Ashanti, Lindsay Lohan and Usher all have them – Young Hollywood’s hottest accessory, the Momager. Jessica Simpson and younger sister Ashlee have a Popager. And some stars like Beyonce have both parents on payroll.
R&B superstar Ashanti’s mother Tina Douglas recently told FOXNews.com that there is a reason for the momager and popager trend, “This is a tough business. It is dog-eat-dog and very competitive, but when you surround yourself with people who love you and support you, then you can’t lose.”
So whose parents are on payroll even after they’ve become legal adults?
Ashanti and her momager, Tina Douglas.
Papa Joe Simpson also manages his daughter, pop-star and actress, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz.
While having family members on your team may be a great option for some young performers, it becomes a bumpy road for others.
- For instance, what happens when the child becomes the primary or sole bread winner for the parents?
Or perhaps the bread winner for an entire family as was the case with Macaulay Culkin? Christopher “Kit” Culkin, father and ex-manager of former child super star Macaulay Culkin, notoriously lived off the “Home Alone” actor’s assets and that was the least of his reported offenses. Kit Culkin also had a reputation for signing Macaulay up for movies without his son’s permission, being notoriously difficult to work with and allegedly verbally and physically intimidating his then young son.
In 2000, country singer LeAnn Rimes sued her own father, Wilbur Rimes, and his co-manager, Lyle Walker, for embezzling at least $7 million from her empire. Though Rimes and her father are no longer estranged and the case was settled out of court, one might wonder if a child could ever recover from such betrayal.
Dr. Pamela Hain-Koenigsburg, a psychologist in Baltimore, MD also told Fox News, “A parent, you would hope, would be protective of their child and her assets and say, ‘This money should last you a lifetime. I just want you to be successful and have a good life with it,’” said Dr. Pamela Hain-Koenigsburg, a psychologist from Baltimore.
Another danger in playing manager is that parents end up hyper-sexualizing their own children, which is the most obvious conflict of parental interest.
Teri Shields, the former momager of Brooke Shields, famously marketed her gorgeous daughter as Brooke Shields and Co. and was criticized for encouraging her then-underage daughter to play a child prostitute and appear in sexually implicit ads for Calvin Klein Jeans as a teen and for nude photos at 10 years old that were commissioned by Teri herself as “promotional tools.” Thankfully there is no way those images would ever be produced in today’s protective social climate.
“I used to look at Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson and wonder ‘How do you let your child dress like that?'” Hain-Koenigsburg told Fox News. “As the parent of a girl, I wonder how you could sex a child up like that and throw her out to the world.” Fox News reports that Hain-Koenigsburg has been particularly troubled by the recent case of Lindsay Lohan, whose oft-imprisoned father demanded that ex-wife Dina split the earnings she’s made by managing their various children. “Her [Lindsay’s] situation is so terrible,” she said, adding that she thinks Lohan would have been better off if her parents just remained parents. “When that kind of situation happens, who do you go to and who do you trust?”
That being said, the majority of parents do not equate the duties of being a child performers manager with financial or sexual exploitation, and make concerted efforts that this is not the case. “Celebrities are vulnerable, so it makes sense that they would yearn to have someone close to them there at all times,” said Bonnie Low-Kramen who acts as personal assistant to actress Olympia Dukakis. “It has to be a very special relationship for it to work. I know Olympia, and my business relationship is first and foremost, and we have that boundary. [A parent and child] would have to [set] some ground rules, because it’s likened to going into business with someone. It changes the whole relationship.”
And then there’s the sticky issue of payroll…
“The child has to pay the parent a salary — there is something tricky about that,” Low-Kramen tells Fox News. “I think celebrities welcome the ability to separate the business from the personal.”
But Hain-Koenigsburg said that if a parent’s motivation is genuine, employing him or her might be the best thing for a star. “Nobody will look out for your interests the way a parent would.” Ashanti’s momager Tina Douglas shares with FOX that other managers “have approached me in a negative way, saying that I can’t manage Ashanti because I’m her mom and I’m ’emotional.’ But that emotion is what helped get her to where she is today.”
Source: Fox News, FOXNews.com, Google.com