Saturday, February 04, 2006


Yesterday's Mirror story - that said nothing but merely suggested that Madonna was spending way too much time with her producer Stuart Price - has had some interesting ripples out into the world.

First, Madonna and Guy Ritchie, the former film-maker made an appearance in public together to laugh off the very idea that anything was wrong. She booked a table at a fancy restaurant, and paraded Guy in front of the paps. Oh, and one of her press people issued a statement:

“She and Guy had a big laugh over the recent reporting of the special friendship with her songwriting/producing partner, dance music genius Stuart Price.”

And she added the persistent rumours of trouble in the Ritchie marriage are “so not true.”

And it might be convincing, too - although since the dinner a deux had been booked after that morning's Mirror had hit the streets, and the statement issued to the press... well, it all reminds us so much of those staged events that used to follow the sexual indiscretions of the Major cabinet. When people go out their way to appear in public together, you do wonder exactly why the feel the need to prove something.

Meanwhile, the Mirror has suddenly got cold feet itself - yesterday, well, it never said there was any funny business going on between Madonna and Price, but if its readers were to conclude that, who could stop them? However, after 24 hours of thinking about it, the journalists have started to wonder if, well, it's a bit unlikely that Price is interested in Madonna in anything other than a strictly Liza Minelli way, so it's decided to clarify things: an affair? No, no, the trouble is she's a workaholic:

MADONNA went into spin overdrive yesterday after the Mirror revealed fears that her marriage is in trouble because of the time she is spending on her career.

Interestingly, they have a quote from Liz Rosenburg, Madonna's PR, which actually makes things sound a lot worse than they probably are:

"Her relationship with Guy is quite good, they're quite happy. They're certainly not estranged."

That may well be the first and only time you ever get to hear a showbiz PR forgetting to spin the story. She didn't reveal if this sudden decision to have a meal out together was to celebrate something - perhaps it's a year to the day since they became certainly not estranged, but we do love the idea that their marriage is something they're bearing like a character in a Jane Austen novel who has married beneath herself in a passion and is now having trouble adjusting: "Mrs Wilkes would, as she often told her neighbours, give thanks that she and her husband had made a life which was marked by its retention of some degree of comfort. For she was quite happy, and enjoyed quite good relationships with the man she had so passionately embraced just five years before, and if the marriage was not longer quite so emboldened by the flames of youthful desire, it would be a foolhardy observer who would suggest to Mrs Wilkes that their relationship had yet reached the point of actual estrangement."

Meanwhile, in what could be mistaken for the sort of use of her children as publicity pawns that she angriy denies doing, or, indeed, the sort of abandonment of privacy for her children that she forced the courts to remove our right to roam in the part of the country she owns, somehow The Sun has discovered that Rocco is absolutely brilliant and doing very well at school. (Fancy that, eh; if you spend money on educating a child it enjoys a better standard of education than everyone else - why have no educationalists thought to this before?)

Of course, since Madonna would never exploit her children and risk their precious privacy by trying to use them as a distraction, this story could only have come from the school. We expect to see Madonna taking up this issue stridently on Monday morning.