Ten things you may not know about Gwen Stefani
By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
By Derek Paiva
Gwen Stefani is in town for a couple of concerts this weekend as part of her continuing "The Sweet Escape Tour."
Tickets for both shows all but sold out within hours of going on sale in, like, April. She wasn't doing interviews. But we still have to mark the occasion of her monumentally glam presence, right?
The result? The following list of 10 random things you may not have known about the fabulous life of Ms. Stefani.
Odl lay-ee, odl lay-ee, odl-loh.
1. She got her name from a future Dean Martin flick. When it was still a novel, anyway. A fan of the Arthur Hailey novel "Airport," Stefani's mom Patti named her daughter after oh-so-brave flight attendant Gwen Meighen.
2. She met her husband backstage at a No Doubt concert. Forced to go on a 1997 tour with post-grunge rockers Bush by their shared record label, Stefani fell hard for that band's lead wailer, Gavin Rossdale. The two hooked up. No Doubt — ex-boyfriend Tony Kanal and bandmates Tom Dumont and Adrian Young, Bush-haters all — got seriously "older-brother" on her, demanding she break off the relationship. Stefani promptly ignored them. In 2002, she and Rossdale walked down the aisle in London and then ...
3. Staged a second wedding ceremony in Los Angeles because of a dress. Specifically, a custom-designed wedding dress by designer John Galliano that Stefani must have really wanted to wear ... or had already cut the price tag off of.
4. She was Britney Spears' neighbor in Los Angeles. "It's so sad. I feel like giving her a hug," said Stefani about the former pop tart turned troubled young baby mama, in a March interview with London's Mail on Sunday. "I think she may move because of the grief. Every day there are 14 paparazzi cars waiting for her." Brit's home is currently on the market for a cool $7.5 million.
5. Madonna once made her dinner. Sort of. Actually, the pop icon merely rang out of the blue one day to invite Stefani and Rossdale to her home for a couples dinner with husband Guy Ritchie. A longtime Madonna fan, Stefani was floored. "I always admired the way she handled herself, and then, there we were having dinner," she told Mail on Sunday. "She talked about what it was like for us American girls being married to these British guys." Awww.
6. She does not demand that her Harajuku Girls "don't speak." A claim the Village Voice newspaper made in January 2006, based on rumors that Stefani's on-stage quartet of fawning, fashion-fetishing Asian females were contractually obligated not to speak English. Stefani called the rumor untrue and deflected Asian-community criticism of the girls by claiming a real admiration for the free-thinking fashionista kids populating the uber-trendy Japanese shopping district that inspired the quartet. Undaunted, standup comedian Margaret Cho publicly criticized the Harajuku Girls as "a minstrel show" that reinforced ethnic stereotypes of Asian women.
7. Gwen's solo albums have been saved by their second singles. Specifically, "Rich Girl," which rescued lackluster sales of her 2004 debut "Love. Angel. Music. Baby." after first single "What You Waiting For?" tanked. And "The Sweet Escape," a duet with Akon that resuscitated sales of her similarly titled second disc — after yodel-heavy opening single "Wind It Up" met with near-universal critical and commercial disdain.
8. She's gangsta. The self-described "coke whore" look Stefani sports on the cover and interior pics of her "Sweet Escape" CD was inspired by actor Michelle Pfeiffer's portrayal of chemically flooded gangster girlfriend Elvira Hancock in the 1983 flick "Scarface."
9. Girlfriend can seriously market herself. Long famous for her trend-defying fashion sense, Stefani finally parlayed her savvy into two clothing and accessory lines — L.A.M.B. (an acronym which eventually lent its full name to her debut CD) in 2003 and Harajuku Lovers in 2005. The latter has spun off L.A.M.B. fashion dolls — their mini-couture is straight out of the singer's stage and video wear — and a Stefani-designed digital camera and carrying case for Hewlett-Packard. Stefani's first fragrance, L (the L is for "love" out of L.A.M.B.), will allow anyone with a credit card to smell as wonderfully girly as the singer, starting next month. L.A.M.B. has reportedly grossed more than $100 million since its debut.
10. Gwen's going to work with No Doubt again. She met up with her bandmates in Los Angeles before leaving on the current leg of her tour and was joined onstage by all three at the tour's June stop in No Doubt's Cali home court, Orange County. She told Singapore's Straits Times earlier this month, "It's really exciting, because we've been starved of each other. It's probably going to be the most inspired record we ever do."
The return of the Doubt? Almost makes me wanna yodel.
Reach Derek Paiva at email@example.com.