Do Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears have high school diplomas? How do such people address practical matters of education when they are teen celebrities?
—Emily, St. Louis
The B!tch Replies: You mean how exactly do they prep for trigonometry tests while fulfilling their obligations as teenage thrill machines? Or why do a lot of them blow smoke up our ass about how much they'd love to go to college, and then they never go but no one ever busts them for said ass blowing?
"I'd really like to go to college," Britney Spears cooed to the media seven years ago, when she was 18 or thereabouts. "It would be good to have a break from the music industry for a while." I see that goal has flowered stupendously.
Let's tackle high school first. I've addressed the teen-education portion of our program before. By law, showbiz execs cannot deprive their child talent of schooling—or rest breaks, for that matter. Minor actors get on-set tutors, and sometimes even helpers hired solely to ensure that the young performers get their juice boxes and raisins and smuggled vodka tonics. (Attention, E! legal department: Did I say smuggled vodka tonics? I meant Doritos. My bad.)
Decent parents also bring in personal teachers for their teen wonders.
"I said, 'We're gonna find tutors, and you're gonna finish high school, if we have to go handcuffed together," Justin Timberlake's mom, Lynn Harless, once recalled to Barbara Walters. "Then we'll talk about what happens after."
What happened after was actually kinda neat. Cut to the year 2000, and Justin is awarded his diploma onstage during a concert in Memphis. He had gotten it through an independent study thing offered by the University of Nebraska.
But you asked about Britney. Last official report we had was from 2004, saying she was still working on getting her high school equivalent via correspondence courses. But that report came out about two weeks before she married Kevin Federline and a few months before she got pregnant with her first proto-yokel. Her spokespeople didn't return requests for comment, and I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess Britney still hasn't finished school. Just a guess.
As for Jessica Simpson, CNN reports that she "dropped out" of high school in 1997, but in truth she got her diploma from a Texas tech school a year later, via distance learning.
Regardless of whether they get their diplomas, "what happens after," of course, remains optional.
Timberlake told a British reporter he rejected college because "I don't know if I'd have made it through. There's too many…women. Women, drugs and debauchery. I'd have gotten into trouble."
Perhaps some slavering pack of 12-year-old fans chained Britney to a mixing board and kept her there until she agreed to give up this whole education nonsense and parade around with a live snake instead.
At least Christina Aguilera seems a bit more honest about her disinterest in ivory towers and ivy walls.
"My manager was giving me a hard time," Aguilera, who claims she has earned her high school equivalency, recalled to Interview when she was 19. "He was like, 'What was up with all the partying you did at such and such a place?'
"And I said, 'What were you doing at 19 years old? You were in college having your frat experiences. This is my college experience.' "
However, shrinks say most young celebrities bail on college because of good, old-fashioned narcissism combined with delusions of invulnerability."They think life is always going to be fabulous," says Dr. Linnda Durre, a psychotherapist who has worked with child actors during her 28 years in practice. "They also think they are never going to have illnesses, wrinkles, stretch marks—ill health of any type."
And, she adds, "they think they're the center of the universe."
Pair those weaknesses with high-pressure, money-hungry managers, and it's a wonder any young celebrity goes to college. Could it be that NYU student Ashley Olsen is stronger than those big Disney eyes would lead us to believe?