Saturday 24 February 2018

People are talking: Mariah's big fat pricey wedding

Rock solid: Billionaire James Packer presented Mariah with an £8m engagement ring
Rock solid: Billionaire James Packer presented Mariah with an £8m engagement ring
Oprah winfrey
Enda Kenny
Hassan Rouhani

Anne Marie Scanlon

If you've ever doubted that the rich are different I refer you to Mariah Carey. The twice-married diva has just become engaged to Australian billionaire James Packer. Like his bride-to-be, this will be Packer's third trip down the aisle. Well, they do say "third time's a charm".

Packer sealed the deal by presenting Carey with a 35 carat diamond engagement ring (reportedly costing £8m). It looks like the rock is only the start of the excess - as the bride has apparently viewed a wedding dress made with 14 carat gold thread.

A 'source' told People magazine: "Mariah was always a hopeless romantic. She deserves the dream."

Poor James, between the pair of them, they've already notched up a series of these 'dream' weddings.

Only two years ago, Mariah renewed her vows to husband number two by taking over Disneyland and allegedly dressing in matching prince and princess costumes. Even the Vera Wang dress she wore for her first wedding in 1993, a fairly traditional bash, cost an alleged $25,000.

Meanwhile, Packer had Elton John as his wedding singer in 1993, and in 2007 the second Mrs Packer wore a Christian Dior number allegedly costing more than £200,000. Where to go next? Poor Mariah, nobody understands just how difficult it is to be rich and in love.

Bottom of the hot list:  the minging Irish male

They say Irish men have a good sense of humour. We might need it after shocking news that emerged during the week. It turns out we are the ugliest men in the world. This was revealed by the dating website (How do you mean you're not on it?) Actually it's no surprise if you're not on it. The owners revealed that less than 10pc of Irish men who applied with their profile passed muster. That figure is bottom of the hot pile.

Sorry lads, we're mingers. The guy who reported the results added that the photos of Irish men are often topless selfies shot in a dingy room. Apparently, in other parts of the world, women are looking for something more than man boobs and a tattoo saying "The Ride of Your Life". And you thought you were fussy.

The problem here is really about managing expectations. When your foreign lady makes a date with an Irish man, she expects a cross between Aidan Turner and Jamie Dornan, with added Fassbender. What she gets is a hefty nerd called Conor who drinks six pints and says, "Do you mind if I polish off your pizza?" Worse again, that request isn't even a bit of smutty innuendo. So listen up, international ladies looking for love. Not all Irish men look like our Hollywood stars. Indeed, not all of our actors look like that. (See Fair City.) That's why you won't find many of us on beautiful­ That's mainly for Italian men who like to blowdry their hair. If it's one of us you want, please see sites such as GoodBitofCrack and Happy hunting.

Pat Fitzpatrick

Oprah's lesson in making dough

Oprah winfrey

How many miracles do you need for sanctification? One should do for Oprah Winfrey, if you ask us. This week Jesus, or Oprah as she's sometimes known, beamed some wisdom down from her cloud (via Twitter): she loves bread. LOVES bread. Loves bread and still lost weight. For fat people, for carb addicts, hearing this was to know how someone suffering from TB felt in the 1920s when they heard about a little thing called penicillin. There is hope. Bread is not the enemy. Or is it? Oprah, or her guests, have told us a lot of crap over the years that we want to believe: that all we need to do is tell the universe we want something and it'll come to pass, that it's possible to "make peace with your hair" and that James Frey did write that amazing memoir.

So we ought to be sceptical, and we are. But a little part of us wants to believe. And who cares about piffling little details such as 1) We know in our fat-encrusted hearts that this ain't how it works, bread does make you fat because, amongst other reasons, 2) Oprah is still kind of fat. Not as fat as she has been, mind. But fat enough that we wouldn't be rushing to confer penicillin status on bread.

Also, there is the matter of the reports that, in the aftermath of her pronouncement, shares in Weight Watchers - for which she is a paid spokeswoman - climbed by $2 a share. And since Oprah owns six million shares in the company, that would amount to a cool $12m if she decided to sell up (which she probably won't, being too shrewd for such rash moves). So there was, you could say, a lot of, well, bread, for Oprah in bread.

Donal Lynch

Enda's truly terrible timing

Enda Kenny

A Taoiseach only has one job that he can truly call his own. It's not representing the country abroad, because Bono and the President already take turns at that. And it's not running the economy, because that's done by nameless, faceless men in suits in secret back rooms, most of whom are called Hans.

The Taoiseach's one special job is to pick a date for the election, and it's beginning to look as if Enda Kenny may have muffed it up. It could have all been over by now. There was a giveaway Budget in November. Everyone was in a good mood, looking forward to Christmas. Ireland had qualified for the World Cup. The Fine Gael leader couldn't have asked for more auspicious circumstances.

Fast forward a few months, and we're smack bang in the middle of the most depressing period of the year. The weather's awful. Everywhere's flooded. All those hopeful New Year's resolutions have crumbled away into the realisation that the next 12 months are probably going to be as dismal as the last 12. Meanwhile, there are critical reports about the Irish Government being published left, right and centre, and the 1916 centenary's giving all his opponents the chance to make merry mischief. Even Michael Lowry's name is coming back to haunt the Taoiseach. He really couldn't have chosen a nastier date for an election if he'd let his worst enemy pick it. Honestly, Enda, you had one job...

Eilis O'Hanlon

Not such a Big deal, people

Even by our low standards, the fuss made last week over the arrival of Mr Big in Ireland was pretty mortifying. The world over, we are known as the best little country for being ridiculously grateful if anyone of international standing comes to see us. But the manner in which grown women - and men, God help us, grown men - went loopy over Mr Big coming to Cavan marked a new low.

Chris Noth was in Ireland filming for the series Who Do You Think You Are? Yes, who Mr Big thinks he is is Chris Noth. Because he's an actor. Who played a pretend character in Sex and The City - a show with a name that makes it sound grown-up, when it's really concerned with a never-evolving-beyond-being-an-adolescent narcissistic ninny. But he'll always be Mr Big to a certain cohort, who imagine the very model of female existence is Carrie Bradshaw and her navel-gazing, man-hopping before settling with a guy who's, well, a bit wooden. Haven't you seen The Good Wife? He might be big, but his range isn't wide.

Anyway, we all lined up to have our pictures taken with Noth when he did us the honour of landing in search of his Cavan roots. No doubt someone informed him that Carrie - also actually an actress, Sarah Jessica Parker - loves us too and holidays in Donegal. They love us, these people. Nearly as much as we adore them.

Sarah Caden

No ifs or butts for Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani

We're used to cover-ups in politics, but the latest one involving the Iranian president does take the proverbial biscuit. Hassan Rouhani (above) was in Italy for a visit during the week but while he was definitely in Rome, he was keen not to do what the Romans do.

Italian diplomats decided to cover up nude statues at the city's Capitoline Museum to save the Iranian premier's blushes. Photographs from the visit showed the Italian premier Matteo Renzi and the Iranian leader, inset, standing together, fully clothed of course, near an equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. But all the nude statues in the vicinity were boxed off by very large white panels. Italian news agencies were told that the decision to cover up the scantily clad statues was seen as a sign of respect for the Middle Eastern leader.

Of course a representative of playboy Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party would not agree with this. "Respect for other cultures cannot and must not mean negating our own," said Luca Squeri. To add insult to injury, booze was also banned at an official dinner held in his honour, in case the abstemious Muslim dignitaries would be upset.

This is definitely a case of no nudes is bad news for Italy.

Will Hanafin

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