Scarlett Johansson pulled it off! She snuck away to Montana and married her fiancé and baby daddy two months ago. So why Montana? As someone who has lived in Montana most of her life, I can explain why it makes the perfect venue for celebrities who want a secret wedding.
Montanans are a rare breed. By and large, we mind our own business. Montana is also a hotbed of remote celebrity homes, so we’re used to bumping into celebrities. In my little circle, it’s not unusual to see Huey Lewis at the grocery store or at the brewery I hang out in from time to time. He’s just one of the locals. Montanans typically respond with a smile and shoulder shrug. Nobody really cares. Montana is a big place; there’s room for all.
Wealth doesn’t impress us
Generally speaking, Montanans aren’t impressed by wealth. We’re more impressed by the studliness of your 4×4, how far you can backpack into the wilderness, how long you can work or play in the cold without complaining, how many beers you can drink without appearing drunk, the size of the antlers on the bull elk you bagged last hunting season and how big of a brown trout you can catch on a dry fly.
People respect your privacy
Montanans love their privacy. We’re friendly people, but we love breathing room between us and our neighbors. There’s so much freedom in the big fields and acreage that separate us. Even if you live in a high-density neighborhood like I do, you are still looking at vast fields, valleys and mountains. It makes us feel like we’re our own bosses and free to live our lives in privacy.
If we love that, can you imagine how celebrities who live in a fishbowl under the constant glare of cameras bulbs feel about it? Montana must make celebrities feel like kids again — free to do, say and live however they want without fear of being photographed or ending up in the tabloids. A real Montanan would never sell a celebrity story to a tabloid as a “source.” We have too much respect for our (and everyone else’s) privacy.
Lack of helicopters
Celebrity weddings are usually marked by a swarm of helicopters hovering overhead, so that uninvited photogs can snap “exclusive” pictures. That would never work in Montana. If we saw that much air traffic, we’d assume the National Guard had been called in for some reason. If you’re a Montanan and you hear or see a helicopter, you can assume one of three things: someone’s being taken to the hospital, someone’s rescuing a hiker or hunter or someone’s dropping fire retardant on a wildfire.
Who are they going to tell?
Don’t misunderstand me. Montana’s small towns are not without their gossips. In small populations, there isn’t a lot to do other than speculate about who’s doing what. But, if someone saw a celebrity downtown, they’d share it with their neighbor, who would gasp and then share their brush with a celebrity and that would be that. Then they’d revert back to gossiping about the high school quarterback and the young bank teller. Who are these people going to tell when you live in a town of 60 people anyway? Even if the gossip spreads like wildfire, it’s not going very far.
Getting married is an emotional time. You feel on top of the world, so why not go to a place where you can literally be on top of the world? Montana’s views are spectacular, and I can personally assure you that whatever pictures you’ve seen can’t ever fully capture the magnificence of it all. Until you’ve stood on a river bottom and looked at one of Montana’s beautiful stretches of river with a snow-capped mountain backdrop or gone to the top of one of our mountains and looked out, you haven’t really experienced Montana’s beauty.
Celebrities have the wealth and means to travel to all corners of the globe, but Montana offers a unique setting other places can’t. When you combine that with friendly, laid-back folks and assured privacy and anonymity, why wouldn’t a celebrity secretly wed in Montana?