|Sharon Stone and Gwyneth Paltrow (AFP photos)
Ever wondered what it takes to be a nanny to the stars?
Sharon Stone's former nanny is in the news this week, as she's suing the actress for wrongful dismissal. And for treating her like dirt. That's not the actual legal wording, but you get the idea.
Erlinda Elemen says Stone did not pay her overtime, made fun of her Filipino heritage and forbade Elemen's bible reading. It's hard to imagine anyone being mean to the person who cares for their children, but you never know. (A story in our fair city some years ago about nannies quoted one caretaker on an interesting trust issue; she said employers lock up their jewellery boxes and their refrigerators, then hand over their children. Hmnnn ...)
Celebrity nannies have often been written up in the past, particularly when they marry their employers. Ethan Hawke married the nanny (Ryan Shawhughes), as did Robin Williams and Saturday Night Live grad Joe Piscopo. Daisy Wright is the nanny famous for shagging her employer, Jude Law, and Abbie Gibson was the nanny who blabbed to the British tabloids about working for Victoria and David Beckham.
Enough dirt has been dished about celebrity employers to make the nanny-to-the-famous gig sound a lot like heavy lifting. You have all that life or death responsibility with the children, and heaven only knows what kind of diva-wrangling duties with the parents. According to an article in New York magazine, however, there's danger pay involved in all of this. Celeb nannies are paid anywhere from $70,000 to $150,000 a year, and you can be sure there's no light housekeeping involved. On the childcare front, Gwyneth Paltrow is said to have offered a salary of around $100,000 to a tutor/nanny who could help her kids for a few hours every day with Greek, Latin, Spanish and French; that tutor also had to be musical and sporty. Among other qualifications, any nanny to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has to speak the native language of their little Jolie-Pitt charges and be a university graduate.
And be willing to travel, natch.
The most worrisome part of the job, of course, is that one has to be sworn to secrecy about the household habits of the rich and famous. Hard not to wonder why: do they cut their toenails in bed? Not change their undies? Put their elbows on the table? Abuse people for being Filipino? Guess we'll never know.