April 22, 2013

That’s Emme Muniz in the pink Chanel dress, and here’s why I know that

Emme Muniz with mom Jennifer Lopez and Lopez's boyfriend, Casper Smart, at Paris Fashion Week last year. Press later reported that Muniz wore more than $2,000 worth of Chanel.

For stargazers both literal and figurative, the place to be last week was the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Up in the sky: A gibbous moon. (That Science for “more than half full.”)

Down below: Paparazzi snapping away at another couple of satellites. Jennifer Lopez’s 5-year-old twins, Maximilian David and Emme Maribel Muniz, held hands and scampered around with their nanny. Not present: Lopez; her ex, the exquisite tenor cadaver Marc Anthony; and Lopez’s backup dancer boyfriend Casper Smart. 

The blogs took pains to take a syrupy tone in their coverage. “Can Jennifer Lopez’s kids get any more adorable?” E! Online cooed.

But the swooning hausfrau readership was not amused. After all, a paparazzo had shown up at a park solely to shoot a pair of children so young they have yet to enroll for kindergarten.

“Just because the parents are [famous] doesn't mean they need to be stalkerazzied,” an E! Online reader pointed out in comments.

Righteous sentiment, that. But here’s something you may not know about the celebrity gossip machine: It isn’t the paps who choose which kids get “stalked.” It’s the fame-hungry parents.

Consider: The Mummy star Brendan Frasier once told a former colleague of mine--very graciously--that he wouldn’t grant her an interview because our magazine had run a photo of his child without his consent. His message was heard loud and clear. Ditto with Megan Fox. Within hours of her new baby’s paparazzi photo showing up on an entertainment blog, she made her displeasure known. The photo disappeared before the day was up.

And yet, thousands of Americans know the faces of Maximilian and Emme Muniz. We can spot Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt from a quarter-mile away. Honor Marie Warren, daughter of Jessica Alba? Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, scion of Madonna’s pop and fashion empire? Also recognizable on sight...and prime targets of paparazzi. 

What separates the Shilohs and Honors from the Parises and Princes? Here’s a clue: Honor, Shiloh, Max and Emme all appeared on the cover of a major magazine within weeks of birth, under the direction of their parents, and for cash, too. In 2008, Lopez and Anthony sold a carefully staged photo of their babies for a reported $6 million--a deal heralded as the second-most-expensive celebrity photo of all time. (A couple of mags paid $15 million for the first image of Brangelina’s biological twin kids, Knox and Vivienne.)

Since then, these parents have only increased their kids’ media exposure. Lopez paraded Emme around during Paris Fashion Week, making sure that the gauntlet of paparazzi got good shots of her daughter in her Chanel dress. During her separation from Billy Bob Thorton, Angelina Jolie actually told a tabloid reporter where she would be the next day so that paps could shoot her playing in a park with her new son. Jolie has also cast several of her kids in her upcoming movie, Maleficent. And Madonna has co-launched a mass-market fashion brand with Lourdes.

For whatever reason, Lopez, Brangelina and Madonna want a huge public demand for their babies, and the paps have been only happy to play along. Today, we can fire up the Google and find out where these kids go, what they wear, and when and why they have their meltdowns.

Of course, every kid enjoys some normalcy, and star children are no exception. Emme and Max visit the park with their grandmother. They go shopping with their mom. They go to preschool.

In fact, they go to a preschool in Calabasas.

I learned that from the paparazzi.

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