What is it like to be a celebrity

The film was a terrific flop, despite the fact that Mel Gibson was behind it as a successful producer and Hollywood actor. But "Paparazzi", a story about blood-sucking guerrilla reporters who mercilessly snap down beautiful stars and their families, did not even reach the German audience in May. The work about the machinations of the industry and about the abysses of tabloid journalism immediately disappeared from the cinemas.

Aggressive paparazzi, who threaten the privacy of celebrities on the hunt for new pictures, are rather rare in Germany. This is due to the fact that there are no globalized stars like Robbie Williams, Angelina Jolie or George Clooney who can be marketed worldwide - with exclusive photos for which millions are often paid. And yet, two years after the "Caroline" verdict, a lot has changed again. The fear of high legal fees and lengthy lawsuits has subsided, as the summer gossip about the Swedish Princess Victoria and other illegitimate children of Albert of Monaco shows.

Friendly reports for private matters

In principle, many German celebrities maintain a friendly, often friendly relationship with the leading media on the boulevard. It's a lucrative business for both sides: protagonists from film and entertainment reveal a piece of their privacy and allow an insight into their emotional world.

In return, you can count on friendly reports, which increases awareness. In this way, too, the teen band "Tokio Hotel" caused a media sensation. With world stars like Anna Netrebko, however, the managers dictate the rules of the game in order to contain the flood of images. "We put the reporting conditions in writing and try to channel appointments," says the soprano's press agent, Michael van Almsick.

On the other hand, the media also like to let their power play. Anyone who evades the staging machine can quickly become the target of scorn and ridicule. Jürgen Klinsmann experienced this before the World Cup, even before he was proclaimed a national hero by Bild; he evaded the reenactments by rushing off to California on a regular basis.

Research abandoned due to cost reasons

And when Günther Jauch did not even want to serve the gossiping organs with bits of his luck before his wedding, he was confronted in the same paper with deeply disappointed fans who accused him of being aloof. He couldn't prevent the relevant photographers from lurking in front of the church in Potsdam on the wedding day. In any case, it has become difficult to control one's own picture since an army of amateur paparazzi took celebrity photos with their mobile phones and sent them to editorial offices.

Part of the industry has given up research entirely for reasons of cost. Private photo agencies have long since established themselves between the stars and the media, selling entire photo series for a few hundred euros and making money with home stories from C celebrities. But real sensations are rare, so a lot is copied. "The same stories rush through the entire forest of leaves with a gap of one or two weeks - and, funnily enough, people then like to refer to the competition where the reports were not objected to," says Hamburg lawyer Michael Nesselhauf. The specialist in press law represents well-known clients who have to defend themselves against intrusiveness, half-truths or even false reports. "The more a celebrity releases his privacy, the more he opens up room for the media," says Nesselhauf.