By: Susan Davidson, Chicago
By: Susan Davidson, Chicago
A.B. Replies: You mean what kind of job does Dina Lohan think she's doing, given that her client-daughter always seems to show up at parties looking like Captain Morgan just had his jolly, rum-soaked way with her in an underground Shanghai opium den, where swarms of stolen rhesus monkeys have been swinging from one end of the room to the other using Lindsay's hair?
Or why did the man who fathered LeAnn Rimes feel the need to assume control of her business and then allegedly conspire to steal $7 million of her cash, earned through thousands of hours of rehearsals and sweat and yodeling?
Why, why, you probe, do so many parent-managers, aka momagers and dadagers, seem so twisted and dissipated and out of touch?
According to talent managers and psychologists wrangled by this B!tch, most momagers and dadagers are actually not all that bad. This B!tch is told that Dina Lohan's heart is probably in the right place. Or at least it was, back when Lindsay was still poor and small and simple and let people see her freckles.
Here's what happens in a typical child-star situation: Most stage parents first decide to manage their children early in the kid's career. The parents are as unspoiled and raw as their gap-toothed little meal tickets--they're still just a couple of bolo-tie-wearing, needlepoint-sewing folks from Texas who buy their scrapbooking supplies at Michael's and who want to keep Jesus in their hearts as they head to Hollywood to fulfill their children's dreams.
"I don't think anyone is maliciously thinking, 'How do I screw my kids out of the money they have been working to make?' " says Dr. Yvonne Thomas, a psychologist who often works with the famous.
Being from out of town, these stage parents don't trust Hollywood suits and decide that, to avoid being taken advantage of, they will assume responsibility for their children's business and media affairs.
"Parents, most of whom know nothing about managing or the business, will allegedly try to protect their kids by managing them themselves," says Dr. Gilda Carle, a celeb psychotherapist.
At first, all goes well. The media is charmed by this ham-eating hick family that loves the Christ and its Sams Club membership with equal zeal. These are small child actors who still say sir and ma'am and drink Coca-Cola.
But once a kid graduates from Disney-channel gigs to the more lucrative and heady Disney-movie gigs, corruption starts to penetrate not only the talent, but also the talent's family. If the family is also managing a child's business, that new power can be a very dangerous thing.
If the child is not fat, Chanel might start calling the household, asking if the now adolescent actress would like a free dress...and then another...and another. Would your Mommy like her own free dress? Would your Mommy like an extra ticket to the Marc Jacobs fashion show, where such and such an agent would really like to meet both of you? Would Mommy like a VIP table at Club LAX, where she and Mr. Producer can sit and negotiate away the rest of your teen years over a bottle of Cristal and a plate of spicy octopus while you wander off and smoke cigarettes in the bathroom with Nicole Richie?
Eventually, my experts say, prolonged exposure to power and media attention tends to crack up even the strongest of stage moms.
"Sometimes the parents become starstruck or overwhelmed with the enormity of the management job or even jealousy of their own children," Carle explains. "As I always advise parents not to be friends with but rather friendly toward their children, I also advise them to get advisement themselves before they sell their child down the river."