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Monday 18 February 2019

Gwynnie Fair game in Vanity tale as editor strikes back

US DIARY

HEADING FOR HAMPTONS: Khloe Kardsashian
HEADING FOR HAMPTONS: Khloe Kardsashian

Orla Healy

Gwyneth Paltrow isn't out of the gossip wars yet. The actress, who announced her split from husband Chris Martin last week, talked Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter out of running a story exploring the "hate-love-fest that encircles her" in the magazine's March issue.

But the fascination/revulsion she has created with the New Age branding of her divorce (aka "conscious uncoupling") looks like it might have handed Carter the fresh hook he needs to dust off the article which, to his bemusement, "has generated more attention than many of the biggest stories we've ever published".

From the moment it was revealed VF was working on an unauthorised profile of the Oscar-winning actress-turned luxe lifestyle guru, everyone assumed the piece was going to be negative. Even though Carter rubbished reports suggesting the story was going to deliver "an epic takedown" of the 41-year-old Hollywood star, he says this couldn't shake the perception that he was out to expose salacious "bombshells" about her private life and the health of her 10-year marriage to Martin.

When Gwyneth called him to ask him not to publish the piece, Carter says he agreed, but not because of the 20-minute ear-bashing he got from the other end of the phone. "My instinct was to continue to let it sit until people had forgotten about it, or at least until expectations had diminished," Carter explained in his March editor's letter.

Publishing insiders believe Carter and his team have the timing and the juice to produce a crackerjack cover story that will deftly put Paltrow in her place.

MICHELLE O AND A GAME OF THRONES

Michelle Obama is a demanding, at times petty, perfectionist who has transformed the East Wing into the "worst wing ... a confining, frustrating, even miserable place to work", a former aide to the Princeton/Harvard educated first lady claims in a dishy expose just published by the New Republic.

"Perhaps no first lady in recent memory has entered the stately recesses of the East Wing under a higher burden of expectation than Michelle Obama," writes disillusioned former White House assistant press secretary Reid Cherlin, who blames Mrs Obama's inner circle for being so focused on "competence and conflict-avoidance over grand vision", that many of her feel-good initiatives – such as the rollout of her "Drink Up" campaign encouraging people to imbibe more water – end up tanking due to Veep levels of ineptitude and in-fighting.

Cherlin, who worked on Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, says much of the problem lies with the fact that the first lady's staff "measure their worth" on how much access they can get to the boss. "Jealousy and discontentment have festered, as courtiers squabble over the allocation of responsibility and access to Mrs Obama, both of which can be aggravatingly scarce," he says.

"Every meeting was like an identity crisis, whether you got invited or not," he writes. "There's no barometer: The first lady having the wrong pencil skirt on Monday is just as big of a f***-up as someone speaking on the record when they didn't mean to or a policy initiative that failed."

The White House blasted the criticism. "The first lady is focused on making progress on the issues that matter to our families in a way that yields results," said a spokesman. "We will keep focusing on helping her implement that agenda, and leave the uninformed opinions and tiresome palace intrigue portrayals to others." Game on.

WASPS OUT TO STING K SISTERS

Kim isn't the only Kardashian determined to upgrade her image. Kourtney and Khloe, who appear to be consciously uncoupling their star from their over-achieving sibling, are getting a new spin-off reality TV series (Kourtney and Khloe Take the Hamptons) which is scheduled to shoot over the summer in Manhattan's tight-knit playground for the rich and famous.

Reaction to the news that the Kardashians' signature brand of 'krazy' – as well as a pop-up store for their Dash boutique – will soon hit the white-picket-fence hamlets has been about as generous as the reviews of Kim and Kanye's Vogue cover. The New York Post super-simplified the situation for their readers with a succinct three-word headline: "Hamptons Get Worse."

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