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January 29, 2004
Last night I found myself flipping through channels and happened across a show entitled “The Fabulous Lifestyle of…” Each episode showcases the life of a different celebrity or celebrity couple. The episode I saw featured what they called Hollywood’s most popular couple, Brad and Jen (which refers, of course, to Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston). Their marriage several years ago was likened to the merger or two major corporations as the hottest movie star married the biggest star on TV.
The show documented the lifestyle of this couple, beginning with their houses, then moving on to their clothes, their cars and even their hair. The narrator told us about their $14 million house, which is gaining in value as they continue to add to it. They showed them driving their matching Range Rovers, each worth $70,000. They showed paparazzi photos of the two of them shopping at some of the swankiest stores on Rodeo Drive. They even interviewed the owner of America’s most posh steak house where the couple is known to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a meal.
When it comes to their looks, this couple holds nothing back. Aniston goes to only the best, most expensive hair dressers. At any given moment she is wearing thousands of dollars worth of clothes and jewelry (not to mention her engagement ring which is said to be worth almost a million dollars). If Jen and Brad look like slobs it’s because they have spend thousands of dollars to look that way. They showed her wearing a $900 pair of khakis with sandals worth over $200. Brad has an obsession with sunglasses and thinks nothing of spending several hundred dollars on a new pair.
The combined wealth of this couple is staggering. Aniston is paid over $1 million per episode of Friends and finds time to do a couple of movies every year as well. Her income is at least $30 million per year. Brad is one of the highest paid movie stars in the world, commanding in excess of $20 million per film. It is estimated that Pitt has earned over $100 million in the past 4 years and Jennifer cannot be far behind.
“So what?” you say. Well, that’s what I said. But I began to think about this couple’s “fabulous” lifestyle. That such a lifestyle is considered fabulous is indicative of the state of our society. Here is a couple who earns money hand-over-fist and seems to squander it nearly as quickly. It is a couple that is consumed with consumerism and obsessed with materialism. I can’t imagine a lifestyle being fabulous where every aspect of my look is so important that I would spend $900 on a pair of shabby-looking pants.
The couple was lauded for being generous. Apparently they often splurge on their friends, paying for expensive meals and even buying gifts worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. They often invite their friends to spend the weekend at their Santa Barbara beach home. Brad even gave a $100,000 gift to a charity last year. Of course that $100,000 works out to only a tiny fraction of his earnings, but that did not seem to matter to the narrator.
I presume the purpose of this show is to stir jealousy in me as I see how these people live. I can honestly say I felt no jealousy whatsoever. While they spend their lives hoarding their treasures here on earth, frantically fighting to stay popular, I would rather live like a pauper and be storing up treasures where it really matters. I depend on faith which tells me that hoarding wealth will never provide true happiness, either on earth or beyond. Brad and Jen, you can have your fabulous lifestyle! I prefer to stick with my fabulous faith.