Show me the money …

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Celebrities have always used their fame to increase their fortune either by selling pictures of their exclusive wedding photos, special events or using their fame to obtain endorsements. This is often used as a safety net for celebrities such as sport stars who have a short career span and need to build a nest egg from their endorsements to set themselves and their families up for life. But has celebrity greed gone too far and crossed the line when they pimp their babies for extra cash?

With the paparazzi going to extremes to get the best shot at any means neccessary, celebrities’ photos have increased in market value. Celebrities try and play off the media and negotiate with photo agencies to accept the highest offer for their photos. They believe they are the ones who are firmly in control. But who really is in charge? Celebrities need to remember that the media will bite the hand that feeds them … sooner or later.

The first photo of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s twins was sold for a rumoured record price of $US14 million in a joint magazine deal with US magazine People and UK magazine, Hello. The photo will appear on the People website on Monday 4 August at 9am (Australian time). The price for the photographs is more than double the price paid for Jennifer Lopez’s twins in People magazine just recently in March. The money is going to charity but does the ends justify the means and even with a charity being the end recipient, does it make it right to sell your children’s photos?

Usher came out in the New York Times in May earlier this year to criticise the trend of celebrities who are pimping their fame, fortune and babies for money. His comments came close after the sale of Jennifer Lopez’ twins for an alleged 6 million to People magazine. He tells the New York Post, “In no way would I ever pimp out my child for money. I am livid that people talk about my child.

“What makes you a man more than being a father to your child? I recognize I gave anonymity away when I became an artist, but to have people try to paint a horrible picture of what’s so beautiful – it’s obvious someone is trying to stop something so beautiful.”

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, one of the few A list celebrities Australia can lay claim to also broke the trend and refused to sell pictures of their first born child.

Model Lara Bingle and future Australian captain, Michael Clarke have been crowned by Australian women’s magazines in Australia as the next ‘Posh and Becks’. New Idea allegedly paid $135,000 for a two part story of their engagement with Woman’s Day pulling out of the bidding at $80,000 saying that Lara Bingle didn’t resonate well with women readers which is unfortunate for the future first lady of cricket as it brings down her market value. Afterall, the aim is to sell magazines.

New rumours surfaced today of Lara being pregnant with Michael’s child and her unpopularity in Australia with a new magazine deal in the marking. It will be interesting to see what price the couple will pay, I mean the magazine will pay for the first pictures of their child. However, the pregnancy rumours were denied by Camp Bingle and Clarke. Stranger things have happened though with Bec Hewitt walking down the aisle pregnant at 21.

Speaking of Bec and Leyton Hewitt, they made the mistake of riding the magazine merry-go-round when they signed a deal with Women’s Day starting with a seven page world exclusive starring their new baby Mia and Bec as a regular columnist in the magazine. The couple publicly announced Bec Hewitt’s reported six-figure sum from appearing on Dancing with the Stars in 2005 would go towards the Aids Trust of Australia to build a Cambodian orphanage but Today Tonight alleged that they failed to live up to their promise. You know you have to be in dire straights when even Nicole Ritchie is receiving good press for starting their own charity.

Team Hewitt claimed that they fulfilled their obligations to the charity. At the time, Bec said “I can’t believe that a television network that I gave such a large part of my life to for seven years would make up such a story to try to discredit me and my family. It’s devastating that people that I have known and worked with are the same people involved in creating this rubbish story,” Bec Hewitt said.

The ultimate pimping would have to be when Bec brought Mia up with them to the Logies. That surely was an act of desperation. It will be interesting to see what Team Hewitt has learnt the second time around.

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