Just after the announcement of the split, a story titled ‘‘Katie set to lose millions’’ was doing the media rounds. It referred to her prenuptial agreement worth a debated $US50 million including their California home. The story said that with Cruise’s estate worth upwards of $275m, Holmes was expected to sue for more. Since then we know there’s been a settlement.
But prior to this New York divorce attorney Vikki Ziegler told Hollywood Life that because of the pre-nup, Holmes would need to use their daughter, Suri, as ‘‘a pawn’’ to get more money. ‘‘She’ll have to show that Suri has nannies, cars, activities, clothes, hair appointments. That a hefty amount each month is needed to maintain Suri’s lifestyle.’’ An early story that ran the media gauntlet alleged Suri had a $150,000 shoe collection.
Normal people seem to digest the details of such excess with their morning cereal. I didn’t see one per- son standing outside a newsagent reading the head- lines or with their iPad on the train suddenly looking green around the gills. What it is about my stomach that I can’t swallow stories of this kind?
Perhaps others do feel queasy at the alleged spending of more than a working family’s yearly income on a child’s shoes; or the plethora of litigations launched by the rich and famous to attain or retain more money than would feed a Third World nation. Having visited Africa in December, I can’t grasp the ‘‘grasping’’.
Growing up with an entrepreneurial father, I watched money come and go. We were wealthy, then poor, then mysteriously had money again. That pattern has continued throughout my life, with career successes, then struggle street; rich lovers, then battlers.
Throughout it all I’ve never taken wealth too seriously. ‘‘How much money do people really think they need?’’ I once asked a celebrity couple who failed to answer. They were devastated at losing half their fortune and being left with only a few hundred million. ‘‘We don’t know what to do now. We have kids to support!’’
I remember our mums used to say: ‘‘Eat your dinner! There are children starving in Ethiopia.’’ Maybe we should have a new catch-cry in 2012 as we watch corporate and celebrity players struggle to get or to keep more, more, more: ‘‘Don’t sue, there are people suffering in Africa.’’