Star Eats Crow
Plus, McConaughey outwits a coyote, and Stefani wears a yak-hair wig.
Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey split. For real. The tabs go nuts over the confirmation—posted on Us' Web site last Wednesday—that the newlyweds are officially separated. Eating the most crow is Star, which took the unusual step of calling out its rivals two weeks ago in this subhead: "Contrary to those false reports in Us Weekly and Life & Style, Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson never split and are putting the sizzle back in their marriage." And last week its cover declared "Jessica Finally PREGNANT!" adding, in tiny letters, "—say sources." Each tabloid has a slightly different take on the breakup, but most agree that it was at Jessica's instigation. People evenhandedly acknowledges that Lachey and Simpson's camps both have their own versions of the story and offers a handy he-said, she-said chart. And InTouch presents its customary impossible-to-know details: "Suddenly all the hurt and painful memories of the past year began swirling around in Jessica's head." And: "Nick turned and walked towards the front door as his wife of three years crumpled into tears."
Matthew McConaughey takes on a coyote. The Enquirer reports that People's Sexiest Man Alive won a dogfight with a coyote in a Los Angeles park. The star was apparently on a morning run when he heard a woman scream, and he found a mom and a frightened little girl cowering as a coyote circled them. "Matthew never broke stride! He ran straight at the beast, howling like a mad dog—and the freaked coyote streaked for the nearby woods!" The native Texan said, "Where I come from, we've got lots of coyotes … and you've just got to learn to speak their language."
Paris Hilton, fortune-seeking missile.
Greek-heir- hopper Paris Hilton is reported to be having the same problems with the family of current beau Stavros Niarchos III that she had with former fiance Paris Latsis' clan. " 'To both families, Paris is a missile aimed at the heart of their fortunes,' a source tells Star. 'They think she's a schemer using all her bedroom skills to seduce their sons.' " But if a Paris-Stavros union is the Niarchos family's nightmare (the source adds, "they just feel she isn't the right kind of woman to bear their grandchildren"), it's also the Hilton parents' dream, "a way out of the social Siberia they're in because of their daughter's shenanigans." A "family friend" tells Star that they want Paris "to marry a wealthy European to regain their status in New York society."
Gwen Stefani's fake hair. Star asks its "newly appointed wig watcher, hair-and-makeup artist Maret Asaro" her opinion on the pop star's luscious blonde coif. The verdict? Fake! Asaro says Stefani sports a "very expensive lace-front wig" made of human or yak hair, and that it costs about $7,000.
Britney consults a psychic. Life & Style reports that the new mother is so distressed by turmoil in her marriage to Kevin Federline, she's turning to a psychic to give her life direction. A Spears "pal" tells the tab, "the seer is advising Britney to stay with Kevin—at least until she gets what she wants: another baby." The Enquirer reports that the fledgling rap star has spent $1 million of his wife's money making his album. "A source close to the couple" says, "Kevin's like a runaway freight train when it comes to blowing Britney's money."
Angelina and Brad go to Pakistan. All the tabs report on the do-gooding globe-trotters' trip to earthquake-ravaged northern Pakistan, with many including 800 numbers and URLs where readers can make donations—who says celebrity activists don't do any good? The couple also met with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, making for a Nixon-meets-Elvis–style photo. InTouch says the couple is moving forward on fronts beyond Central Asia: The tab says the couple have wrapped up prenuptial negotiations and are on track to marry before the end of the year. The agreement is said to allow Pitt visitation rights with Jolie's children, even in the event of a divorce.
Matt Damon saves Robert De Niro.
According to the Enquirer, the co-stars of the upcoming film The Good Shepherd were eating lunch on-set when a chunk of De Niro's sandwich went down the wrong pipe. "Matt leapt up, grabbed the Oscar-winner from behind, executed a perfect Heimlich Maneuver and … BARF! … out popped the menacing morsel."
Ben Wasserstein is an associate editor at New York magazine.