There are a few actors who have earned my loyalty. Experience has taught me that on the whole, actors aren’t worth the time and energy we, the consuming public, put into them. Most of celebrity is smoke and mirrors, and more often than not, the actor you think you know has nothing to do with the actual person inside. Don’t trust anyone who wears a mask for a living. (Lainey: see Johnny Depp) It’s one of my hardest, fastest rules when dealing with celebrities and gossip and the movie business.

Occasionally though, I’ve encountered someone who shows me a little something more than the usual actor-y vapidity. The smoke and mirrors are there, but in these rare cases, they conceal not absence but substance. And if you’ve been reading this site long enough, you can probably figure out where my loyalties lie, but there are, even on that short list of those I’ll defend to the mattresses, a handful that have not just my loyalty, but my genuine admiration.

Macaulay Culkin is one of those people.

I don’t want to talk about Macaulay Culkin. I don’t want you to talk about Macaulay Culkin. I don’t want to talk about Kieran, Rory or any Culkin except his f*cking worthless father. Kit Culkin we can sh*t on all day long.

And I’m not unique in this attitude. There’s a general air of protectiveness that surrounds Culkin. Come into contact with him, and you’re probably not going to want to talk about him either. He’s eccentric, of course he is. But—and this is really as much as I’ll ever say about the guy—there’s a fragility there that compels the protective bubble his friends and family have established around him. It’s not about coddling the precious princess, it’s about protecting the guy who, despite talent and plenty of connections, has pretty much walked away from his career in order to save his sanity.

You get a sense of this protectiveness in the profile that just ran at The Daily Beast. The writer went to one of the monthly parties Culkin hosts in New York City (a birthday party for dinosaurs sounds AWESOME, by the way) and has a hard time getting close to Culkin. His friends and family wouldn’t talk about him and trying to track Culkin through the party is a fruitless endeavor. There are walls, and they work. Even the guests who distinctly read as fans and not friends are careful about how they talk about him. The only person not so gentle is the guy who works at the club where the party was held and has to field all the emails/enquiries the day after, and his short temper is understandable, given that his day has been spent explaining that Macaulay Culkin hosted a birthday party for dinosaurs (again, AWESOME).

This doesn’t mean I’m not aware of the gossip about Culkin, his siblings, his girlfriends, and so on. It just means that I’m not indulging it. Don’t bother telling me about how he was a dick once on the subway—it won’t matter. This is not a blind eye being turned. This is my personal experience speaking. Macaulay Culkin is outside my gossip boundaries. Or is it inside them? Either way, here is what I’ll gossip about and there is Macaulay Culkin and nary shall the twain meet.

Click here for The Daily Beast piece on Macaulay Culkin.

Attached - Culkin last month at the Adult Swim Upfront Party in New York. (Lainey: it’s like…he needs to be held when the camera comes out.)