I Was A Hollywood Personal Assistant

personal assistant 2[New York Magazine] One longtime personal assistant’s story of her time working for a Hollywood household name, as told to NYMag’s Jennifer Vineyard.

She’d said I would be working on her production side, and I thought, Perfect, I’ll be doing personal-assistant work, production work; I might even be working on her films. This is exactly what I want to do. She gave me the first book she wanted to option, and I was like, This is awesome. I want to be a part of this. Because I thought this was going to be a production job. So I stayed on, thinking it would happen, and it never happened. That was the first of many straws of that broke the camel’s back.

I broke up with a very prominent actor boyfriend of hers. She said, “Oh, we’re done making a movie together; it’s not really going to work; I’m sort of seeing somebody else. Could you just tell him to back off and leave me alone?” And she said this over the phone, over Christmas. She told me, “Accept the date on my behalf. Take the date. Go instead of me.” So, that’s what I did. You would think sending a text is the worst — no. Sending your assistant to break up with him is the worst. He had no idea it was coming, either, which was sad. Because when I was talking to him on the phone before, he was like, “Great! She said yes! Tell her I’ll see her here; I’ll order us her favorite wine,” and I was just like, “Okay!” Ugh. I felt horrible for him. I was like, “You do not deserve this.” That breakup was two weeks into the job. That was my initiation — Oh my God, this is what I’m doing?

Before I lived with her, I would leave at four in the morning to get to her house. I would get there at five in the morning to go over the daily routine with her, get her tea, her food, all her vitamins. And once I lived at her house, I would start at five in the morning and go down to Starbucks and get her coffee and put it beside her bed. Go downstairs and make her tea. Start up her computer and get the schedule of what was happening that day, print it out. Go through emails for her and check to see what was coming in. Grab a couple of newspapers and check the book reviews, because then I would have to go to Barnes and Noble to get the books for her, whether or not she would actually read them. Most of them she did not read. Or she would read the first four or five chapters and then give the book away. I’d turn on the TV and figure out what was going on. By 7 a.m., she’d want to know everything that had happened in the news, what she should be aware of around the world. I was very well informed at that point. If she was up for a job, I’d go through the script with her. She was shooting a lot, and on those days, I would have to be her alarm, and wake her up at 4 a.m. And then later in the day I would drive her child and the babysitter to the set to visit her, and I would have to be around, in case the kid threw a fit, to take them back.

You don’t get that time to do your own stuff if you’re living at the house. And I never had privacy whatsoever. To escape, I would have to physically leave her house at certain times. I took a lot of weekend trips. Sometimes the nanny would let me stay over at her apartment — I would drive around the corner and hide my car and hang out at the nanny’s apartment on weekends, just to sleep. And I would leave the house and just go drink a lot. I would go down the street from her place and walk to a couple of the bars. The bar owners knew me, and they understood, because she would pick me up sometimes — they would be like, “Trust me, I know what you have to go home to. These next few rounds are on us.” I would drink, and then go back and feed her, and then go to sleep in the office. That lasted several months, until I was like, This is making me into a drunk. I’m not happy with who I am becoming. Even my sister later told me, “I wanted to slap you, because you didn’t have a life. You weren’t you. You weren’t happy. You had the fake Hollywood smile.”

Once I got called in as an emergency because she said, “I need to see my therapist.” So I had to leave my family and drive over and pick her up, because she was like, “After therapy, I can’t drive.” That’s fine, I get it: So she’s in with the therapist, and I’m sitting there in the car, reading, and I remember seeing the therapist’s name — but she wasn’t a therapist. Oh no. She was a palm reader. She was a palm reader that we got a discount for in the gift bag at an awards show. She was a psychic. And I was like, “I left a family event to take her to come see a psychic?” You could have called 1-900-whatever and gotten the same information, and stayed at home.

My eyes were opened. Then I started to check all the details on the things I had to do for her. Like when I had to go to pick up her quote-unquote “herbs” — I didn’t realize until then: Oh crap, I’m a drug runner. She said “herbs” because she was being holistic, and I was naïve and thought it was something herbal to help her calm down. Once when we went to a film festival, I flew out early so I could lay out the clothes she would wear. When she got in, she was like, “Did you get my stuff?” What stuff? “Oh, I put some stuff in your bag.” Oh my God, I went on a fucking plane carrying drugs for you? I could have gotten arrested! You could have at least told me so I knew what I was doing, and put it in the bag that’s not checked! What are you doing to me? At least ask and say, “Hey, do you mind carrying for me?” Not that I would have said no, but at least I could have put it in a concealed location.

I would go pick up her medicine for her, all her pills, and after that I started checking every little thing to see what it was. I was like, Oh my God, I know exactly what she has now. I realized I needed to warn whoever was with her about certain STDs. I called the ex-boyfriend, and I was like, “Hey, you need to get checked out. I don’t think she’ll ever call you.” And he was like, “Oh, shit. Thanks.” This was seven months after the breakup. That’s just the nice thing to do, to let them know.

I had planned on going to this international film festival with her, because she told me, “I can’t be without you.” This would be — not my little vacation, because I would be working — but at least an experience, at least to make up for the bad shit. And then at the last moment, she said, “Oh, yeah, I’m not going to take you.”

Excuse me? “No, there’s this guy who I’m seeing right now, and he’s just going to come in for a day, instead of the two weeks that you would be there.” And she wanted to use my flight to bring him in for one day.

So I gave my two weeks. And then when I was giving my notice to everyone else, they were like, “Oh, so I’m going to have to work with another assistant?” I was like, “Wait, how many assistants has she had?” And they said, “You’ve been the only one who’s not related to her who’s lasted longer than six months.” That was my deciding factor: Yeah, I’m done. So I survived her. But I was very jaded, and I hated everything to do with the industry after that.

The first time I saw her after I quit, she looked at me, and I was like, “Hey, I knew you were going to be here, so I got you the coffee you liked.” And she was like, “Oh!” She was totally not expecting anyone to be nice to her. I asked, “How’s the kid?” — I was actually interested. I wasn’t trying to be fake with her. And then she asked me to do her a favor, because I was somebody she trusted. And I was like, Through all of this, I’m somebody she trusts? Crap. It shocked me. It really did shock me. Even after everything.

The Actress:

Her Actor Boyfriend:

The Movie They Made Together:

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  1. Revisionist says

    well, aside from the STD thing, this is pretty mild compared to other stories I’ve heard and what I have seen. At one time I had an UBER Prima Donna boss who treated the entire staff like you were his PA. Like expecting the head of marketing to make his smoothie before a meeting or forcing us all to come in on a holiday for an emergency work session with him, showing up 5 hours late and leaving after 10 minutes. Its not just actors. trust.

  2. allmyfriendsaredead says

    Kate Hudson – she’s big into psychics and tarot cards and that crap…

    but :( at Owen Wilson getting excited about Kate coming over and getting her favorite wine. Poor guy

    • val says

      If this is right I feel horrible for Wilson. Didn’t he try to kill himself very shortly after their failed relationship??

      • Bromance1979 says

        Yes, poor guy.

        The STD part also indicates it’s her, because wasn’t she with A-Rod, who allegedly gave all of his girlfriends herpes?

      • Bromance1979 says

        Ooops… I was thinking of Derek Jeter, but I found an article that talks about everyone in Hollywood who has herpes, and Kate Hudson was mentioned.

  3. popevil says


    Her Actor Boyfriend: JAKE GYLLENAAL

    The Movie They Made Together: RENDITION

  4. FunnyFace says

    The Woman: Kate Hudson
    Her Actor Boyfriend: Owen Wilson
    The Movie They Made Together: You Me and Dupree

  5. Molls says

    The Woman: January Jones
    Her Actor Boyfriend: Noah Miller
    The Movie They Made Together: Sweetwater

  6. whodunnit says

    The Actress: Gwyneth Paltrow

    Her Actor Boyfriend: Viggo Mortensen

    The Movie They Made Together: A Perfect Murder

  7. Frizzle says

    Hate to say it but:

    Sandra Bullock
    Ryan Reynolds
    The Proposal

    She has one kid and there were rumors that she and Reynolds were dating. She has a production company, which fits into the book option aspect. I’ve never heard that she’s difficult, but I’m sure most stars at that level are ridiculously high-maintenance despite carefully-cultivated images.

  8. tuckerlee123 says

    For some reason, I am getting a Sharon Stone vibe. Second guess would be January Jones.

    • Katmandu says

      Oh, no, this woman sounds high maintenance and annoying, but I have heard things about Sharon Stone and she is supposed to be an utter MONSTER! January Jones is also monstrous, but I don’t get a vibe about it being either of them, so I will go with the horrible Kate Hudson. Gotta be!

  9. Jinkies says

    The Woman: Charlize Theron

    The Actor Boyfriend: Seth MacFarlane

    The Movie They Made Together: A Million Ways to Die in the West

  10. candymandie says

    The only ones who actually have to that kind of production ‘pull’ and a kid are people like:
    1) Sandra Bullock
    2) Drew Barrymore
    3) Charlize Theron
    4) Reese Witherspoon
    5) maybe Halle Barry

    I really hope it’s not Sandy

    • mugofmead111 says

      I also really hope it’s not Sandy.

      I also hope she didn’t catch anything from her philandering, douchebag, [fill-in-other-pejorative-of-choice-here] ex-husband of hers Jesse James.

      Then again, maybe “That breakup was two weeks into the job” and “So I gave my two weeks” are clues. (Two Weeks Notice?) :(

    • La Llorona says

      OH crap, I forgot all about Drew! and it totally fits.

      My guess is still Kate Hudson but it case it isn’t her, I’d be surprised if it was Drew.

  11. kookywooky says

    The Actress: Kate Hudson

    Her Actor Boyfriend: Owen Wilson

    The Movie They Made Together: You, Me & Dupree

    Assistant: Amy Finkel

  12. geewhiz says

    My first thought was Kate Hudson back when she had one kid. But has she ever even pretended to be well read? (Can she read? 😉 )I’ll think on it…

  13. iocaine says

    No clue, but the assistant must be about 12 years old, considering the fact that she says “like” every three words.

  14. Ladieu says

    Michelle Williams? I thought about Charlize, but she’s only recently adopted I think, I would have LOVED this to be Scar Jo

  15. AveryWay says

    Actress: Katie Holmes

    Actor: Luke Kirby

    Movie: Mania Days

    Clue: We know Siri has temper tantrums

    • mugofmead111 says

      Ha. If it were Katie Holmes, wouldn’t some other CO$ craziness have been leaked as well or no? I don’t think the “herbs” would have been allowed in that regiment. 😉

  16. Tkdgypsy says

    Good grief – wah wah wah The Personal Assistant sounds like a whining pain in the butt. A job’s a job, and if she didn’t like being a personal assistant (the job duties clearly are about assisting someone else and sacrificing your own time) she shouldn’t have taken the job. On top of whining, she apparently doesn’t keep confidences. And I bet she was well compensated for having to “work”. So, wah wah wah. Who cares who the star is, I hope this assistant is exposed before she makes someone else’s life miserable!

  17. judylouise says

    This story actually makes me feel bad for the celebrity, not the assistant. Should she have put drugs in your bag? No. Of course not. But everything else, what did you think personal assistants did for a living?

  18. tmartex says

    I want to say this is January Jones. Idk who the boyfriend is or what the movie was.

  19. leseid2152 says

    Halle Berry
    Sandra Bullock
    Charlize Theron
    January Jones
    These are the only single mom celebs with one kid that I can think of….

  20. LooLoo says

    Other than the weed, most of her duties were pretty basic PA stuff. I know someone who has her PA clean her toilets- it can definitely get worse than having to buy books and bringing Starbucks in the morning. This smacks of someone who was expecting a “glamourous” job, not a “real” job that consists of a lot of everyday, ordinary work.

  21. stonn says

    This sounds like ANGELINA JOLIE. Boyfriend sounds like BRAD PITT. The movie they did together is MR. & MRS. SMITH.

    • bangthegong says

      Except… they didn’t break up after the movie, and they had several children together, both through adoption and biologically? This suggests a woman who has only one child, and has moved from boyfriend to boyfriend, not someone who stayed with the same guy and had several children with him. You’re either a delulu Angelina hater who is still mad over Jennifer Aniston, or you’re just so out of touch that you don’t realize that Brangelina has been going strong for years now…

  22. lvsoxfan says

    Kate Hudson has two kids. And I’m not sure I would call her a “Hollywood Household Name.” Good guess, but I don’t think that’s it.

    • bec215 says

      The article doesn’t specify when it was, but Hudson only had her second child recently, and being the daughter of Goldie Hawn and stepdaughter of Kurt Russell, you be she’s a Hollywood household name! Her whole FAMILY is. I actually think she fits quite well – she left her musician husband when her son was very young, so she would’ve been single that that time with one child, and was with Owen Wilson before she hooked up with the Muse guy and got pregnant.

  23. Erin says

    The Actress: Kate Hudson

    Her Actor Boyfriend: Owen Wilson

    The Movie They Made Together: You, Me & Dupree

  24. thebutlerdidit says

    Hudson/Wilson/You And Me & Dupree
    Honestly, sounds pretty average for H’wood assts. It is often much worse.

  25. timesink says

    Somehow, I’m thinking more Halle Berry than Kate Hudson because it sounds like this person has a more consistent career and Kate has family around. I kinda think this is a bit unprofessional. Assistants really shouldn’t be dishing on their employers. Nobody held a gun to her head after all.

    • mugofmead111 says

      The assistant did voluntarily accept employment, but being set up to serve as a drug mule without her(?) knowledge was a jackass move that could have gotten her in jail. Does anyone here think the star would have bailed out the assistant if the assistant were arrested?(I could have sworn there was another blind on this site within the past year about a PA for an actor who got into legal trouble because the actor had the PA carry his drugs for him and the PA got busted.)

    • Moonpie says

      Confidentiality is key. However, that confidentiality goes out the window when the employer is asking you to shield her from a potential drug bust. Until pot is legalized, that is exactly why they are hiring you. This is why Bieber has all those assistants, to carry his stash. Why risk a police record for these ‘carry my water celeb.’ Gaga has warped idea of what the position description for an assistant should look like; they are basically non-persons.

    • ck_931 says

      How would you not know your picking up “Herbs”? I can understand the bag check situation being awful and not anything to with the assistant, but I don’t see how anybody could not knowingly buy or pick up drugs for someone.

  26. Moonpie says

    This could be any of the ladies mentioned when they had the ‘one kid’ or a current one with only one child. My guess is:

    The Woman: January Jones
    Her Actor Boyfriend: Noah Miller
    The Movie They Made Together: Sweetwater

  27. katie12380 says

    Kate Hudson
    Owen Wilson
    You, Me & Dupree
    Lance Armstrong is the new boyfriend that she brought to Cannes.

  28. FairyMay9 says

    I think everything about this blind fits Kate Hudson except for the thing about optioning books. Not sure that’s in her scope of projects at all, really, is it? Was she reading on a daily or weekly basis any kind of books that she had the pull or producing credits to option into films? I don’t think she did. So, I don’t think it’s Kate.

    Same for January Jones. Interesting guess, and the poor decision making and utter dislike there seems to be for her do fit, but the rest really doesn’t.

    Sandra Bullock is a very good guess based on the industry pull, optioning of the books. And Jesse James could have given her something. Ryan Reynolds seems to be a good guess for who the boyfriend would be based on their one movie. But the thing is that she doesn’t strike me as disliked in the industry, and she really doesn’t strike me as this utterly selfish and stupid in how she treats her assistant. It seems like her, but that part gives me pause.

    I’m mulling Charlize Theron for this one, but it’s a toughie.

    • KatarinaJ says

      But doesn’t Sandra have a great reputation? If bartenders and outsiders were telling this assistant ‘we know what you have to go home to’ isn’t this strange? Wouldn’t it be someone more known as a diva

  29. depechemode101 says

    Michelle Williams and Jason Segal in that one movie they did 2gether. I hope not love her, and she seems down to earth.

  30. CoCoJoe says

    After reading every one else’s guesses (cheating, I know), I’m thinking Kate Hudson or Charlize Theron.

    This is the best kind of gossip. I hate the ones that suggest everyone is secretly gay and that being gay is somehow a dirty, dark secret. Besides, I didn’t need a translator for this one!

  31. ClownWrangler says

    The only problem with it being Kate Hudson, is that she broke up with Owen Wilson in the summer, not December (Christmas).

  32. lulus mom says

    hmmm….isn’t the below what a personal assitant does? And sounds like a really bitter little witch to take it upon herself to call exes to reveal her STD. I don’t care who it is..the writer is the jerk

  33. ck_931 says

    Might be a little late on this one BUT around the time Kate Hudson got divorced in 06 and dated Wilson after did that awful film together, she was trying to take off production wise as she directed a short film for Glamour or some magazine starring KStew and DFanning. I think it is easy to forget how much Kate’s star has fallen since the middle oughts when she was at her peak and it hadn’t been a decade since she was nominated for anything.

  34. theplott says

    The assistant sounds, like, an idiot, like, ya’know?

    Poor little entitled millennial didn’t syphon off any celebrity glamour for herself. Boo-hoo. Maybe she needs to learn how to speak, without the millennial garbage words, so she can get herself a job that isn’t grunt labor.

    So the celeb is a busy woman who indulges in a little pot and fortune telling. I don’t get the ruckus over this.

  35. seattlegirl says

    Kate Hudson has never struck me as being very bright, and the comments the assistant said this celebrity made sound like they could have come straight out of Kate’s mouth. Kate reminds me of an old roommate: airheady, very self involved, lacking in empathy, fun to be around but only on a very shallow. The kind of person that leaves a wake of human agony but is blissfully clueless about how their existence affects others, or worse, on some level just doesn’t care. It’s a good thing her acting is crap and her star is falling because it means we won’t have to see much more of her.

  36. jl says

    jl…Hint? In the second to last paragraph, where two weeks and notice were mentioned. Is this Sandra Bullock?

  37. Mandy G. says

    As I was reading this, I was more annoyed at this person’s use of “like” to the extent that I lost track of what was being said. She and Kim would get along famously.