The Secret World of Jon and Kate
The Secret World of Jon and Kate
Jon Gosselin, chatterbox
Shortly after 4 o'clock on Tuesday, July 28, Jon Gosselin strolled across the lawn toward the right side of the fence where a few fans and photographers had gathered, clicking away. This time Jon was not attending to family business, ignoring the press, acknowledging their inquiries with backhanded, perfunctory responses. Today, Jon came down to provide the press with his daily itinerary.
Had Jon wised up to what the late columnist Robert Novak had told the rich and powerful in Washington: "Either you're my source or you're my target"? Jon hardly read the political pages.
The turnaround was so startling that one photographer phoned us to express his amazement. Us Weekly got our text message: "Jon is now Mr. Congeniality. He is now talking to people." That Jon, who hadn't said more than a few hundred words to the gathered press corps over the past two months, turned gabby didn't register in New York as a tipping point in this crazy story. In reality, this day marked a changing of the guard for Us Weekly's reporting in Pennsylvania and the fulcrum of Gosselin summer.
So what transformed the taciturn, tight-lipped Jon into a reconstructed chatterbox?
One event. The hiring of Mike Heller as his agent.
Throughout June and July, the press discussed among ourselves how Jon and Kate desperately needed a press agent. Kate, in particular. Her public image was bitch, shrew, ball-buster, and her rude treatment of fans who dropped by to offer support only savaged her already shabby reputation. Jon still was the "cool guy," beloved by the clerks at the local Hess filling station, if not too many places elsewhere. Rehabilitation was prescribed. We thought about sending a letter to Jon and Kate offering our services. Ten thousand a month sounded about right, six months minimum. Then again, we thought, the letters probably would be trashed, unread.
Now Jon had his agent, a flack, a mouthpiece whose flipped-out strategies would plunge Jon's poll numbers to a subterranean level, somewhere between John Edwards' and O.J. Simpson's. Enter Mike Heller, uncle of Hailey Glassman, Jon's girlfriend of the moment, into Gosselin nation.
Heller &. Heller
When the Gosselin marital meltdown first screamed its way across the tabloids, the public perception of Jon was forged from his character on the TV show. (And this was a character, make no mistake, because "Jon & Kate" was far from an observational reality series capturing ordinary people in unscripted, off-guarded moments.) Jon and Kate perfected a George & Gracie type routine: Kate the alpha female barking orders at her henpecked hubby, treating his every movement with disgust. TV viewers bought into their shtick because they could sympathize with the sad-sack spouse who took it like a man for the sake of his kids. Kate bought into her villainess role with delight, knowing it helped sell sponsors. Plus, it gave her no incentive to soften her cold-blooded nature.
By the time agent Mike Heller, Hailey's uncle, entered Jon's orbit in July, Jon and Kate's vaudeville act was as dead as vaudeville itself. Nice-guy Jon with the gentle personality had become a globetrotting Casanova. Part of the freakishness that gave this story legs was the way Jon's sexual liberation played totally against type. He was the last celebrity in the world you'd expect to launch public sexual affairs, multiple ones to boot.
Unfortunately for Heller, the spectacle seemed contrived and artificial. Jon had transformed