Fame doesn’t count for much when it comes to sharing the household duties, writes Luaine Lee
WITH the hustle of Christmas, the burden of household chores seems to explode. Who does what around the house is all a question of negotiation, and it’s no different with celebrities.
Even though it may be two showbusiness darlings sharing the sheets, often someone still has to drop the kids off at school, take the rubbish out and make sure the bills are paid.
When it comes to household chores, Sarah Jessica Parker says she and actor-husband Matthew Broderick have reached a compromise of sorts.
‘‘I’m sorry to tell you they’re not divvied up very well,’’ she says. ‘‘I mean that early on, I set a bad precedent. I think I did a lot of taking care of house and laundry. I’m messy, but I always clean up the mess.
‘‘Matthew will take out the garbage and change light bulbs. And that’s very hard to do because they’re high up and difficult to reach, and I’m very appreciative of this. But beyond that . . .
‘‘Now we are fortunate enough to have a housekeeper who helps us, too. But I clean every Sunday night without fail — I clean the house, organise, put things away, give things away, make stacks, blah, blah, blah. He has no interest. You know what? If that’s the biggest flaw, I have to learn to live with that.’’
Desperate Housewives’ Felicity Huffman and her husband, William H. Macy, enjoy demanding careers and caring for their two children.
‘‘My husband cleans more than I do,’’ Huffman says.
‘‘Some just go down by gender lines, we’re just so typical. Bill picks up the garbage more than I do. I do more of the baby stuff than he does, it just so happens. Sometimes it’s just who hates what. What do you hate doing? I really hate cleaning the kitchen, so Bill cleans the kitchen a lot. I really hate getting gas and he puts gas in the car.
‘‘We talked a lot about the kids. The kids came and I went, ‘Whoa, I’m no better at this than you are, have no more proclivity for this than you do. Just because I’m built differently’, so there was a lot of negotiation about that.’’
And when it comes to Christmas, Kelly Preston says she and husband John Travolta usually pull out all the stops.
‘‘For many years we have family parties at Christmas or at certain times during the year. Between his Italian family and my family, we’re a family of about 50 or 55, so we’re quite big,’’ Preston says.
‘‘We used to put them all under one roof in our house in Maine which would hold a lot of people. After six days you’re exhausted — but it was a lot of fun.
‘‘My function is the complete planning and execution.
‘‘It’s a lot of fun but it’s exhausting. A lot of holidays now we like to keep it smaller and simpler, but for many years we did it and I planned every single aspect, every single meal, every single treat on the bed, play things, activities and excursions. I’m an expert party planner.’’
Richard Gere and his wife, Law & Order and Six Degrees star Carey Lowell, share the tasks. ‘‘We both do social plans but I’m not there as much,’’ he says.
‘‘I’m working, so the house stuff gets done by her, most of it. Carey takes care of the house.
‘‘She’s such a pioneer spirit herself that she kind of does it. Whatever’s there to do, she does it. That’s one of the things I thought was so great about her when I met her. If there was something to be done, she just did it.
‘‘There’s a piece of paper lying around, she just picks it up, it wasn’t a thought to her. I remember my mother being that way.
‘‘I started off really bad about time. I just lose track of time, I’m a bit of a dreamer. But I’ve become much better and am continually praised by my wife about that.’’