The flip side of celebrity

We may be tempted by fame and fortune, but the life of a hollywood a-lister may not be as carefree as it seems, says tanya sweeney

Tanya Sweeney

Our misery at dropping temperatures and shorter days is only compounded by the sight of celebrities on their winter breaks. The A-list repair to St Barts, Jamaica and Hawaii when the going gets tough, and it's enough to make our drizzly daily commute seem like hell.

Elsewhere, the fringe benefits of a celebrity lifestyle are writ large: parties, designers clamouring to dress you and friends in high places. But have you ever stopped to consider how you might be better off than most celebrities, or that there may be a downside to fame? Thought not. Read on, so . . .

1the break-up Poor Kim Kardashian has been splashed on every newspaper page from here to Australia since her 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries hit the skids. Worse still, she had to explain her split to the world in a TV interview late last week. The grisly details of her short-lived union are being picked apart and Twitter seems positively ablaze with plain old schadenfreude.

Meanwhile, you, dear reader, have the luxury of licking your post-split wounds in private. Few celebrities can retreat to their bedrooms, Galaxy bar and Notebook DVD in hand. As if their personal trainer would allow that.

2The diet Celebrities aren't quite contractually obliged to stay skinny . . . but the world soon notices if their regime falls by the wayside. Open any magazine and you will find a celebrity extolling the virtues of a steamed vegetable and fish dinner . . . or worse, with a cleanse or two thrown in for good measure. Sounds delightful, right?

3the bodily imperfections At least we civilians can keep our perceived flaws away from public view. We don't have paparazzi following us with the sole aim of getting a close-up shot of our orange-peel thighs for Perez Hilton. This is perhaps why celebs such as Madonna are moved to pay €50,000 for a machine that promises to zap cellulite.

4the Internet Just ask Sile Seoige, Miriam O'Callaghan or Sinead O'Connor about the potentially explosive nature of Twitter -- one false move and you'll never live it down. And, under the cover of anonymity, internet users are given free reign to be truly cruel about anyone in the public eye.

5the WAITING GAME Even if you get it pitch-perfect on red-carpet night, awards ceremonies are insufferably long: think seven hours for the Oscars. And once you're on set, there is a lot of hanging around. Civilians, meanwhile, may not get to act next to George Clooney, but at least their colleagues won't retreat to their trailers during lunch break. And they get to enjoy water-cooler gossip, flirting with the guy who delivers the water, and idle Facebooking over their coffee break.

6 Hollywood friendships Most of us have friends simply because they enjoy our company. We are not likely to be blagging them into a premiere or shunting them up the Marc Jacobs waiting list. If you're a star, making genuine friends can be a minefield. And even if you do cosy up to a fellow A-lister it can also end in tears: just ask Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna. And, come to think of it, when was the last time you saw Angelina Jolie let her hair down with a gaggle of galpals?

7romance and paparazzi The best part of a new romance is the flirting, the first date, the Sunday afternoon cinema visit or the balmy evening first kiss, but it's harder when you are famous -- imagine any of the above with a paparazzi camera crew in tow.

In fact, many celebs are set up by their representatives: Una Healy admitted that she met her boyfriend Ben Foden through their respective agents . . . but given the choice most of us would rather our romances got off to a more spontaneous, organic start.

8 older and wiser In most professions, experience means a better pay packet and more job security. No such luck in the world of celebrity, where youth and newness are the two most potent currencies. Rare and rather fortunate is the star who gets more bankable with age.

While Meryl Streep and George Clooney are certainly sitting pretty, many others such as actress Demi Moore appear to be treating the staving off of middle age as a full-time job.

9 Too easy Florence Welch may have had her fun in vintage emporium 9 Crow Street when she came to Dublin last weekend, but if you are constantly being handed designer swag, can you ever feel the heady rush of finding a bargain or the last dress in Penneys in your size? We think not.

10 celebrity children Suri Cruise might have a wardrobe that would put a Vogue editrix to shame, but Tom and Katie are probably missing out on the joy of having an innocent child who doesn't know her Prada from her Dolce & Gabbana. There's a lot to be said for having a child who gets excited by a prospect of a trip to the zoo, or a friend's birthday party. Most youngsters are brimming with a glorious sense of divilment and innocence . . . not wondering when their chauffeur will arrive.