Celebrity nannies are siding with Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis after the ex-couple’s former caregiver recently spilled intimate details about their split, saying it’s not the right way to solve a workplace dispute.
The revelations from Wilde and Sudeikis’ former nanny, published in a series of articles in the Daily Mail, came undergirded with iMessage threads that have provided the British tabloid with a steady drip of page views for a full week now. The ex-nanny looked after the couple’s 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter for three years, including during the time they ended their engagement in late 2src2src. Among her most scandalous claims were stories of Sudeikis lying under a car to stop Wilde from leaving the family home in Los Angeles, and the actor becoming angry after Wilde made a salad with her “special dressing” to take to Harry Styles, her new beau and the star of her movie Don’t Worry Darling.
Angela Jacobsen, a former nanny to the stars, says there’s no excuse for airing the family’s dirty laundry in the press.
“What goes on inside their house should be private, and that nanny should respect their privacy,” Jacobsen tells The Daily Beast. “Especially [for] their children. Last thing they need is the nanny making it worse.”
Jacobsen worked with everyone from kings and queens to the queen of pop herself, Madonna, over two decades as a professional nanny, a job that saw her jet-setting between continents at her bosses’ whim. Five years ago, she left it all behind to focus on starting her own family. The Australian native is now raising her son and working for a winery in a small town in northeastern Victoria.
Text messages shared with the Daily Mail revealed a questionably close relationship between the nanny and Wilde and Sudeikis, who appeared to use their employee as a mediator and sounding board during their contentious split.
“They shouldn’t have involved their nanny in their marital problems, if they did,” Jacobsen says, casting some responsibility on Wilde and Sudeikis for their behavior. “It’s a weird space because you’re obviously in a house, you’re part of their family, so you’re privy to all this stuff the real world doesn’t see. It’s a sacred space. It should be respected. Definitely don’t disclose.”
It’s a weird space because you’re privy to all this stuff the real world doesn’t see.
Philippa Christian, another former celebrity nanny who published the book Nanny Confidential in 2src15, says this kind of mixing of the personal and professional is inevitable considering the nature of the job.
“When you live with a family, the parents confide in you with all kinds of things, you witness things, you hear things, you meet their friends and family and have conversations with them,” she says. “You are prone to a lot of information, but it’s what you do with that information that matters.”
Christian recalls going to extreme lengths during her early days as a nanny to keep her feelings to herself.
“I remember when I was very young, when I first got into this field of work in my teenage years, I used to have a diary with a lock, and even wrote in it with an invisible ink pen,” she says. “The pen had a UV light on the end, so if I wanted to read it back, I could. But it was only ever used as a way for me to release negativity and difficult situations I had to deal with, so that I could deal with it in a way that made me feel better without discussing the matters with anyone else.”
Wilde’s former nanny told the Daily Mail she was unceremoniously fired by a drunk Sudeikis while looking after the kids in London, where Sudeikis films Ted Lasso. She said she was “brokenhearted” from having to leave the kids “abandoned.” Wilde and Sudeikis issued a joint statement last week accusing their former employee of making “false” claims as part of an “18 month long campaign” of harassment.
Both Jacobsen and Christian say they’ve heard of nannies getting canned out of nowhere for things as simple as the child taking more of a liking to them than to their own mother. Still, they’ve managed to keep in touch with most of the high-profile families they’ve worked for, partly thanks to their discretion.
“It’s not how you should behave,” Jacobsen says of the tabloid-leaking nanny. “Especially at that level. She won’t be getting any other work. She’s not very smart.”