Some aren't promiscuous
New York (AP)- Britney Spears was 18 when she lost it. So was Marcia Cross from Desperate Housewives. Ozzy Osbourne was 14. His daughter, Kelly, was 16. Gary Coleman? Well, he might still have it.
Other than Steve Carell as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, celibates are tough to find in Hollywood. And when they are, the formerly Very Special Topic has become part of the meticulous image-crafting required of today's celebrities.
"We're so interested in it because it's different for everyone," psychologist Joyce Brothers told The Associated Press.
Spears, now very much pregnant and married to Kevin Federline, once famously proclaimed she was saving herself until marriage, prompting years of has-she-or-hasn't-she speculation. In a 2003 interview with W magazine, the popstar finally revealed she had-with Justin Timberlake, two years into their relationship.
"She made a big fuss that she was not going to give up her virginity, and then apparently she did," said Brothers, "but I was not there to know for sure."
No one is truly certain about the big V except the celebrities themselves, making chastity declarations a vague publicity stunt that stars can use to portray themselves as innocent and pure, according to Elayne Rapping, professor of pop culture and media studies at the State University of New York, Buffalo.
"It's a way to different yourself from the mainstream Hollywood image of everybody sleeping with everybody else," she said.
Unlike Spears, fellow blonde bombshell Jessica Simpson ostensibly kept her promise. The Dukes of Hazzard star was the poster teen for abstinence during the beginning of her career. Simpson often pledged to save herself for marriage before she and Nick Lachey ever became Newlyweds- although Lachey admits he didn't do the same.
"Virginity is such a personal thing," said Brothers. "You can't judge anyone on it. A lot of young women feel they want to save themselves for the man who they think they'll love forever."
Long before Spears and Simpsons, Brooke Shields was Hollywood's most famous virgin. In the controversial 1978 film Pretty Baby, a 13-year-old Shields played Violet, a child prostitute whose virginity is auctioned off. In real life, Shileds didn't lose it until age 20 to Lois and Clark actor Dean Cain while the two attended Princeton University, according to Cain.
When it comes to virginity in film and TV, Rapping said, abstinence has become the new innocence. In the 1980's and 90's, screw comedies such as Porky's, The Last American Virgin and American Pie entirely revolved around doing the deed.
Losing it for fictional TV characters formerly merited Very Special Episodes. Conflicted Doogie Howser M.D remained a virgin until season three, introvert Dawson Leery waited until season five on Dawson's Creek and Donna Marin famously saved it for seven seasons on Beverly Hills 9210.
Not anymore. Nowadays, characters like Seth Cohen on The O.C and Ephram Brown on Everwood are only able to hold out until second season sweeps.
"All of this has become a new way to sell sex when sex has become commonplace and fairly uninteresting," said Rapping.