Poor, poor Demi Moore. There she is, on a trashy magazine cover, staring sorrowfully out at us, as if pleading from the gaunt recesses of her heart: Help me – I am so very desperate and alone.
Moore is currently in treatment for "an eating disorder and addiction issues" at a Utah rehab centre, according to E! News, after a reaction to having smoked "something … similar to incense" Jan. 23 put her in hospital briefly for "exhaustion."
Yes, she is thin, and, yes, smoking things like incense is worrisome. And while seeking help sounds like a plan, this publicity is the last thing the publicly pitied actress needs.
Moore's "downward spiral" is currently ricocheting through the entertainment media. Of the Bambi-eyed, Lorelei-haired devil in red couture, Us Weekly magazine writes, "Wild parties with her daughter, chasing boys younger than Ashton. Terrified of growing old, Demi turns back to drugs and self-destructs." Other mags have her "barely eating," "tortured by insecurities," even suicidal – "LIFE IN DANGER," reads the headline in People.
The backstory here (at least in the tabloids) seems to be the sexual misconduct of Moore's much-younger husband Ashton Kutcher (who turns 34 Tuesday). The news created a huge scandal last fall – leading Moore to announce that she was ending the marriage because of "certain values and vows that I hold sacred."
But is losing Kutcher grounds for the actress's alleged breakdown? Or are commentators far and wide merely lining up to humiliate – in the terrible guise of concern – the woman who always seemed to have everything?
Commentators on Moore (most likely hangers-on) have spoken at length about feeling "embarrassed" for her. A video of her filmed more than 25 years ago, kissing a playful 15-year-old boy, went viral last week, as if it spoke to some sad predilection on her part.
But observers quoted in tabloids are transparently self-serving. When Moore apparently gave some lucky nobody a free lap dance, a "source" called this "uncomfortable to watch."
Another source, close to Kutcher, commiserates with him, saying, "She was not the person Ashton fell in love with any more," citing her neediness and terror of aging.
It is her aging – the best Charlie's Angel on film will turn 50 this year – that lies at the root of all of this counterfeit distress.
Moore has often been characterized as being obsessed with looking young, yet her face doesn't look like her actress friends' swollen, filler-jacked faces, and her body, if toyed with a bit, is scrupulously maintained.
It is we who are obsessed with her age, with her freakishly young looks, blithe, wealthy life and, until recently, hot, younger husband.
Hot in a himbo way. Is it so hard to understand why Demi Moore, who is, after all, a rich, beautiful movie star – just cherry-picks whomever she likes to replace him? Isn't Wilmer Valderamma (Ashton's co-star on That 70s Show) single?
As the media drip toxic honey all over Moore – as if being 49 and single is a fatal and unusually disfiguring illness – she is holed up in rehab.
Or is she carefully plotting? When she and that other cad, Bruce Willis, split in 2000, she retreated to her Idaho ranch, raised her daughters, grew her hair long and dated the local talent.
She came back six years later, looking better than ever, ran around in a tiny bikini, snagged Kutcher, did a bit more film work and relaxed.
Until Kutcher began flaunting his tawdry dalliances, Moore was best known as "Mrs. Kutcher" (her Twitter name) and as an ardent political activist for exploited children and Kabbalah devotee.
Her latest crisis – no one likes a broken heart, no matter what imbecile breaks it – will allow her to focus, and it is likely a good thing she has had to step out of the new Linda Lovelace biopic (that she has been replaced, in the role of Gloria Steinem, by Sarah Jessica Parker speaks volumes about the film's artistic values).
Moore will look in a mirror, or, as she so often does, put on a revealing bathing suit and photograph herself in the mirror.
Like any number of great screen goddesses before her – Joan Crawford, let's say – she will, as Crawford did, mouth the word "Yes."
Yes, she will say. I am almost 50 and stunning. I starred in Ghost and St. Elmo's Fire, A Few Good Men and Striptease.
I am Vanity Fair's greatest odalisque.
I will rise again and be better still.
She will say these things as she uses a small, jewelled pair of manicure scissors to cut Kutcher's face out of her family pictures. And as she does this, the world will follow suit: In 20 years, he will be a Jeopardy! question, and so will she: This screen legend once married a man who played "Randy" in a film called New Year's Eve.
We will be able to hear a pin drop!