Just what makes us shun some celebrity rumours and lap up others?
Gossip makes the showbiz world go around - especially when the subjects of said gossip are rich, good looking and constantly attention-seeking. Some would say the only thing worse than being talked about in Hollywood would be not getting talked about at all.
That some may not include John Travolta. The star has been the target of gay rumours since he hit the big time in the 70s, and these have always ebbed and flowed despite his 21-year marriage to actress Kelly Preston.
Last week two unidentified men filed sexual harassment lawsuits against the actor, both masseuses who claim Travolta requested some off-the-menu services from them earlier this year. I'd better add that the first case has now been dismissed after Travolta's camp proved the actor was in New York City, not Los Angeles as the plaintiff claimed, on the day of the supposed incident.
The second case is still live and this week excerpts of the legal documents were leaked to press.
'Travolta suddenly turned on his stomach with his legs wide open with a full erection. He then tried to force Doe Plaintiff No. 2's hand on Travolta's scrotum.
'Then, Travolta started to grab, rub and caress Doe Plaintiff no. 2's upper thighs and buttocks...
'Travolta still had an erection and wanted his abdominals done, but Travolta's erection was in the way and he refused to have his penis covered by a sheet of a pillow case cover...Travolta started masturbating about 15 minutes left in the session, and Doe Plaintiff No.2, said he had to go.'
For the record, Travolta's lawyer Marty Singer has called all the allegations 'complete fiction and fabrication'. Okorie Okorocha, lawyer for the plaintiffs, claims more than 100 men are set to come forward with similar stories.
"I want a full trial with a private judge," the lawyer told press after rumours he was to chase private financial settlements.
"There is no mediation. There'll never be a settlement. I want privacy for sex crime victims."
Rumours have followed him since the 70s and have included alleged affairs with gay porn stars, tales of supposed shenanigans in a tell-all book about seedy LA bathhouses, and that photo of him kissing his son's nanny on the steps of a private plane in 2006. The Travolta camp's response? John kisses everyone that way.
This week New Idea magazine ran a story claiming Travolta's wife Kelly Preston begged the actor to 'tell her once and for all' whether he was gay after the birth of their son in 2010. If, in fact, Travolta is gay it's incredibly naรฏve to think his wife wouldn't be aware of his preferences. Is it too hard to imagine that she would simply accept it?
Gay rumours follow every successful male star, one might argue. He's married, might be another angle (to which I'd counter with the fact that Elton John also had a wife.) Travolta has been married to Preston since 1991. Their oldest child Jett died in 2009 at the age of 16 and they have two other children - daughter Ella Bleu, 12, and 18-month-old Benjamin.
Says a pal of the couple: "This nonsense has followed them around for years. It's the sort of garbage that is spewed out by people who simply can't accept they are a loving couple with two great kids and fantastic careers."
Even Travolta's pal Carrie Fisher put her two cents in a couple of years ago: "My feeling about John has always been that we know and we don't care," she announced of her friends sexuality. "I'm sorry he's uncomfortable with it."
Rumours are all well and good. In fact, rumours make the celebrity world go round and I for one would like to believe the more salacious version of any Tinseltown tale. But why do we believe some and not others?
I don't mind if John Travolta is gay. Why would I? It's his business if he's been married to a (very attractive) woman for 20 years while partaking in sex with blokes around the world's spas and saunas. I'm certain there are stranger foundations for a marriage.
I would almost put money on the fact that Travolta does prefer the company of men. I would take it as gospel and preach it in the hope of converting the uninitiated. Bizarre when you think I have never met the guy and don't know him from diddly (maybe not quite the word to use, but you get my drift).
But I have a girlfriend that's convinced all these rumours are nothing more than an irritating slur on then private life of a happily married straight man. Even the pictures of JT kissing his son's 'nanny' on the steps of a private plane several years ago didn't change her mind.
On the same note I am absolutely certain that Beyonce was pregnant and subsequently gave birth, and can't quite fathom the almost religious fervour with which people still squabble over her pregnancy. Even photos of the bikini-clad star on holiday in Croatia with a bare midriff and a noticeable baby belly wasn't evidence enough for some after her dress folded weirdly as she sat down on an Aussie talk show. 'Prosthetic belly!' they all screamed, spitting venom at Beyonce's claims she worked hard to lose baby weight and pointing at reports that the star closed off the maternity ward of a hospital to give birth in private as evidence of her sham.
'I agree about her fake pregnancy I had three children and one of the things I noticed about her pregs was that her face did not change and 95% of women have this moon face when pregnant and she looked different plus I find her and her husband very, very materialistic annoying,' commenter Norwich57 wrote on People.com.
Of course, if you're rich you must be lying about your fertility.
'Beyonce says.... "I feel more beautiful than I've ever felt because I've given birth. Uhhh, no you didn't give birth, your surrogate did. Therefore I guess you can flush the beautiful part in the toilet. Lying about her pregnancy is no big surprise. She is a Virgo!' says Melanie G on the same site.
I wasn't previously aware, Virgos, but apparently you are all filthy liars.
I know both of these celebs equally (ie, not at all). I didn't witness Beyonce push out baby Blue or John Travolta involved in man-on-man action. I don't know anyone who did. So why do I think Beyonce is genuine and John Travolta is telling porky pies?
Apart from the Scientology factor, which always makes me smell a rat, I really don't know. Or is there no logical way to reason with the business of a subject based on half-truths and smokescreens? Fact or fiction, here are some of my other favourite celebrity rumours.
Someone always knew someone who knew someone who knew a doctor who attended a conference where a physician who had treated Nicole Kidman told a room full of strangers that this very famous woman was born with both male and female genitalia. Never mind doctor-patient confidentiality.
Kidman's revelation she had two miscarriages while married to first husband Tom Cruise didn't dampen the rumours. Neither did the fact that the actress gave birth to daughter Sunday Rose in 2008 - that just spawned chitter-chatter that her sister Antonia had been a surrogate, perhaps sparked by Kidman's tiny baby bump and reports that she was still attending spin class just a couple of days before the birth. The rumour was only further fuelled by the news Kidman and Keith Urban's daughter Faith Margaret was born to a gestational carrier.
For the record similar rumours have long surrounded Jamie Lee Curtis, based on nothing more than the fact her children are adopted. Alternatively, Google the term 'Lady Gaga penis' and you'll get back 13.1 million results.
The very 80s rumour that Richard Gere had been rushed to a hospital's emergency room with a gerbil stuck up his rectum ('gerbiling' was said to bring on an intense sexual high) spread like wildfire around Hollywood at the time, although the actor has never publicly addressed the story.
Oprah is gay! Tom Cruise is gay! Queen Latifah is gay! (Let's just assume all celebs are gay until proven otherwise. It would probably save a lot of column inches.) Marilyn Manson had a rib removed so he could give himself a blowjob. Tupac isn't dead. David Bowie's ex-wife found the star in bed naked with Mick Jagger. Anna Wintour had an intense week-long affair with Bob Marley in the 70s. Michael Jackson and, er, everything.
Manson, for one, dealt with his rumours rather succinctly.
"If I really got my ribs removed, I would have been busy sucking my own dick on The Wonder Years instead of chasing Winnie Cooper," the rocker stated in his autobiography, also putting paid to the rumours that he was the guy who played the dorky kid with the glasses on The Wonder Years.