Authors: Jonas Eriksson
Tags: #Fiction & Literature
by Jonas Eriksson
Copyright © 2013 by Jonas Eriksson
All rights, reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.
Published by Jonas Eriksson
Official author website:
Most of the names, events and places in this book are fictional and I have taken some creative liberties with the rest. All errors or inconsistencies are my own fault. I want to thank my editor and love, Lenah Caruana, for reading and editing the manuscript and my friend and top class designer, Etienne Bugeja, for creating the cover. /JE.
You’re the best.
Thanks for helping me tell the tale.
It took me quite a while to make up my mind on whether I was going to write this book or not. I knew I had a story to tell, that it was something out of the ordinary and thanks to diligent diary-keeping during the time it happened, I had the material. But then I had other things to take into consideration: could I mention real names? Would I be able to do the story justice? Would
, the famous actress I had worked for and the main character in this book, give her consent?
There were loads of question marks, but in the end I only needed one answer and it was
’s encouragement to get the story told. She said she preferred it from getting a half-assed biography written by some ghostwriter who didn’t know her and she liked that it was more about our friendship than her fame. It was a gutsy move on her part, because this story tells you about the most trying time in her life, a time where she hit rock bottom in her personal life, made a fool out of herself in front of millions of viewers and fans and experienced a close shave with death. I can’t express enough how thankful I am to her for not only allowing me, but also helping me, tell it.
Because it is in many ways
story. And I have tried to treat it with the respect it deserves by not mentioning real names. I think it would make it more about their fame and the careers, and not the lives and events around them.
I wrote this book not only because I think it’s an interesting tale about people’s struggle with fame and relationships, but also because it has something to say about life and how unpredictable and magical it can be. It’s a story I hope my future kids will read to get to know me better, because I think it teaches them exactly what my parents taught me, that everything is possible and your dreams are always within reach, if you just act through your heart and not only your mind.
Ultimately, I see this book as a tribute to friendship.
Thanks for reading.
It’s hard not to be captivated by red carpet events and their flashing lights and ridiculously beautiful people milling about smiling like this was the night of their lives and they were oh-so-happy to see this person and that person and spit out countless stale-sounding comments like “you look amazing”, “you were terrific in that role” and “have you lost weight?” followed by a sincere look, secretly saying,
I’m an actor, I’m really good at faking things.
You see my point. You’re simply spellbound by these “fame orgies” until you’ve been to like 30 of them. Then you’re just robotic and going through the motions. Okay, okay, I might just as well come out and say the
reason why I wasn’t so ecstatic about the flamenco-colored rug experience with extra everything - it’s because I was just an onlooker, an extra among the blessed few who got the chance to dazzle the world with their looks, skills and ad-libbed one-liners. I wasn’t an actor, I was an assistant. I was maybe the best damn assistant out there, but in that glamorous part of the world, it didn’t count for a whole lot.
When you’re a celebrity assistant your performance actually only counts with one person in the world and that’s your employer. I was lucky in that respect, because
was always appreciative of me and what I did for her, something which made me work extra hard and really appreciate her. That’s also a strong reason we became friends - mutual respect.
sometimes had a hard time to respect herself and her career. She was an immensely successful romantic comedy actress and the star of movies that made women all over the world go
and guys go
. You know the kind. I’m not saying they’re
movies and I understood the charm in
’s performances, but neither
nor I were into films where you could predict the whole story line just by reading the DVD cover blurb. That’s one reason she didn’t really respect herself.
And that was in part what lead to the famous red carpet disaster. And I’m not using the D-word lightly here like some people do when they spilled coffee on a pair of pants or are ten minutes late for a school play. What I’m talking about kept Hollywood buzzing with excitement and bewilderment for months. Was it a bit exaggerated? Yes, but everything in Hollywood is exaggerated and when Miss Perfect, which was the character she played in almost all of her movies, threw up in front of millions of TV-viewers and a whole bunch of other celebrities, the media spin machine went into overdrive.
had launched her projectile vomit, right there on the red carpet, the world stopped for a second and stared at the mash of white wine, shrimp, guacamole and God knows what else, and asked the obvious question:
What the hell happened?
The famous TV-presenter, who witnessed the whole thing from only a meter away and probably got some of her regurgitated food on his shoes, probably asked the same thing. He was frozen and pale, a rare look on his always polished and controlled facade. Luckily, her husband and colleague, which we for simplicity’s sake call
, acted fast and pulled her away from the action and the crowds and into the bathroom where the vomiting continued for a few minutes, until her stomach was empty and I wanted to throw up just because of the rancid smell filling the room.
didn’t look very happy when we, 15 minutes later, escorted her from the scene of the crime and through a horde of paparazzi to our black Range Rover parked just outside the venue. Driver Don was waiting for us and I remember marveling at how calm he looked. But then again, Don had muscle pains and a subscription for medical marijuana to deal with that pain, so he was probably just high.
“This is it.”
fumed in the car, “This is the last fucking time you embarrass me. I’m sick of your tantrums and you behaving like a lost teenager when we should really have a stable marriage with children and a life to be proud of. I’ve had it.”
I glanced over at Don, who drove casually and didn’t seem to be bothered by the verbal explosion taking place in the back of the car. More benefits of being high, I guess. Me, I was very uncomfortable.
“Fuck you, I didn't embarrass anyone. I’m sick and told you we shouldn't have come,”
has been voted one of the most beautiful women in the world by several magazines, but here she looked more like a zombie and she still had a dash of vomit at the side of her mouth. I remember feeling extremely sorry for her then, something I had done for a few months already, because of her constant mood-changes, her excessive drinking and lingering depression.
wasn’t one to step away from a fight and continued, “You're not sick, you're sideways. I saw how you prepared for this evening, Martini after Martini. You wanted to make a scene, didn’t you? You want our life to collapse.”
said, while leaning her heavy head against the window. She didn’t have much of an answer to
, because in a way, we all knew he was right. Her drinking had been out of control for a while and now she had finally reached rock bottom with a slam.
After driving for little more than half-an-hour we got home to the couple’s sprawling white, multi-million dollar mansion in the Hollywood Hills and while the couple quickly escaped to their quarters, I sat down with a beer in the kitchen and wrote in my diary. I was simply too afraid to go online to face the storm and the six missed calls from agent Julianne I just couldn’t care less about.
All I could feel was how my heart bled for
. I knew that somehow the negative trend in her life had to be reversed, but I didn’t have a clue on how to do it and felt helpless thinking about it.
, on the other hand, had her ideas.
Before I go into what happened
the vomit incident that launched it all, I think it makes sense to tell you
I became a celebrity assistant to an A-list actress (if you hate back-story, you can skip this section). As you might know or guess, there’s no Hollywood unemployment office or any other shortcut to the wealthy and famous, because like everything in show business, it’s about contacts and catching a break. Luckily for me, I knew Rob, a slick bastard with a fast mouth and the ability to sell sand in the Sahara. Rob didn’t sell sand, but houses, and he helped the celebrity couple, let’s call them the Johnsons, to find and negotiate their Hollywood Hills mansion. He got quite a commission for it too as you can imagine and that’s why he drove a brand new Lamborghini.
I got to know Rob through my previous employment, being an assistant to the chief executive officer at a large pharmaceutical company. The CEO, a white-haired, dull and always tidy older man with an S&M magazine collection (his compensation for being more boring than spreadsheets, I suppose) in his bottom drawer, was looking for property and asked me to find the right agent and a proper selection for his perusal. I started the search engine and quickly stumbled upon an image of bleached-teeth Rob, who according to the testimonials on his websites was one of the best in the business when it came to finding lavish homes for the ridiculously rich. We met for lunch and it didn’t take us long to get along, as we both shared a healthy disdain for the client (aka my boss) and when Rob said he might have an opportunity for me to get away from my job, I had to hear him out.
What he told me was that his car-loving golfing buddy, who also happened to be a Hollywood movie star, was looking for an assistant, primarily for his even more famous wife. Rob described them as the nicest couple and if I didn’t mind taking my assistant life up a notch, both when it came to demands and living standards, he’d recommend me. I think I said yes before he even finished the sentence.
I met the Johnsons for coffee in a high-end LA restaurant. At first I was very nervous about meeting this superstar couple, but their rather modest and easy-going behavior relaxed me and we immediately took a liking to each other. I was instantly taken with
and vividly remember her wearing this green and revealing summer dress where I expected one of her breasts to jump out and every second the celebrity couple weren't looking directly at me, I watched that left boob with intent.
In the end it never came out, but a contract did - I was hired. Apparently Rob had sold them on, and here I quote, my upbeat, yet composed personality and top-notch organizational skills. He didn’t have to sell me on the job though: good pay, all the perks I could dream of and working daily with one of the most beautiful women in the world. You could say I’d won the job lottery.
I remember my first day, I felt like a kid at summer camp, sleeping away from home for the first time in his life. I drove up to the house in my slightly battered Toyota Prius and had to call a number to be let in through the massive iron gates. My heart was thumping and I was sweating profusely under my shirt and still had problems to grasp what was happening, but as soon as
came to greet me outside with a huge smile on his face, I felt a little bit better. He was intimidatingly handsome, but looked kind, in fact far nicer than he did in the movies I had seen him in, all of them featuring more explosions and gunfire than dialogue. He gave me a tour of the house, which was every bit as impressive as I thought it would be and introduced me to the team members working there, the team I was supposed to coordinate. Then it was time to meet
and start working on the day’s schedule.
was riding an exercise bike in black hot pants and a training bra when I entered the mansion gym. She turned around and said “Hi Darryl!” with a big smile on her face. She was preparing for a role with several beach scenes and her training regime was fierce. I was a bit surprised not to see a personal trainer around, but it turned out he was sick that day. You never see a celebrity in a gym without a personal trainer, trust me.
It’s difficult not to be taken by
’s beauty. Simple, yet perfect somehow, it made me slightly weak in the knees. I hadn’t had a relationship for some time and my confidence around women wasn’t as good as it perhaps should’ve been (I’m not unattractive and quite funny) and most females sensed this well before I got the chance to even say hello, but it didn’t take me long to feel comfortable around
, probably because I wasn’t trying to date her. We just had great chemistry from the start. This was already evident on the first day when she was in a good mood thanks to a successful appearance on a popular talk show the night before. She seemed confident and in control and I remember being impressed by her from the get-go.
She was far from the dark place she would land in later.