It’s no secret that life has become a whirlwind of fame for Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence. Now her family tells us what she’s like in her private life.
The world knows Jennifer Lawrence as an actress, superstar and Oscar winner — but that’s not how her family sees her.
“She’s talented and good at what she does but she’s still just Jen — who happens to be good at acting,” said Jennifer’s mom, Karen.
Jennifer’s brother, Blaine, says they’re making sure fame doesn’t change her.
“We’re going to try our hardest to keep her grounded and let her know she’s not as cool as everyone says she is,” Blaine said.
Kidding aside, Jennifer’s family says she really hasn’t changed a bit. And it must be hard not to — with designer clothes, cameras and attention everywhere she goes.
Jennifer’s aunt, Cindy Miller, gave us an example of just how simple her tastes are.
“The last time she came home, I’ll never forget, Miller said. “Jennifer called Karen from the airport and said, ‘hi mom! All I want are Ramen noodles and sugar pops, or some sugary cereal — Cap ‘N Crunch!’ — that’s what she wanted.”
When I talked to Jennifer last year, she told me a few other ways she loves to spend her time at home in Louisville: hanging out on “Bardstown Road, Von Maur, The Farm.”
When she mentioned “The Farm,” Jennifer was referring to Camp Hi-Ho, a summer camp her family has run for years.
“She loves to go to Hi-Ho,” Karen said. “She grew up there, horseback riding. She loves to fish, build a bonfire, just be outside.”
Her family says it’s rare for Jennifer to find time to relax out of the spotlight, and it became nearly impossible right before the Oscars. But while Jennifer’s family members were in Los Angeles, they did manage to sneak away for a hike at Big Sur.
Although winning an Academy Award is a huge honor for the entire family, Karen says “just having this time alone surpasses the Oscars or anything else, because there’s always people around. So for us to have this time without anyone being able to text or email was … much needed and very hard to come by.”
Jennifer’s family says that’s part of the sacrifice that comes with fame.
“It’s not an easy road for her,” Karen said. “I think just being criticized — you’re too fat, too skinny, hair too light, too dark — when you’re a celebrity, you’re a target. People forget they’re just people and human beings. But somehow being a celebrity puts them in a category that makes it OK to talk about them like they’re not real.”
Karen and other family members realize there will always be such comments as long as there are outlets to publish them.
“She’s doing as well as she can do,” Karen said. “It’s just unfortunate that there’s such a price to pay for fame, as long as people buy the tabloids and magazines.”
“That’s the thing that’s bad,” said Jennifer’s dad, Gary. “I always thought they just took pictures, but they [photographers] yell horrible things at her to try to get a reaction from her. I hate to see my little girl go through that.”
Gary continued: “When she was in London, they yelled, ‘You don’t have any talent, go back to the U.S.!’ One of the camera guys hit her in the face and left her with a bruise. Her security guy took care of him, though, and that was good.”
Although there are plenty of downsides to being famous, it does come with perks.
Blaine named a few: “…trips to beach, great food. You get treated pretty well. It’s been cool.”
“I went to Independent Spirit Awards and Andy Sandberg hosted that,” Blaine recalled. “I sat next to Bradley Cooper and Chris Tucker, which was nice. What’s funny is those guys want to meet us because they’re wondering who raised this crazy girl.”
Spending hours with actors like Robert DeNiro at the Golden Globes isn’t bad either.
“They’re all nice people,” Gary said. “That’s what I like about it. I went into it thinking they wouldn’t be too talkative or friendly. They were all very nice.”
When I asked what they talked about, Gary answered: “Sports.”
He continued: “Bradley Cooper told me he was going to take me motorcycle riding — which didn’t happen. But he says he’s coming to work at Camp Hi-Ho this summer for a week, and he said give him a job. And I said, ‘scrubbing toilets?’ And he said, ‘Sure!’ He’s a great guy.”
Recently there has been talk that Jennifer plans to settle down near home, so I asked Karen if there’s any truth to those rumors. She says she has heard the same rumors.
“I don’t think she’s interested in buying anything for the next two years because she’ll be on jobs,” Karen said.
And a year after I asked her if she had made a big splurge yet, the answer remains the same: not really, although she says she needs to and admits she is still driving the “same old car.”
Karen says Jennifer can pretty much drive any car she wants because companies offer to foot the bill. “So she’s driving a Chevy Volt — she loves it!”
At the end of the day, however, the cars, fame and fortune don’t matter. In fact, her dad still picks up the check when Jennifer’s home.
“I don’t even think she thinks about money,” Karen said. “When she’s home, she’ll say, ‘Dad, can I have $20 bucks to go to the movies?’ He usually treats for dinner when we’re out because that’s what we would normally do. She wants to be treated like everyone else.”
Her family says Jennifer shows that same respect to others — and that makes them proud.
“The one thing I will say, when I go on set, the hair and makeup people always come to me and say she’s such a nice girl, so respectful,” Gary said. “And I kid her and say, ‘If I ever come and don’t hear that, we’ll have some real problems.’ But so far, so good.”
Karen says they’re proud of Jennifer not because of her fame, but because of who she is.
“Talent is nothing if you’re not a nice person,” Karen said. “That’s just who she is. And that makes us proud of her more so than her talent.”
Jennifer was scheduled to be in Boston on March 21 to start shooting another film based on an undercover FBI operation conducted in the 70s and 80s called “Abscam” — with the director of Silver Linings Playbook. Karen tells us Jennifer will play Christian Bale’s crazy wife. Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams are also featured in the film.