Leslie Bennetts is a veteran journalist who began her newspaper career at The Philadelphia Bulletin, where she won many awards for writing and reporting, and then spent ten years as a reporter at The New York Times. The first woman ever to cover a presidential campaign for The Times, she also covered metropolitan news, City Hall, Style and cultural news in addition to national politics. Bennetts left The Times for Vanity Fair, where she spent 24 years as a contributing editor and wrote many of the magazine’s best-known movie star cover stories as well as investigative articles on subjects ranging from priest pedophilia to the nation’s war against drugs. At the beginning of her career, she was also a reporter for The Washington Star, a radio host and television correspondent in Philadelphia, the executive editor of Popular Dogs Magazine, and editor of a music trade magazine. Bennetts started covering so-called “women’s issues” in the 1970s and has continued to write about women, marriage, and families ever since.
Bennetts wrote many of Vanity Fair’s best-known cover stories, including profiles of Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Meryl Streep, Ben Affleck, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Richard Gere, Natalie Portman, Demi Moore, Ryan O’Neal and Farrah Fawcett, Katherine Heigl, Teri Hatcher, Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore, and Kim Basinger in addition to articles on Hillary Clinton, Michele Obama, Elton John, Peter Beard, Jerry Lewis, Petra Nemcova, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Imran Khan and Jemima Goldsmith, Christiane Amanpour, priest pedophilia, the post-9/11 crackdown on dissent, the U.S. war on drugs, U.S. anti-terrorism policy, and other subjects ranging from political corruption to murder.
Bennetts’ articles have also been published in Town & Country, Columbia Journalism Review, New York Magazine, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, More, Departures, House & Garden, Worth, Family Life, Parents, Child, Parenting, The Nation, Women’s Day, Tango, Modern Bride, Glamour, Self, Women’s Health, Marie Claire, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Lear’s, Mirabella, Family PC, and The Daily Beast, among many other places.
Selected Vanity Fair Stories
Since she turned 38, Meryl Streep has been waiting for her career to crater. Instead, at 60, she is more of a box-office powerhouse than ever—and coming off her indelible performance in Nora Ephron’s Julie & Julia, she’s being pursued by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin this month in the romantic comedy It’s Complicated. The author talks to the face of a Hollywood revolution, while photographer Brigitte Lacombe provides a montage of Streep throughout her reign.
Teri Hatcher spent Valentine’s Day reading He’s Just Not That into You, but the desolation she felt went far deeper than being dumped by a rakish Mr. Wrong. In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, the breakout star of Desperate Housewives reveals the abuse she says she’s hidden all her life, the horrific suicide that finally forced her to confront the past, and her determination to turn tragedy into inspiration.
Whether he's at a New York nightclub or deep in the African wilderness, world-famous photographer and artist Peter Beard is surrounded by drugs, debts, and beautiful women. On the eve of a major retrospective of Beard's work in Paris, Leslie Bennetts finds the man described as "half Tarzan, half Byron" weighing his future at Hog Ranch, his Kenyan Shangri-la.
The whole world watched as her “perfect” marriage fell apart. Only her closest friends knew what really happened. Now, in Jennifer Aniston’s first interview since she split from Brad Pitt, she spills her heart, and some tears, to Vanity Fair, sharing her shock and confusion over Pitt’s liaison with Angelina Jolie, her desire for a family, and her deep, conflicting emotions toward the man she still loves.
After a year in the White House, the American people still struggled to understand the First Lady. Did she wield too much power? Did she have something to hide? In Vanity Fair’s June 1994 issue, Leslie Bennetts sits down for a tense interview with Hillary Clinton.
Leslie Bennetts reports on the case of a New Orleans priest who allegedly exploited young men for sex and collected child pornography, but was allowed to re-emerge as a tenured college professor in New York.
The Washington Spectator
Less than 24 hours after the presidential inauguration, the women’s protest it inspired—the largest demonstration in U.S. history, a massive uprising that sent three million people into the streets in more than 500 American cities as well as all seven continents, including Antarctica—felt like stepping into a time warp.
Wall Street Journal
Over the course of her 20-year career, Michelle Williams has never shied away from a challenging film role. When it comes to her life off-screen, she’s equally courageous.
Even if you're beautiful, it happens the minute some man decides you're a little less beautiful. Of course he feels entitled to share his critique with the world.
Until Rivers’ death in 2014, her apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side served as the perfect stage set for the extravagant holiday celebrations she loved to host at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Donald Trump’s inflated masculinity and unabashed claim over women’s bodies speaks to female voters’ lived experiences and, hopefully, men’s need for change.
Talking Points Memo
The reality is that women pay a fearsome economic price for self-sacrificing choices in their later years, when twice as many older women fall below the poverty line, compared with men.