Anne Hathaway in "Get Smart"
By Stacy Jenel Smith
Anne Hathaway’s unfortunate taste in men was highlighted again last month, with news that the actress won’t be fighting the U.S. government’s plan to auction off the bling given to her by former boyfriend of four years, the now-imprisoned con man Rafaello Follieri. The baubles — including two Rolex watches, gold and silver rings, a Louis Vuitton jewelry box, a five-strand pearl necklace, a Tiffany clock and a Cartier figurine — will be on the block to help pay off the $2,440,000 judgment he has hanging over his head.
Also in May, her beau of the last several months, actor Adam Shulman, was accused of swiping a mural from a Manhattan construction sight. He subsequently gave back the street art and apologized, so all is well. We hope.
Even so, Hathaway fans are once again declaring that she deserves better, and wondering why someone as brilliant, accomplished and well-bred as she would get involved with unworthy men. Shulman is cute, but his biggest credits to date are his small role as a deputy sheriff in ‘The Dukes of Hazzard: the Beginning’ — and dating Anne Hathaway.
Fans wonder, just as they wonder about the also-classy Sandra Bullock and her soon-to-be ex-husband Jesse James. What drew someone smart and savvy enough to succeed as a Hollywood producer — on top of her Oscar-winning career as an actress — to such a cheating low-life?
What caused beautiful, beloved Jennifer Aniston to take back love ‘em and leave ‘em guy John Mayer in 2008, after he had already publicly humiliated her, telling TMZ he had ended their relationship because he just wanted to be alone and not ‘waste someone’s time.’ And that as far as cheating on her, well, those were ‘cheap lies,’ although seeing other people after a relationship has run its course is ‘the most normal thing in the world.’
In fact, for every generation of celebrities, there’ve been princess and bad boy stories.
Whitney Houston was an America’s Sweetheart when she hooked up with carousing, drug abusing bad boy Bobby Brown in 1989. Now, 21 years, a daughter, multiple rehab stints and a divorce later, she’s a wreck of her former self.
Doris Day, the ultimate Girl-Next-Door movie star of her time, had a weakness for men who were bad for her. Her turbulent 17-year union with svengali manager Marty Melcher was marked by his brutal treatment of her son, Terry. It was blamed for her emotional breakdown at one point, and for sieges of extreme ill health. And it was disastrous to her financially. She was presented with a $500,000 tax demand after his death, and was soon to find her fortune had been milked dry and she was broke save for personal possessions.
As Gwen Stefani asks in No Doubt’s ‘Bathwater,’ ‘Why do the good girls always want the bad boys?’
Hollywood shrinks issue answers. Talking about the Good Girl-Bad Boy conundrum in BettyConfidential.com, L.A.-based Dr. Morris Halperin declares, ‘It’s slightly egotistical behavior…It’s just like someone who wants an exotic animal as a pet. They actually think these guys will change their traits and be good to them….It’s out of touch with reality that they think, ‘I’m different. I can dance with this monster and control it.’ The reality is, you can’t have a tiger as a pet and control it.’
Obviously, that behavior certainly isn’t confined to women who are famous and successful. It’s hard-wired into society. Good Woman Reforms Bad Boy is a staple plotline we’ve seen play out in dozens of movies, going back to such chestnuts as John Wayne’s ‘Angel and the Bad Man,’ which was recently remade as a TV movie, through ‘Grease,’ ‘A Walk to Remember’ and the latest retellings of the classic fairy tale ‘Beauty and the Beast’ — the Disney animated film and this coming summer’s ‘Beastly’ with Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer.
Another psychological explanation — that can also apply to the famed and the everyday female alike — was expressed to Ebony magazine by psychologist Carole Stovall: ‘A ‘good girl’ is a woman who has followed the rules all of her life; she’s been taught to go along with the status quo of what everyone else thinks she should do, be and want. These women have not had an opportunity to be who they are, so they are attracted to the men who rebel against the rules, and they live vicariously through them.’
That brings to mind those who point to Bullock’s strict upbringing as an explanation for her attraction to James and other bad boys, saying she was fulfilling an old desire to cut loose.
Poor male role models and relationship models in childhood are cited by other experts as a root of some women’s attraction to the ‘bad boy’ types — they go with what they know.
Low self-esteem is also a contributing factor in many of these relationships, on both sides, experts say.
Of course, psychologists can only speculate on the reasons that personalities they’re not treating may act as they do.
Jennifer Aniston’s declaration to Vogue — ‘Love just shows up’ — may be the closest thing to an explanation we’ll ever really have as to why she chose to hang with Mayer, who is now, happily, just part of her history.