Saturday 19 August 2017

Comment: Rory's wedding shows that for some stars, publicity is a one-way street

Airtight: Rory McIlroy with Erica Stoll in December 2015 Photo: Darren Kidd /Press Eye
Airtight: Rory McIlroy with Erica Stoll in December 2015 Photo: Darren Kidd /Press Eye
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses alongside his girlfriend Erica Stoll and the FedExCup and TOUR Championship trophies after his victory over Ryan Moore with a birdie on the fourth extra hole during the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 25, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Erica Stoll and Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland arrives at the course with new girlfriend Erica Stoll during the fourth round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 31, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Michael O'Doherty

Michael O'Doherty

There was a wedding in Ashford Castle at the weekend.

We know that because the newspapers were keen to report the fact at every opportunity.

One of Ireland’s biggest sporting stars, Rory McIlroy, tied the knot with Erica Stoll.

Cue old pictures of the couple, stock photos of the venue and countless references to the guest list, including Rory’s golfing colleagues and friends such as Niall Horan, Ed Sheeran and Jamie Dornan.

Erica Stoll and Rory McIlroy
Erica Stoll and Rory McIlroy

There was only one thing missing, however – a single, solitary photo of the event.

Celebrity weddings are always a thorny subject, with few people seeming to manage to get the balance right.

When you do a deal with a celebrity magazine, you’re accused of selling out.

When you make no provisions for the press and public interest, you can allow the day to descend into chaos and have it ruined for both the couple and many of their guests.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses alongside his girlfriend Erica Stoll and the FedExCup and TOUR Championship trophies after his victory over Ryan Moore with a birdie on the fourth extra hole during the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 25, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses alongside his girlfriend Erica Stoll and the FedExCup and TOUR Championship trophies after his victory over Ryan Moore with a birdie on the fourth extra hole during the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 25, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

So perhaps we shouldn’t begrudge Rory his wishes, which have involved a total media blackout.

No photos, no interviews, even guests were told not to bring mobile phones lest any of them be tempted to put a photo or two up on social media.

It’s obsessive secrecy such as this that makes you wonder if Rory, by all accounts a sensible and polite person, has disappeared up his own backside when it comes to his biggest day.

When Brian O’Driscoll wed Amy Huberman, they did it differently.

Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll at the Excellence in Sports awards. Picture: Kieran Harnett
Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll at the Excellence in Sports awards. Picture: Kieran Harnett

No less of a global star than Rory, Brian’s big day was the subject of huge media interest.

Understanding the fact that publicity is a two-way street, the couple decided to accommodate the press who had been so good to them during their careers.

While keeping the church ceremony and wedding reception private, they happily posed for photographers outside the church, giving up about half-an-hour so newspapers and TV crews could go back to their bosses, happy to have secured a photo to mark the biggest celebrity event of the year.

Rory and Erica, on the other hand, hired security guards to patrol the entire perimeter of Ashford Castle and banned their guests – most of whom arrived by helicopter or limousine with blacked out windows – from publicising the event in any way.

They didn’t release one official photo to the media – a photo they could have had taken at any stage over the weekend and got any of their countless entourage to release without having to get their own hands dirty by actually dealing with the press personally.

The Irish media tend to be good to their stars. Sure, they show a sometimes unhealthy obsession with their private lives, but on the whole they tend to respect their privacy, rarely print negative stories and in return ask that the respect be reciprocated.

Rory had a chance to do just that last weekend and blew it.

Herald

Editors Choice

Also in this section