ink-stained wretches

Did You Know Tina Brown Actually Had a Family Life?

I started looking over the Tina Brown profile in Vogue, just released this morning, expecting the usual. Tina as Waspish workaholic. Tina as buzz-obsessed. Tina as new feminist icon. Tina as already-peaked. And there was some of that in Johnathan Van Meter’s piece. But what makes the piece much more interesting is the wealth of detail about her family life, and how it mixes with work. Take this moment, when Van Meter is hanging out at Tina’s house in Sutton Place with her daughter, Izzy:

I suddenly notice that Brown, who moments ago was rushing to get dressed to head back to her office, has buttoned her blouse crookedly. When I point it out, she says, “Oh, dear,” and then unbuttons and rebuttons it right in front of me. “I’m the kind of person who hits reply all when it’s really private and meant for one person. That’s the worst thing. I recently did that and wrote an e-mail to someone I work with, and I said, ‘Oh, my God, he’s such a sleazeball, we really have to keep our distance.’ And I sent it to the guy I was talking about! And he wrote back, ‘I think you will have no trouble keeping your distance from me.’”

The one negative thing about having Tina as a mom, says Izzy, is that “it can be a
lot to live up to” her. “Especially since I really want to be a writer,” she sighs. “Why couldn’t I have liked chemistry?” Brown readily admits that she was a bit of an absentee mother during her days as an editor at Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Talk. “I’ve always been a workaholic, and having worked solidly and so hard from the age of 25, I had really never had a period where I was just involved with my personal life and my family,” she says, adding that she discovered what that was like while writing her book The Diana Chronicles. “I always dropped Izzy at school, but there was something extremely lovely about going to pick her up in the middle of the afternoon — this wonderful stolen mother-daughter time — and we’d go and have an ice cream or tea together, chat away, and come home and she would do her homework and I would read a book and we would have dinner.”

She said that time was also great for her relationship with her 82-year-old husband, Harold Evans (Brown is 57). Van Meter asked how their age difference has affected their marriage as they get older. “When my knees started cracking up, I began to think, ‘It’s time for her to show me the exit,’” Evans said. “But I had my knees fixed, so I don’t think that anymore.” Though when a friend claims that Evans is “in awe” of Tina, he’s quick to hit the pause button. “If I said I was in awe of her, it wouldn’t be the right posture, because I’d like to maintain a certain dominance in the relationship,” he says. “Which is not easy.”

Bold Type: Tina Brown [Vogue]
Related: New York’s 2007 profile of Brown [NYM]

Did You Know Tina Brown Actually Had a Family Life?