Five short years ago, Louis Tomlinson and his One Direction bandmates were dreaming of becoming celebrities. Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik were thrust together by X-Factor boss Simon Cowell in an attempt to add interest to his TV show. No one could possibly have foreseen that Tomlinson and his pals would develop into the phenomenon that One Direction became. In 2015, Tomlinson and the rest of One Direction have achieved everything they could have dreamed of and a whole lot more.
Tomlinson could never have guessed that One Direction would be his stepping stone to becoming a name known in virtually every household on the planet. Neither could Tomlinson have foreseen that every little detail of his private life would be combed over by those desperate for a story about Louis or any member of one Direction. The fact is that Tomlinson has become a victim of the cult of celebrity.
A Google search on “Louis Tomlinson” yields almost 17 million hits, and some 1.4 million of those hits point to news articles written about Tomlinson. Louis is big news, and during 2015, it is fair to say that Louis and former bandmate Zayn Malik created plenty of headlines. The sad fact is that most of Tomlinson’s headlines are about anything other than his music. A quick glance through the headlines reveals that stories about Tomlinson are widely varied, but almost none of them are about the new One Direction album released last Friday.
Sugarscape were one of dozens of media outlets who majored on whether or not Louis had ever had sex on an aircraft. The revelation was made when Louis was interviewed on Jonathan Ross’s chat show. Not content with that totally unnecessary gossip, the big question was whether Louis had done the deed before or after the in-flight meal.
We also saw a feeding frenzy over Louis and Liam Payne being asked whether or not Harry Styles had written the One Direction song “Perfect” with Taylor Swift in mind. Styles has refused to answer that particular question, so it seems that the tactic is now to ask Louis.
For the past three months, the biggest and most enduring Tomlinson story centers on Louis and Briana Jungwirth’s baby. The media has been awash with claims that Louis is to be a dad. Many one Direction fans refuse to accept that Tomlinson is the baby’s father. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, some fans believe that Louis and Harry Styles are in a secret gay relationship. They claim that Louis’ baby is a management ploy to cover up the truth. Others claim that Briana is a surrogate mother who is enabling Harry and Louis to have a baby of their own.
Over the weekend, Now magazine questioned whether “hard partying” Louis is ready to be a father. The magazine points to the story that Louis was asked to leave a Newcastle hotel after “trashing his room,” a story that Louis fiercely denies, in order to claim that “Briana worries that Louis isn’t emotionally ready” for fatherhood.
Add to those stories claims by the Mirror and others that One Direction are splitting because Harry and Louis cannot stand the sight of each other and you get a picture of celebrity obsession.
It would be churlish to blame the media for the gross invasions of privacy that Tomlinson and his One Direction mates are subjected to on a daily basis. The root cause of gossip about Tomlinson and other celebrities is our obsessional interest with those who lead a different life than we do.
Way back in 2008, the Telegraph reported on the effect that the “Cult of Celebrity” was having on children. Reality TV and celebrity obsession, they argued, was skewing the way we look at the world. Furthermore, achieving overnight success in the way that Tomlinson and One Direction did added to our sense of entitlement and, in many cases, a belief that overnight stardom was a real possibility.
That sense of entitlement leads many to believe that stars like Tomlinson are public property. We believe that we are entitled to know every detail of Tomlinson’s life, and we are outraged when he tries to maintain privacy.
You can be sure that Tomlinson would never have believed that his life would be turned into a soap opera, a kind of virtual reality where no matter how much information you share, the public always demands more. In many ways, Tomlinson has had his life turned into a reality show by the “Cult of Celebrity.”
[Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images]