I’ve heard a rumour that celebrities pay people to make up rumours about them.
It’s a rumour about rumours.
But I’ve always wondered if they paid for rumours to go away? Make the nasty, destructive stories disappear into thin air? Or is all publicity good publicity?
The problem with rumours is that someone always knows the truth. No matter how you pay, it doesn’t make the story any less true.
Do you believe every rumour you hear? Even if the source is credible?
Even with the proof?
To believe the rumour is to accept the facts. And ignore the ‘what if’.
The It Girl Rumour
“Can you believe she is on the cover?”
“Who?” She was asking me like I was a mind reader.
Olivia, my honest and intellectual friend, thrust the cover of Elle magazine in front of me. She pointed at the tanned girl on the glossy exterior. She was contorting her body, wearing only a white singlet and booty shorts. Someone had airbrushed abdominal definition to her exposed stomach.
“Oh, Lilian Lomez. Yeah, she’s on the front of everything now.”
As she opened the publication, Olivia scoffed. “Lilian Lomez. I remember when she was Lily Gunderson. Frizzy hair and not a single brain cell to speak of.”
Now, Lilian’s hair was far from frizzy, but I couldn’t speak for her brain cells now. Her social climbing, her ability to market herself, it would seem she wasn’t as simple as we remembered her.
“Do you think she knows?” Olivia whispered, dropping her eyes low.
“We’re in the kitchen. I don’t think she’s going to hear you through the magazine pages.”
“But do you? Do you think she knows what her husband did?” I shook my head.
If Lilian Lomez knew what we knew, she would call her divorce lawyer.
The Rumour Before The Rumour (aka The Start Of The It Girl)
I went to school with Lilian for the best part of high school. She was polite, hung out with the cool crowd, was always at the best parties. But as much as I don’t want to sound nasty, she wasn’t that bright. She almost failed her final year exams, and was lucky to have passed. She didn’t receive any university offers.
Being cool didn’t seem to pay off.
It was a few years later, as soon as we all forgot about the cool kids at school, Lilian’s name resurfaced. Like a terrible smell. She was everywhere.
Lilian started dating Andy Lomez, the Olympic swimmer turned celebrity fitness influencer. He was the bachelor before they turned it into a television show. Girls lined up to meet him, date him and do whatever it took to become his permanent lover.
The women in Andy’s life didn’t always last long. A night, weekend depending on the social occasion. So when Lilian arrived on the scene, and she lasted longer than a few hours, the media took notice.
A rumour circulated that she was sleeping with him. A rumour we believed. A second rumour circulated that he had moved her into his South Yarra penthouse. A rumour we struggled to believe. Luckily for Lilian, they were both true.
As soon as she unpacked her last box, the world knew they were an official item. Olivia thinks Lilian called the press herself.
All eyes were upon her. What she wore. Who she socialised with. Where she dined. The press had an obsession with their relationship.
That was when her name stopped being Lily and became Lilian. Her hair was no longer frizzy, as she had stylists of the stars tweak every inch of her body. She was the new Melbourne It girl, and there wasn’t one of us that wasn’t jealous. Though we never admitted it.
The Second Rumour Was Much Worse
The press spotted Lilian wearing a blindingly big diamond engagement ring for months when the second rumour began. As her engagement became widespread, so was the topic of ‘Cora’.
I was at lunch with Anne, my other straight shooter friend, and Olivia. And all we could talk about was the rumour of all rumours.
“Do you remember Cora? She was in our grade.”
Cora was beautiful and eloquent, and the valedictorian of our year. “Oh yes. I was at her birthday drinks last year.”
Anne pursed her lips. “Well, there is word going around that Cora was with someone’s fiance the other night. Someone very famous, someone who would be very unhappy if she heard the news.”
“You’re kidding me,” screeched Olivia. She gulped her cocktail and ordered another. “Tell me she slept with Lilian’s fiance.”
Anne nodded whilst struggling to contain her smirking. “She was seen leaving Andy’s hotel room, with him, after three in the morning. Last Saturday. Where Lilian was is anyone’s guess.”
After a pitcher of mojitos, Olivia described the red lace underwear Cora left behind. Apparently, Andy keeps in the at the bottom of his cupboard as a momento. More rumours.
Is It A Rumour If ‘No One’ Is Talking About It?
It would seem we were the only ones who knew. The few girls who shared Lilian’s adolescence. The rumour of his affair didn’t circulate through the conventional press. Not a mention.
The magazines that followed her around didn’t pay attention to Cora, Andy or the hotel room. It was like they didn’t want to know. Which was strange for the press, because usually, it was all they wanted to know.
It started me wondering how true the rumour was. If the press weren’t talking about it, it was made up? Right?
The only thing was: we were talking about it. Every girl I went to school with knew the story. They were spreading it like wildfire.
We spoke about the rumours like they are facts. And through other rumours, Cora was quoted to confirm the tryst.
And her missing underwear.
How True Is True?
Do I believe the rumour about Melbourne’s ‘It’ girl and her wayward fiance, turned husband and baby daddy? Well, there are always two sides to every story. Some parts of the stories are lies, some are true.
With Lilian’s rumours, I’m always inclined to believe them. They never seemed far-fetched, or unbelievable. When a rumour ended up being true, it’s impossible not to think every other is true too.
But the problem with rumours is the questions that become entangled with the truth. The ‘what if’ of the story.
What if they had a threesome, and Cora’s underwear is actually at the bottom of Lilian’s wardrobe? What if the timeline was wrong, and he was single at the time? What if, what if, what if?
And it’s always the ‘what if’ that ensures a rumour stays a rumour.
As long as we keep saying what if, we will never know for sure.
I’m Ellen McRae, writer by trade and passionate storyteller by nature. I write about figuring about love and relationships by analysing my experiences. Some of the stories are altered to protect the people in my life. But my feelings are never compromised.
“Were Women Really Giving Up On Love And Throttling Up On Power?”
How relevant is Sex and The City? S1, Ep.1: “Sex and the City”