Tuesday 12 December 2017

Stars brave blizzard to honour Natasha

A powerful blizzard in Manhattan last Wednesday didn't stop the likes of Sigourney Weaver, Brooke Shields, Cyndi Lauper, Cynthia Nixon, Donna Karan and James Gandolfini from donning black-tie to attend an Amfar (American Foundation for Aids Research) benefit in honour of the late Natasha Richardson, who was a long-time champion for HIV/Aids research.

"She made a wonderful boeuf bourguignon," said Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci, who emceed the dinner at Cipriani. "You never had a bad meal at Natasha's house."

Julianna Margulies also waxed lyrical about Richardson's skills as a hostess. "If you slept over at her house, first thing in the morning there was fresh baked bread," she said.

However, the most poignant tribute of the night came from Meryl Streep, who followed a partially clad Lady Gaga to perform onstage.

"It really takes guts to get up and sing after Lady Gaga," Streep joked before singing The Parting Glass and bringing tears to the eyes of everyone in the ballroom, including Natasha's mother, Vanessa Redgrave, and sister, Joely Richardson.

Perhaps the most oddball tribute of the night came from Sarah Ferguson, who revealed: "I always wear a helmet now when I ski in honour of Natasha Richardson."

Alec blames Kim for row

Alec Baldwin is blaming his ex-wife Kim Basinger for turning a family argument into yet another media circus.

The latest showdown between the feuding couple (who divorced in 2002) erupted last week when New York paramedics got a phone call from their 14-year-old daughter Ireland (who is living in LA with her mom) saying she'd just gotten into a telephone argument with her dad who was threatening to kill himself.

Baldwin, of course, made headlines in 2008 when he called Ireland a "rude, thoughtless little pig" in an irate phone message leaked to the media -- an episode, he admitted last year, that had him contemplating suicide.

According to emergency dispatchers who answered the call last week, Ireland said her father told her: "I'm tired of this. I'm going to take some pills. I'm going to end this. . ." prompting paramedics to rush to his Central Park West apartment. The 30 Rock star was admitted to hospital, but released after an hour.

The next morning, Baldwin's mouthpiece called the incident "a misunderstanding on one person's part", explaining his client had taken one sleeping pill (a fact confirmed by police) and was planning on a good night's sleep when emergency workers arrived on his doorstep.

By week's end, though, it was clear that Baldwin and his friends are fighting back. "There were no drugs. There was no alcohol. And there were no pills or threat of pills," one well-placed source told reporters, while another fumed: "This is another example of Kim's sickness. Alec came back from the hospital and there were cameras outside his house at 2am. Gee, I wonder how they found out?"

Baldwin, who punched out one of the photographers camped outside his apartment building, is tipped to co-host the Oscars with Steve Martin early next month, and his buddies claim Basinger's jealousy at his landing such a plum job was behind Ireland's call to the emergency services.

Edwards in threat to sue

Sounds like Elizabeth Edwards isn't planning to tone down the hoopla surrounding her divorce anytime soon.

Hot on the heels of reports that John has proposed to Rielle Hunter (baby-mama of his two-year-old daughter Frances Quinn) comes the news that Elizabeth is threatening to sue Andrew Young, her husband's former aide, who recently published a tell-all book about his role in her husband's seedy affair.

The fact that Elizabeth is threatening legal action against Young doesn't surprise anyone --she doesn't exactly come off well in his bestselling book, The Politician. What is stunning, however, is Elizabeth's reasoning: according to Young, she's going after him by alleging that his role in covering up the affair "was partly responsible for the failure of the Edwards' marriage".

Turns out the Edwards' home-state of North Carolina is just one of a handful of states which recognises an archaic point of law ("alienation of affection") to enable a cuckolded spouse to sue a third party (usually the one with whom the errand spouse has committed adultery) for causing irreparable damage to the marriage.

"We have some very powerful people coming after us," Young said last week outside a courthouse (where he had been subpoenaed to turn over a videotape that purportedly shows the former presidential hopeful having sex with Hunter.) "Are we scared?" Young asked. "Absolutely," he said, adding: "They've called me and my family liars and we're going to fight to the very end." An attorney for Elizabeth Edwards declined to comment on Young's claim, which would suggest game on.

End of era for Kennedys

Six months after the death of his father, Patrick Kennedy announced last Thursday that he won't be seeking re-election in November, marking the first time in a half-century that a Kennedy will not be serving in Congress. The decision, he said in a statement, was one he made with the help of the late senator last summer.

"I had a good conversation with my dad about what was meaningful in my life and what was important.

"His feeling was that he wanted to tell me essentially that whatever I chose to do he, you know, loved me through and through. He just wanted the best for me," said the 42-year-old, who has struggled with substance abuse issues and been in and out of treatment since crashing his car outside the US Capitol in 2006.

Kennedy became emotional as he described how "blessed" he feels having served with his father in Congress, and described how the two grew even closer late in his father's life.

"I feel like I'm so blessed to have had the 15 years that I had with my dad serving in Congress, and especially the last two years. To have gotten as close as I did with him, and to know that, ultimately, it's personal relationships that matter the most."

Sunday Independent

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