I love Kate Winslet. I hardly know her, of course, but I can't help myself. I've watched Kate in most of her movies as she's grown up right in front of me -- we are, in fact, the same age, and both have two kids. Kate, who won two Golden Globes and is nominated for two Oscars this year, has decided to take a year off from acting to be with her family. Recently she sat down with the UK's Mail to talk about why. Kate admits that being a working mom is tough, but says it's all about structure and balance. I couldn't agree more. Her children, Mia and Joe, are 8 and 5 respectively, both much older than my kids, but kids of any age seem to want the same thing -- a schedule they can rely on. Well, they need parents who love them, too, but sometimes the only way a busy family can be happy is with good structure.
It also means keeping kids and family life out of the spotlight. Both Winslet and her husband, director Sam Mendes, do everything in their power to keep their kids from knowing how famous their mother is (she's a lot more visible than Sam and I'd wager few folks would be able to spot him walking down the street), including turning off the TV when Kate's going to be on, not keeping magazines in the house and avoiding movie posters with Kate's face on them. Kate doesn't like that her profession, which is the family business, makes her so much more "publicly available" and does her best to keep her kids feeling normal -- whatever that is.
Just when it seemed you'd read every sappy tidbit about the picture-perfect Jolie-Pitts and their nigh-on-holy parenting prowess, it turns out these immaculate specimens are even more flawless than originally assumed. But no matter what they tell reporters, the Hollywood power couple don't exactly practice what they preach.
Brad recently told Hello! magazine that he and his family are too cool for fancy Christmas presents, saying: "We do exchange gifts, although we don't feel any pressure to make them big or expensive gifts."
And not only that -- the reason the kids don't ask for the latest cheap, plastic, Elmo-inspired gadgets is because they don't watch American cartoons, thereby avoiding all the "manipulative" ads run by toymakers.
Which, to be fair, is nice to hear. After all, in tough economic times, it's refreshing that even the wealthiest families taking a sensible approach to the holiday madness.
Or, it would be, if the Jolie-Pitts weren't just spouting off about their holier-than-thou approach to child rearing. 'Cause, as it turns out, Angelina can be quite the spendthrift.
And you may remember in September of last year, when blogs were buzzing with the news that Angelina had bought daughter Zahara a mini Valentino braided leather shoulder bag (to match the grown-up version she was carrying at the time -- then worth $1695).
Not that the Jolie-Pitts are horrible people (I mean, what else would you do with hundreds of millions of dollars to spend?) -- but next time you're bummed because your family doesn't live up to Brangelina's unattainable standards, remember that their squeaky-clean celebrity image is just as much PR spin as it is reality.
Angelina Jolie with Shiloh, Pax and Zahara walking in New Orlean's French Quarter in 2008.
Chris Wolf, FilmMagic
Brad Pitt carrying Shiloh and Zahara at the Lenval Hospital in Nice, where Angelina gave birth to twins Knox and Vivienne in July 2008.
Lionel Cironneau, AP
Brad Pitt with Maddox during the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello in June 2008.
Claudio Giovannini, AFP / Getty
Kate's family's life is a far cry from that of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. I can't think of a more famous couple whose personal life is so well on display. In fact, I'm on such Brangelina overload it seems they could have their own television channel devoted to every step they take. And the Jolie-Pitts don't seem to do much to avoid the spotlight they're kids are so very much apart of. Says Winslet, Angelina and Brad's lives are "like a walking soap opera, and the public wants to know what's going to happen next." Some would say that Ange and Brad don't want their kids to be a part of that either, but they don't stop the press from photographing them, etc. I don't even know what Kate Winslet's kids look like, but I could pick any of Brangie's six kids out of a line up. Well, maybe not the twins -- not yet.
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