If there were an Editors’ Choice Award, this year’s winner would be Jennifer Lopez.
The runner-up would be Jennifer Aniston – thanks in large measure to her marriage to Brad Pitt.
And second runner-up honors would go to the Olsen twins, mainly because of Mary-Kate’s reported eating disorder.
In a Daily News tally of the big four celebrity weeklies – People, the Star, Us Weekly and In Touch Weekly – Lopez was a dominant subject on a total of 29 covers in 2004. That’s nearly 14% of the issues published.
Aniston, alone or with Pitt, reigned on 26 covers, followed by the Olsens, with 23.
Rounding out the top five were Britney Spears, with 22, and Jessica Simpson, who racked up a total of 19 covers alone or with her husband, Nick Lachey. Rumors of a chill in the couple’s marriage sure helped.
In a carry-over from 2003, when Lopez’s rocky relationship with Ben Affleck was a feast for gossip, the mags tracked her every move (one breakup and one wedding) and speculated wildly.
In Touch, for instance, featured Lopez prominently on 15 covers, returning again and again to the pregnancy angle.
Two issues in early summer gushed over J.Lo’s supposed plans to start a family with new husband Marc Anthony.
By late July, showing J.Lo and Aniston, In Touch asked, “Who’s Really Pregnant?”
In September, the mag still wondered if J.Lo was expecting (“What’s the real story?”) before concluding in November that “Marc’s not ready for a child with J.Lo!,” then claiming this month she has “surprise baby plans.”
In striking contrast, “Jennifer & Ben: Inside the Split” (Feb. 9) and “Marc & Jennifer: Inside Their Marriage” (July 26) were the only J.Lo covers published by People, which goes for a wider mix of celeb and human-interest stories.
Like a supermodel who looks good in all kinds of clothes, Aniston fronted a wide variety of stories, including eight Us Weekly covers, such as “Hot Couples,” botox (“God knows I could use it”), makeovers, “Is Jen Pregnant?” and “Fashion Winners & Sinners.”
The Olsens, but more often Mary-Kate alone, were favorites of In Touch (11 covers) and the Star (seven). Meanwhile, the Star’s growing specialty was very candid camera.
The redesigned weekly had its biggest newsstand sale in the first half of 2004 with “Best & Worst Beach Bodies,” showing curvy Mariah Carey (best) and once-curvy Jerry Hall (worst).
It was such a hit that Star all but duplicated the cover a few weeks later. “Busts & Butts!” again featured shapely Carey opposite another fleshy backside in a white bikini, this one belonging to Britney Spears.
The Star’s embarrassment roundups also included “Scariest Makeovers!,” “Celebrity Flaws” (such as Spears’ “flubby tummy”), “Hollywood Hair Disasters!” and “Stars Without Makeup!”
Top 5 cover appearances 2004
1. Jennifer Lopez, 29
2. Jennifer Aniston (also with Brad Pitt), 26
3. Olsen Twins (especially Mary-Kate), 23
4. Britney Spears, 22
5. Jessica Simpson (also with Nick Lachey), 19
From The NY Daily News