day, awards show after awards show, how wonderful you are. You finally believe it. You believe you are untouchable, a class unto yourself, unstoppable.
The sad cases are the Charlie Sheens. The Michael Jacksons. The O.J. Simpsons. Being told day after day, awards show after awards show, of your brilliance. Believing you are infallible. Believing that your reality is ethical and moral simply because you say it is so.
And we sit back and watch the fall. From our cozy living rooms. Dripping with reality.
And we judge.
Forgetting the role we have played putting celebrities on that pedestal in the first place.