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Celebrity nanny scandals – why the rich and famous are forever running into very public problems with the people they pay to mind their kids

Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde’s ex-employee is the latest to join a long line of nanny scandals. Here we look back at why the role of childminder to the celebs is so contentious and complex 

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Former couples who have had nanny issues in the past, from left: Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani; Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis; Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck; Sienna Miller, Jude Law and Sadie Frost

Former couples who have had nanny issues in the past, from left: Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani; Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis; Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck; Sienna Miller, Jude Law and Sadie Frost

Daisy Wright was nanny to Jude Law and Sadie Frost’s children

Daisy Wright was nanny to Jude Law and Sadie Frost’s children

After Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman divorced in 2005, he went on to marry the family’s nanny in 2009 — and they’re still together

After Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman divorced in 2005, he went on to marry the family’s nanny in 2009 — and they’re still together

Bush lead singer, Gavin Rossdale and No Doubt lead singer, Gwen Stefaniat the 2000 Radio Music Awardsin Las Vegas. (Photo by Kevin Winter/ABC/Getty Images)

Bush lead singer, Gavin Rossdale and No Doubt lead singer, Gwen Stefaniat the 2000 Radio Music Awardsin Las Vegas. (Photo by Kevin Winter/ABC/Getty Images)

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Former couples who have had nanny issues in the past, from left: Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani; Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis; Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck; Sienna Miller, Jude Law and Sadie Frost

It is a truth universally acknowledged that parents in possession of A-list stardom must be in want of a nanny. Nobody rich does their own child rearing — they’re too busy curating their brand. Yet the nanny, even within non-famous families, remains one of the trickiest roles, both for the nanny and for the employer — she (because the nanny is almost always a she) is simultaneously less than a family member but more than an employee, navigating a blurred line between intimacy and distance. And this boundary is entirely invisible to children.

The nanny dynamic fascinates the rest of us, who regard the nanny as a kind of human periscope into lives closeted by wealth and power, so that when it goes wrong, we get whiplash from rubbernecking. And it does go wrong. This going-wrong tends to involve two possible scenarios: the male employer has sex with the nanny, or the nanny blabs about the family to the media. In most — but not all — cases, the nanny loses her job. What is less spoken about is that the children lose their nanny, but we’ll come back to that.


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