Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton
, 52, is the descendant of a slave owned by relatives of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond
(R-S.C.), according to genealogists hired by the New York Daily News
. "It was probably the most shocking thing in my life," Sharpton said. The eight-term senator Thurmond, once a staunch segregationist, began denouncing those views by the 1970s. He died in 2003 at age 100.
, 22, will be sent to Iraq, Britain's Ministry of Defence confirmed Feb. 22. His regiment, the Blues and Royals, is expected to deploy this spring.
(inset), 28, is facing a second wrongful death lawsuit in connection with an L.A. car crash that killed Awatef Aboudihaj, 38. The complaint was filed Feb. 8 on behalf of Aboudihaj's two sons, who lost their mother after the former Moesha
star's SUV struck her vehicle on a freeway Dec. 30. The suit seeks unspecified damages, which would be determined at trial. Brandy was previously sued Jan. 30 for $50 million on behalf of Aboudihaj's parents.... Bobby Brown
, 40, was arrested Feb. 25 in Attleboro, Mass., and jailed for failure to appear in court and pay $19,150 in child support and other debts. The singer—in the midst of divorce proceedings with Whitney Houston
—owes the money to his former girlfriend Kim Ward
, 39, with whom he has two children, LaPrincia, 17, and Bobby III, 15.... Courtmartialed U.S. soldier Sgt. Paul Cortez
, 24, was sentenced Feb. 22 to 100 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of felony murder, rape and conspiracy for a March 2006 war crime in Iraq. Cortez admitted to helping plan and carry out the sexual assault of Abeer Qassim al-Janabi
, a 14-year-old girl, and the subsequent killings of her and her family.
Comedian Kathy Griffin
, 46, lost her father, John Griffin
, 90, to complications from congestive heart failure and multiple myeloma on Feb. 17 in Los Angeles.... Rapper Chris Ludacris Bridges
, 29, is also in mourning. His dad, Wayne Bridges
, 52, died Feb. 25 in Atlanta from an undisclosed illness. The rapper dedicated his recent Grammy wins to his father.
, star of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
, and screenwriter husband David Benioff
(Troy), said hello to their baby girl Frances Pen
, born Feb. 20 in L.A. Weighing in at 6 lbs. 10 oz., the newborn is the first child for Peet, 35, and Benioff, 36, who wed last fall. "[Amanda] has always wanted to be a mom," costar Sarah Paulson
recently told PEOPLE. "She's going to be spectacular!"... Country star Brad Paisley
, 34, and his wife, According to Jim's Kimberly Williams-Paisley
, 35, welcomed son William Huckleberry
Feb. 22. "He is a healthy, gorgeous baby," figure skating champion Scott Hamilton
, a family friend, tells PEOPLE. "Kim's eyes are sparkling."