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PREACH IT! C'mon, you already knew that Tiger cheated

December 9, 2009 |  7:19 pm

Smilingtiger

The Tiger Woods story continues to swell into the gossip gift that keeps on givin’ -- and happy holidays to you too, Mom Nordegren! Hope you’re feeling better! -- but with every story a new question emerges.

The question that clucking hausfraus seem, at least to me, to be conveying at this hour: Given how many affairs there were, why were we the last to know?

Tiger’s prowling was apparently a huge open secret in Hollywood -- at least, it certainly seems that way after what Jillian Michaels had to say this week. In fact, "The Biggest Loser" trainer revealed that she’d known for years that Tiger truly was an animal.

So how did his indiscretions remain airtight for so long? Are there no rats in Tiger’s nest at all? Seriously?

Allow me to explain. There are two reasons why most locals decline to call out a famous serial cheater when they see one.

(And there are more serial cheaters than you might think, especially in the secretly-into-the-same-gender department.)

The first reason is an unholy mix of fear and admiration; most of the people who surround stars every day are not, as you might think, their friends. Stars have few “friends” whom they don’t pay, either to drive their cars, watch their kids, manage their money, get them gigs, keep them out of court or separate them from their fans with big, meaty hands.

Jillian In other words, most of the people closest to a celebrity, aside from spouses or kids, are paid sycophants of some stripe, and if those minions think that a client’s habits are out of control, it really doesn’t matter quite as much as a paycheck does.

"A lot of people who are exposed to Hollywood trysts, such a publicists, managers and agents, are in an environment where their job is on the line,” says publicist Rory Roth-Honigfeld, who has dealt with more than her share of celebrities. “If they tell a confidant something about a client and it gets exposed, you can be fired.” Besides, she adds, “People who know celebrities also don’t see them as just tabloid material; they get to know the real person, which would deter one from wanting to expose them.”

The second reason is that most of us gossip reporters do rather enjoy a lawsuit-free lifestyle.

Suppose several celebrity minions come forward wanting to sell out their overlord. Even if a gossip reporter has several excellent sources confirming that Tiger is a cheat, if none of those sources is willing to go on the record, or if those sources are too sketchy or afraid to provide enough convincing detail, or if those sources are demanding a fat pimp wad of cash that the gossip rag won’t pay (or, like this publication, has ethical rules about not paying), then the best most reporters can manage -- without courting a libel lawsuit -- is a blind item.

In other words, if you’re a halfway decent gossip addict, I guarantee you’ve read about Tiger’s wayward Big Bertha in the past couple of years.

You just haven’t heard of him by name.

-- Leslie Gornstein

Photos: That's Tiger on top, of course, on Oct. 8, playing in San Francisco. And on the right we find Jillian Michaels, who did not use the mike at the 2009 Women's Conference in Long Beach on Oct. 26 to tell anyone that Woods had once hit on her friend. Credits: Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images, top; Billy Ingram / Getty Images, right.

More PREACH IT! magic from the Ministry of Gossip:

PREACH IT! Pass the peppehs, we're going down the shore (the 'Jersey Shore,' that is)

PREACH IT! Thief! Thief! Stop that woman! Jennifer Hudson is stealing a nation's -- something!

PREACH IT! Just for you, ABC, a post about Adam Lambert that is Totally Not Gay

PREACH IT! Enjoy the 'Twilight' while it lasts, Edward Cullen -- the witches are coming for you!

PREACH IT! I'll Buy that kid for a dollar, Jennifer Hudson

PREACH IT! Hey Tiger? Gonna take a Big Bertha to your plea for privacy

PREACH IT! And Leslie Looked Upon the Ministry Readers, and She Saw That She Was Good (an introduction to Ms. Gornstein and her mission)

Click here for all things Tiger Woods, or at least a whole lot of things Tiger Woods.

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