Hollywood Affairs Aren't What They Used To Be by Lily Murphy

For a while there you just couldn’t get away from the hoopla surrounding Kristen Stewart cheating on Robert Pattinson with her forty something director of her film Snow White and the Hunstman, Rupert Sanders. It was breaking news across all media outlets, from tabloids to twitter and everything in between.

It even affected my own life for a while. One day I was bombarded with the so called Hollywood scandal. Driving into town I had to change radio station three times to avoid morning mouths mouthing off about it. My CD player was empty and I cursed my friend to whom I had had lent my Alabama Shakes album to the day before. When I parked the car I headed for a newsagents to pick up a newspaper but I was confronted with almost all shelves packed with tabloids and magazines proclaiming exclusives on the drama unfolding in Twilight land. I walked out without a newspaper and right across the street was a big bill board displaying a poster for Stewart’sSnow White And The Huntsman. As I tried to take refuge in a bookstore I almost knocked the poor store assistant off his step ladder as he was setting up a new display of Don Delilio’s book Cosmopolis, which has a new edition cover to tie in with the movie Pattinson is starring in.

I couldn’t get away from it but I suspect I wasn’t alone. Twitter ran riot on the ordeal, Facebook almost melted and Christ only knows what went on in the world of Tumblr. The whole situation got me thinking about old Hollywood, the glamorous one which is dead and gone with the likes of Clack Gable and Jean Harlow. That was the golden age because it was not subjected to the daily dumbing down of it by internet outlets such as TMZ or 24 hour entertainment news channels.

Back then celebrities were stars. They shone like stars and acted likewise but sometimes while their public image was showered with grace their private one was as hedonistic as today’s celebs. No tabloids or Twitter back in the day meant Hollywood affairs hung heavy with an air of mystery and some still do.

Gable cut an honorable dashing figure as Rhett Butler, while Harlow was regarded as Hollywood’s top starlet—bursting with beauty and grace. In reality, Gable was a Hollywood hell raiser who bedded half of the industry’s beauties. One of his greatest conquests was Harlow. They starred in movies six times together and by all accounts couldn’t get enough of each other. Only if Gossip Cop was around to clarify it for us!

And if Twitter were part and parcel of everyday life in the 1930s I doubt the hard drinking womanizing Clark Gable would have been able to maintain his gentlemanly image. His affair with Joan Crawford would have been Twitter gold, but it was his affair with Loretta Young which would have driven magazines to battle it out for the hot scoop on the torrid affair.

In 1934 Gable starred in Call Of The Wild alongside Young. He routinely carried out an affair with her and ultimately she got pregnant. Young ran off to England in secret. Gave birth to a girl in secret. Gave her baby to an orphanage in secret. Some years later Young adopted her daughter back, complete with her fathers ears. That was not so secret.

There isn’t a chance in hell that all that malarkey would have gone under the radar had the internet been around in 1934! E! News would have done a special on it and perhaps Oprah would have sat down with Young and a whole nation would tune in for the expose on the affair. It would have probably taken a week out of our lives with all other important news such as Hitler becoming head of state in Germany and John Dillinger’s bank robbing rampage being sidelined.

Meanwhile, Vivian Leigh and Laurence Olivier began a passionate love affair in 1937 while filming Fire Over England. Olivier’s wife and Leigh’s husband were clueless to the affair as were most everyone else. With no papz came no pictures, and rumors were only words which the big studios found easy to quench.

Cheating in real life is not the same as cheating in Hollywood. Decades ago, cheating was discreetly done in La-la-land and unheard of for the public who were devoted to their stars of the screen. Even affairs such as Bogart and Bacall (which was an obvious one) didn’t stir gossip rags into a frenzy. Cheating in the Hollywood of today is quite different. It is still not the same as cheating in real life, in fact it is probably much harder.

Papz lie in wait to catch celebs without their face fixed on in the mornings. Photographers pounce on them as they stumble out of clubs at night. If the papz don’t get you, Perez Hilton will and if he don’t then TMZ is out there and if they don‘t—well, fuck it I could be here all day, but you get where I’m going with this.

Actors sleeping with their directors, it isn’t a new story. Take Ingrid Bergman, she was married with a daughter when she carried out an affair with her director Roberto Rossellini while shooting Stromboli in Italy during 1950. Like Kristen Stewart in 2012, Bergman faced a loss of respect in Hollywood but also became a victim of blacklisting. What turned the affair into a scandal was the fact Bergman ended up getting pregnant by Rossellini and had a baby boy. She eventually married the director and had two more children with him, twin daughters.

Co-stars falling for each other was epidemic during the golden age of Hollywood. Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn lusted for each other on the set of Woman Of The Year and nine films later their affair was in full flow and rather obvious.

Hollywood is full of eccentric people but it is also awash with adulterers. From the early days of Hollywood where the likes Clark Gable and even Errol Flynn lived their lives like a country song right up to modern Hollywood where a breaking story occurs every five minutes, Hollywood is much more than just a place it is a state of mind. Hollywood is something where glamour is the name of the game but for all its shine some of its stars are nothing more than bad pennies.


Lily Murphy is 24 years old and comes from Cork city, Ireland. She graduated last year from University College Cork with a B.A in history and politics. She can be reached at Lilymurphycork@gmail.com