When she lost her child at the shops, she never expected this to happen
Kellie Turtu of Mama Pyjama is this week’s winner of iBlog Friday with her post…read more
J.K Rowling has written about the stigma she felt when she became a single mum 20 years ago. The feature appears on the Gingerbread website, an organisation for single parents that she represents as president.
"Nearly twenty years ago (it’s a shock to me to write that, because it still seems quite a recent occurrence) I became a single parent,"she begins. "Like the vast majority of single parents, this had not been my plan. My much-wanted daughter had been conceived and born while I was married, but the failure of that relationship saw me living shortly afterwards on state benefits in the coldest winter Scotland had seen in quite a few years."
Rowling adds: "I ended up working a few hours a week at a local church, where I overhauled the filing system and did a bit of typing. The (female) minister let me bring Jessica with me. I was paid, deliberately, exactly that amount that I could keep without losing benefits: £15. For all of this, I was immensely grateful.
"My overriding memory of that time is the slowly evaporating sense of self-esteem, not because I was filing or typing – there was dignity in earning money, however I was doing it – but because it was slowly dawning on me that I was now defined, in the eyes of many, by something I had never chosen. I was a Single Parent, and a Single Parent On Benefits to boot. Patronage was almost as hard to bear as stigmatisation. I remember the woman who visited the church one day when I was working there who kept referring to me, in my hearing, as The Unmarried Mother. I was half annoyed, half amused: unmarried mother? Ought I to be allowed in a church at all? Did she see me in terms of some Victorian painting: The Fallen Woman, Filing, perhaps?"
Rowling writes that assumptions were made at that time if you were a single mother "about your morals, your motives for bringing your child into the world or your fitness to raise that child cut to the core of who you are".
When the first Harry Potter book was released, she recalls that "one of the first journalists to interview me asked me whether I hadn’t felt I ought to be out looking for a job rather than ‘sitting at home writing a novel.’ By some miracle I resisted the almost overwhelming temptation to punch him and subsequently decided to channel my frustration a little more positively by becoming a Patron of what was then called the National Council for One Parent Families (now Gingerbread)."She concludes: "I would say to any single parent currently feeling the weight of stereotype or stigmatization that I am prouder of my years as a single mother than of any other part of my life. Yes, I got off benefits and wrote the first four Harry Potter books as a single mother, but nothing makes me prouder than what Jessica told me recently about the first five years of her life: ‘I never knew we were poor. I just remember being happy.’"
You may never get the chance to marry Brad Pitt, but who knows? He may still make an appearance at your wedding. The 12 Years a Slave actor was on hand to congratulate a newly married couple last week in England, when his bar of choice happened to be in the same hotel as their wedding reception.
"My husband said to me, 'Brad Pitt was at the bar and you have got to come with me,' so he dragged me across the hotel," the bride told a British newspaper. "I thought he was joking."
Turns out it was no joke: Pitt gamely congratulated the couple, posed for a photo, and said the bride "looked nice" in her dress. (Normally that would be kind of a lame compliment, but coming from Pitt? Amazing.)
Unfortunately, the actor's wedding-day appearance was cut short by the over-excited guests at the reception.
"The girls were going wild and mental, so Brad Pitt and the people he was with went upstairs to a room for their meeting," the bride admitted.
Even so, meeting one of the most famous men on the planet was obviously the icing on the wedding cake. And it got us thinking: In another lifetime, what celebrity would we want to crash our wedding? Here are the top five choices!
Because have you seen Hemsworth on Dancing with the Stars? We want to get that guy on a dance floor, stat.
Because J-Law is more fun at formal events than anyone we actually know.
Because if we managed to hug him in a wedding dress, we'd literally be closer to marrying George Clooney than any other woman ever will be.
Because we're pretty sure every wedding photo would be improved by a Taylor Swift reaction face.
Owen Wilson and/or Vince Vaughn
Because the stars of Wedding Crashers crashing your actual wedding? Doesn't get much better than that!
Shane Warne has described rumours that he has split with fiance Liz Hurley as "absolute rubbish". Last night, Liz broke her silence on break-up speculation and Tweeted to her followers: "Apologies to loyal followers for Twitter silence on recent events. Too raw & personal to share right now".
Many took this as confirmation that her relationship with the former cricketer was over, but Shane responded with a Tweet of his own 35 minutes later saying: “Some of the reports re EH & me r absolute rubbish. Yes we're sorting through (private) issues. But we're not throwing the towel in yet.”
While he describes the couple's issues as "private", much of the speculation about the state of their relationship has come from the way its status has been played out very publicly on Twitter.
Recent updates from the pair - who have been engaged since late 2011 - have sparked rumours of a split, or at least a break. 'Shurley' are usually very friendly with one another on social media - but remained curiously quiet when the cricketer's 44th birthday rolled around last Friday.
Shane thanked his family, friends and fans for their birthday wishes, with no mention of Liz in sight. "Goodnight from Melb everybody & thanks again for everyone that took time out to tweet me "happy birthday" Appreciated it, sending twitter love" he wrote.
While Shane celebrated with his three kids, Liz was busy attending to a 'Great Escape'-style dilemma on her farm back in the UK, tweeting, "Uh-oh... the alpacas have escaped". Considering only a fortnight ago she posted a loving tribute to Shane for Father's Day - the last time she mentioned him on Twitter - Liz's silence on his birthday has raised some eyebrows.
According to Sunrise showbiz commentator Peter Ford, the couple's Twitter interactions (well, lack thereof) spoke volumes. "Elizabeth was due to arrive in Melbourne over a week ago and she hasn't turned up," he added.
Earlier this month, both Shane and Liz posted updates that equal one another in ambiguity. Shane wrote, "Something to think about, it's not what happens in your life, it's how you react to what life throws at u, in both the good & bad times !" while Liz posted a photo of herself snuggling in bed with her dog Raja, with the caption, "The more I know of man, the more I love my dog. Goodnight from me and Raja...." Does that mean she's sworn off mankind in general? Or just one man in particular?
Media reports have suggested Shane's ex-wife Simone Callahan has caused friction in the high-profile couple's relationship.
A source told the London Sun newspaper that "Liz found out he had been over at Simone's house a lot. It is felt now the kids are getting older, they need their dad around. Liz couldn't ever handle Shane and Simone still being best friends."
British actors Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart have gone on a sightseeing tour of New York together - in matching bowler hats - and shared their happy snaps on Twitter.
"Empire State! #gogodididonyc @TwoPlaysInRep," Stewart tweeted in one shot.
In another he writes: "Elmo! #gogodididonyc @TwoPlaysInRep" while the pair pose with an Elmo character in Times Square.
Last week, Ian officiated Patrick's wedding to Sunny Ozell near Lake Tahoe.
He shared a photo of himself on Facebook with the certificate he obtained so he was legally able to marry the couple, captioning it simply: "I did my part."
Will Smith has revealed on Queen Latifah's new talk show that he learned of his wife allegedly seeking a divorce while they were in bed together: "Like a year ago, there were all these rumors that me and Jada were getting a divorce. So I get the Google Alert, I'm laying in bed -- with Jada. It says, 'Jada Pinkett Smith files for divorce.' So I'm like, 'This is crazy!'"
He insisted the couple have no plans of splitting, but he did admit the have faced their challenges: "It's hard in relationships in general when people expect it to be easy. It's not easy. It's the individual most difficult thing that you're ever going to do in your life -- to try to handle the challenges of life and family and love, side by side for somebody for the rest of your life? It's a battle."
Jerry Seinfeld has imagined what a Seinfeld reunion might look like in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
He describes the modern-day incarnations of the characters as being "somewhat dysfunctional."
"I imagine there will be some kids, some divorces," he joked. "Social situations, is what I'd imagine for the four of them."
He didn't elaborate about where Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) or Kramer (Michael Richards) would be, but he had definite thoughts about George (Jason Alexander).
"George will probably have a wife and kids, very normal and suburban and he would be tortured."
Weeks after MTV's Video Music Awards, her fellow musicians are still putting the boot into Miley Cyrus' performance on the show.
"Am I into it?" Pink said in an interview with E! Online. "No, I think it's tacky."
"She's really freaking talented; she's beautiful. She can sing her ass off and to go up there and do that? She's cheating herself and she's cheating the rest of us... She can do what she wants. People can like it if they want. I'm not going to buy it. She can do better. I've seen her do better."
Meanwhile Cher told USA Today: "I'm not old-fashioned. She could have come out naked, and if she'd just rocked the house, I would have said, 'You go, girl.' It just wasn't done well. She can't dance, her body looked like hell, the song wasn't great, one cheek was hanging out. And, chick, don't stick out your tongue if it's coated."
But the controversy isn't hurting Miley's career. Her new single Wrecking Ball went to number one on the Billboard Charts on Wednesday, making it her biggest hit ever.
Playboy has organised a rather special present for its 60th anniversary - a cover starring none other than Kate Moss.
Cooper Hefner, son of the magazine's founder Hugh Hefner, confirmed the news via Twitter. "Kate Moss will be gracing the cover of our 60th anniversary issue this January. It'll be a great issue." The supermodel will appear on the cover in the Playboy brand's trademark look - bunny ears, French cuffs and silk stockings. She will then feature nude in a photoshoot inside the magazine.
Editorial director Jimmy Jellinek told the LA Times that Kate - who will soon celebrate her 40th birthday - was the ideal choice for the cover. "This is a massive global brand. You need a global icon in order to celebrate that -- that was the impetus,"he explained. "You're talking about the face of Burberry, the biggest supermodel in the world on the cover of Playboy. She's the perfect partner for us to help launch the next 60 years."
Scott Eastwood - the 27 year old son of 'Dirty Harry' himself, Clint - may be our favourite celebrity discovery this week.
Yesterday we showed you just how much he takes after his famous dad - and today we've got even more proof.
The actor's Twitter and Instagram feeds are full of photos depicting him doing regular 20-something stuff - enjoying the outdoors, fishing with friends and, ah... posing shirtless. As you do.
Do you have fond memories of school camp? Well now you can relive them with the help of Justin Timberlake.
The pop star and his friend Jimmy Fallon star in a hilarious spoof video for Late Night, which imagines what summer camp would have been like if the pair knew each other in school - curly hair, braces and all.
Like any super-loaded kids on summer camp, Justin and Jimmy just can't get to sleep after 'lights out'. So instead, they shine flashlights in each other's eyes, ask each other random questions and have a Hootie and the Blowfish singalong... before being sprung by their camp leader.
Watch the hilarity here:
If you've got a spare $19.5 million lying around, we have good news for you: Courteney Co and David Arquette have just listed their Beverley Hills mansion for that exact price.
The house has been on the market since the couple separated in 2011, but only went officially public earlier this week.
The swanky 1676 square metre pad features four bedrooms and an enormous pool overlooking the LA cityscape - not a bad view if you can get it.
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