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Paula Abdul's Disposable Handlers

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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Last week, a weepy audio tape of Paula Abdul grumbling about the supposed flaws of her last publicist, 15 Minutes's Howard Bragman, made the rounds at all the major gossip columns, landing eventually on CNN. But has discovered that Abdul has not had one but three publicists in the last three weeks (first Bragman, then David Brokaw, who dropped the Idol judge quickly, and now, her longtime friend Jeffrey Ballard). And if that's not enough, two sources from Abdul's past count at least 11 publicist changes in recent years (she has come back to Ballard alone at least three times). Plus, on average, Abdul fires and hires a new assistant every 10 days, insiders say.

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"If you want to be Paula's publicist," one source tells, "you have to spend hours on the phone with her—literally—listening to her cry, or else she will think you don't love her."

"She's whacked," another source adds. "Nothing makes her happy, and she never feels like she's getting the attention she deserves. She always blames everyone for everything."

Could she blow through handlers faster than Simon blows through American Idol wannabes? Abdul's publicity team (at press time) did not return a phone call for comment. They were probably on the phone with Paula.



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