Today Sandra Bullock and People magazine achieved the impossible: Revealing a mind-blowing celebrity secret we'd heard nary a peep about from "insiders." We've met Louis, but the story has raised new questions about racism, Jesse James, and the fame game.
To get the most trivial question out of the way,
1) What's up with that necklace?
Once you get over the initial shock of seeing Sandra smiling with a baby on the cover (as opposed to bawling her eyes out and being "so lonely"), the term "choking hazard" quickly springs to mind. Are those beads big enough for a three month old to play with? Were they placed in the photo by a People photographer to underscore that he's "ethnic"? Sandra explains in a caption:
Sunny made that necklace for him... to represent all the kids.
Toys R Us does sell some similar Baby Teeth Beads made of plastic, and he's playing with the beads while Sandra and a photographer are staring at him, so it seems he's not in danger. But it's still weird that in a story this controlled, no one thought, "hey, maybe we shouldn't run photos of the baby with a cord around his neck in three separate photos."
2) Why did she decide to adopt an African-American baby?
Sandra only refers to Louis' race indirectly in People saying:
I want him to know no limits on where he can go. I want him to experience all culture, nationalities, countries and people like I did. I want his mind to be open and free. We were raised that we are all the same. No one greater, smarter, more powerful. We are all equal. I would love for Louis to know that . He has a big, beautiful, diverse family. As long as he know he is loved and protected and given the opportunity to touch and see everything, then I will have done my job as a mama.
Post-sex scandal Sandra only broke her silence to deny that she and Jesse made a sex tape, but never bothered to declare that she does not share her husband's alleged views on white supremacy. Now we know why — if there are accusations of racism flying around, having an African-American child is a PR-friendly rebuttal.
Or is it? By that logic Jesse James is no racist either. Whether the rumors from former employees that he's made derogatory comments about minorities are true or not, there's a picture of the dude dressed up as Hitler. Unless the entire story is a fabrication (see #5), that means at the very least a man who didn't understand taking that picture was not OK also hoped to parent an African-American child. One good act doesn't mean a person can't hold reprehensible views against a group as a whole. We know his estranged wife adopted a black child, and he had a really funny way of expressing his interest World War II memorabilia. Other than that there's still no way to know what's in his heart.
3) But did Sandra know about the Nazi stuff?
According to her, no. She tells People:
The photo shocked me and made me sad. This is not the man I married. This was stupid, this was ignorant. racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia, anything Nazi and a boatload of other things have no place in my life. And the man I married felt the same. This I hope Jesse will address one day, but that is not the world I live in or have ever lived in and have any tolerance for.
Just to remove any lingering doubts, Sandra also mentions that Louis had a bris:
A friend of ours helped arrange for a bris [Jewish circumcision ceremony] at the house, because we couldn't go [to a hospital for the procedure]. The mohel [a person trained in the practice] came to us. You have never seen adults more panicked about what was about to happen to their son, but the celebration and the amount of love we felt and the pride in the little man whom we love so, so much became the greatest moment I have ever had in my life.
Technically, the guy in that Nazi photo is the guy she married, but we know what she means. She's publicly disavowed her connection to any hate group Jesse may be affiliated with. If we learn anything worse about him (what is there?) her official position is that she had no idea, and maybe she really didn't know. Still, the question remains:
4) What's wrong with you, Jesse James?
Jesse makes the following comment in a sidebar to Sandra's People story:
"Let my wife end our marriage and continue the adoption of Louis on our own" and "It would be selfish not to let her go"? You weren't in a position to allow her to do anything. Maybe he means he could have contested the adoption and the divorce in court, but still, poor choice of words. But maybe Jesse has all sorts of misunderstandings regarding this situation — he also says, "I know in my heart that I can be the best father possible to my four children, and the mate Sandy deserves." If James has three biological kids, that fourth would be baby Louis. Is he actually expecting to be involved? Or is he "letting" Sandra and Louis go? He probably doesn't even know anymore.
5) Is it all a publicity stunt?
Well, appearing on the cover of People's can't be called anything but a publicity stunt, however that doesn't mean Louis was added to the cover shot in the greatest Photoshopping hoax of all time, or that she and Jesse weren't trying to adopt.
Some commenters across various gossip sites have wondered if Sandra adopted Louis post-scandal, but that's just not possible. Even for A-list stars the adoption process is long and complicated — she didn't just head to New Orleans a few weeks ago a pick up a baby and a beignet. Louis happens to be convenient for her PR needs right now, but there's no way she committed to being his mother because it's a great way to come back from her husband cheating on her.
The reason many of us are skeptical about the story actually says more about celebrity culture than Sandra. It seems shocking that she was able to keep Louis under wraps for four months, but she explains in the article how she couldn't take him out of the house and had friends help her hide him (real friends apparently, not the type that gab to In Touch.)
Sandra's story just underscores that all celebrity "news" is a charade. With all the claims made by "an insider close to Sandra" in the past few months, not a single one even hinted that she had adopted a child. If Sandra could evade the paparazzi, what does that say about the celebrities who get "caught" by photographers and the stories we do read about? Is she a master of deception, or are stars leaking stories on purpose more often than we think? The only thing we know for sure is that Sandra's adopted an adorable baby boy, and Louis has a loving mom.