HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- No sooner than the ongoing feud between former Mouseketeers Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears seemed to be heading to a resolution, a major new rift in the Disney family has emerged.
Neither Christina nor Britney, sources inside the Disney empire say, will now speak to Minnie Mouse.
Following Aguilera's recent friendly gesture, sending Spears a bumper baby basket on the occasion of the birth of her second child, and coming on the heels of the recent truce between Paris Hilton and Nicole Richey, many Hollywood observers hoped that we might see peace in our time -- but it is not to be.
Minnie, who said she tried to keep the lines of communication open between Aguilera and Spears during their rift, discovered herself on the outside looking in as soon as Chris and Brit, as she calls them, made up.
Aguilera and Spears, say insiders, are united against Ms. Mouse, as their press releases refer to her, for ample reason. Once Chris and Brit started talking with each other they realized that Minn had been a divider, not the uniter she made herself out to be.
According to Jordan Bratman, Aguilera's husband and agent, "Minnie was definitively not the 'sole remaining connection' between Christina and Britney, as Ms. Mouse liked to portray herself, but the barrier between them."
Nancy Carson, a children's talent agent who has represented Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Mischa Barton, in addition to Spears, said Minnie had engineered the split after her idea for the three of them creating a "modern, female Rat Pack" was rejected soundly by both Aguilera and Spears.
During their time together on the New Mickey Mouse Club, later called simply MMC, Minnie, Christina and Britney, were a tight trio until Justin Timberlake started flirting with the three of them. The public squabble between Aguilera and Spears is thought by many to have been the result of Timberlake's private come on's.
Timberlake, who has recently reincarnated himself as a fashion designer, and is widely expected to be the next N'Sync cast member to come out of the closet, had no comment on "any matter relating to my Mickey Mouse past."
Despite the implications of Timberlake's reticence, music industry sources say that a "major project" involving Timberlake, Aguilera and Spears is in the works.
Minnie is reported to be devastated by these recent turns of events, as it is very likely, Hollywood sources say, to diminish even further her already modest paparazzi factor. Her recent breast implants, they note, barely made a blip in her press profile.
Dr. Roberta Petrie, an animation psychologist at the University of Southern California's Rorschach Institute, says Minnie's dysfunctional response to the success of Spears and Aguilera is understandable, if not forgivable.
"Minnie's deep-seated feelings of inferiority, which stem from her inability to break through to next level of popular stardom, have been heightened as she saw the tabloids awash in Britney and Christina. She felt like she could never break the invisible barrier between cartoon character and cartoonish behavior in a culture where the former is ignored and the latter is adored," said Petrie.
Dr. Petrie, without endorsing any of Ms. Mouse's contentions, cited the following litany of complaints Minnie has made publicly as factors in her rift-making behavior:
- Minnie's nude photographs have never gotten the attention that Britney got for appearing pregnant and unclad on the cover of Harper's Bazaar, or even that that Christina got for peeing publicly in a bucket.
- Minnie's affair with Mighty Mouse was largely unnoticed by the press, much to Minnie's dismay, leaving her goody two-shoes image intact.
- Her performance in the off-Broadway production of "Of Mice and Men" never received the critical acclaim she believed it deserved.
Creative Artists Agency superagent Michael Ovitz, who represents Ms. Mouse, uncharacteristically failed to return multiple calls, suggesting that he may be on the way out as Minnie's personal agent.
Copyright 2006, Douglas Salguod