Practically everyone has a story about a strange celebrity encounter. Maybe it didn’t happen to you—maybe it happened to a friend of a friend or your cousin’s wife’s coworker—but the story is there and you’ve likely repeated it. But who are the real keepers of celebrities’ darkest secrets? It’s the publicists and tabloid editors who often work together to keep famous people—and their weird shit—out (or occasionally in) the press.

This week on DirtCast, we sit down with Kevin Dickson and Jack Ketsoyan, co-authors of the forthcoming Blind Item, a novelization of all the crazy people and stories they’ve encountered in their years as an editor at In Touch and a celebrity publicist specializing in crisis management (respectively).

Dickson and Ketsoyan were not keen to name names of the celebrities parodied/represented in the book—most are composites and they want to make you guess, anyway—but they did share some highly interesting facts for those of us interested in the underbelly of the celebrity-publicist-tabloid relationship.

Stuff like:

  • Publicists will often barter with the editors of celebrity weeklies, offering up exclusive stories, in order to get negative coverage of their clients pulled from the magazine.
  • Publicists live in fear of their hot interns sleeping with their clients. Their fears are often realized.
  • Your favorite celebrity couple might be fake.
  • Paris Hilton is smart.

Something I learned personally this episode thanks to a very helpful listener: Winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes is not the same as winning Best Director at Cannes. Apologies to Ruben Ostlund (Palme d’Or winner) and Sofia Coppola (Best Director winner) for the mistake I make in the first 30 seconds of the episode. Please don’t let it spoil our truly informative interview with Ketsoyan, Tara Reid’s one time publicist (not a job for the faint of heart), and Dickson, one of the first people Kim Kardashian called after learning about her leaked sex tape. (You can read all about that here.)

Blind Item comes out June 6. For updates and maybe even a little dirt, follow Jack and Kevin on Twitter.

DirtCast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, and iHeart Media.

Our show is produced by Levi Sharpe with editorial oversight by Kate Dries. Mandana Mofidi is our Executive Director of Audio. Our theme music is by Stuart Wood. This episode was mixed by Brad Fisher. Listen to our politics podcast, Big Time Dicks, here.