As we speak, rumors are rampant that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are nearing their end. That his gambling (and years of sideplay gossip) and their growing detachment point to the two announcing a separation soon.
How does a couple react to this kind of public scrutiny? Do you ignore it, right or wrong? Or do you ring up some photographers and arrange a surreptitiously pre-planned sighting with your adorable children?
We know what Garner and Affleck would do, did do and have done (you can click if you want to see the pics for yourself). It’s the one with the kids and the togetherness and the “look at how together we are” statement released without a single word, taking the kids out for a togetherness walkabout right as the rumors reach their fever pitch.
They’re hardly unique. This is a classic PR move. When the press is negative, post a cute family picture to Instagram or take an adorable family outing that just so happens to get photographed. It’s massively transparent, but it works. We’re all very easily distracted by adorable children. And their parents know that.
But it feels a little…weird. Doesn’t it? Especially since these are often the same parents demanding the paparazzi stop photographing their children.
So, in times like these, we must make a choice. Cynicism or optimism. Is this merely coincidence? Just a cute family being cute in what happens to be a particularly difficult time, publicly? Or are they using their kids as precious props to steer a message in the preferred direction? And, for that matter, is that OK for them to do?
Celebrity sociology should really be its own field of study.