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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 07/ 7/2008

Comment Box: Celeb Parents, the Most Selfish of All?

By Liz Kelly

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with son Maddox and daughter Zahara stroll in Mumbai in November 2006. (AP)

Today in the comment box we expand on a debate hatched in last Thursday's Celebritology Live discussion -- a debate that might have engulfed the chat in a maelstrom of parental opinion-making had it been any other day but a pre-holiday afternoon. As it was, we were able to keep the discussion productive. Let's hope for the same tone below (hint hint). Why open a potential can of worms? Because, from time to time, we need to squirm a bit.

Considering the makeshift camp of paparazzi encamped in Nice awaiting the birth of the Brangelina twins, I asked: "Is it selfish for someone like Angelina, who is such a paparazzi magnet, to have kids at all?"

Some, like the reader below, were quick to argue that Angie and Brad -- who also basically coined the practice of selling baby pix to the highest bidding glossy -- seemed particularly keen to court the lens:

"How much of the media frenzy surrounding Brangelina is self-induced/wanted/enabled by Brangelina themselves? Like with Britney Spears -- she WANTS them around from what we've all read. I have always thought Angie was an attention junkie, so it makes me wonder."

Others pointed out that many celebs have been able to raise a family privately. Julia Roberts was invoked as one example of a vigilant mom who had successfully extricated her private life from our public consumption. And she does seem able to keep her family's daily life out of the tabs -- that is, as long as she and husband Danny Moder keep the kids on their Taos, N. M., ranch. But, set foot in New York or L.A. and click click.

Sure, Brad and Angie live a fearlessly (or is it foolhardy?) public life, and many celebs manage to keep their kids under wraps. But consider this anecdote: One celebrity sibling once told me her niece -- the child of a star of several smash box office comedies, but by no means a tabloid magnet -- was afraid of cameras and burst into tears if someone even tried to snap family pix on a Christmas morning. Why? Because the youngster had been traumatized by over-eager paps chasing her and daddy through the streets of L.A.

Look no further than the "Kid Photos" category of the increasingly popular Celebrity Baby Blog for evidence that any celeb kid is fair game. It isn't all Suri Cruise -- even Matilda Rose, daughter of Michelle Williams and the late Heath Ledger is a common subject.

The best comment I've seen yet -- one that raises more questions I hope we can continue to ponder here today -- comes from another anonymous chat participant, who wrote:

"It isn't selfish for [Angelina] to want kids. We are the selfish ones for wanting to know all about them, see new photos, etc. Part of me feels guilty but the other part says this is what she signed up for when she chose to become an actress."

So, you tell me -- who is at fault? We seekers of pix of high-wattage offspring or the celebs who bring a kid into an often unforgiving environment?

By Liz Kelly  | July 7, 2008; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Brangelina, Comment Box  
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