How Annie Leibovitz Got Underwater
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2009 1:46 PM CDT
Annie Leibovitz stands in front of her work 'Monument Valley, Arizona 1993.'   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Photographer to the stars Annie Leibovitz is in a widely reported financial pickle, but it really comes as no surprise to those close to her, New York reports. Leibovitz is now engaged in baroque legal wrangling over her catalog, but her troubles started earlier. Insiders say a suspected “contract for life” with Vanity Fair and a $250,000 day rate are hogwash, and that she has simply lived above her means for quite some time. “She wanted her life to be like a magazine spread,” an associate says.

Friends say her oddball relationship with the late Susan Sontag—“it’s as if Tom Cruise started going out with Akira Kurosowa,” a photog says—could have saved her. “Susan was really prudent about a lot of things,” her sister says. But it was not to be. “Photographers aren’t professional athletes, recording artists, or supermodels,” a source says. “The problem occurs when a person becomes so famous that they start feeling that they’re more in line financially with Oprah or Madonna.”