Nicole Richie—allegedly high on Vicodin and pot—is arrested for driving under the influence
There's nothing simple about Nicole Richie's life these days. In the early hours of Dec. 11 the 25-year-old starlet was spotted driving the wrong way on a Burbank freeway. Police found her stopped in a carpool lane and arrested her for driving under the influence. (She was on her way home from visiting Joel Madden, her new beau and Hilary Duff's ex, says a source.) Richie admitted to cops that she'd smoked marijuana earlier and taken the painkiller Vicodin, says Officer Todd Workman. The 5'2" star, who recently sought treatment for a weight disorder, also told police she weighed 85 lbs.—not the 100 lbs. listed on her driver's license. "Nicole is freaking out," says a source. "She's been crying off and on since this happened. She's horribly depressed and is not talking to anybody." It's not Richie's first brush with the law. In 2002 she was charged with assaulting a man in a New York City club. Then she was convicted of a DUI in L.A. in June 2003—the same year she checked into rehab after being arrested for heroin possession and driving with a revoked license. Last year Richie claimed to have put her substance abuse problems behind her: "I don't do drugs," she told PEOPLE. "I'm never tempted. I don't really go out that much anymore." But, one source said, "Nicole prefers to stay home and get messed up." Richie's rep refused to comment. Formal charges have not yet been filed, but her lawyer Howard Weitzman said in a statement," She is prepared to accept whatever responsibility is appropriate."
BRITNEY'S NEW MAN
That was fast: Five weeks after filing for divorce, Britney Spears has been spotted smooching a new beau in L.A. The smoochee? Jonathan "J.R" Rotem, 31, a South African-born, San Francisco-raised songwriter-producer who has worked with Destiny's Child, 50 Cent, Rihanna and even Spears's ex, Kevin Federline (who, according to a source close to him, "considered Rotem a friend" and "doesn't like" the pairing). Rotem and Spears, 25, have also collaborated in the past and recently reconnected for her comeback album. "He can really help her right now," says a Rotem source. "She needs a big hit." Is he boyfriend material? "He would treat her right," the source adds. "He's a perfect gentleman."
MADONNA'S FIGHT NIGHT
Madonna and Guy Ritchie put on a riveting bit of dinner theater at Cecconi's in London Dec. 6 (left). "You couldn't help but hear Ritchie raising his voice," said a source at the Italian restaurant. "She looked embarrassed." The row came amid British tabloid reports of trouble in the six-year marriage. Ritchie's father, John, says, "They were both under huge pressure because of the press surrounding their recent adoption. It has caused tension." Madonna's rep had no comment.
WEDDING PART TWO
With the newlyweds back from Italy, the party continued for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. On Dec. 9 the pair held a lavish bash at the Beverly Hills home of Cruise's production partner Paula Wagner. The couple's new BFF posse—Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith—were repeat guests; among the first-timers was Cruise's War of the Worlds costar Dakota Fanning, 12, who told Scoop, "It was a fun party. They were really happy." Indeed, it had been all smiles and embraces between the two earlier that day (left) at Cruise's daughter Bella's final soccer game of the season.
LINDSAY'S NEW SOBRIETY
Why was Lindsay Lohan more than fashionably late to a Dec. 11 holiday party? "I just left an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting," the 20-year-old told PEOPLE when she arrived at the Nefarious Fine Jewelry fete, held at Hollywood club Shag. "I haven't had a drink in seven days. I feel better not drinking. I have Red Bull—it's more fun." The party-going actress insists she didn't "feel bad" before. "I just wanted to find a balance.... I've been going to AA for a year." Why didn't she say so sooner? "Well, it's no one's business. That's why it's anonymous!"
TORI CLEANS HOUSE
Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott are making room for baby—a baby boy, to be exact, Spelling has revealed to Scoop. "We are thrilled to be having a son," she says. Anticipating the big event, she and her husband of seven months devoted Dec. 8 and 9 to a massive tag sale at their Studio City, Calif., home, where shoppers could rummage through closets and drawers looking for bargains. "I am a notorious pack rat," says Spelling, 33, who is six months pregnant. "I wanted to get organized before the baby arrived." (A little extra cash won't hurt either: The NoTORIous star is looking to buy a bed-and-breakfast for her upcoming Oxygen reality show.) Now that she's unloaded a decade's worth of stuff—ranging from $1 used lip glosses to $7,500 Grecian urns and souvenirs from her short-lived first marriage to Charlie Shanian—Spelling is ready to focus full-time on the baby. (His middle name will be Aaron, "to honor the memory of my father," she says.) "We play tunes for him and watch him kick. He already loves the Dixie Chicks!"
EVERYTHING MUST GO!
For sale: second-hand bling.
A remnant of Tori's first marriage.
Among the goods: costume jewelry.
Good clean fun: These skates sold.
The site of the sale.
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NEW YEAR'S IN VEGAS
Want to celebrate in A-list style? Scoop's guide to ringing in '07 on the celeb party circuit
WHAT TO WEAR
Try Intermix in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace—Reese Witherspoon dropped by in September. Feeling retro? Drew Barrymore heads downtown to vintage mecca the Attic.
Sushi Roku and N9NE are popular with the Hollywood crowd. Or go all out—if you have the $250 to spend per person—with the White Truffle Tasting Menu at Wolfgang Puck's Spago.
Catch a performance: Tom Cruise went twice to LOVE, Cirque du Soleil's Beatles-themed production at the Mirage. On Dec. 31 the audience will score swag, like this lunchbox.
Many hotspots bring in the big guns: Britney Spears hosts at Pure (watch midnight fireworks from the balcony), Pam Anderson is at Tao, and Kid Rock is across the street at Jet.
Grab drinks at the cozy Social House (above), a Nick Lachey-Vanessa Minnillo hangout.
GOING TO THE CHAPEL
If your kiss at midnight turns serious, hit the Little White Wedding Chapel, where Britney Spears launched her 55-hour marriage to Jason Alexander—and drive-thru ceremonies start at $30.
Ease your pain at the Venetian's Canyon Ranch, a Kirsten Dunst fave. Regrets about the wedding? Try the Palms spa's soothing Custom Massage—and call a lawyer.