According to dailymail, a year ago, no one outside illustrious legal circles knew the name Amal Alamuddin. Fewer still had an opinion about her clothes, figure, hair, handbag or shoes.
An internationally renowned human rights lawyer at the top of her career, her performance in court and her fine brain were all she was judged on.
Then she fell in love with an American film star called George Clooney.
A year on from their whirlwind engagement and wedding, this clever and thoughtful woman has been swept along by a tsunami of celebrity fascination, culminating in her being granted the ultimate ‘accolade’ of being referred to in glossy magazines as simply ‘Amal’.
It took Kylie, Beyonce and Posh decades to achieve that.
She’s continued working since becoming Mrs Clooney, representing Greece’s fight for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain.
But there’s a sting in the tail. This week, Amal was on the cover of Grazia magazine under the headlines ‘Amal Under Pressure?’ and ‘Sudden Fame Taking Its Toll . . . Struggling To Be Mrs Clooney’.
It repeated earlier claims on U.S. website Radar Online that she weighed little over seven stone and was a ‘walking skeleton’.
U.S. Star magazine claimed there were ‘fears for scary-skinny Amal’.
Unpleasant, yes, but even Amal’s greatest admirers cannot ignore the fact she seems to be disappearing before our eyes.
Even on her wedding day, the white trouser suit she wore billowed in the wind to reveal a woman who had shrivelled in the half-year before she tied the knot to Mr Clooney.
Why? Amal is not a vacuous pop star nor some WAG whose entire existence depends on being photographed on red carpets with the correct circumference of thigh.
I fear she has become the victim of the invidious pressure most women in the public eye seem to be falling victim to these days: that the only way to be seen as truly successful is to not only be super-glamorous, but super-skinny, too.
After the honeymoon, she went back to work, not in a lawyer’s sensible suits, but in the expensive couture of a Hollywood A-lister.
And each time her super-toned, gazelle-like limbs were on show.
Like many clever, famous women, Amal has shrunk as the scrutiny of every outfit, every pair of shoes, every handbag has increased.
She is not alone. Earlier this week, we saw a much reduced Emily Blunt on the red carpet in Cannes.
She wasn’t scary-skinny, but seems to be heading in that direction. Where has gone that full-figured woman who won our hearts in The Five-Year Engagement?
Then there was talented singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.
Pictures at the beginning of her career show a healthy teenager.
A decade later and she’s as thin as a broomstick. She looks as though she’s taken the straightening tongs not just to her hair but to her entire body.
What is behind this determination to be thin? Having conquered the legal world, does Amal want to the first among women as well, an alpha female always in control?
Or has becoming the bride of a sought-after bachelor made her insecure? Perhaps being model-thin is her way of saying: ‘He’s mine. I’m good enough for him. Hands off.’
While most modern women will openly scoff at such a notion, an honest conversation with our inner selves may lead us to the uncomfortable conclusion that it is actually women who put other women under pressure to be thin.
How often have we secretly (or meanly with a girlfriend) denigrated a woman’s success by thinking we are somehow superior because we’re slimmer?
Let’s not forget the way Sarah Ferguson and Princess Diana were pitched against each other, when they married into the Royal Family.
The world sneered at the Duchess of Pork while gazing adoringly up at Diana, who by the time she wed Charles in 1981 had become scary-skinny.
But perhaps Diana holds the key to Amal’s startling weight loss.
Maybe it’s not power she’s seeking, but instead is suffering from a sense of powerlessness.
It can’t be easy for any woman who goes from an unknown to being thrown into the spotlight by marrying one of the most famous men on earth.
That’s enough to make any woman hyper-sensitive about the way she looks.
We worry incessantly about our appearance, often leading to eating disorders, as it did with Diana.
When she was snapped in a see-through skirt at the kindergarten where she worked, she had a healthy, gorgeous, curvy figure.
Like Amal, by her wedding day she had lost stones in weight.
In both cases we put it down to pre-nuptial jitters. Most of us get skinny for our big day. But who of us would have the confidence to let the weight creep back to normal if we were photographed every time we stepped outside the front door? Very few I suspect.
My hope for Amal is that this scary-skinny phase is a passing one and she’ll relax into her marriage and return to the lovely, wonderfully winsome creature whom Clooney fell in love with.
She doesn’t need to be an alpha female competing with other women. She’s already won the jackpot.
TAYLOR AND EMILY ARE VANISHING TOO