"Once you become a public figure, everything in your life is a business," Ian Drew, editor at large of Us Weekly, told ABCNews.com. "It's Superstar Inc. Thus, everything you do is timed toward how you can make money off of it. People that say otherwise, to protect celebrities, simply don't understand how the business works. Everything is done by choice and with careful planning, including supposed reactions. Like the old song, you've got to use what you've got if you want to get ahead."
These days, celebrities literally bare it all. Promoting her film "Marley and Me," which opened Christmas Day, Jennifer Anniston wore nothing but a man's tie on the December cover of GQ.
When her films "The Reader" and "Revolutionary Road" hit theaters, Kate Winslet appeared on the December cover of Vanity Fair, her hair teased into a 60s style, wearing only a white overcoat and platform heels.
"The stigma about nudity does not exist anymore," said longtime Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman. "You can find nude pictures of almost every male and female celebrity on the Internet, and most of them are real. Paris Hilton became famous not in spite of but because of a sex tape. Kim Kardashian became known for a tape. Younger people don't judge that issue."
"Sex sells and stars know it," Drew said. "And keeping up their profiles is how they get those roles. You gotta be hot or nobody wants to hire you."
Eric Dezenhall, a Washington, D.C.-based crisis management expert and author of "Damage Control," is uncertain of the payoff for celebrities who show skin.
"It's really the kitchen-sink approach," he told ABCNews.com. "Nobody knows if it will have an impact. You know if you don't try, it certainly won't. So, you throw the kitchen sink at it."
Dezenhall said a lot of things celebrities do is driven by their personalities and egos and not by their publicists and managers.
"Don't assume that they're getting advice or that they are listening to it," said Dezenhall, who added that he works with fewer celebrities than he used to. "A lot of these folks are doing what they want to do, because it's often just an extension of their natures."
When it comes to disclosing personal information or dropping titillating news, it's only natural that it occurs when a celebrity has a new project.
For example, Paula Abdul, making the rounds of ABC's morning shows a month before the season premiere of "American Idol," dropped the bomb that the "Idol" producers had allowed a woman who had been stalking her for 17 years to try out because it would make good television.
"Most celebrities don't do interviews unless they have something to promote," said Bragman, whose new book is "Where Is My Fifteen Minutes?" "If you have a disclosure to make, you want to hold it until you have something to promote. The only caveat is you don't want the disclosure to be bigger news than what you're promoting."
Bragman said that when Owen Wilson's movie "The Darjeeling Limited" came out just after his suicide attempt, Wilson only gave one interview -- to the director -- and it appeared on MySpace.com.
"And that was the limit of that particular incident," he said. "If asked about it, he can say he talked about it, even though he didn't really go into it."