Ministry of Gossip

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

December 2, 2009 |  1:30 am
Oh, lookit! It’s Jennifer Hudson, showing off the cutest wittle pictures of that adorably squeezable -- albeit a wee tad startled looking -- new bebeh!

Now that Hudson has debuted baby David as a public figure, we’ll likely see pics of the little guy swinging in the park and going shopping with Mommy and maybe even mugging on a red carpet a la the Will Smith or Demi Moore clans.

Won’t that be fun for everyone?

It always is. Until the red hot second when a star puts out a statement complaining that the public needs to back off his or her poor child, because none of us asked for any of this. For shame. For shame!

In modern Hollywood, that moment of parental outrage seems to come like clockwork: Star debuts child to the world, star scolds world for paying attention.

And the debuting usually starts before the kid is even born. During pregnancy, there are tons of publicist-approved headlines, usually involving the phrase “baby joy” and a glam prenatal pose on a magazine cover (sometimes naked, sometimes merely stripped of one’s sanity). Then comes the interview about reclaiming one’s “body after baby.”

Next step: Selling the exclusive first baby pictures, often for millions of dollars. Stars even trot out their children in tandem with promoting new projects; it may be coincidence that Hudson has a holiday special coming up, just as snapshots of David -- along with Jennifer in what appears to be full makeup -- are debuting on "Oprah," or maybe it isn’t.

Maddox The one thing that stars never seem to get, even though it’s been happening over and over again recently, is that by pimping one’s child to the press, a star is pimping one’s child to the press.

The signal is clear, if not intentional: Go ahead and cover that baby. So the media go ahead and cover that baby, a process that inevitably confuses and outrages the star.

Take Demi Moore, who howled with indignation when Perez Hilton posted a photo of daughter Tallulah dressed inappropriately at a club. Never mind that Demi herself has doused her kids in the spotlight since they were fetuses; Moore made no indication that any of the public attention to Tallulah had anything at all to do with her choices as a mother.

True, paps often seek out celebrity babies regardless of a parent’s wishes -- but stars actually have much more control over coverage of their children than they let on. Brendan Fraser once very politely approached a reporting colleague of mine and explained he would not be speaking to her magazine until it stopped running photos of his kids. She took the message back to our editor instantly. Johnny Depp simply has threatened paparazzi who try to photograph his kids. That doesn’t mean there aren’t photos of of them out there, but it’s no coincidence that, unlike the children of Angelina Jolie or Madonna, most people would have trouble picking out the Depp children in a lineup.

Welcome to the world, little David Otunga Jr.! Now hold still while I take this photo ...

-- Leslie Gornstein

[For the record, 10:11 a.m.: A previous version of this post referred to the cutest new bebeh as David Hudson. However, David Daniel Otunga Jr., son of Jennifer Hudson and David Otunga, has his father's last name, not his mom's.]

Photos: Top, Jennifer Hudson -- who stayed mum about her pregnancy until after her baby boy was born Aug. 10, 2009 -- performs during the Michael Jackson memorial at Staples Center on July 7. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times.  Left, Maddox Jolie-Pitt, with mom Angelina Jolie, does not look at all pleased in this 2004 picture. Not one bit. Credit: Nabil Mounzer / EPA

Earlier sermons from the Ministry of Gossip:

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)

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