I do feel sorry in a way for ultra-celebrities, those people who are so well known and of such interest that it seems like they're constantly shadowed by photographers and unable to have any privacy. It all the worse when their legitmately private moments are caught on film and put out there for everyone to see. Of course, then you also get the people like Britney, Lindsay, and Paris who seek it out and then get photographed or filmed doing stupid things and we just shake our heads because they've merely reinforced our belief that they aren't someone we'd want our sons or daughters ever going out with.
Neither of these things excuses Michael Phelps. Clearly he's an ultra-celebrity and is certainly due his private moments but his whole celebrity persona is also that he's as a paragon of athletic virtue, remarkable health, and the Olympian ideal. Of course, there's no doubting his athletic prowess but the rest of the stuff, well, I'm sure it's largely a concoction of our own need for heroes and the creative stylings of a publicist.
But did he really have to be so stupid as to get photographed smoking pot? If he's going to smoke it, fine. But if he doesn't want his image tarnished, he needs to remember that everyone and anyone can have a camera now via their phone and rags like "News of the World" will pay big bucks for photos like those. Now he says he's sorry and made a mistake. Will his sponsors buy it or has that photo cost him some serious bucks in endorsement dollars?
Of course, now we know why he needs to eat 12,000 calories a day. I hear the munchies can be killer.