Parents-to-be Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have plenty of famous friends, so you'd think some of their pals would pull them aside, give them a little shake and say, "Enough already!" In the absence of such A-List advice, we have a few suggestions for the overexposed couple who could stand to take a page from the mega-successful book of West's closest friends, the virtually irreproachable Beyoncé Knowles and husband Jay-Z.
Cover up and leave something to the imagination
Exactly one week after swearing that she was about to be more private, Kardashian appeared on the cover of L'Officiel Hommes with West, both appearing to be topless and as if they were in the throes of passion. Imagine, for a minute, Beyoncé ever sharing a cover with her husband, much less getting physical with him in a publication we've never heard of. Can you picture it? No, neither could we.
We've all seen more of Kimye than we'd like, in more ways than one. They both have sex tapes, she's been in Playboy and photos of his, er, private areas were once being shopped to Playgirl. Yes, Beyoncé uses her sexy image and perfect bod to further her brand, but we've barely seen her kiss Jay-Z in public, let alone thought about them filming their at-home love. So, the chances of some sleazy home video or NSFW cellphone pic popping up of Mr. and Mrs. Carter are pretty slim. Take notes, Kimye.
Shut off the cameras
Pull the plug. Walk away. Kardashian is rich and famous enough without continuing to pimp out her personal life, especially with a baby on the way. Even though her mom is a producer on the show and ostensibly controls the medium and the message, there's a difference between protecting the interests of your child and using them to earn money for the family. Reality TV, no matter how personal it might be, is never classy. Beyoncé would never stoop to that level.
In other words, take a break. Don't talk about taking a break. Take an actual break. (After last week's health scare involving a visit to the hospital because of flu symptoms, even her doc is saying to slow down.) And that means no interviews, no photo shoots, no red carpets, no paparazzi shots of Kardashian looking overdone and glammed up in front of a restaurant or store. The more elusive she is, the hungrier the public becomes. Ask Beyoncé for a lesson in how it's done right.
Do not sell your baby photos, no matter how much money is thrown at you
Very few celebrities - among them, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie - can do it and walk away gracefully, mostly because they said they donated the money to charity. Beyoncé and Jay-Z did things the most classy way possible when their daughter was born: they created a Tumblr for Blue Ivy, posted adorable family photos, and disappeared. We saw the baby one year later, in Beyoncé's documentary.
Get to know each other
Kardashian's never-ending divorce from NBA player Kris Humphries may be a blessing in disguise. If it weren't for the stubborn athlete, we may have all been witness to yet another quickie engagement-and-wedding extravaganza. Kimye's bun in the oven is clearly the biggest step they could take as a couple, but hopefully this period of nesting will allow them to really get serious about their relationship, like Jay-Z and Beyoncé did when they started dating more than a decade ago. "We were friends first," Knowles told Oprah Winfrey in an OWN interview Feb. 16. "Before we went on any dates, we were on the phone for a year and a half. That foundation is so important in a relationship. Just to have someone that you just like is so important - and someone that is honest!"
Dress the part
We all know West is a fashion fan/fashion student/fashionisto/fashion maverick, etc. But, we're also pretty sure that you won't catch Jay-Z in a leather kilt like the one West wore during their 2011 Watch the Throne tour and more recently at the Hurricane Sandy benefit concert. Speaking of clothes, the handful of times we saw Beyoncé out and about flaunting her baby bump, the pop star chose flattering designer duds and pretty dresses to complement her motherly glow. Kardashian, on the other hand, has not let impending motherhood put a cramp in her skintight, cleavage-baring signature aesthetic. Since announcing her pregnancy, we've seen the reality star in too-tight pants, sheer tops, hot pants and cutout dresses. "I think because I have big boobs it could make me look heavier if I don't, like, show off my waist or something," she told DuJour magazine. "So I just have kind of learned to dress one way only."
Less is more
Kardashian appears on the cover of the magazine DuJour, out March 14. And in it, she seems to be complaining about getting attention for her nasty divorce battle with Humphries. "Going through a divorce for anybody is devastating and heartbreaking, and then to have to do it and feel like you have to explain what is happening is such an awkward thing," Kardashian tells DuJour. Hmm. Perhaps if one spent less time talking about it in the press, it would get less attention?
Kardashian should quietly get divorced, no matter what it costs, because right now the price tag is pretty enormous in terms of reputation impact. Beyoncé and Jay-Z never air their laundry, such that it is, in public. Simply put, it's icky. The quickie marriage without question tarnished Kardashian's brand and she needs to fix it - stat. Otherwise, her baby will be overshadowed by the ball player who's still holding court and refusing to go away.
In a Feb. 22 blog post, Kardashian reached out to fans to "clarify" her stance on privacy. "I have learned to understand that it's important to have boundaries, especially when (Kanye and I) are having a private date night dinner," she writes. "So if someone came up to the table at dinner, I used to get up, take pics and sign an autograph in the middle of our meal. Now, I know that this time is our private time, and I absolutely will as soon as I'm done eating! It's not that he won't let me sign autographs for my fans ... far from it! Just as soon as we're done! Totally understandable! I have learned to understand the importance of privacy and boundaries, something that I haven't really learned to embrace before." Oh, Kimmy, don't you see what you did there? You went public about being private. You know what Beyoncé does? She just says nothing.
Donna Freydkin and Arienne Thompson, USA TODAY