When media leaked intelligence on Jan. 10 that eternal boy band SMAP might be dissolving, the outpouring of fan emotion overwhelmed anything else that was happening in the show business world. One person who was probably grateful for the distraction was Rebecca Eri Ray Vaughan, the TV personality better known by her nickname, Becky. Since the beginning of the year, Becky's storied charms had been sullied by her alleged affair with married pop singer Enon Kawatani of the group Gesu no Kiwami Otome, a scandal the press gleefully pursued.

Then the SMAP news broke.

To tabloid reporters, two stories of this scale happening at the same time created an overabundance of riches, and SMAP monopolized the attention — well, in the print media it did. TV was interested but cautious, since the story was still in flux.