Is life as a celebrity better than life as an average person?
- Forbes’ annual list of the highest-paid actors in 2020 ranked Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) as #1, having earned over $85 million. Ryan Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg held the #2 and #3 spots, respectively, with each making over $50 million for the year.
- In 2019, the median wage of an American was $34,248.45 per year.
- SAMHSA reports that professionals working in the arts and entertainment world have some of the highest rates of alcohol abuse, with over 11% reporting “drinking heavily in the prior month.”
- A 2019 survey found that children in the US and the UK would rather be YouTube stars than become astronauts.
The biggest drawback of celebrity life is the sacrifice of privacy, as the public feels entitled to dissect a celebrity’s every move. The Pitt/Aniston/Jolie love triangle of 2005 was painful in private but was splashed across tabloids, inviting the public-at-large to take sides. When Jennifer Lawrence’s private nude photos were leaked, she said it felt like getting “gangbanged by the f*cking planet.” Further, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard began a campaign against paparazzi harassment of children. The average person can choose what pieces of their life to share, but celebrities must fight for the most basic levels of privacy. Privacy invasion begets global judgment. For example, when Tiger Woods was unfaithful in his marriage, something that would usually be kept private, he felt required to apologize to millions. Even small things, like Shakira’s braless day at Disneyland with her kids, trigger backlash.
Additionally, celebrities must constantly adapt to keep public interest. The evolutions of stars like Madonna and Lady Gaga show the need to stay relevant so their fame won’t vanish as quickly as it was bestowed.
The threat of physical danger is relentless as a celebrity. Kim Kardashian was once robbed at gunpoint, the Bling Ring has burglarized homes of major stars, and stalkers present serious threats. As exposure increases, security must grow to allow a quiet night’s sleep.
Finally, as the saying goes, “money doesn’t solve everything.” Recent films Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman each have scenes depicting the lonely life of a mega-star. Celebs are vulnerable to various people looking to use them for money or perks. Stardom can leave you feeling isolated, unsure of whom you can trust, and craving real connection.
With fame comes fortune, which means countless life advantages. From personal staff and VIP connections to lavish vacations and elite events, nothing is off-limits. Red carpet events regularly spotlight celebrities donning exquisite loaned jewelry and one-of-a-kind, gifted high-fashion pieces. The elaborate superficial perks fuel a strong pop-culture obsession with celebrities’ status and possessions (a-la MTV cribs).
However, preferential access to advanced health care and medical treatments, shockingly lenient criminal and legal consequences, and even exclusive airport terminals at taxpayers’ expense are just a few of the more profound discrepancies between celebrities and ordinary people.
Stars hire personal chefs, trainers, coaches, nutritionists, and more, for well-monitored and optimal personal health. It’s no wonder global studies show an average of 20 extra years of productive lifespan for the rich. Plus, medical facilities, experts, and specialists worldwide provide preferential treatment for the super-wealthy. Traveling to access privileged alternative therapies is no issue for celebrities. Especially amid a pandemic, these benefits can be life-saving.
Special treatment for the famous extends to criminal justice, too. Every step of the legal system gives advantages to the wealthy. Celebrities are often given reduced charges, lenient sentences, and favorable treatment.
Finally, celebrities have immense power tied to their large following and fan base. Beyond the exceptional ego boost of being recognized and asked for autographs, etc., having this following is very impactful for a celebrity—even life-altering. Celeb affiliation can powerfully spotlight causes and brands, while stars themselves can even donate substantial funds with ease. Charity has been shown to improve our mood and quality of life, as does fulfilling one’s own purpose—another common trait among the uber-successful.