Today, Jackman is hotter than ever in his new movie, The Wolverine.
(Psst: Hugh Jackman is gay!)
What? Hugh Jackman is happily married!
(Psst: It’s a sham marriage! He’s really gay!)
You see what superheroes have to deal with?
But Hugh Jackman is not a superhero. He just plays one in the movies. And the gossip hurts.
“Reeling from the rumors”
The August 2013 issue of Good Housekeeping features the article, “Meet Mr. Romance: Hugh Jackman.” In the article Jackman discusses his life, his marriage, his family, and how he keeps the romance in his relationship with his wife of seventeen years, Deborra-Lee Furness—herself an accomplished actress.
Clearly, Jackman is a man deeply in love with his wife.
And yet, the rumors that Jackman is gay persist. It’s a common piece of gossip flung at just about any sexy, well-groomed male actor.
In a segment of the article titled “Reeling From the Rumors,” Jackman recounts how he shrugs it all off. “Whatever you want to believe, it’s up to you,” he says of the people circulating such rumors. “We really only get mad when there’s an element of truth, right?”
For his wife, however, it’s not so easy to shrug off the gossipy rumors. For her, the implication that her marriage is a sham, along with unflattering implications about her that accompany the rumors, get stuck in her craw.
Gossip is not a harmless pastime.
But the moral rules about gossip have been well-covered. So let’s lay out some practical guidelines.
When to speak and when to remain silent
“Silence is golden,” goes the old proverb.
Though there are times to speak, there are also times not to speak.
One of those times is when we don’t know whether something we’ve heard is true.
So here’s a practical guideline:
If you aren’t certain something is true, don’t repeat it!
It’s better to say nothing than to perpetuate something that may be a false rumor.
Usually the intent of gossip and rumor is to make people look bad. Often it’s salacious and embarrassing. That’s the sort of stuff that seems “juicy” to those who like to feel that they’ve got the real goods on other people.
More often than not, it’s simply not true. And when we perpetuate false “information” about people, it hurts their reputation and makes life hard for them.
So it’s best to subject everything we hear to the truth test before repeating it.
If we hear something that we know is not true, we can:
- Say to the person who told us, “That’s not true!”
- Keep our silence, and not perpetuate the falsity
If we hear something that we’re not sure is true, or that we think might be false, we can:
- Talk directly to the people it’s about (if we know them), and hear their side of the story
- Talk to those who are close to the people it’s about, and hear their views
- If it’s about a public figure, research it in reputable news sources or standard biographies
What if we can’t determine whether it’s true or false?
Resist the urge to pass it on. If it turns out to be false, we’ve participated in a wrong against another person. Time will usually tell whether a rumor is true or false. Patience is a virtue.
Examining our motives
If we hear a juicy tidbit about someone we know or about some public figure, and we’re just aching to spread it around, it’s time to look at our own motives.
Why do we want to spread potentially damaging “information” about someone else?
- Does it give us a rush to feel like we’re in on secret information about someone?
- Does it make us feel superior to people who do that sort of thing?
- Are we jealous of that person’s looks, or wealth, or accomplishments?
- Do we actively dislike and want to hurt someone by spreading false rumors about them?
If we find these or any similar motives within ourselves for spreading rumors and gossip, it’s time to stop and think about just why we want to pass it on.
Because gossip and rumor does not hurt only the people it’s about.
It also hurts those who spread the gossip and rumor.
Of course, spreading gossip hurts us because those we tell it to will start to wonder what we’re saying about them behind their backs. Nobody trusts a gossip.
But on a deeper level, when we get pleasure out of dragging other people down and hurting their reputation, we breed a small and petty spirit within ourselves. Do we really want to wallow in mean-spirited jealousy and cattiness? Is that the sort of person we want to be?
Though we do hurt others through spreading false rumors about them, the deepest harm is to our own soul, our own spirit, our own life.
We humans are made for bigger things!
Rising above gossip and rumor
Our purpose on earth is to prepare ourselves for the human community of heaven. If, instead of finding fault and indulging in gossip, we look for the good in other people, we will build better relationships with our friends and family, create harmony and goodwill in our community, and lift up our own soul toward inner peace.
For more on the meaning and purpose of our life, see “Heaven, Regeneration, and the Meaning of Life on Earth.”