Experts: Sandra Bullock Affair Reports Will "Bolster Her Fame"

Entertainment Mar. 19, 2010 AT 10:38AM
Experts: Sandra Bullock Affair Reports Will "Bolster Her Fame" Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Experts predict that Sandra Bullock won't suffer professionally now that reports have surfaced that her husband of five years, Jesse James, allegedly carried on an 11-month affair with a tattoo model.

"Ironically, it can actually bolster her fame," Karen Sternheimer, a sociologist at the University of Southern California who studies pop culture and celebrity, tells the Associated Press. "She has tried to keep herself out of her career as much as possible. This development... adds to her image as a sympathetic figure that especially women can relate to."

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Bullock pulled out of the London premiere of The Blind Side Wednesday after Michelle McGee came forward claiming she had a relationship with James. Veteran publicist Michael Levine doesn't think overseas box office revenue on her drama will take a hit as a result.

"If anything, it would engender a massive amount of sympathy toward her, and she's already exceedingly well liked,” he says.

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When celebrities face marriage problems, their fans are reminded "that they're humans," says Sternheimer.

"They might not be just like us, but they go through a lot of the same things," she continues, "and it makes people feel all the more connected to celebrities."

"[Bullock] spoke openly about how wonderful he is and how he changed her," adds Sternheimer. "It's the fantasy, the Jerry Maguire you-complete-me fantasy, and to have it come crashing down so soon is the drama side of it."

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But Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman laments how news of the affair now overshadows her big Academy Award win.

"I don't think it's really fair to her," he tells the AP. "We could have given her at least a month to enjoy her Oscar."

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