Tome of the Mommy: “You Know I Hate to Gossip, But –“

By Josie Brown

gossipwomenEveryone does it, right? We diss on our best buds, tell tales out of school.
When we’re asked to keep a secret, we cross our hearts, hope to die . . .

Instead we spill our guts.

I’ve always been a social animal. In the human jungle, gossip is the best bait, a tasty fodder that shows we’re in the know.

That we’re somebody, because we know everyone else’s business.

PEOPLE magazine has the highest circulation for a good reason: we are fascinated with others’ lives.

Lindsey and Britney are train wrecks which we all craned our necks over. The divorces of others (friends, exes, celebs) fascinate us. Is it because our own are so boring—or is it because it’s much easier to pass judgment on others than to critique ourselves and assess our own actions?

And yet, if we heard others were talking about us, we’d be mortified.

Magnifying mirrors make us wince. Every little wrinkle and pore is exposed. Is gossip a mirror into our souls? Is what we say of others really our fears about ourselves?

In my book SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES, Brooke, the best friend of my heroine, Lyssa, always has the scoop on everyone else in their tony community, Paradise Heights. Lyssa is just slightly annoyed by this . . .

But she puts up with it because she would much prefer to be on the receiving end of the gossip grapevine, as opposed to the topic of interest.

Wouldn’t we all?

What Brooke has to tell her is that the neighborhood’s “perfect couple” has just broken up. Both are enigmas: gorgeous, but aloof. Their children are adorable and popular . . .

But when the divorce gets ugly, the gossip gets even more vicious.

Needless to say, everyone suffers—including Lyssa, who has befriended the husband, Harry. He has put his career on pause and has become a stay-at-home dad in order to prove he deserves custody of the kids.

One of the best lines in Steel Magnolias belonged to Olympia Dukakis: “If you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me.”

That says it all: impress me with your knowledge. Titillate me. Scandalize me.

Even if it hurts someone. Even if it may not be true. Because that’s entertainment.

Have you ever been hurt by gossip? If so, I’m all ears. You can comment below.

Just between us girls,


Josie Brown is’s Relationship Channel editor. She is also the author of two novels: Impossibly Tongue-Tied, and True Hollywood Lies.

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives Simon & Schuster/Pocket
(ISBN: 9781439173176)