[EDITOR'S NOTE: This story originally ran on June 9, 2011, when Blake Lively's purported (and since vehemently denied) nude photo scandal hit the headlines. In light of this week's leaking of salacious Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis pics reportedly hacked from their phones, we thought it was worth revisiting.]
I'm seeing a lot of nip slips and naked picture scandals from people like Khloé Kardashian and Blake Lively. Don't they both have projects coming out? Are these "mishaps" planned now?
—Suspicious, Nevada, via the inbox
Hey, at least Blake Lively isn't claiming she can't recognize herself in her own underwear. Show her some respect for not pulling a Weiner. (Yes, I just walked right into that.)
For the record, Lively has denied that those leaked photos of her and her gossip girls are real—at least, some of them. But what about Vanessa Hudgens, Khloé Kardashian Odom, and the mother of all nip scandal, Janet Jackson?
Can all those be coincidental?
I'm about to share a trusty, simple rule of thumb to help you discern when a nip slip or nude photo leak is likely planned, or not. But first, you need to realize how many stars have been caught up in these scenarios.
There are so many examples of peek-a-boobage out there these days that—really, are we still calling these scandals?
First: Nip slips.
A-listers, C-listers and every starlet in between likely has had a public rassle with a runaway girl or two. We're talking Christina Ricci, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kirsten Dunst and Milla Jovovich (unexpected); Amy Winehouse, Mischa Barton, Jessica Simpson and AnnaLynne McCord (really not all that unexpected) and even people like Keira Knightley, who I didn't think had any boobs.
Most of these slippages happen on red carpets, where the stars are already working to promote a film. They don't need the added attention at the time because people are already covering them. You know, on red carpets.
Might some of these stars deliberately jiggle out of their couture for just that little extra news boost? Probably.
But most of them garner enough positive attention already. Deliberate slips, in those cases, just don't make sense.
That also goes for Khloé Kardashian Odom. Yes, she has a new season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians to promote. But she was already getting the media attention necessary to promote said show at the time of her slippage; the fashion emergency happened during an appearance on Fox and Friends. If Kardashian was already up to her eyeballs in coverage, she had no motive to, well, uncover.
Now, on to leaked nude photos.
Unlike nip slips, those tend to emerge in a much more premeditated fashion—not always, but commonly.
"Yes, those are deliberately leaked, and yes, I am contacted more often than one would imagine about that, usually by agents or publicists," says Joshua Estrin, who runs the celeb news site PopMuncher.com.
"It's very well and strategically calculated" in many instances. Estrin himself doesn't post such photos, but, he says, he gets offers quite often.
"It usually goes something like this," Estrin tells me. "[The publicists or agents] call and tell me, 'We have some great photos that are gonna blow your site up, are you interested?' It's not like 'So-and-so had a wardrobe malfunction and we would like you to post it.'
"But you know what you're getting. Sometimes they even say, 'Can we send one of the blurrier ones over to give you an idea of what you're getting? We'll leave the caption up to you'."
What are these photos, usually, and of whom?
Well, Estrin says, "They tend to look organic and grainy and were clearly taken in a private space. They're usually really well cropped so it's hard to tell that it's someone's living room.
"I also get a lot of butt shots from guys they are clearly taken, at least, in my opinion, at gyms. Like, someone took a picture of himself in a mirror and now his handlers have it."
So, next time you see some shot of a celeb's naked derriere, you may rightfully suspect a setup, especially if said star has something to promote. Estrin says these things are always elegantly timed.
One more reliable gauge? The level of the star in question.
Sure, maybe Lively did leak a nude shot or two. But it's not likely, because she already has a huge profile, Estrin supposes.
Instead, most of these "leaks" come from lower-end stars such as reality types. B- or C-listers who need press at a key time, but aren't getting enough.
"When the machine isn't running as it should, then they come to the media with creative ways to grease the wheels," Estrin says.
(Originally published on June 9, 2011 at 5:55 a.m. PT)