US DIARY: Don't expect Michelle to do a Hillary
DON'T expect Michelle Obama to follow in Hillary's footsteps and run for office after her husband's term ends. The First Lady, whose name has been floated for various public roles following her popular success on the campaign trail, says she simply doesn't have the patience to play the political games necessary to accomplish change on Capitol Hill.
"I have learned from my husband, watching him, that it does require a great deal of patience to really feel the full impact of the work that you do on the ground. It doesn't happen right away," Mrs Obama told Barbara Walters during the couple's first post-election interview, which aired stateside on Wednesday night.
"She has a bigger difficulty biting her tongue," her husband chimed in, earning a smackdown from his wife, who retorted: "I think I've done pretty well at that."
The uncharacteristically frank exchange between the president and his wife provided a welcome relief to a litany of inane questions the couple were forced to field from Walters who, at one point, asked about their sex life. Or, as she quaintly put it later, "how they keep the fire going in their marriage".
After an awkward pause, and some possible tongue-biting by the First Lady, the Pres patiently delivered a boiler-plate reply: "We've been married now 20 years, and like every marriage, I think you have your ups and your downs. But if you work through the tough times, the respect and love that you feel deepens."
He was, though, a little less scripted when Walters asked about how he will cope when 14-year-old daughter Malia wants to start dating. "I always talk about how one of the main incentives for running again was continuing Secret Service protection so that there are men with guns around at all times," the Pres joked in an unfortunate gag given that the interview, taped on December 11 was postponed from its original air-date that week out of respect for the victims of the December 14 Newtown shootings.
Natalie steals Kristen's glory
Kristen Stewart has to be feeling a bit hard done by. The 22-year-old Twilight star, who earlier this year was named Hollywood's highest paid actress on $34.5m (€26m) by Forbes magazine, came in second to Natalie Portman in the magazine's more prestigious list of most bankable stars.
Portman ( Black Swan, No Strings Attached), who landed the No 1 slot for earning the most bang for the buck (returning an estimated $42.70 for every dollar a studio spends on her), just inched out Stewart whose numbers, on the strength of the Twilight franchise and Snow White and the Huntsman came in $40.60. The scandal-plagued starlet did, however, manage to out-power boyfriend Robert Pattinson, whose $31.70 placed him in fourth place, just behind Shia LaBeouf ($35.80), Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe ($30.50) rounds out the top five – an honour best put in perspective by yet another Forbes listing – for the Most Overpaid Actors of 2012 – which names and shames comic Eddie Murphy as least likely (at $2.30) to perform at the box office.
Anne suffers for 'Les Mis'
ANNE Hathaway wasn't the only cast member of Les Mis who went to extreme measures (think dropping 25lbs on a three-week diet of dried oatmeal paste) to lose weight for her role in the box-office hit which pulled in a record $18.2m when it opened in the States on Christmas Day.
Hathaway's leading man Hugh Jackman also undertook a savage diet and workout regime to shape up for his role as Jean Valjean in the lavish Hooper-directed musical.
"Weirdly, this was almost more physical in a way than an X-Men movie!" the Aussie actor revealed in a series of Oscar-buzz-building interviews last week.
"He's actually written as an ox of a man, so I had to eat seven times a day with no carbohydrates, but then you had the exercise," he added.
Jackman's transformation for the role, however, was more than skin deep. Having already spent nine years working with NYC vocal trainer Joan Lader, the actor then had to adjust the A-Z of his everyday routine to keep his voice in tip-top condition which included skipping coffee, drinking seven litres of water a day and taking ice-cold baths. But, in what was probably Jackman's most winning quote for Oscar voters, the actor was refreshingly plain-spoken about his desire to win an Academy Award. "In our business it is the highest currency there is," he said. "It is a dream."
Jessica's a smart dumb blonde
Jessica Simpson may be the smartest dumb blonde ever. The 32-year-old reality TV star has found a genius way to keep her $3m contract as the celebrity spokeswoman for Weight Watchers (WW) without the drudgery of actually having to lose any weight.
On Christmas Day, Simpson, who signed-on with WW following the birth of her daughter last May, confirmed rumours that she is again pregnant by tweeting a photo of baby Maxwell sitting in front of a sand-drawn sign reading "Big Sis" – a strategic move that was swiftly followed by a statement from the company announcing there have been "no changes to our business agreement with Jessica", who will now be featured in a new 'Expect Amazing' ad campaign.
Simpson, who lost an impressive 50lbs on the system, may be one of the few celebs capable of pulling off this kind of stunt. In a recent interview with TV host Katie Couric, she expressed amazement that she hadn't lost her pregnancy weight during the gruelling process of giving birth. "I thought my doctors were telling me that it was just a lot of water and whenever my waters broke my whole entire stomach would go down. All the weight did not come out with the baby," the CEO of her own $1bn fashion empire informed a bemused Couric.