She Got the Rock!
Kid Rock proposes to Pamela Anderson in the Nevada desert

Focus

When it comes to rock stars, conventional rules of engagement are off. On April 11, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Kid Rock (a.k.a. Robert Ritchie), 31, hopped onto a black motorcycle and drove his girlfriend, Pamela Anderson, 34, to a gravel highway strip in the desert south of Las Vegas. There, his tourmate Uncle Kracker, wearing an Elvis jumpsuit and waiting in a pink Cadillac, handed him a ring. Rock then proposed to Anderson, who accepted. Says her publicist: "She's elated."

The happy news was but a brief respite from the V.I.P. star's bitter court battle with her ex-husband, rocker Tommy Lee, for the custody of their sons Brandon, 5, and Dylan, 4. (Estranged since their 1998 divorce, they currently have joint custody.) In the latest salvo, fired April 9, Lee, 39, asked L.A.'s superior court to grant him primary custody of the boys. The musician claims his ex-wife launched "a negative media campaign against [him]...in blatant disregard of the best interests of the children." (Last month Anderson publicly accused Lee of infecting her with hepatitis C via a shared tattoo needle; he denies the charge.) He also says Anderson's judgment is impaired, citing her recent objections to Lee showing and discussing videotapes of the Sept. 11 attacks with their sons as well as to allowing them to visit Lee's ailing father shortly before his death last year.

Will marriage to Kid Rock affect her custody battle? Lee's lawyer Lance S. Spiegel says that he thinks it will "have no impact one way or the other." A custody evaluation is scheduled for May 15.

Home Free: Rowling's Gift
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling needed no incantations—just a very generous impulse—to work a bit of magic for an old friend. Rowling, 36, worth reportedly more than $300 million, hasn't forgotten her pre-Potter years as a struggling single mother. Nor has she forgotten her confidante from those times Fiona Wilson, 40, an office clerk and single mom with two children. Rowling, it was recently revealed, presented Wilson with the deed to her old home (valued at about $216,000) in Edinburgh. (The writer has a house a few miles away, a $1.9 million mansion.) Loyalty is repaid with loyalty, says Wilson's neighbor William Ford: "Fiona is very protective of her two children and of J.K."

Don't Play It Again, Sam
"The heart wants what it wants," Woody Allen once famously said. So does his ex-girlfriend, Mia Farrow. When TNT began putting together a documentary paying homage to the auteur's movies, Farrow, 56, asked that film clips featuring her be cut from the program. (The actress's relationship with Allen, 66, turned to enmity when Farrow discovered the director wooing Farrow's adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, now 31, whom he married in 1997.) "I had hoped Mia would be in it," says film critic Richard Schickel, who produced the tribute, which airs May 4. "She just didn't feel like doing it, so we edited her material out." Although Farrow starred in 13 of Allen's films (including Hannah and Her Sisters), a TNT rep insists the show will go on: "It's not about what went on between Woody and Mia."

Van-Demonium
When Sammy Hagar replaced David Lee Roth as Van Halen's front man in 1985 and led the group to continued success, "that irritated Dave quite a bit," says Hagar, 54, who left the band in 1996. The bad blood continued until last month when, after three failed attempts to reunite with Van Halen, Roth, 47, accepted Hagar's offer to launch a joint tour—Van Halen tunes without a Van Halen family member. Fans are already calling the tour—which kicks off in Cleveland on May 29—Sans Halen. But don't expect to see the former rivals singing any duets. "This is not Billy and Elton," says Hagar. "He's been my competitor since day one."

McCartney: Wet It Be
All Stella McCartney wanted was a roof over her head...with a shower on it. So the ex-Beatle's daughter, a fashion designer for Gucci, commissioned an open-air stall surrounded by a 6-ft.-tall screen on the roof terrace of her four-story London home—perfect for spring showers. But ever since a neighbor complained to the local housing council that the bulky structure was an eyesore, only raindrops have fallen on her head. McCartney, 30, has been asked to "get rid of the shower and lower the height of the screen" around the terrace's perimeter, says a council spokesman, to make the screen as inconspicuous as possible.

Wrong Number?

One life lesson Pa Ingalls forgot to impart: No one likes a telemarketer. Screen Actors Guild president Melissa Gilbert learned the hard way after sending out a 30-second prerecorded phone message to members' homes. She urged actors to support easing restrictions on talent agencies investing in production companies. On April 8 the Hollywood board of SAG—acting on complaints from its constituents—voted 19-6, in a symbolic gesture, to censure Gilbert, 37.

"I was charged, tried and convicted in absentia," said a defiant Gilbert, who added that debate should adhere to "the limits of mutual respect." But please—no calls at dinnertime.

Fungi Fight: Ed Battles Mold
Camping out in a $23,000-a-month rented house may sound superswank, but to Ed McMahon it's unbearable. "We can't go home," fumes the entertainer, 79, forced to evacuate his Beverly Hills mansion last September when sticky, black mold was discovered in the walls. The former Tonight Show sidekick, who is suing the American Equity Insurance Company for more than $20 million, claims the toxic spores invaded his home last July after contractors hired by the insurance carrier botched the cleanup of a ruptured water pipe. A month later Muffin, the family's wheaton terrier mix, died of an alleged respiratory illness. McMahon and his wife, Pamela, 48, fell ill with coughing and migraines. American Equity says it "has worked very hard to assist the McMahons and has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to date in connection with their claim," adding, "We will continue to work with them."

POP QUIZ
with Rob Lowe

The West Wing's Rob Lowe, 38, turned his attention from politics to medicine recently, taping a video for patients and their families explaining the rigors of chemotherapy. (A biotech firm will distribute the tape free through the Web site www.bymyside.com.) His costar is his father, attorney Chuck Lowe, 62, a cancer survivor. The younger Lowe spoke with Scoop about the experience and life in TV's White House.

What inspired this project?

My great-grandmother had breast cancer, my grandmother had breast cancer, and my father, I'm happy to say, is a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor.

Does it make you think of your own mortality?

Definitely.

What do you and your father discuss on the video?

His experience and how important it is for families to take an active role in treatment.

How's his health?

He's great. He had two bouts with cancer, and he's been cancer-free for about seven years, so he's a success story. God bless his heart, he looks like a male model.

But back then...?

It was an unbelievably stressful time. Nobody should ever have to see their parents scared.

You two are close.

He's my best friend.

That relationship seems to carry over to your sons Matthew, 8, and John Owen, 6. Do they visit you on the set?

They love to be in the White House.

How about the real White House?

We visited during the last months of the Clinton Administration.

Were the kids impressed?

No. They liked the squirrels on the lawn better. One of my great memories is standing in the Oval Office, introducing Matthew to the President, and him going, "Dad, Dad, squirrels!"

One last West Wing question: Has Martin Sheen ever shown signs of being a closet Republican?

Are you kidding me? He's more likely to be a closet Martian.

ON THE BLOCK

SEASIDE AND CLEESE-SIDE

John Cleese doesn't think he's selling a house. "I'm actually buying a neighbor," says the Monty Python alum and comic actor (A Fish Called Wanda, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone). Cleese, 62, purchased the house next door to his own beachfront mansion in Montecito, Calif., so he could have a voice in picking his new neighbor. Potential buyers must be ready to plunk down $5.5 million for the three-story, 6,000-sq.-ft. villa with four bedrooms, deck and sauna. Who need not apply? "No unicyclists," says Cleese. "Nobody with bagpipes or an accordion. And no Ozzy Osbourne wannabes."

  • Contributors:
  • Ting Yu,
  • Jennifer Wren,
  • Lorenzo Benet,
  • Liz Corcoran,
  • Caris Davis,
  • Scott Douglas,
  • Michael Fleeman,
  • John Hannah,
  • Maureen Harrington,
  • Bob Meadows,
  • Valerie O'Barr,
  • Frank Swertlow,
  • Pamela Warrick.