Perhaps The David Harbour-Lily Allen Home Is Worth Wrecking
The Friday Post.
Solving a Jessica Simpson blind item … a Divorced Man … this is The Friday Post.
The celebrity home tour industrial complex is a genius invention. In a home tour, an otherwise boring (or, even better, mysterious-for-no-reason and/or press shy) person suddenly has something to talk about when they’re wandering through their second kitchen off their third upstairs living room. Where did this pastry come from? Who uses this chair the most? The tours have the appearance of intimacy, but the videos still shill the same self-performance that every other person on the internet must complete to compete for attention. There’s something pragmatic about that, how I will always be interested in anyone’s home tour because I love to complain about an ugly, junky room, and I love to be nosy, and I love to wonder how much something cost.
In the 2000s, MTV Cribs was aspirational and over the top. Even as a non-tennis playing child, a backyard tennis court was the height of luxury to me. (My favorite episode of Cribs, however, was always Jojo’s — I couldn’t believe how horrifyingly normal her house was, as opposed to, like, living in a suite at the Palace.) Home tours, on Architectural Digest or elsewhere, are no longer about excessive displays of wealth. (Unless that excessive display of wealth is hand-painted wallpaper.) They’re about “design decisions” and “lifestyles,” twee little lamps and the “table where the kids do homework.”
But now the spotlight has turned to the normal apartments that aren’t so aware of themselves. Last week I ogled Michael Imperioli’s home tour because it was somehow both absolutely garish and totally yes. Julia Fox, coincidentally, posted a home tour of her one bed-flex (ish) apartment in the East Village. It was haphazardly put together, at turns messy and dirty (black people know these are different things), but sweetly her son's room was completely decked out as a child’s paradise of toys and colors. (That she said she’d designed this whole room for him but her son didn’t spend any time there only made it more endearing.) This was a New York City apartment as I’ve known New York City apartments, meaning, this was a good place, but it’s been transformed a dozen times since move-in, and who can really do anything to an apartment when you’re renting. The Cut toured Ice Spice’s New Jersey home for a profile that dropped this week, and it’s similarly unstuffy and real. Who cares what the living room looks like. She has a Nicki Minaj American flag in her bedroom!
This week I have witnessed a classic case of a celebrity home tour, an apartment that has unsettled my spirit. The home of David Harbour (no opinion) and Lily Allen (ahem and ahem) is dark energy manifested. From the first room — the farmhouse-ass “English kitchen” that just looks unfinished and somehow like when I went to wash my hands it’d call me “working class.” The rest of the house is a parade of Etsy art (derogatory — there’s an embroidery of sexually transmitted diseases, which is what it would look like if 2014 could be distilled into one horcrux) … a carpeted bathroom (that they wore shoes in!!) … AWFUL light for putting on makeup … a Harry Potter (and by “Harry Potter” I mean windowless) bedroom, to the weird porn-y sheeny-shiny walls throughout. This house is horrendous. It is unlivable!
The best send-up of celebrity home tours was in the I Hate Suzie pilot, where the gross invasion of a home tour and performing for a home tour coincided with the host’s personal crisis. How I would wish for such a plot twist: the only crisis here is the way this home has been created by an algorithm of British nobility ranks and the Audrey Gelman Cobble Hill store. Celebrities try various ways of acknowledging that nothing in the house was actually self-selected; by the end, both Harbour and Allen just sort of pretend the house is exactly what they wanted, but exactly never what they asked for.
What the Paid List Got This Week:
You know the video of Shemar Moore, drunk, saying “this one’s for all my baby girls … I ain’t left ya, I ain’t never gonna leave you … I’m always gonna love you, I’m always gonna flirt up on ya …]” That’s me talking about Babylon: This one’s for all my Baby-lons.
Divorced Man Succumbs To Divorce
Tom Brady has announced his retirement from football. Last time he announced his retirement, he un-retired after 40 days. We’ll see what he has to say on March 13!
Giselle Bundchen, who divorced Tom Brady after the un-retirement, commented briefly on his announcement. “Wishing you only wonderful things in this new chapter of your life,” she wrote, which means: he can rot alone in his mansion making chicken breasts on a George Foreman grill for all she cares, her life sentence with his ego has been served!
A few devoted Hung Up readers have made the point that the Tom and Giselle divorce is really more about distracting from their shady dealings with FTX, a protecting Brady’s assets. Perhaps … but that softly worded “I’m good luv, enjoy” is too humiliating, even for a federal investigation.
Reader Request: Jessica Simpson’s Blind Item
I have a soft spot in my heart for Jessica Simpson, and not just because we both did stirring renditions of “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” in 2005 (her for The Dukes of Hazzard soundtrack, me for the Monte Cassino Middle School talent show). I think about Jessica Simpson randomly calling out Natalie Portman — including and especially the phrase “when I was still a virgin in 1999” — almost every week. What a collection of words, what a random feud, what a way to unleash black text on a red background!
This week, in support of her new Amazon (?) memoir (??), Simpson has released a blind item. I loooove solving celebrity blind items, as opposed to DeuxMoi blind items, which are almost comically incomprehensible. You can read the full story here; Vulture had a pretty good rundown of the facts, albeit without a guess.
On first read I thought immediately of Jake Gyllenhaal. He became a star as a teenager, and was working steadily throughout 2004-2006 (Day After Tomorrow, Brokeback Mountain, and Zodiac in 2007). Jake Gyllenhaal seems like the kind of guy to have a spiritual advisor, but more importantly he seems like the kind of guy to try to convince you that his spiritual advisor is suggesting you two sleep together. I have no specific memory of Jake Gyll having a specific girlfriend during this time — easy for him to dodge enough questions and claim to be single. But on that last point, I’m torn: David Fincher had directed all those music videos, Fight Club, and Se7en, but would he have really been known to even the most casual movie fan? In my mind, yes, but I’m not certain.
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An obvious guess is Leo. There is no drama to have occurred between 1990 and even present day, honestly, for me to not guess Leonardo DeMarco DiCaprio had a hand in it. But he was with Giselle for a long time, and very publicly — that relationship could not have gone unnoticed by Jessica Simpson. What’s more: I do not think Leonardo DiCaprio has a spiritual advisor that’s not him trying to get a picture of the pope to show off to Rihanna at the Catholic Met Gala), and I also do not think Leonardo DiCaprio would even come up with a lie about sex bringing you closer to God. Through that period of the 2000s, however, he was working with two directors “known to even the most casual movie fan:” Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. I do think we’re getting warmer with Leo in one regard: I think this has to be someone her age or older, someone she’d had a crush on for a while — Jake’s out. (In the free Kindle preview-y thing, too, she calls him “established” and also says he’s not her age or younger than her.)
On IG, I saw a lot of comments suggesting Tom Cruise. While I would absolutely think Tom Cruise knows every trainer in Hollywood, don’t you have to fill out a 15 page application, have it notarized, do a blood test, and get a background check to go on a date with him? Come on. The biggest detail in Simpson’s text is that the movie star was flirting and hooking up with Simpson on and off through 2007, at least. She never specified that he had a wife during that time, just a girlfriend. This excludes Cruise, and Will Smith, whose name was brought up in the Vulture comments. Brad Pitt is another guess, but the Angelina detail seems too major to go unmentioned in Simpson’s pretty detailed account. And also, regrettably, Brad Pitt just seems better at flirting than this guy appears to be.
One key detail that was in the book’s excerpt in People, and not in that Vulture list, is that Simpson’s bodyguard-slash-personal trainer recognized the movie star man first. “My bodyguard had said they were friends, but I'd wondered if he had maybe been exaggerating,” Simpson wrote. “Judging by the clenched handshake bro hug, the love was real.” (Leo? A trainer? He’s Leo, the last man in Hollywood to still be photographed smoking cigs, because the 90s have never ended for him.) Who is obsessed with working out and also obsessed with being Catholic? Oh baby: Mark Wahlberg.
Wahlberg became famous in the late 80s in the band New Kids On The Block. He’s nine years older than Simpson, which makes him seem like a crush she would’ve grown up having. He has had no significant relationship, but a lot of secret ones. He and his now-wife appear to have been on and off through the 2000s before marrying in 2009. Simpson writes that he was wearing a tux for the awards show he was getting ready for. Tux means Oscars; Wahlberg was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for The Departed, and walked the carpet that night with the woman he eventually married. Those photos would’ve been a prominent, since he was a nominee.
Two other notable points: the movie star immediately brings up wanting to have kids (Wahlberg has four). She and the movie star were still talking around the birth of Simpson’s godson, who seems to have been born in 2007. It would make sense that the director would be M. Night Shyamalan. He is extremely famous, “casual movie fan”-recognizable, and Wahlberg starred in The Happening, which started shooting in Philadelphia in 2007. Simpson says she visited a set the east coast.
Enough about men! I’m more interested in who this character is:
Honestly, the whole story is a real treat. Recommended if you want something fun to read.
A group of us are rewatching the Mike White season of Survivor. I was not a Survivor watcher before December 2022; in the last six weeks I’ve watched seven seasons. It’s so fun! Who knew! Lol.
The rewatch is divided into two parts, with two corresponding threads. Survivor: David vs. Goliath is streaming on Paramount Plus
Gawker, a great website with a newsletter I read almost every day, is no more. This is soooo fucked up and annoying. Gawker was the last good website! (NYT)
Amazon is making a Julia Roberts-Jennifer Aniston body swap comedy, which means Jeff Bezos has an opportunity to repent for his sin (giving her a 12 dollar and 99 cent wig budget on Homecoming). (Deadline)
Me being disrespected during Black History Month: Austin Butler is giving up his Elvis voice. (EW)
Zachary Levi (actor with a forgettable face) going viral for being anti-vax/just generally horrible:
That’s all this week! Thank you for reading. This weekend it is cold as hell in New York City, so I will be indoors watching A Bigger Splash at home.
I am just like Jessica Simpson in that I was also a virgin in 1999
It pains me beyond words that I know this but Mark Wahlberg didn't even become a sex symbol from the CK ads...he was cast in those after his video for Good Vibrations, an inescapable pseudo-hip-hop pop song (this was the era of Vanilla Ice and Snow, when white men were crammed into hip-hop/rap hybrids).
The video was on constant repeat on MTV. Literally, they played it every single hour, all day -- and Marky-Mark appeared with absolutely enormous muscles, which is completely standard now but was a totally, radically new aesthetic for celebrity men in the 90s.
Basically, Marky-Mark invented abs. And abs are expected to this day. That video was a cultural moment.
Which is why and how he became the model for Entourage and why tween Jessica Simpson would have lusted for him/been dazzled by him and considered him a heartthrob. She would have seen him on MTV constantly, shirtless and muscled, which explains her comment about his status as a sex symbol in her tween years: "As our mutual friend, my bodyguard talked, this megastar, who I grew up thinking was so hot, eyeballed me up and down."
Here is the video. (I'm sorry for sharing this because it's soooooo very corny but I figured someone would have an academic interest) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kctwd4w7R0