I have a confession: I’m pretty pop culture obsessed. Although I’ve drastically cut back on my TMZ and US Weekly consumption, I pretty much always know what’s going on in the celebrity world.
Whenever I go visit my friends in Manhattan, I’m ALWAYS on the look-out for celebrities. I’m not saying this with pride, but it’s the truth. I love me some good celebrity gossip.
In my previous life, I worked for a major network in Washington, D.C. That job, and my high-profile boss, brought me face to face with presidents, major Hollywood celebrities and the inner circles of the Washington power scene. Sure, I was star-struck at times, but these encounters all occurred in professional settings so it was easy to keep my cool.
Living in Orlando, we don’t have many opportunities to see famous people. For the most part, our glitterati is made up exclusively of professional athletes. I’ve seen Shaq at Target, Charles Barkley at a mall and Lakers player Pau Gasol at a restaurant. All three events were exciting but not that big of a deal.
Tonight, however, I saw two of the most famous faces in recent history in the most unlikely of places. And I’m not going to lie — I was a little freaked out by it.
My husband’s poker buddies asked us if we wanted to go to Monkey Joe’s tonight, an indoor bouncehouse playground. It’s always a madhouse there — crazy children running around and bouncing off every squishy surface. Exhibit A.
And, as always, there were at least three birthday parties being held. As we were taking turns tracking E. from bouncehouse to bouncehouse to suicidal mega-slide, DadJovi suddenly spotted Orlando’s most notorious residents (well, now that Tiger has left town) out of the corner of his eye.
He comes rushing over. “You’ll never guess who is here.” I immediately start clicking through a checklist of random people in our life he might be referring to. “No, LOOK!” There, across the room, were the two most (in)famous grandparents on the planet —
In case you can’t tell through the blur, that’s George and Cindy Anthony. Yes, Casey’s parents and Caylee’s grandparents.
Holy crap. They were pretty much the last two people I would have expected to see at Monkey Joe’s (OK, Casey is probably THE last person I’d expect to see there. And I’m pretty sure she was not there in incognito. Believe me, I looked around).
Honestly, I could not stop staring. I think I was pretty discreet about it since parents are always scanning the room making sure their child hasn’t broken an arm or something. Seeing George and Cindy there, however, just seemed so odd and so out of place.
I debated even taking a picture of them. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. As a journalist, my first instinct was, “Of course I should, especially considering the newsworthiness of today.” (Judge Perry ruled today to release the jailhouse video of Casey being told that remains — that would eventually be determined to be Caylee’s — had been found in the woods near her home).
But it definitely felt a bit icky.
And then my mood swung again, and I remembered ALL of the (paid) media interviews they have done over the past several years, including their recent (paid, sorry, allegedly paid) three-day Dr. Phil extravaganza. So, yeah, I was snapping their picture. I did it in an instant, from across the room (hence its blurriness) and I doubt anyone even saw me click it.
The bottom line is: they are public figures. Sure, they’re not celebrities in the traditional sense, but I’d be willing to bet that you’d be hard-pressed to find 10 people in this country who have not heard of them.
I don’t know why I was so surprised to see them. I mean, they DO live in my town, so it was likely to happen eventually, right? But after eating, sleeping and breathing the Casey Anthony saga for so many years, it was certainly surreal to suddenly see them there, 6 feet away, enjoying a child’s birthday party.
Who is the most famous person you’ve ever seen? Did you take a picture? Would you? As I’ve been thinking about this, I’d like to think that I wouldn’t take a picture of a celebrity’s child, for example (although I’d really want a picture of Suri). And I know I wouldn’t take a picture of someone who is famous because of some tragedy or crime committed against them. The Anthonys fall into a gray area, but I again go back to their constant willingness to put themselves out there in the public eye. What would you have done?