We can keep up with them on all forms of social media and their red carpet appearances, but what’s really going on when celebrities ‘disappear’ from view? Emma Gunavardhana finds out

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February 2013 and you’d be forgiven for feeling like you were seeing a lot of Anne Hathaway. Her shorn head in Les Miserables, her fresh new crop on the cover of magazines and then of course she walked away with a golden statuette at the Oscars. And then ‘poof’, she was gone. No more press junkets and no more red carpets – she was nowhere to be found.

Rather than becoming yesterday’s news, Hathaway admitted that it was a calculated move on her part to step away from public life after a social media backlash following a series of breathy and over-emotional acceptance speeches: ‘My impression is that people needed a break from me,’ she revealed last week.

Isn’t this the exact opposite of what celebrities, superstars and the A-list want? Isn’t it the case that there’s no such thing as bad publicity?

Glossip Girl soon realised this ‘disappearing device’ isn’t as rare or infrequent as you might think. Singer Adele avoided the limelight as soon as she gave birth to her son Angelo in October 2012, and Kim Kardashian went ‘dark’ immediately after having her baby North West last year for a full five months – emerging only to show off the results of the Atkins diet and her post-baby body . We can practically keep up with the Kardashians’ movements on a daily basis thanks to their reality show and constant stalking by paparazzi, but somehow Kim managed to stay under the radar for nearly half a year. Of course her return to ‘public life’ was signposted by that video with fiancé Kanye. *shudders*

Then cast your mind back to when ‘Brangelina’ was a ‘thing’. When the most beautiful couple in the world first got together it was impossible to catch a glimpse of either of them until they decided the time was right. Or then of course there’s the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who can be in front of the world’s media celebrating the birth of their son one minute and then completely out of sight the next.

When you really think about it there are those stars, the ones with the long and successful careers, who have been employing this tactic for years. There are those who may complain about being stalked and struggling to stay out of the public eye, but when was the last time you saw Meryl Streep falling out of The Box into the paparazzi’s clutches or Sandra Bullock getting papped sunbathing on a public beach?

It’s a skill to go into total lockdown, but one that more and more high profile stars are adopting - and perhaps it’s to avoid the inevitable crash of too much fame too soon. Sorry, did someone say Justin Bieber? Maybe it’s time for One Direction to take a hiatus, too…

There is one plaintiff request Glossip Girl would like to make as we talk about celebrities who have ‘gone dark’ and away from view. It’s simply this: when was the last time anyone saw Ryan Gosling? Please come back RyGo, things just aren’t the same without you.