Rocky Relations Between Celebs and Their Staff

The border between friend and client blurs when it comes to celebs and stylists.

ByABC News
July 6, 2007, 12:50 PM

July 6, 2007 — -- Being famous enough to require help may look easy.

You have someone to pick out your clothes, do your hair, schedule your appointments, cook your meals, count your push-ups and blow on your latte.

But then and this is the hard part you have to actually deal with those people.

Where stars are concerned, we've moved on from being obsessed with celebrities to being obsessed with the people who work for them. The tabloids are filled with stories of the friendships and feuds between the beautiful people and "their people." There's even a magazine dedicated just to the people who toil to make the lives of the rich and famous that much more streamlined.

Depending on whom you ask, stylists, personal assistants and other staff members are either mere employees, necessary to keeping a celeb perfectly coifed and on time, or they're a star's best friend, confidants who spend incredible amounts of personal time with their boss-cum-bosom buddy.

But pop princesses and movie stars aren't the only public figures living under a microscope and worried about keeping their hair and clothing perfectly styled. Presidential candidates are similarly watched and similarly primped.

Presidential hopeful John Edwards made headlines for paying up to $1,250 for a haircut. When word got out that the former North Carolina senator was using campaign funds to pay for expensive 'dos, he quickly distanced himself from Los Angeles-based hairstylist Joseph Torrenueva.

In a recent Washington Post article, Torrenueva said he was hurt that Edwards, whom he had come to consider a friend, had played down their personal relationship.

"I'm disappointed and I do feel bad," Torrenueva told the Post. "If I know someone, I'm not going to say I don't know them. When he called me 'that guy,' that hit my ears. It hurt."

It is not uncommon for service providers to believe the relationships they have with celebrities are more than just business, said psychologist Stuart Fischoff, an expert in the psychology of celebrity.

"People next to celebrities want to think of themselves as friends," said Fischoff. "It is a problem of perception. I'm not sure [Torrenueva] had any right to assume what he assumed and the unwanted consequence was that his feelings were hurt."