Nicole, 24, says she is obsessed with shopping to look like a celebrity. From Manolo Blahniks to Oscar® gown knock-offs, Nicole's closet is overflowing with pricey designer fashions she bought to look like her favorite stars. After reading that one supermodel owned a pair of Yorkies, Nicole even bought two puppies of her own. "I think for most of my life I've been trying to look like someone who is happy and who had it all," Nicole says. "By dressing like a celebrity, you can definitely portray that image."
Oprah says Nicole isn't alone. "A lot of women like Nicole are getting sucked into this illusion of the celebrity lifestyle," Oprah says. "But I'm telling you, nothing is what it seems to be."
Phillip Bloch is a top Hollywood stylist who creates many of the star's trendsetting looks. Bloch says the Hollywood image everyone is buying into isn't what it seems. "It's all about creating this whole world, this magical fairy-tale land to create this great illusion," says Bloch. "It's the 'Kodak moment' when you're on the red carpet. ... It's the hype. It's the publicity. It's the glamour."
With tabloids and magazines showcasing every item a celebrity owns, actress Garcelle Beauvais admits, "It's hard not to be obsessed. Every magazine you get says, 'This is the latest must-have...you must have this...you should be wearing that.' So you kind of feed into that frenzy of 'I need to have, I need to have.'"
When actress Gabrielle Union first moved to L.A., she went into debt trying to keep up with the Hollywood fantasy. "You start to think that if somehow you had a little piece of their life, your life will magically transform into Jennifer Lopez's," she says. "And it doesn't work like that!"
Gabrielle also says most celebrities aren't even paying for a lot of the latest must-haves. "I've gotten everything—literally—from purses to clothes to trips. There's no need to go into debt trying to chase a celebrity who didn't pay for it in the first place!"
Dr. Robin says Nicole represents millions of women obsessed with being someone they're not. "We wonder why we're miserable, why things aren't working out, because you cannot create joy—you cannot create internal security—based on the foundation of a lie."
Through her shopping addiction, Dr. Robin says Nicole is masking her true self. In fact, she says her obsession with emulating celebrities is killing her spirit. "It's killing who you really are, your real beauty, your real worth," says Dr. Robin. "That habit is cheating you of seeing who Nicole really is."
Nicole has to clean out her closet to clean up her act, Dr. Robin says. For starters, Dr. Robin suggests that she sell all her "must-haves" and use the money to help pay off her debt. "You begin to build a life on a real foundation of a real life of a real human being and a real person," Dr. Robin tells Nicole. "And I know that's scary because that is like telling someone who has an alcohol problem, 'Stop drinking.'"
Dr. Robin says Nicole will also have to stop using her material possessions to gain acceptance. "You're going to have to get a new tape in your mind that says, 'I don't want to be around people who don't want me for who I am,'" Dr. Robin says.
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva/WireImage.com
In October of 2005, three-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA basketball superstar Sheryl Swoopes went public with a secret she struggled with for years. The 34-year-old mom revealed that she is gay. "I just feel like I've been living a lie for at least 7 years and have not been able to be who I am," said Swoopes. "I haven't been happy and just feel like I've been sacrificing that part of my life."
From the outside, Holly's life seems picture perfect. She's married to a successful doctor, has two healthy children and lives in a beautiful home. "I live a life that many people would think is the American dream," Holly says. But the truth is, much like Nicole, Holly admits she's living a lie.
Shortly after her wedding, Holly says she began to feel disconnected from her husband. The fantasy vacations and extravagant dinners they enjoyed during their long-distance courtship came to an end, and the reality of living together began to set in. Looking back, Holly admits that she only saw her husband for 60 days before their wedding day—even though they dated for a year and a half.
Despite their personality differences and lack of intimacy, Holly always put on a happy face around their friends and family. "When people make the assumptions on my life, they see what appears to be a happy life," she says. "I think when you portray the happiness for so long, you forget that you're living a lie."
Dr. Robin says Holly's story is very common among women. Many women get stuck in relationships that aren't great, but aren't bad enough to end. People try to create the perfect picture or "Kodak moments," but it's what happens before and after the camera clicks that really counts.
Dr. Robin says we need to start asking the right questions before the wedding and rethink our value systems. "We don't ask people questions like, 'Does he make your heart happy? Do you feel safe with him?'" says Dr. Robin. "Part of the challenge is, when you say that life is good, it depends on what your value system is." The emphasis in Holly's case, Dr. Robin says, should be on peace of mind, feeling joyful and being her true self in the marriage—not the size of her house or her husband's success.
According to Dr. Robin, now is not the time for Holly to be thinking about leaving her husband. "It's not about leaving," Dr. Robin tells Holly. "It's about learning the lesson, asking yourself, 'What is this lesson in my life? What am I missing?'—not, 'Do I stay or leave?' You can't even answer that question yet. Whether this marriage is salvagable—who knows? Because you haven't shown up yet."
What is Holly's first step to finding true happiness? Dr. Robin says Holly needs to be her true self. "What I will tell you is that the life that you can have possibly with your husband—you can't have it as an imposter," Dr. Robin says. "So if there is hope, you've got to show up. You've got to figure out who you are. You have to be able to know that you are worthy and get your needs met and figure out what your needs are and who you really are because we can't create intimacy—not just sexual, but emotional connection—if we are not being real."