Ben Affleck

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UPDATED 11/16/1998 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/16/1998 at 01:00 AM EST

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck

For Ben Affleck's 26th birthday last August, his girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow bought him the Harry Winston watch that he'd borrowed for the Oscars. Happily for Winston, Affleck wanted to return the sentiment. So for Gwyneth's 26th birthday in September, he surprised her with a pair of Harry Winston diamond stud earrings. The jewels were hand-delivered to Affleck's Manhattan apartment, and the next day he flew to Italy to give them to Paltrow, who is there filming The Talented Mr. Ripley.

A stand-out scene in the romantic comedy Living Out Loud, starring Holly Hunter as a lonely divorcée, has Hunter getting a hotsy-totsy rub-down from a masseur (Eddie Cibrian) who strips down to his white briefs. Observant viewers will notice that in the movie's TV ad, however, the actor's underwear appears to be black. When I asked Cibrian about it at the movie's L.A. premiere party, he laughed and said the TV censors wouldn't allow white skivvies on the air, so they digitally imposed the black. In any color, the sensual massage impressed Cameron Diaz, who told me at the party: "I was thinking that would be a lovely service."

Whoopi Goldberg took plenty of ribbing at an L.A. gala benefiting the American Film Institute. The event's emcee, James Woods, frequently reminded the assembly that Goldberg traveled 3,000 miles—by bus—from Washington, D.C., to the event. Not that she took a Greyhound: Goldberg, who hates to fly, travels on a customized bus.

After two years of touring, 16-year-old country phenom LeAnn Rimes, who split her time between Nashville and Dallas, where she has a home, has become a Valley girl. Although she's keeping her Texas digs, Rimes and her mom recently moved into a house in Sherman Oaks, Calif., in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, so Rimes can pursue a movie career. Her publicist tells me that she got the acting bug after starring last year in an ABC Movie of the Week—based on a semi-autobiographical book she cowrote called Holiday in Your Heart—and that she is reading scripts "from all the major players."

In the new Disney film The Waterboy, Adam Sandler plays a sad sack who rises to become an unlikely football hero. During one scene, Sandler's character addresses a football camp of young wannabes taught by former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who admonishes the boys: "Don't use crack." Sadly and ironically, Taylor, 39, was arrested in Florida on Oct. 19 on charges that he bought $50 of crack cocaine. One week later, he checked himself into a drug-treatment program.

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