Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lawyer: Britney Spears Doesn't Want Sam Lutfi In Her Life

Photo by: WENN; Jean Catuffe / INF

Lawyer: Britney Doesn't Want Sam Lutfi In Her Life
Britney Spears's restraining order against one-time pal Sam Lutfi may have been temporary, but their friendship is permanently over.

The pop star's court-appointed attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, told the Associated Press that he will not seek to extend the restraining order in court on Thursday – because Spears has cut all ties with Lutfi anyway.

"Britney has made clear to everyone," Ingham said, "that she does not want to be further harassed or contacted in any way by Osama 'Sam' Lutfi, now or at anytime in the future."

Lutfi has been out of Spears's life since February, when her father, Jamie, was granted legal control of her affairs as temporary conservator. (At the time, Britney's mother, Lynne, accused Lutfi of drugging the singer.)

According to Ingham, the restraining order is no longer necessary because Jamie can legally control whom Britney, 26, sees: "During the temporary conservatorship, the conservators have the power to insure that Lutfi will not harm Britney anymore."

Lutfi, it seems, will abide by the Spears family's wishes. He said in his own statement to the AP, "Mr. Lutfi and Mr. Spears have mutually agreed in private that no hearing or order is necessary at this time."

Ingham added that once Britney regains control of her life, she will continue to keep Lutfi out of it. "If Mr. Lutfi makes any future attempt to contact Britney after the temporary conservatorship has concluded," he said, "Britney has made clear she will take all appropriate legal action."

Lawyers for Jamie Spears are expected in court Thursday for a review of the conservatorship.

Aniston 'Fits Right In' with Mayer's Concert Tour

Photo by: Fame Pictures
Aniston 'Fits Right In' with Mayer's Concert Tour | Jennifer Aniston, John Mayer

John Mayer's newest roadie – Jennifer Aniston – has been a welcome addition on his tour, say his pals.

"John has such an amazing crew of musicians and friends with him. Everyone gets along and is drama free and Jen fits right in – perfectly," says a Mayer friend. "Everyone really loves her."

At a recent concert in Chula Vista, Calif., Mayer's girlfriend continued to be the subject of fans' anonymous text messages that were displayed on twin screens between acts. One said, "We want Jennifer Aniston to come out now!!!"

Though continuing his less talk, more music approach to his concerts, Mayer rehashed his concerns about recent media coverage of his tour.

"It's kind of a new thing for me to have my stage banter scrutinized. They have been printing everything I say," Mayer told his audience.

But even if the media coverage is exhausting, the source says Mayer, 30, is happier than ever with Aniston, 39.

"They are very happy together, it's working really well and they're only getting closer," says the Mayer pal. "His friends think she's great for him."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Christian Bale Is a 'Big-Hearted, Good Guy,' Says Director

Photo by: Carlos Alvarez / Getty

Christian Bale Is a 'Big-Hearted, Good Guy,' Says Director | Christian Bale
As Christian Bale weathers what he calls "a deeply personal matter," he has Terminator Salvation director McG firmly in his corner.

"He's the most professional, passionate actor you're ever going to find," McG said of the Dark Knight star during a Saturday panel discussion at Comic-Con in San Diego. "I mean it's just that simple … Bale is just all about the work. He loves his wife, he loves his child, he loves being an actor. He's not interested in materialist things. He wants to come to work prepared."

The director added that the 34-year-old Bale, who plays hero John Connor in the upcoming fourth installment of the Terminator franchise, is passionate about his work – in a good way. "I can't go, 'Okay, Christian, you go out camera left," said McG. "Christian's going to talk to me … you know – 'What went into the decision to go off camera left?' – which is wonderful. It's the elegant opposition you want."

"And just for the record," added McG, "he's a big-hearted, good guy – and I've worked with a lot of people – and that's just simply who he is."

It has been a roller coaster few weeks for Bale: The Dark Knight has been breaking box office records even as the actor has been dealing with the fallout from his July 22 arrest following assault allegations made by his mother and sister.

Dark Knight Makes Record-Breaking $300M in 10 Days

Heath Ledger as the Joker
Photo by: Warner Bros

Dark Knight Makes Record-Breaking $300M in 10 Days
No argument: The Dark Knight is Hollywood's brightest light.

The Batman adventure, starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, shattered another box-office benchmark this weekend – reaching beyond the $300 million mark in a mere 10 days.

The movie grossed $75.6 million in its second weekend in theaters, bringing its North American box-office total to $314,245,000, Warner Bros. head of distribution Dan Fellman tells the Associated Press.

The number breaks the record established by 2006's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which hit $300 million after 16 days.

Fellman says Dark Knight could conceivably reach the $400-million mark in about 18 days – placing it ahead of Shrek 2's 43-day record in 2004.

Hold on to your life preservers – The Dark Knight might also surpass 1997's Titanic as the highest-grossing film in U.S. history, according to Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. That sinking-ship saga, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, made $600,788,188 domestically.

Rounding out this weekend's top five at the box office were Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in Step Brothers, with an estimated $30 million; Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia!, $17.9 million; David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in The X-Files: I Want to Believe, $10.2 million; and Brendan Fraser in Journey to the Center of the Earth, $9.4 million.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Britney & Kevin's Custody Settlement Finalized

Britney Spears and Kevin Federline Photo by: INF; Bruce Gifford / FilmMagic
Britney & Kevin's Custody Settlement Finalized
Britney Spears and Kevin Federline's custody settlement was signed Friday by a judge, officially ending their nearly two-year custody battle.

In the deal reached last week, Federline retained sole custody of Preston, 2 1/2, and Jayden, 1 1/2. Spears – who is currently allowed two visits and one overnight per week – will get an additional sleepover by year's end, barring any setbacks.

"She's thrilled," the pop star's attorney Laura Wasser told PEOPLE. "To have more time with her kids has been her motivation to get well. In light of her outstanding conservatorship, she couldn't have asked for anything more."

Spears also agreed to increase Federline's child support to $20,000 a month (a $5,000 increase) and pay off his $250,000 legal tab. Documents show the child support increase went into effect on July 15, and that Spears's father, who remains in legal control of her affairs until a July 31 hearing, approved of the settlement terms.

"This has been a long ordeal [for Kevin] and for it to be over makes him very happy," his lawyer Mark Vincent Kaplan previously said.

Legal experts say the former couple will undoubtedly return to court in the future, since custody settlements can always be modified.

by People.

Guy Ritchie : "Our Marriage IS Fine"

Photo by: Richie Buxo / Splash News Online
Guy Ritchie: My Marriage to Madonna Is Fine

All's well with the marriage of Guy Ritchie and Madonna, the film director tells PEOPLE – "as far as I'm aware of," he added with a smile.

A relaxed and cheerful Ritchie, 39, joined the cast of his upcoming directorial effort RocknRolla on Thursday afternoon at the San Diego International Comic-Con.

Joined by his film's costars Gerard Butler, Jeremy Piven and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges to show scenes and sign autographs, Ritchie also spoke about how being married to the pop icon – whom he referenced only as "my wife" – had allowed him to look at his hometown of London with fresh eyes.

"I was born there and I've seen it change and I know a great deal about it, I'm invested," the director said. "I live vicariously through my wife, so I was once a spy and now I've become a tourist, and it's much more fun to live in London as a tourist than it is as a spy."

He further observed, "Someone told me the definition was a spy always looks for the bad stuff, and a tourist always looks for the good stuff. So that makes it easy, being married to an American."

After spending time with Madonna, 49, in New York City – where the two faced intense speculation about the status of their marriage and she is rehearsing for her upcoming Sticky & Sweet tour – Ritchie headed to Los Angeles. There, he attended Kabbalah services and dined with Robert Downey Jr., who's set to star as Sherlock Holmes in a movie Ritchie will direct.

by People.

Fans Nominate Britney Spears for Video Award

Photo by: John Shearer / Wireimage
Fans Nominate Britney Spears for Video Award | Britney Spears

Despite last year's disaster at the MTV Video Music Awards, Britney Spears has an invitation to return – from her fans.

The pop star was nominated in online voting for best female video for her Piece of Me at the 2008 VMAs.

Fans also nominated Katy Perry for I Kissed a Girl, Jordin Sparks for No Air, Rihanna for Take A Bow and Mariah Carey for Touch My Body.

The big question is whether Spears, 26, will make an appearance at show on Sept. 7 at Paramount studios in L.A. The singer will have to shake off her lackluster performance at the 2007 show in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, for best male video, fans nominated Lil Wayne for Lollipop, Usher for Love in this Club, Chris Brown for With You, Flo Rida for Low and T.I. for No Matter What.

Next week, voting opens online for Best Pop Video and Best Hip-Hop Video.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Christian Bale Calls Family Dispute a 'Deeply Personal Matter'

Photo by: Carlos Alvarez / Getty
Christian Bale Calls Family Dispute a 'Deeply Personal Matter' | Christian Bale

Addressing reporters Thursday, Christian Bale spoke only briefly about his recent arrest in connection to an assault allegation filed by his mother and sister.

"It's a deeply personal matter," the Dark Knight star, 34, said at at a press conference for the movie in Barcelona, Spain. "I would ask you to respect my privacy in the matter."

Bale spent four hours in a London police station on Tuesday and was released pending further inquiry. He denies the allegations and cooperated voluntarily, according to a statement released by his lawyers.

On Wednesday, he walked the red carpet in Barcelona for his film's Spanish premiere with wife Sibi, signing autographs and posing for photos with fans but avoiding reporters.

The controversy hasn't hurt The Dark Knight's record-setting success: After scoring the biggest opening weekend in Hollywood history, taking in $158.3 million, it has since become the fastest movie to top $200 million in U.S. box office history.
by People.

The Former 'Pregnant Man' Debuts His Baby

Thomas Beatie, with daughter Susan Juliette
Photo by: Regine Mahaux / Getty

The Former 'Pregnant Man' Debuts His Baby
It's been three weeks since his blue-eyed baby debuted in this world, but Thomas Beatie – better known around the world as the Pregnant Man – can already say this about his daughter's personality: "She's easygoing and mellow and intelligent."

On June 29 at 8:55 p.m., Beatie, 34, a former female beauty pageant contestant, made cultural history as perhaps the first legally transgender male to give birth, bringing into the world a 9 lbs., 5 oz. baby girl named Susan Juliette.

"She's so precious, I just can't stop staring at her," Thomas tells PEOPLE in his first interview since he and wife Nancy returned with their bundle from Bend, Oregon's St. Charles Medical Center. "Just holding her is the best feeling in the world."

Susan – named after Thomas's mother and conceived through artificial insemination with donor sperm – arrived after 40 hours of labor, with Nancy at Thomas's side acting as his coach.

"When Susan finally came out, it was like in slow motion," says Thomas. "I was full of wonder." Echoes Nancy: "There were tears of joy."

Both father and daughter came through the birth in perfect health. "I weigh two pounds less than I did before I got pregnant," adds Thomas. "And I don't have a single stretch mark!"

At home, the couple is adjusting to their new nightly schedule: Nancy breastfeeding (by induced lactation, a process using hormones and physical stimulation with a breast pump) and Thomas keeping company while watching TV.

Crows Thomas, "Susan is a miracle! And we're finally the family we've been dreaming of."

by People.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Christian Bale Braves Red Carpet at Barcelona Dark Knight Premiere

Getty Images

Making his first public appearance since being questioned by police for allegations of assault earlier this week, actor Christian Bale surprised many on Wednesday by showing up to the Barcelona premiere of his new hit film The Dark Knight.

The 34-year-old star is accused of assault by his sister and mother after a Sunday night altercation at London's Dorchester Hotel that ultimately resulted in Christian spending four hours being questioned by police on Tuesday morning. Through a statement released by his rep, the actor has denied any wrongdoing in the situation.

At the premiere in Barcelona, Christian walked the red carpet with his wife Sibi, as well as his Dark Knight co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal. And though he did stop to sign several autographs for his adoring fans outside the Coliseum Theater, Christian did not answer any questions from reporters.

This is the second premiere this week for the cast and crew of The Dark Knight. After the incident at the Dorchester, but before the news of the scandal broke, Christian attended Monday night's star-studded screening at the Odeon Theatre in London's Leicester Square.

by OK!

50 Cent Sues Taco Bell


Taco Bell better make a run for the border - 50 Cent has sued the fast food chain for using his monetary moniker in advertisements without his approval.

The 32-year-old rapper filed a federal lawsuit in regards to Taco Bell's "Why Pay More?" campaign that asks Fiddy to change his stage name to 79 Cent, 89 Cent or 99 Cent. 50 claims the the restaurant never informed him of the marketing ploy and is seeking $4 million in damages.

The Mexican-themed restaurant launched the campaign, which promotes food for under a dollar, in June and sent out press releases challenging 50 (real name: Curtis Jackson) to "think outside the bun."

"We know that you adopted the name 50 Cent years ago as a metaphor for change. We at Taco Bell are also huge advocates for change," Taco Bell CEO and President Greg Creed wrote. "We encourage you to 'Think Outside the Bun' and hope you accept our offer."

Greg also pledged to donate $10,000 to a charity of 50's choice if he took Taco Bell up on the offer.

However, according to the Grammy winner's attorney, Peter D. Raymond, Taco Bell never asked 50 for permission to use his name and he himself did not find out about it until he saw a news report on the campaign.

Suffice it to say, he was not amused, telling OK! last month the campaign is "sleazy and ill conceived."

"This is a sleazy and ill-conceived publicity stunt by Taco Bell's president, Greg Creed, whose disingenuous offer was leaked to the press before it was even presented to 50 Cent's agent yesterday," a rep for 50 Cent tolg OK!.

Fiddy himself added,"When my legal team is finished with them, Taco Bell is going to have a new corporate slogan: 'We messed with the bull and got the horns!'"

Amy Adams Engaged to Actor Boyfriend

Photo by: Demis Maryannakis / Splash News Online
Amy Adams Engaged to Actor Boyfriend

Enchanted star Amy Adams is engaged to boyfriend of six years Darren Legallo, her rep confirms to PEOPLE.

Legallo, 34, proposed with a diamond by French jewelry designer Jean Dousset of Beverly Hills, according to US Today.

Adams, 33, met Legallo, an actor and artist, in acting class in 2001. The couple began dating after a year of friendship.

"He's really special," Adams told PEOPLE last year. "I'm really lucky because he's not competitive with me. He supports and embraces my success as mine. And he has his own goals for himself, but he never makes my success his failure."

USA Today says the couple plan to marry sometime next year.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Christian Bale Denies Assault Allegations

Photo by: Ronald Asadorian / Splash News
Christian Bale Denies Assault Allegations | Christian Bale

Christian Bale's attorneys released a statement Tuesday denying assault allegations that led to the actor's arrest in London.

"Christian Bale attended a London police station today, on a voluntary basis, in order to assist with an allegation that had been made against him to the police by his mother and sister," the star's lawyers said in the statement. "Mr. Bale who denies the allegation, co-operated throughout, gave his account in full of the events in question, and has left the station without any charge being made against him by the police. At this time, there will be no further comment by Mr. Bale."

Bale, 34, was arrested in the Belgravia precinct station on Tuesday for a Sunday incident in which he allegedly lashed out at his mother, Jenny, 61, and sister Sharon, 40, at London's Dorchester Hotel. He was staying at the hotel before Monday's U.K. premiere of The Dark Knight.

"There was an incident but the police are dealing with it," Sharon told the Telegraph newspaper in the U.K. "It is an extremely sensitive situation. There is nothing more I can say."

According to Britain's The Sun newspaper, the women reported the incident in Hampshire on Monday, and the case was turned over to London officers.

Bale was released later Tuesday with a 10-man police escort, in a blacked-out silver Mercedes people carrier. Bale is to return to police in September, pending further inquiry, a police spokesperson tells PEOPLE.

It is a policy in England to arrest a suspect before questioning him in connection to a possible crime. Bale has not been formally charged.

Anne Hathaway Gets Musical – with Karaoke

Anne Hathaway Gets Musical – with Karaoke

Far from singing the blues over her recent romance troubles – Anne Hathaway is instead belting out karaoke songs.

Hathaway, 25, took turns behind the microphone at a karaoke session in Cape May, N.J. on Monday night. The Get Smart actress hit the Martini Beach restaurant on the Jersey shore with friends and family – feeling the need to sing Journey.

"She was the life and soul of the party,” said karaoke host Terry O’Brien.

Hathaway split with embattled Italian businessman Raffaello Folleri. But it was all smiles on Monday as the actress was one of the first singers of the evening crooning Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”

Hathaway danced around the tables during other songs before retaking the microphone for K.T. Tunstall's "Suddenly I See" (a song featured in her movie The Devil Wears Prada.

"Don't put this on YouTube," she told O’Brien.

by People.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Christian Bale Released After Alleged Assault Arrest

Christian Bale in London
Photo by: Gareth Cattermole / Getty
Christian Bale Released After Alleged Assault Arrest

Batman's Christian Bale was arrested in London Tuesday, following assault allegations reportedly made by his own mother and sister.

He was released from the precinct station later in the afternoon, and he is to return to a station in September, pending further inquiry, a police rep tells PEOPLE.

Bale, 34, allegedly lashed out at his mother Jenny, 61, and sister Sharon, 40, on Sunday at London's Dorchester hotel, where the actor was staying before Monday's U.K. premiere of The Dark Knight.

According to Britain's The Sun newspaper, Bale's mother and sister went to a police station in Hampshire Monday, which turned the case over to London officers.

“A 34-year-old man attended a central London police station this morning, by appointment, and was arrested in connection with an allegation of assault," a police spokesman told PEOPLE. "He is currently in custody.”

It is a policy in England to arrest a suspect before questioning him in connection to a possible crime. Bale has not been formally charged, therefore the police did not release his name.

Late afternoon Tuesday, a police spokeswoman told PEOPLE: "A 34-year-man has been [asked] to return to a central London police station on a date in September, pending further inquiries."

At 4:20 p.m. London time, Bale, with a 10-man police escort, was taken from the Belgravia police station's rear exit into a blacked-out silver Mercedes people carrier and transported to the Dorchester hotel, where he was driven into the underground entrance.

Monday – the morning after the alleged incident – Bale appeared on GMTV, a U.K. morning show. Bloggers called the actor grumpy, but a GMTV spokesman told PEOPLE, "He didn't seem on edge."

Bale is scheduled to be in Barcelona Thursday for the record-breaking film's Spanish-language premiere.

by People.

Fashion Rocks Announces Big-Name Lineup

Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Fergie, Mariah Carey

Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Fergie and Mariah Carey!

These are just a few of the superstars set to perform at the upcoming Fashion Rocks, the big music and fashion shebang put on in New York by the Condé Nast Media Group.

Who else is on the lineup? Rihanna, Chris Brown, Duffy, Keith Urban Kid Rock and Lil Wayne.

The fifth annual Fashion Rocks happens at Radio City Music Hall on Sept. 5 and airs on CBS on Sept. 9. It coincides with New York's Fashion Week and the publication of Condé Nast's annual Fashion Rocks magazine.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dark Knight Shatters Hollywood Record: $158,411,483

Heath Ledger's Joker and Christian Bale's Batman match wits in The Dark Knight
Photo by: Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros

Dark Knight Shatters Hollywood Record: $155.4 Million
In case you haven't heard – or witnessed at any cineplex this weekend – The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan's dark sequel about the Caped Crusader, took in $158,411,483 since Friday.

Speaking on Britain's GMTV Monday morning, the star of the picture, Christian Bale of the impressive box-office take: "It's Monopoly money to me – I can't even comprehend it."

Along with a hearty $27.6 million opening take for Mamma Mia – the best ever for a musical, topping last year's Hairspray opening – this turned out to be the best three-day weekend in Hollywood history.

Previously, a $218.4 million weekend in July 2007 held that distinction, largely thanks to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

The Dark Knight's haul also exceeds the $151.1 million Spider-Man 3 made its May 2007 opening weekend. Buoyed by mostly rave notices and Oscar buzz about Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker, Bale's second outing as Batman is expected to make $220 million in its first week alone – already more than Nolan's first reboot, Batman Begins, made in its entire U.S. run, reports Variety.

Among the other records broken by The Dark Knight: biggest midnight release ($18.5 million), biggest weekend on IMAX screens ($6.2 million), top single-day take on a Friday ($67.9 million), and most screens (4,366), the Los Angeles Times reports.

Overseas, the movie was on track to perform similarly, making a strong $40 million on 4,500 screens in 20 territories, breaking the Australian weekend opening for a superhero movie ($13.1 million) and Brazil's best opening this year ($4.3 million).

Women Went to See Streep

As expected, Mamma Mia, starring Meryl Streep, appealed to women – who made up an estimated 75 percent of its audience – making the bubbly ABBA musical a excellent complement to The Dark Knight's brooding action flick.

There just wasn't enough for two blockbuster superhero sequels in theaters, though. Hellboy II: The Golden Army dropped a precipitous 71 percent from last weekend's top spot to fifth place, while Will Smith's Hancock stayed in the fight at third place. And Star Chimps took in a relatively measly $7.1 million for its opening, earning it seventh place.

by People, Box Office Mojo.

Britney Spears Steps Out For a Good Cause

Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey and Britney Spears
Photo by: Todd Williamson / WireImage

Britney Spears Steps Out For a Good Cause | Britney Spears, Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey
With her divorce settlement behind her, Britney Spears took time out on Saturday night to do something for the kids, adding star wattage to Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey's fundraiser for Generation Rescue, an organization dedicated to researching autism.

"She looked great and seemed really happy," says a partygoer of the Snow Queen Vodka-sponsored shindig at the couple's home in Brentwood. Though she kept close to her assistant Brett and didn't speak to other guests, "She smiled and clapped during the video about autism. She was very into the information and watched a little bit of the dancers from Dancing with the Stars, sneaking out during one of the performances."

Also at the bash were newlyweds Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller ("The honeymoon isn't over!" remarked one guest), a "lovey-dovey" Robert Rodriguez and Rose McGowan, who kissed and danced all night, and of course the host couple.

"Jenny and Jim were adorable," says the guest, "She kept saying, 'I love you honey' to him when she thanked him from the stage." Carrey, not to be outdone by the DWTS folks, soon took to the dance floor, even challenging another guest to a playful dance-off.

Says the guest, "Jim was hilarious."

by People.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Holy $66 Million Debut, Batman!

The Dark Knight Warner Bros. Pictures

In a made-up word: Bat-tastic.

The Dark Knight pulled in an astonishing $66 million Friday, and looked to be on pace for a record opening weekend, Exhibitor Relations Co. estimated today.

Spider-Man 3, we hardly knew ye.

As of Dark Knight's $66 million debut, Spider-Man 3, which opened with $59.8 million last year, lost its titles as the biggest-ever opener and biggest-ever single-day grosser.

By Sunday, Exhibitor Relations said, The Dark Knight could boast a three-day weekend take of $155 million, a number that would best Spider-Man 3's $151.1 million, and trump the latter movie's last remaining glamour record.

Big business for Batman is meaning big business for all of Hollywood, with Exhibitor Relations calling for the weekend's top 12 films to cumulatively top $250 million, well above the record $218 million that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Superman Returns led the Industry to in 2006.

Also aiding Hollywood's bottom line is Mamma Mia!, the Meryl Streep-led ABBA musical that, for a non-Batman movie, enjoyed a killer opening. Its estimated $9.7 million Friday gross positions it to potentially beat out Hairspray as the biggest-opening movie musical.

Space Chimps, which bowed with an estimated $2.5 million Friday, appears to have not gotten the let's-make-a-lot-of-money memo.

by E!

Angelina Leaves Hospital with Newborn Twins

Photo by: Michael A. Mariant / AP
Angelina Leaves Hospital with Newborn Twins | Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie and her twins left the hospital early Saturday – a week since she gave birth to Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline.

"Angelina Jolie left the Clinic Santa Maria of Fondation Lenval early in the morning of July 19th," hospital rep Nadine Bauer confirmed to PEOPLE. "The mother and babies are doing very well."

There were only a few journalists camped outside the Fondation Lenval hospital in Nice, France, early Saturday morning but even they didn't know for sure when Jolie slipped out of the hospital with her twins at 4 a.m. local time.

Jolie and the newest Jolie-Pitts left Lenval to join their excited siblings – Maddox, 6; Pax, 4; Zahara, 3; and Shiloh, 2 – at Chateau Miraval, the enormous and luxurious chteau in Correns, France, that Jolie and partner Brad Pitt rented in May.

"We saw the cars and we thought it was her but we didn't see anything," one observer said.

Photographers had been stationed on nearby roofs of the hospital, hoping that Jolie would leave as she had arrived nearly three weeks ago – by helicopter.

Bauer added Saturday that hospital staff wanted to thank their own personnel for the attention and care they gave the Jolie-Pitt family. She also released a statement from the hospital, which thanked "those journalists around the hospital who did their best to respect their privacy."


Jolie's departure began at about 3:50 a.m. when, according to an eyewitness, a grey Volkswagen minibus with darkened windows arrived outside the hospital on its Promenade des Anglais.

"There was a sudden spray of light out of the hospital's garage way and then four or five people came out of that through a rear doorway," the witness said. "They stood behind the hospital in a small courtyard in the dark."

The courtyard entrance, a gated area for emergency access has been closed during Jolie's stay, "was suddenly opened by someone who was waiting in the bus stop beside the hospital," the witness said. "This group of people got into the van, very quickly. . . . It was all done in a hurry. And they were very quick organizing themselves inside. Very rapid. And then 'Pouf!' they were gone.

"With all the press attention around them, a constant watch on the front of the hospital, they managed to leave so quickly, my hat's off to them," the witness added.

At 9 a.m., Dr. Michel Sussmann, who delivered the twins by Cesarean section on July 12, confirmed the family's departure, telling reporters, "You can go home. The story is over."

Added Bauer: "We enjoyed having her and her family here very much."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Britney Agrees to Sole Custody for K-Fed

Britney Spears, Kevin Federline Jeffrey Mayer/

Britney spears has agreed to hand the parenting reins over to Kevin Federline.

K-Fed's longtime attorney Mark Vincent Kaplan exclusively tells E! News that the divorced duo have reached a settlement in their long-gestating custody case.

According to the agreement signed by all parties, Federline gets sole legal and physical custody of sons Sean Preston and Jayden James and Spears will have visitation rights.

"The case has been settled," Kaplan said. "The court still has to approve it. " Both parties are due in court Friday morning.

The case had been set to go to trial next month but all had been hoping to settle up beforehand.

"As of this evening there is a fully executed deal memo...All the issues that would have been addressed at trial have been settled," Kaplan told E! News. "Can't speak to the exact terms of the deal. Orders in place...will stay in place."

But although this is theoretically good news for Federline, Kaplan maintains that this isn't exactly what his client had in mind.

"Kevins was not [out] to get custody. Kevins goal was to set up some kind of template so the mother of his children can co-parent," Kaplan said.

"He said I need to have Britney to be involved in the coparenting of the kids but I need there to be a structure."

But this is the structure he got and "Kevin is absolutely delighted," Kaplan continued.

"Nobody could have anticipated the terms of events that have occurred....This was a two-year journey that will be halted at a point that is good for these children. Custody is always modifiable. If there is a final order, it means there is nothing to try."

Spears has been enjoying monitored visits with her boys since late February after temporarily losing any on-hand-mommying privileges following a stretch of noticeably erratic behavior on her part and two brief hospital stays.

Federline's camp has credited the influence of Spears' father Jamie, who was appointed a coconservator of his daughter's estate Feb. 1, for helping to get the 26-year-old popster back on track.

A court commissioner is scheduled to review whether the make the conservatorship permanent at the end of this month. If the arrangement were to end, what then happens to Spears' current deal?

"While I can't tell you the terms, the order does anticipate what happens if the conservatorship is ended," Kaplan told E! News. "The devil is always in the details and this is a very detailed deal memo.

"Nobody can predict what the future will bring but the extent possible I think we have really anticipated how to proceed."

by E!

Brad & Angelina's Pals Send Well Wishes – and Offer to Babysit!

Brad & Angelina's Pals Send Well Wishes – and Offer to Babysit!

If new parents – again! – Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie need a night out alone, at least one famous friend has already volunteered to help.

"I'm willing to babysit for them!" Jolie's pal Wyclef Jean tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story. The musician, who has partnered with the couple for his Yéle Haiti charity in the past, says he has no doubt they can handle their brood of six now that twins Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Léon are here.

"They will do well," he says. "I have a lot of well wishes for them."

So do many of Jolie's costars, including Michael Kelly, who appears with her in the upcoming Clint Eastwood-directed drama The Changeling.

"I saw her with kids on-set and she's just such a wonderful mom," Kelly tells PEOPLE. "You see her with the kids and it's like, 'Yeah, that's the way it's supposed to be.' "

Since the twins' emotional birth in Nice, France, on July 12, Jolie and the babies have remained at the scenic Fondation Lenval hospital. Dr. Michel Sussmann, who delivered the babies, told PEOPLE everyone is doing "very well" following a July 14 checkup.

When Vivienne, Knox and Jolie are released, likely in the next few days, they are expected to return to the Chateau Miraval, where the family is staying until they return to the U.S. in the fall.

by People.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Brett Ratner: Miley's Madonna Vibe Was "Just Unbelievable"

Madonna, Miley Cyrus Nancy Kaszerman/, Kevin Mazur/

Working with Miley Cirus reminded Bret Ratner of a "Beautiful Stranger" he once knew.

“She turns it on,” the filmmaker, who last month directed the video for Cyrus' new single "7 Things," exclusively tells E! News. “A lot like Madonna.”

Ratner, who also helmed the pop icon's "Beautiful Stranger" video for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, says he sees many similarities between Miley and Madonna, besides the whole first-initial thing.

“Where a lot of other artists are nervous or they’re primping, you know, Madonna walks on and is casual; cameras are on her and then all of the sudden, wow!” Ratner says.

“Same thing with Miley. She’s hanging out, she’s telling the jokes, she’s laughing, she’s signing an autograph.

"Camera goes on her and she was just unbelievable.”

And it takes a lot to impress the X-Men: The Last Stand director, who in addition to ordering around Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry has collaborated multiple times with seasoned divas such as Mariah Carey and Jessica Simpson.

“She’s just a hard worker,” Ratner says of Cyrus. “She knows what her job is; she came and gave me 200 percent.”

Ratner also says that he was shocked that, of all the stars he has worked with in the past, he got the most personal requests from friends and friends-of-friends to scope out the “7 Things” shoot.

“Like I said, I’ve shot for Madonna, Mariah Carey—some of the biggest artist in the world—and I’ve never had more calls,” Ratner says.

"I had at least a thousand calls. 'Can I just come by the set and watch Miley?’ and I’m like, 'But you’re 40 years old!' "

"7 Things" was the first single off of Cyrus' upcoming album Breakout, the 15-year-old's first effort not involving her Disney Channel alter ego, Hannah Montana (who will surely be there in spirit).

The album is out July 22.

by E!

David Beckham Declares His Love – for L.A.

Photo by: Juan Rico / Fame Pictures
David Beckham Declares His Love – for L.A. | David Beckham

English-born soccer god David Beckham has more than just settled into his new digs in Los Angeles – he simply can't imagine living anywhere else now.

"It seems like only a few weeks ago I arrived in Los Angeles with my family ready for the next chapter in our lives," the 33-year-old writes on his blog. "A year later and we feel so settled here, everyone loves California and everyone has made us feel so welcome. I can't imagine being anywhere else in the world right now. "

Becks made his debut as midfielder for the L.A. Galaxy in July 2007 after had wife Victoria made the permanent move from Britain to the U.S.

by People

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jon Voight as "Excited as Everybody Else" About Jolie-Pitt Twins

Jon Voight Kevin Mazur/

Things aren't perfect between Angelina Jolie and her dad, Jon Voight. But at least the arrival of new babies is a blessed event everyone can get behind.

"All I can say is, like any father, it's the most exciting that that a new soul is coming in," Voight told E! News Monday at the Television Critics Association press tour, where he was discussing his upcoming role as a baddie on 24.

"You know, I don't think there's anything more exciting than that. And that they're Angie's babies, and Brad's, all my love goes to them. I was very excited. I was just as excited as everybody else."

And how does he feel about his daughter bringing two more grandbabies into the fold all at once?

"My niece has twins, and I spent a lot of time with them when they were babies," Voight said. "They are a big deal. How many people have seen little tiny twins in their lives? It's a big deal, right? Even if they're the world's most remarkable, sleep-oriented, calm children, it's two kids at the same time and it's a lot of work."

Especially when they're part of a brood of six.

Jolie and Pitt welcomed Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Leon—"very unusual names," Voight remarked—Saturday evening at a hospital in Nice, France, where the mayor himself came out to sign the babies' birth certificates the following day.

But while Jolie's brother, James Haven, was one of the first to arrive at her bedside following the delivery—which Pitt didn't miss a minute of—Voight remained all the way in Los Angeles. So who (or what website) presented him with the good news?

"Oh...I can't say...I just had a little inkling," the Oscar winner said, noting that he has not spoken to Jolie since the birth.

But if he's invited out to the south of France to visit the octet otherwise known as the Joile-Pitt family, he'll be there, he added.

"If I'm asked, I'll find a way. But I haven't been asked."

Jolie, Pitt, Maddox, Pax, Zahara and Shiloh have been residing in a leased château in the village of Brignol, near Aix-en-Provence. And, as soon as mom is given the all-clear to leave the hospital, Knox and Vivienne will have 60,000 acres to call home, as well.

Heath Ledger's Family Attends Dark Knight Premiere

Heath Ledger
Photo by: Lisa Rose / JPI

Heath Ledger's Family Attends Dark Knight Premiere | Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger's family attended Monday's The Dark Knight premiere in New York, where the late actor's father left the theater giving a thumbs-up sign.

Kim Ledger and his wife Ines – Heath's stepmother – bypassed the red carpet and ducked into the theater to watch his late son play The Joker in the latest Batman film.

Also attending the premiere were Heath's mother Sally Bell and her husband, and Heath's older sister, Kate.

As his father Kim left, he was asked how it felt to attend, responding with the thumbs-up. He also told reporters it was "very good."

Heath Ledger's costars, meanwhile, used the occasion to pay tribute to him.

"Working with Heath was fantastic," said Christian Bale, 34, who reprises his role as the Caped Crusader. "He steals the movie and I'm quite happy to say that. He's a hell of a talent and created a joker that's very iconic and one that will become a classic portrayal of the ages."

Michael Caine, 75, who plays butler Alfred Pennyworth in the film, which opens July 18, noted the "intensity and ferocity of the performance."

"But when we were sitting down between takes, he was completely ordinary," Caine added. "He wasn't preparing himself or saying 'Please leave me alone, I've gotta do this.' Instead he was talking to me.

"We would sit and chat and have a cup of coffee, then suddenly they'd say, 'We're ready, Heath,' and he'd go straight into The Joker," Caine continued. "His energy was astonishing, especially when it came from this kind of calm. He's certainly the best villain I've ever seen."

Melbourne-based Robert Collins, a Ledger family friend for 30 years and co-executor of the Ledger will, told Who magazine in Australia he saw The Dark Knight preview in Perth last night and described it as "a eerie feeling" watching him.

"I am aware that Kim Ledger and the family are over in New York for it, it was something they felt they had to do and it was a personal thing from their point of view," said Collins.

Ledger, who died of an accidental prescription-drug overdoseon Jan. 22 has garnered Oscar buzz for his role as the smiley yet sinister Joker. Anticipation for The Dark Knight has been at a fever pitch with midnight shows having sold out so quickly that theater owners have had to continue to adding 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. showtimes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Miss Venezuela is the new Miss Universe

Miss Venezuela Dayana Mendoza was crowned Miss Universe 2008 at the Crown Convention Center in Nha Trang, Vietnam, Monday.

The 22-year-old Miss Venezuela edged a fellow Latina, Miss Colombia Taliana Vargas, who won 1st runner-up.

The second, third and fourth runners-up were Miss Dominican Republic, Miss Russia and Miss Mexico, respectively.

"Actually, God made men and women different. But the big difference between women and men--it doesn't matter what kind of life they live--is that men think that the faster way to go to a point is to go straight. Women, no. The faster way to go to a point is to go through curves and fixing every curve," Miss Venezuela answered international judge Louis Lacari.

Before the special announcement, Miss Venezuela, who is into interior design and learning new languages, was among the crowd favorites.

She wore a beautiful yellow night gown when given the 18K white and yellow gold crown, which was valued at $120,000. She is the 57th Miss Universe.

The crown was given to her by Miss Universe 2007 Riyo Mori of Japan.

Earlier, the Miss Congeniality category was awarded to Rebeca Moreno of El Salvador and the Best National Costume award was handed to Miss Thailand Gavintra Photijak.

Complete results (gown / swimsuit results*):

1) Venezuela - Diana Mendoza (9.697 / 9.327)
2) Colombia - Taliana Vargas (9.829 / 9.433)
3) Dominican Republic - Marianne Cruz (9.036 / 8.983)
4) Russia - Vera Krasova (8.471 / 8.414)
5) Mexico - Elisa Najera (9.429 / 9.071)

* final interview scores were not revealed

Semi-finalists (gown / swimsuit scores):

6) Kosovo - Zana Krasniqi (8.264 / 8.120)
7) Spain - Claudia Moro (8.200 / 9.150)
8) USA - Crystle Stewart (8.050 / 9.207)
9) Italy - Claudia Ferraris (7.729 / 7.671)
10) Australia - Laura Dundovic (7.557 / 7.814)


11) Czech Republic - Eliška Bučková (7.386)
12) Hungary - Jazmin Dammak (7.229)
13) South Africa - Tansey Coetzee (7.133)
14) Japan - Hiroko Mima (7.100)
15) Vietnam - Lam Thuy Nguyen (7.050)

Brad Was 'Very Emotional' at Birth

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
Photo by: Kevin Winter / Getty

Jolie's Doctor: Brad Was 'Very Emotional' at Birth | Angelina Jolie
When the moment finally came to welcome their newborn twins into the world, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were as calm as could be.

During the labor and delivery, the couple "were talking, they were together," Dr. Michel Sussmann told reporters outside Fondation Lenval Hospital in Nice, France, where twins Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Leon were born on Saturday. "It was an epidural, so [Angelina] was awake and speaking and laughing. They were happy."

Pitt never left Jolie's side – "he was my assistant!" Sussmann said jokingly – and even cut the babies' umbilical cords.

"He was ... perfectly calm, totally determined, very pleased to be at the birth of his children, very moved and very emotional," said Sussmann.

Asked whether the birth had been a textbook delivery, Sussmann replied, "absolutely no problems."

When will Jolie and the babies leave the hospital? "I don't know," he said. "She will stay for a few days. You know, in Europe it isn't like in the United States, where the patients go home after three days. They will stay a bit longer until everything is okay."

He added: "The babies are fine. The babies are with the mother and father and they are fine."

by People.

The Jolie-Pitts Welcome a Son & Daughter

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Photo by: Alpha / Landov
The Jolie-Pitts Welcome a Son & Daughter | Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt was at Angelina Jolie's side as she gave birth to a son and daughter Saturday at the Fondation Lenval hospital in Nice, France, PEOPLE has confirmed.

"The babies are doing well. The operation went just perfectly," Dr. Michel Sussmann told PEOPLE Sunday. "Angelina is in very good spirits. Brad Pitt was at her side. He was there and all was well."

Sussmann confirmed the Nice-Matin newspaper report that Jolie gave birth to a boy, Knox Leon, and a girl, Vivienne Marcheline, by Cesarean section on Saturday night. Knox weighed 5.03 lbs, and Vivienne 5 lbs.

The twins are the fifth and sixth children for Jolie, 33, and partner Brad Pitt, 44, who are already parents to Maddox, 6; Pax, 4; Zahara, 3; and Shiloh, 2.

"The mother and father are very, very happy," Sussmann told PEOPLE.

The doctor told the Associated Press that the Cesarean was moved forward "for medical reasons" so that the babies could be born "in the best conditions." He also said Jolie is expected to stay in the hospital for a few days.

On July 1, Jolie checked in to the Fondation Lenval hospital to await the births. The family has been living in the south of France since this spring.

Jolie recently told Entertainment Weekly that she was surprised – but not daunted – when she learned she was having twins. "It did shock us, and we jumped to six [children] quickly," she said. "But we like a challenge."

by People.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tom, Katie & the Kids Send Gifts to Baby Sunday

Tom Cruise and Katie HolmesPhoto by: AAPA
Tom, Katie & the Kids Send Gifts to Baby Sunday | Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise

The Cruise family has sent along a present to welcome little Sunday Rose Kidman Urban, PEOPLE has learned.

Contrary to some reports that Tom Cruise gave ex-wife Nicole Kidman a "room full of flowers," the actor and his family – including Cruise's children with Kidman, Bella, 15, and Connor, 13 – actually sent a huge baby basket to Nashville.

The high-end gift included chenille Giraffe baby blankets, items from the Hermes baby line and other newborn necessities.

Kidman, 41, gave birth to Sunday Rose at a Nashville hospital on Monday morning, with husband Keith Urban, 40, by her side for the smooth delivery.

"We feel immensely blessed and grateful to be given this beautiful baby girl," the happy couple said in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE. "She's an absolute delight."

by People.

Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves Bring Levi Home

Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves Photo by: Gregory Pace / BEImages

Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves Bring Levi Home | Matthew McConaughey
Let the parenting begin! Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves have taken their first son, Levi, home.

The couple and Levi Alves McConaughey, born July 7, are resting in Malibu after leaving the hospital Thursday afternoon, PEOPLE has confirmed.

McConaughey’s mom Kay arrived Thursday to join them, and a close friend said her family would also be staying with the couple to help with the baby.

Grandma Kay told PEOPLE that McConaughey is "Oh my gosh, he’s like over the moon,” and added that he was Camila's biggest cheerleader in the delivery room.

Weighing in at a healthy 7lbs. 4 oz, Levi was born at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Britney Hits the Elevator for Madonna Concert Video

Madonna, Britney Spears

Here's the scoop, bitch.

Cameras started to roll today on the video that Britney Spears is making for Madonna's upcoming Sticky & Sweet tour, which, sources tell E! News, will be the opening video for each show.

The "Are you ready to rumble?!" video, if you will.

The shoot took place today at the Lot in West Hollywood, the former site of Warner Hollywood, United Artists and the Samuel Goldwyn Studios.

An on-set source said that Britney arrived at around 9 a.m. and was holed up in her dressing room by 9:30. The "Toxic" singer didn't start shooting her scenes until noon and was still on the set a few hours later.

According to our insiders, the planned "short movie" will take place inside an elevator, where seven cameras will be strategically placed to capture the magic. The scene-by-scene breakdown goes like this:

Britney, partially disguised by a gray hoodie, walks into the elevator. As she starts traveling upward, she seems particularly nervous and anxious. The popster starts pacing back and forth. Then she progresses to kicking and smacking the walls, all frantic-like. She screams into one of the cameras. Then she starts climbing the wall, pulls down her hood and, into another camera, says:

"It's Britney, bitch."

Well, at least she shouldn't have trouble remembering her lines.

Strains of Madonna's "Human Nature" were also heard playing during some scenes and Britney could be seen mouthing the words.

We're told that the 26-year-old mother of two acted "very professional" throughout and, a day after the shoot was postponed due to technical difficulties, everything seemed to be back on schedule.

But apparently even veteran performers need some time to shake the dust off if they've been away for awhile. Britney was also "really nervous and kept biting her nails—but she’s doing a good job," our source said, adding, "She's being incredibly sweet!"

Meanwhile, despite rumors that Madonna was going to wing her way west for a quick set visit, the Material Girl stayed put in New York today. According to a witness privy to her comings and goings, she went to her studio this morning and then returned to her Manhattan apartment.

Where, if Madonna weren't used to the current tabloid climate, she would have bolted the door, drawn the shades and pulled the covers over her head.

But she probably just ate lunch.

by E!Online

Tony Romo Names Jessica Simpson As Top iPod Pick

Tony Romo Names Jessica Simpson As Top iPod Pick

Looks like Dallas Cowboys star Tony Romo is a Jessica Simpson fan in more ways than one.

At the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe on Wednesday, where Romo played for charity, PEOPLE asked him for his top three iPod picks.

Romo named Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," (which he serenaded Simpson with during a night out recently"] ), and Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child of Mine."

As for his final pick, the football star said with a blush and a smile: "Something by Jessica Simpson."

Jessica Alba on Pregnancy: 'I Never Felt Less Sexy'

Jessica Alba on Pregnancy: 'I Never Felt Less Sexy'

Angelina Jolie may love being pregnent, but not everyone in Hollywood is similarly gushing.

"I never felt less sexy," Jessica Alba says of her own pregnancy. "I mean, I wouldn't have changed it for the world ... but I wanted to get rid of all the weight."

The actress, who gave birth to her daughter, Honor Marie, last month, opened up about motherhood – and her recent wedding to Cash Warren – in the August U.K. edition of Cosmopolitan magazine.

"I never thought I'd find a man before 30, let alone marry him and have his baby," she told the magazine. "I always used to meet the wrong guys – the ones who wanted to hang out for a week and see how far they could get. If you didn't have sex in the first few days, you were either frigid or a lesbian. So I held out – and, boy, am I glad I did!"

As for her no-frills wedding at the Beverly Hills courthouse, Alba insisted the hush-hush ceremony was "very romantic." And she had no desire for an over-the-top, celebrity-studded ceremony.

"We're not a typical Hollywood couple," she said. "I love that he's not an actor. I'm way too high maintenance to be in a relationship with an actor – they're all such divas!"

Warren has also been instrumental in keeping Alba grounded during her rapid transformation into wife and mother.

"Nothing was planned – the pregnancy or the wedding," she admitted. "But he took it in his stride and convinced me we'd conquer all!"

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nadal Ends Federer’s Reign at Wimbledon

Felipe Trueba/European Pressphoto Agency

No man had beaten Roger Federer at Wimbledon since 2002. But in near darkness, one of the greatest tennis matches ever played concluded in the Wimbledon final Sunday with Roger Federer hitting a short forehand into the net and with a victorious Rafael Nadal flat on his back with camera flashes illuminating his drained and delighted face.

Nadal had come the closest to ending Federer’s streak at Wimbledon in last year’s final, pushing his friendly rival to five sets before ending up in tears in the locker room as Federer equaled Bjorn Borg’s modern men’s record with his fifth straight title.

Last year’s emotional tussle immediately took its place among the best Wimbledon finals, but this five-set classic — played on a rainy, gusty day — was better yet.

At 4 hours 48 minutes, it was the longest singles final in Wimbledon’s 131-year history and did not finish until 9:16 p.m. local time.

“The most important thing is to win the title,” said Nadal, who won, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7. “After that, you think about winning against the No. 1, probably the best player in history or close, and the fact it was so dramatic. But it’s one of the most powerful feelings I’ve had in my life.”

By the end, as hard as it was to see, the top-seeded Federer and the second-seeded Nadal had produced so much brilliant tennis under pressure that it seemed the most normal thing in the world that Federer smacked yet another ace to get out of trouble or that Nadal hunted down yet another sharply angled ground stroke and ripped an off-balance passing shot for a winner.

The capacity crowd at Centre Court, which had not diminished through two rain delays, continually roared with delight or surprise and took turns chanting each combatant’s first name, which is not the way these things usually work at proper Wimbledon.

“Probably my hardest loss, by far; I mean it’s not much harder than this right now,” Federer said later, his voice muted and his eyes red.

The loss kept Federer from matching the men’s record of six consecutive Wimbledon titles set by Britain’s William Renshaw in the 19th century. Federer had won 65 straight matches on grass.

“I’m disappointed, and I’m crushed,” Federer said. “He played a super match, and I’m sure it was a great match to watch and to play, but it’s all over now. I need some time.”

Federer, 26, earned himself more time on Centre Court by saving two match points in the fourth-set tie breaker. He was later only two points from victory himself with Nadal serving at 4-5, 30-all in the fifth set. But Nadal, like his opponent, has a remarkable will as well as a remarkable topspin forehand.

And although Federer kept chipping and ripping away at Nadal’s service games, he broke him just once in the match, and that was early in the second set. In all, Federer squandered 12 of 13 break-point opportunities.

Nadal, a Spaniard whose serve was once considered his weakness, converted 4 of his 13 chances against Federer, none more important than the break that came when Federer, serving at 7-7 in the fifth, took a huge cut at a short forehand and knocked it just long.

Nadal, seldom short of positive energy, leapt with delight and hustled to his chair to prepare to serve for the championship. It was 9:10 p.m. in London when he walked to the baseline, and the light was so dim at the end of this intermittently rainy day that both players were concerned.

“I almost couldn’t see who I was playing,” Federer said, shaking his head.

Nadal agreed. “In the last game, I didn’t see nothing,” he said. “Was unbelievable. I thought we have to stop.”

Wimbledon’s organizers have pushed their sessions to the limit this year, with other matches finishing at 9:30 p.m. Not finishing on Sunday would have forced the tournament to extend to Monday, with all the logistical challenges that would have entailed.

“It would have been brutal for fans, for media, for us, for everybody to come back tomorrow, but what are you going to do?” Federer said. “It’s rough on me now, obviously, to lose the biggest tournament in the world over maybe a bit of light.”

Changing of the Guard

But Nadal still had to hold serve one more time to get his hands (and teeth) on the gold-plated Challenge Cup. And although Federer did save a third match point at 40-30 with a bold backhand return that Nadal could not handle, Federer could not save the last, which came two points later.

As soon as Federer’s forehand hit the net, Nadal dropped to the grass as if he had been hurled there, his racket flying out of his left hand. Among those standing and cheering in the front row of the Royal Box were Manuel Santana and Borg.

Nadal, a 22-year-old from Majorca, joined them both on Sunday by becoming the first man to complete the grueling French Open-Wimbledon double in the same year since Borg in 1980 and also becoming the first Spanish man to win here since Santana in 1966.

After four straight titles in Paris, Nadal finally had a Grand Slam title on a surface other than clay.

Nadal wanted to share his victory with his family, and after shaking Federer’s hand, he climbed into the players’ box to hug his parents, Sebastian and Ana Maria, and his coach and uncle, Toni. Nadal then became the first Wimbledon champion to walk across the sloped roof of the commentary booths to the royal box —flashbulbs lighting his way — to shake the hand of Spanish Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia.

As is his custom, Nadal did not strike a triumphant tone in victory. He has long been deeply respectful of Federer, even as he has built a 12-6 career record against him and beaten him in the last three French Open finals.

“He’s still the best,” Nadal said. “He’s still five-time champion here. Right now I have one, so for me, it’s a very, very important day.”

Federer, who had not dropped a set until the final, will still be ranked No. 1 on Monday, but this has clearly been Nadal’s season, with victories in two of the first three Grand Slam tournaments.

Federer came into 2008 hoping to match Pete Sampras’s record of 14 Grand Slam singles titles. He is still holding at 12, with his only tournament victories this year coming in minor tour events.

Federer certainly responded like a champion to Nadal’s pressure on Sunday, and he also dispelled concerns that — after winning just four games against Nadal in last month’s lopsided French Open final — he would be unable to stay with the physically imposing Nadal on grass.

But Federer said losing big on clay was a pinprick compared with the sledgehammer blow of losing by so little here. “There’s not even a comparison,” he said. “This is a disaster. Paris was nothing in comparison.”

Down by two sets to love, Federer worked his way back into contention, weathering an 81-minute rain delay late in the third set, and then controlling the ensuing tie breaker with four aces and a service winner.

In the fourth-set tie breaker, Nadal took control and led, 5-2, with two serves to come, but instead of closing out the match, he played tentatively for the first time, double-faulting and then hitting a backhand weakly in the net. “I got nervous,” Nadal said.

It happens, even to indefatigable Spaniards, but Federer showed no nerves on the two match points soon to come. He saved the first at 6-7 with another service winner. He saved the second at 7-8 with a magnificent, pressure-proof backhand passing-shot winner down the line, after Nadal jerked Federer wide with a forehand approach shot.

But Nadal hardly looked like a broken man as they headed to a fifth set. “How can you not be 100 percent concentrated with sky-high motivation?” he said.

The sky was still a problem, however. Rain drove the players off court once more early in the fifth set with the score 2-2, deuce on Federer’s serve. But while a Monday finish was looking increasingly likely, the skies cleared, the tarp came off and the protagonists resumed play 28 minutes after they had stopped. They were able to finish just in time for the changing of the guard to be completed.

Not that Nadal is prepared to see it quite like that. “I don’t feel like the No. 1,” he said. “I’m not. I don’t like to feel that I’m something when I’m not.”

But there could be no doubt as he cried on court for a very different reason from last year — that Nadal now knows how it feels to be Wimbledon champion.

Lawyer: A-Rod and Madonna Had 'An Affair of the Heart'

Alex Rodriguez and Madonna Photo by: Ronald Asadorian / Splash News Online; Pascal Le Segretain / Getty

Lawyer: A-Rod and Madonna Had 'An Affair of the Heart'
Alex Rodriguez's relationship with Madonna was "an affair of the heart" – not "sexual infidelity" – according to Cynthia Rodriguez's lawyer.

Still, the baseball star's relationship with the singer "was the last straw" before the Yankee slugger's wife filed for divorce Monday, her Houston attorney, Earle Lilly, tells PEOPLE.

Lilly says that A-Rod was smitten with Madonna, but makes no claim of any sexual liaison. "The correct analysis is a relationship," he says. "Some people categorize an affair as something as sexual infidelity. We're not claming that. It's an affair of the heart."

Over the weekend, Madonna issued a statement to PEOPLE denying a romantic relationship with the baseball star, saying, "I have nothing to do with the state of his marriage."

In fact, "Madonna's name is not even mentioned in the papers," says Lilly. "We don't want the public to think this is an aggressive action against Madonna."

Still, Lilly maintains that A-Rod has behaved badly for "a good while" and his client, Cynthia Rodriguez, has had enough. "She's just a Greek Orthodox lady who has had as much as she can take," he says.

Shortly before 9 a.m. Monday, Cynthia's Miami attorney Maurice Kutner filed the divorce petition.

"This is an action for dissolution of marriage, which is being filed only after [Cynthia Rodriguez] has exhausted every effort to salvage the marriage of the parties," the document reads. "However, Alex has emotionally abandoned his wife and children and has left her with no choice but to divorce him."

Without naming any names, the document states, "The marriage of the parties is irretrievably broken because of the husband's extramarital affairs and other marital misconduct."

The couple were married Nov. 2, 2002 in Dallas. They have two daughters, Natasha, 3, and Ella, 2 months.

Both Lilly and Kutner maintain that their client hopes to settle the divorce as amicably as possible.

"Cynthia has made it very clear to me that she wants to take the high road and protect her children and herself," Kutner said shortly after filing the papers. "She wants to resolve the issues between Alex and herself in an amicable fashion."

A lawyer reportedly representing Alex Rodriguez did not immediately return calls for comment.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

All-Williams Wimbledon Final Is All Venus

Sisters for life and doubles partners later in the afternoon, Venus and Serena Williams put most of that aside for nearly two hours on Saturday at Wimbledon, smacking serves and ground strokes in each other’s direction with a vengeance and an accuracy that have often been lacking in their previous family reunions.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Venus Williams hugged Serena after defeating her 7-5, 6-4, to win her fifth Wimbledon singles title.

It had been five years since they squared off in a Grand Slam singles final, and the long wait produced one of their most consistently intense and entertaining matches despite the gusty conditions that often made Centre Court feel more like the front deck of a ship.

But there is still no doubt about which Williams sister has the best record at Wimbledon.

Despite a ferocious start from Serena, Venus absorbed the shock and gradually imposed her long-limbed presence on her favorite tennis court. Her 7-5, 6-4 victory gave her a fifth Wimbledon singles title, leaving Serena with two.

“I can’t believe it’s five, but when you’re in the final against Serena Williams, five seems so far away from that first point,” Venus said in her postmatch remarks to the crowd. “She played so awesome. It was really a task to beat her.”

Although Serena hugged her older sister at the net and was gracious during the ceremony, this defeat was clearly a major blow. Serena has worked herself into fine shape this season, but she has not won a Grand Slam singles title since her surprise run at the 2007 Australian Open.

“I don’t think I’m satisfied with the way I played today,” Serena said. “For me, there’s nothing to be satisfied about.”

Serena was feeling cheerier by the end of the night, after she and Venus won their third women’s doubles title here by beating Lisa Raymond of the United States and Samantha Stosur of Australia, 6-2, 6-2.

This Wimbledon was a Williams revival indeed, but the match that mattered most was the singles. “I had a feeling that they were finally going to play a really good final,” the nine-time Wimbledon singles champion Martina Navratilova said. “Today was fantastic tennis.”

Serena beat Venus in their previous Wimbledon finals in 2002 and 2003. But the record books now make it clear that the All England Club is more Venus’s stamping ground than hers. This was Venus’s second straight title and her third in four years, but it was the number five that popped into her head immediately after she had secured the match on a backhand error by Serena.

“I think definitely winning this tournament so many times definitely puts you in the stratosphere, to be honest, just because of what this tournament means,” Venus said. “I think had I had this achievement at any other tournament, it would have been awesome, but not nearly the same meaning as at Wimbledon.”

Venus, who was seeded seventh this year, is certainly a different player here. Although she had not reached the final of any tournament this season, she swept through the Wimbledon draw without dropping a set.

“She loves it here,” said Venus’s hitting partner, David Witt. “She comes here, and it just seems like she just gets here and glows. She loves the grass, and obviously confidence is everything in this game.”

Ian Walton/Getty Images

Venus Williams rebounded from a slow start to win her second straight Wimbledon title and fifth over all, defeating her sister Serena, 7-5, 6-4.

On grass, Venus’s huge serves and flat ground strokes are penetrating. On grass, she is more inclined to put her volleys to use. At 6 feet 1 inch, she covers a lot of air and space at the net.

That ability, with her clutch serving under pressure, was one of the keys to this victory. Venus came to the net 18 times and lost only 3 points when she did.

With the wind playing nasty tricks, Venus repeatedly grabbed her service tosses out of the air instead of hitting them and often pushed well beyond the 25-second time limit before serving. During a changeover, she was told by the chair umpire Carlos Ramos that she needed to speed up.

But Venus was all too aware that her younger sister was returning aggressively and effectively. Venus lost her serve once in each set, but she could have been broken on three or four more occasions. Serena failed to convert on 11 of her 13 break points, as Venus frequently jammed her by hitting serves into her body. In the first game of the second set, Venus held after hitting the fastest serve ever recorded by a woman at Wimbledon, 129 miles per hour.

“I think that was her tactic, was to serve every ball to the body; I’m glad she did it, because next time I know what to expect,” Serena said.

“I knew what she was doing. It was very readable.”

When Serena finally broke Venus in the second set, prevailing on her seventh break point of a marathon game to take a 2-1 lead, she then lost her own serve in the next game to let Venus get back to 2-2.

Wimbledon: Women’s Final

Serena appeared dejected after that. Although she was still an imposing presence on the court, Venus was the more audible presence down the stretch, shrieking as she leaned into her ground strokes and playing world-class defense. Serena was uncharacteristically quiet.

She had started more strongly, winning 10 of the first 11 points with a flurry of winners and forcing Venus to scramble to avert a first-set rout. But with Serena leading, 4-2, Venus scrambled back to 4-4.

“I don’t think she made me not play well; I think the conditions were really tough out there,” Serena said of the wind. “I know she was under the same conditions, but it was just really, really tough. She lifted the level of her game, and I should have lifted mine. But instead, I think mine went down.”

The ninth game of the first set proved significant. Venus saved three break points. At game point, Serena hit a backhand floater cross court that she clearly thought was going to be wide. She yelled, but the ball landed in.

Ramos called a let, but after Venus and Serena approached the chair, Ramos ended up pronouncing, “Game Venus.”

Serena had conceded the point. “Serena is the ultimate sportsperson; we both are,” Venus said. “We don’t take injury timeouts. We just play.”

According to a spokesman for the Wimbledon referee’s office, Ramos had initially called a let because he considered Serena’s shout to be an “inadvertent hindrance.” If she had not conceded the point, it would have been replayed.

Serena declined to discuss the incident in detail after the match, but she still managed to hold serve to 5-5 before being broken in her next service game to lose the set. She later dropped her serve again to lose the match, saving the first match point at 15-40 with an ace but knocking a backhand wide at the end of a long rally.

There were no leaps in the air from Venus after the title had been secured, no unbridled joy. But Venus was clearly over the moon, and she and her sister have each won eight times in their 16 often-anticlimactic encounters.

This, however, was one of the best.

July 6, 2008. NY Times