Gay writer Truman Capote once said, “Fame is only good for one thing — they will cash your check in a small town.” That is a perk. The downside? Everyone knows your business. Particularly the the more embarrassing moments like the breakups, the breakdowns, the lousy career choices and those nasty courtroom dramas.
Lesbian and bisexual celebrities certainly aren’t immune to the troubles that befall their straight — or non-famous — counterparts. In fact, even you may have participated in some regrettable activities last weekend at Pride. Just be glad you didn’t end up as the punch line on The Showbiz Show.
This list is an aggregation of a few of the more memorable missteps taken by some of our favorite lesbian and bisexual celebrities. These aren’t the worst things that could ever happen to a lesbian or bisexual woman, but they were bad enough to make headlines and, in turn, this list. Consider these to be cautionary tales; for each story there is a moral that might help you avoid similar trouble in the future.
1. Ellen DeGeneres plays it straight in the aptly titled Mr. Wrong.
It was 1996, and any lesbian worth her Tevas knew that comedian Ellen DeGeneres was a homo. She wasn’t out yet, but she had a loyal lesbian fan base from her years of stand-up and her sitcom, Ellen. That loyalty even drove some of us to the movie theater to see her first starring role in a feature film, Mr. Wrong. After all, our opening-day dollars could help prove that Ellen was indeed a bankable star, one who should be given more starring roles in the future. Think of it as moviegoing as a form of social activism.
Well, activism does sometimes require sacrifice. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sacrificed two hours and eight bucks (it was 1996!) for a cinematic experience that hovered somewhere between uncomfortable and unbearable. Watching Ellen try to act like a straight ingenue is a little like watching your trusted stylist give you a bad haircut. You want it to stop, but you can’t bring yourself to just get up out of the seat and go home.
As I watched Ellen struggle through this film, desperately seeking straight wedded bliss while wearing a constant expression of mild disgust, I was reminded of my high-school years. I didn’t like them the first time around, Ellen; did you have to dredge them up for me again? In fact, the only happy memory I have from seeing this movie is that of a throwaway line in which one character refers to Stevie Nicks as a “rock temptress.” It was like they were reading my mind.
Uniformly panned by critics — the San Francisco Chronicle called it “dreadful” — the movie was released just one year before Ellen came out. And it may have been the cinematic straw that broke the closeted lesbian’s back.
The moral of this story: “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride” isn’t a lament; it’s a solution.
2. Jackie Warner gets two-for-one sushi.
Part of the fun of Work Out is watching its star and fitness/fashion maven Jackie Warner strut around Los Angeles like she owns the place. Whether it’s trendy lesbian club East/West, cheesy Mexican restaurant El Coyote or a highbrow yoga center, Warner always acts like she’s in complete control of her environment — and that she’s already begun to grow weary of it.
That’s how the night started when she and her Sky Sport staffers went to listen to fellow trainer Zen’s routine at a comedy club. Jackie slouched in her best rock-star pose with her arm slung casually over the shoulder of bicurious hottie trainer Rebecca. And none of the other staffers made a peep about it. Later, when the gang scooted off to celebrate with Zen at a sushi restaurant, Warner upped the ante by pulling Rebecca into the ladies’ room and making out with her, hot and heavy, in full view of the cameras — and her staff.
When the illicit lovers came back to the table, Warner had the serene, self-satisfied look of a freshly fed lion. That is until her other date, Tiffany, showed up.
The moment was captured perfectly by bad machine in her recap of the episode:
The sheer panic in Jackie’s eyes when Tiffany appeared was a rare sight indeed, and juggling two women simultaneously without inciting tears or bloodshed was clearly more of a workout for her than any circuit routine.
The moral of this story: When it comes to sushi, you should never order more than you can eat in one sitting. After all, no one likes sloppy seconds.