On Aug. 27, Akron’s own LeBron James took a moment during a European vacation to tweet “Happy birthday to my fiance/soon to be wife and most of all my best friend savannahrb.”
And that’s pretty much all he has had to say lately about marrying longtime love Savannah Brinson.
The wedding appears to be set for Saturday. It looks to be in San Diego.
But James has offered more for public consumption about a new deal to produce a TV sitcom than he has about his and Brinson’s nuptials. More pixels have been spilled about the dating life of James’ mother Gloria — recently linked to rapper Da Real Lambo. Instead of pictures of Brinson’s wedding dress, we’re seeing the image of an Ohio State locker with James’ name on it.
And the James-Brinson wedding was set in motion almost two years ago, when the high school sweethearts became engaged on Dec. 31, 2011.
Brinson, more private than her high-profile fiance, might be the reason for the secrecy — although she appears to be getting more comfortable in the spotlight. Still, it’s clear that people — and People magazine — are looking for more information. And it’s a hot enough item that inquiring minds don’t want to reveal their information-gathering plans.
An email query to TMZ about its plans for reporting the wedding went unanswered. One to People about its coverage, and whether it had worked out an exclusive, got this reply:
“Since PEOPLE is a weekly magazine, we do not know far in advance which stories will be published in the future. Please feel free to check-in with us after the wedding and if we have covered the event, we will be happy to speak with you then.”
If they have covered the event? Could someone have tied up exclusive rights?
The secrecy surrounding the wedding — at least in terms of media reports — has been so impressive that we’ve all been left to say, “Everything I know, I learned on TMZ.”
After all, the gossip site has aggressively covered James, from incidents like his getting a police escort to a Miami concert to his having a DJ spin music in his room during a trip to China in July.
In March, TMZ unveiled a “save the date” card — in this case, actually a “save the weekend” — for James and Brinson for Sept. 13-15 in San Diego; the note included caricatures of James, Brinson and their two sons, LeBron Jr. and Bryce. The note promised a “formal invitation to follow.”
That note alone sparked speculation about where in San Diego the ceremony might take place.
Readers of San Diego’s Union-Tribune wondered in particular about the 6-year-old Grand Del Mar and the historic Hotel Del Coronado.
The Del Mar, its website notes, is “San Diego County’s only Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five Diamond luxury resort destination” with “a complete spectrum of first-class amenities; among them four sparkling swimming pools, tennis, fine dining, San Diego’s only Tom Fazio-designed golf course, a Renaissance-inspired spa and 249 elegantly appointed guestrooms.”
Consider just its “amply sized, marble-clad bathrooms with European-style soaking tubs and separate showers, dual vanities and 13-inch flat screen televisions.” Not to mention “plush bathrobes” and “lavish bath amenities and candles.” The best available rate for such a room is about $500 a night on the wedding weekend.
You could get a bit of bargain by comparison at the Hotel Del Coronado, where a room on the wedding day would cost about $330, according to its website. Opening in 1888, it has played host to Presidents Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, and was the place that future President Ronald Reagan decided to propose to Nancy. Charlie Chaplin, Kirk Douglas and Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum were also visitors — so there has been enough cultural royalty to make it fit for King James.
Maybe. All concerned have kept mum about the specific wedding location, as was clear in early July when TMZ published pictures of the wedding invitation.
“We’re delighted to be getting married and would love for you to celebrate with us,” it said. “The wedding will take place on Saturday afternoon, the fourteenth of September, two thousand and thirteen. The evening will continue with cocktails, dinner and dancing. Our fingers are crossed that you’ll be able to attend.”
Events also included a welcome barbecue on Friday and a farewell brunch on Sunday morning. But, as TMZ noted, there was no mention of an address for the ceremony. Instead, guests were asked to RSVP by Aug. 1 — so if you didn’t get your invite yet, don’t count on one — by calling a phone number which would then provide more information.
Which makes it still possible that the San Diego location is a big smokescreen, and the guests will end up on a jet to … Bath Township? The Huffington Post, for one, wondered if “recipients got a big air ball of info to keep the paparazzi off the scent.”
Celebrity weddings have prompted massive investigations. After Jennifer Aniston became engaged to actor Justin Theroux in August 2012, the when’s-the-wedding drumbeat became loud and nonstop; while promoting the comedy We’re the Millers, Aniston more than once had to say that the couple wasn’t rushing down the aisle.
“We have yet to set any dates,” she told the Associated Press. “There have been no canceled weddings. There have been no postponed weddings. There have been no arguments about where to get married. Just clearing that all up.”
Of course, Aniston had been through the mega-wedding thing in 2000 when she married Brad Pitt. There were some attempts at privacy for the occasion, where photographers were reportedly staked out days before. People reported that “the couple required staffers to sign a document making them liable for a penalty of up to $100,000 if they talked about the wedding.” But the then-happy couple knew it would be a big show, with the magazine adding Pitt and Aniston even “arranged with the FAA to have an inspector on-site in case the airspace above the property became overcrowded with helicopters.”
So it should be no surprise that James and Brinson are trying for more discretion. Celebrities have become increasingly successful at doing so. One list of surprise and secret weddings featured those of Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, and Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, among others.
Scandal star Kerry Washington also pulled off a secret wedding, to pro football player Nnamdi Asomugha, as part of a larger determination not to talk about her private life. (Glamour magazine noted that Washington’s fans didn’t even know she was dating Asomugha.) As with Aniston, Washington’s strategy is based on a public lesson learned. While engaged to the actor David Moscow, Washington appeared on the cover of a bridal magazine — but the wedding never happened.
“I learned through experience that it doesn’t work for me to talk about my personal life,” Washington told Glamour. She doesn’t talk about the good in her private life, or the bad, or her marriage. “I’m walking around in the world with my ring. And when people say congratulations, I say thank you. But I’m going to continue to not talk about it and just let it unfold.”
Now we will see what unfolds for James and Brinson.
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online blog, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. You can contact him at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.