BABY DRAMA
Son Sean Preston's fall from a high chair leads to tense moments for Britney and Kevin

When Britney Spears told PEOPLE that motherhood was "an intense experience" a few months back, she was not envisioning the dramatic scenario at the Malibu home she shares with husband Kevin Federline. According to a source close to them, a nanny was removing their 7-month-old son Sean Preston from his high chair on April 1 when something in the chair snapped as she was holding him. The baby slipped from the nanny's arms and fell to the floor, bruising his head. (Britney and Kevin were in another room.) They summoned a doctor who examined the child and said he seemed fine, the source continued. Six days later, however, Spears and Federline became worried about his condition and took him to Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, where the child had been born. That resulted in "an automatic report by the hospital to the Department of Children and Family Services," says Spears' lawyer Marty Singer. "DCFS immediately responded and determined there was no problem and no reason to open a formal investigation. They determined that the parents were not involved in any injury and that nothing improper was done within the home." The most important news now, says the source: "Britney and Kev are back home with Sean P. He's doing fine."

SINGLE MINDED
He may have a new girl at his side, but Nick Lachey's new album reveals he's still solo

On an April 8 weekend trip to Las Vegas, Nick Lachey was all smiles and schmoozing. He attended a boxing match, took in a performance by a sequined bikini-clad Pamela Anderson at the Pussycat Dolls Lounge—and met up with his latest lady of the moment, MTV veejay Vanessa Minnillo. "When he saw her he had a huge grin on his face," says one onlooker of Lachey and Minnillo's 2:30 a.m. meet-up at Pure Nightclub. (They left together at 4 a.m.) "They walked right up to VIP, sat down on the bed and the curtains closed."

This wasn't the first time Lachey, 32, and Minnillo, 25, have been spotted getting cozy with each other: The week before, they danced it up at a New York City bar. Although Lachey appears to be giving his all to shrugging off heartbreak, some of the songs on his upcoming album suggest that his soon-to-be ex may still be on his mind. On a track titled "I Do It for You" on What's Left of Me (due out May 9), Lachey sings, "I want you to burn/ I want you to steal/ I want you to bleed and see how it feels." Other songs include "On Your Own" and "Resolution." Lachey won't be specific when asked about the subject of his lyrics, saying only that they are about his life.

WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?

At the L.A. boutique Kitson, Team Nick T-shirts are outselling Team Jessica T-shirts 20 to 1.

KELLIE'S NEW LOOK

Before another one bit the dust, all eight finalists rocked out Queen-style on April 11, from their music to their makeup. To fit the theme, "I wanted the makeup to look 'out there,'" says Idol makeup artist Mezhgan, who notes that she gave the normally conservative Kellie Pickler "more of a rocker chick look with the smoky eye. She was afraid at first, but she loved it."

ASSAULTED?

The problems never seem to cease for Paula Abdul. The latest: Abdul, 43, says she sustained a concussion and back injuries after an altercation at a party in L.A. April 2. "She appears to know the man allegedly involved," says the LAPD's Lt. Paul Vernon, who declined to name a suspect. Abdul bounced back on The Tonight Show April 10, telling Jay Leno, "I was actually knocked unconscious, which means I saw stars. Therefore I didn't see Simon Cowell." Ba-da-boom!

CATCHING MCPHEEVER

The O.C.'s Rachel Bilson was in the Idol audience (left) April 4 to play favorites, cheering on Katharine McPhee, her schoolmate at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif. "We did a musical together—Once Upon a Mattress," says Bilson, 24, who adds that McPhee, 22, was always bound for stardom: "She has an amazing voice and she's so cute. I hope she wins."

SEACREST, IN & OUT

Seacrest, in! The Idol host bought Kevin Costner's five-bedroom, 10,000-sq.-ft. house in the Hollywood Hills for a reported $11.5 million. Out: Ryan's recurring stubble, if those taking a people.com poll had their way—89 percent of the 99,424 voters preferred him baby-faced.

• Log on to people.com to vote on this week's hot Idol topic.

SEEN & HEARD

Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino sat behind the judges, and though she was backstage during Chris Daughtry's performance, she danced and clapped wildly from her seat for Paris Bennett (as did Taye Diggs).... Simon Cowell had a headache and called for Excedrin at the first commercial break.

... Hey, hey, it's a Monkee—in the audience! "My favorites tonight were Chris and Katharine," says Monkees' drummer Micky Dolenz, who also compared his old group to the show. "They're both phenomenons," he says. "But this is about talent." And the Monkees weren't? "Ha! That is up to you."

ENGAGED! EXPECTING!

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard have a double reason to celebrate: Their reps tell PEOPLE exclusively that she and the Jarhead star are engaged and expecting their first child. "They're just the perfect couple," says Gyllenhaal's Stranger Than Fiction costar Kristin Chenoweth. "It seems like a good match." Gyllenhaal, 28, who's been dating Sarsgaard, 35, for more than four years, was spotted at the Cancún airport April 9 looking "healthy and glowing," says an onlooker, adding that she snacked on Mexican fare. "She looked really happy. Little kids would run by and she would smile and giggle. I thought, either she's the nicest person in the world or she has major baby lust!"

BAD BLOOD IN THE CLUB

This much is known: Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson and Brett Ratner were at the L.A. bar the Dime on April 6. Simpson chatted with Ratner, her director for the "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" video. Lohan sent over drinks. Lohan walked over to their table. They talked. After that ... not quite a bar fight but definitely not hugs and kisses. Says one source: "Lindsay seemed annoyed that Brett was sitting at Jessica's table." (Lohan and Ratner have been friends for a while.) Says another: Lindsay was upset that Ratner and Simpson didn't hang with her that night. Simpson, he continued, "wasn't going to ditch her friends [she came with] just because Lindsay Lohan showed up."

FRANKIE LEAVES HOLLYWOOD

Having wrapped the final episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Frankie Muniz is moving on—and fast. Taking a break from acting, Muniz, 20, competed in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race on April 8, taking 11th place out of 21 drivers (among them Patrick Dempsey and William Shatner). Next up? "I got signed to Jensen MotorSport," Muniz tells Scoop. "It's Formula One stuff."

J.LO SUES EX

Their romance ended eight years ago, and Jennifer Lopez wants to keep it in the past. She filed suit April 10 to stop ex-husband Ojani Noa from peddling a steamy memoir (tentative title: The Unknown Truth: A Passionate Portrait of a Serial Thriller) that, among other juicy tidbits, claims Lopez had an affair with current husband Marc Anthony while he was still married. The lawsuit says the manuscript violates a confidentiality agreement Noa signed last year. But Noa, a onetime model, counters, according to the suit, that he wrote the proposal before signing.

NICOLLETTE VS. NIKLAS

Back in 2004, Niklas Soderblom bought fiancée and Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan a 1.76-carat round-cut diamond Tiffany engagement ring. Now she's engaged to Michael Bolton, and Soderblom is selling the ring on eBay. "Why do I want to keep it?" he says. "I don't need that thing. It's a nice way to finish off something nasty with something nasty." The ring has a starting bid of $20,000. Says Soderblom: "If somebody buys this and it makes them happy, it would be perfect."

GLOBAL BABY
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie shop for baby clothes (think pink!) in Paris before settling into an African resort

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt flew from France to Africa last week—but not before stocking up on baby stuff. "We think it's a girl, but we're not 100-percent certain," an observer at a Paris boutique says he overheard Angelina Jolie say during a recent private shopping jaunt when the actress and Pitt bought dresses, socks, a bonnet and a layette. Still, he said, Jolie also purchased a gray T-shirt with the word "boy" on it ... "just in case." Besides, she said, "since I already have a boy and a girl, it doesn't really matter."

Where in the world will the baby be born? The globetrotting pair arrived in the southwest African country of Namibia on April 4 with Maddox, 4, and Zahara, 15 months, and immediately holed up in a tiny, beachside lodge—with very tight security. Among their first adventures: visiting a game reserve. A local source tells Scoop that Jolie "fell in love with the country" when she filmed Beyond Borders there in 2002 and is "here for the birth of the child." (Another source tells Scoop that the couple have a plane on constant standby should they change their minds.) Although Pitt has recently checked out business properties in France, Italy and the Dominican Republic, back in L.A. three construction crews have been working around the clock to finish renovations on his Craftsman-style home.

  • Contributors:
  • SCOOP CONTRIBUTORS Olivia Abel,
  • Rennie Dyball,
  • Bob Meadows,
  • Karen Schneider,
  • Charlotte Triggs,
  • Marisa Wong,
  • KC Baker,
  • Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna,
  • Jed Dreben,
  • Mary Green,
  • Liza Hamm,
  • Kim Lansing,
  • Marisa Laudadio,
  • Ken Lee,
  • Peter Mikelbank,
  • Monica Rizzo,
  • Frank Sw.