Bad Boy Dennis Rodman weds beauty Carmen Electra after a nine-month romance and declares his love is for real
Despite witnesses' accounts, Dennis Rodman's agent Dwight Manley questioned his client's state of mind when he took actress Carmen Electra as his lawful wedded wife at a Las Vegas wedding chapel. Not that the Chicago Bulls' tattooed clown needed an inducement to pledge his love to Electra, a former Playboy model and ex-star of television's premiere beach drama, Baywatch. Sure, they had their differences—he's 6'8" and 37 years old, she's 5'4" and 26 years old—but they clicked during a nine-month courtship. "I know he cares for her really deeply," says Rodman's sister Debra. "When he's with her he's happy." Besides, the two share an interest in women's clothes—Rodman has been known to cross-dress—and both love to party at Dennis Rodman's Illusions, his Chicago club. "He really liked to watch her dance," recalls Dino Vulpitta, a club exec. Says former Illusion employee Betsy Shepherd: "He treats her like a queen."
Perhaps, but the nuptials were nothing like a royal wedding. On Nov. 14 the couple, accompanied by two bodyguards and an unidentified woman, were driven in a sports utility vehicle to Las Vegas's Little Chapel of the Flowers at 7 a.m.—a good two hours before it opened. "They just arrived knocking at the door," says chapel owner Barbara Taylor, who sent Rodman and Electra to the Clark County Marriage License Bureau, where they paid $35 for the proper paperwork. Upon their return the couple asked chapel manager Ron Myers to turn off the videotape recorder and keep the ceremony hush-hush. They declined the usual amenities like photos and flowers and opted for the basic $75, 20-minute Candlelight service in the Victorian chapel, a small room with four rows of wooden pews. The only music played was "Here Comes the Bride." "They weren't huggy-huggy," notes Myers.
Two days later, Manley, the agent, expressed doubts that the marriage was legit. "From what I can determine it's not legal," he said, claiming that Rodman's partying the night before might have affected his judgment. Cheryl Vernon, who supervises the Clark County Marriage License Bureau, said Rodman looked no worse for wear. Notes chapel manager Myers: "He walked in and out fine."
Rodman seemed insulted by Manley's remarks. "I apologize for any false statements given on my behalf regarding my marriage to Carmen Electra," he said in a statement. "I love Carmen and am proud to be married to her."
What Does Dr. No Know?
The title of a classic James Bond film to the contrary, diamonds, it seems, are not forever, especially if you leave them lying around a Manhattan hotel room while you go out to dinner. So learned Sean Connery's wife, Micheline, on Nov. 11 when someone stole rings, brooches and other baubles, valued at $1 million, from her suite at the tony River Club. "Normally I put my jewelry in a safe, but this time I was in such a hurry so I didn't think, and I just left it on the bed," she told the New York Post. After eating at a nearby restaurant, she returned to find the jewels gone. "She conducted a thorough search of her room," said Officer Theresa Farello of the NYPD, but came up empty. Among the reported missing: a $200,000 emerald ring, a Cartier gold watch and a diamond cross Connery received from her husband 20 years ago. "I love that cross," she said. "It's so important to me." Police, seeing no signs of forced entry or SPECTRE agents, suspect an inside job.
Who: Robin Williams
Activities: Riding bicycles and learning languages
Why: "I love riding bikes long distance. I want to get ready for a century, which is 100 miles. I also love learning languages. I want to learn Italian, it's a beautiful language, bella lingua, si si."
Not So Far, Far Away
The first glimpse of the new Star Wars tale aims to tease
Like Jedi Knights girding themselves once more for battle, Star Wars fans are dusting off their old light sabers and Darth Vader masks, preparing to show in force again at movie theaters. And this isn't even for the May 1999 release of Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace, George Lucas's long-awaited prequel to the iconic sci-fi trilogy; it's for the movie's two-minute trailer, which debuted nationwide Nov. 20, providing the first new glimpse of George Lucas's opus since 1983. "We've been getting calls about the trailer since midsummer," says James Woodin, spokesperson for California's Edwards theater chain, who's expecting audiences to "go bananas" when the trailer hits. 20th Century Fox, not surprisingly, is delighted with the attention. "Our job," says exec Tom Sherak, "is to make sure the audience is having fun."
Move over, calculus. Marilyn Manson may now be the toughest class offered in Texas, though not for the students—they already know about the gender-bending rocker with a dramatic flair for the dark side of life. It's some teachers who don't get him, and that worries Ramon Jacquez of the Fort Worth Crime Prevention Resource Center. So, together with Arlington police officer Buddy Evans, he offers Manson-awareness seminars for educators and law enforcement officials concerned about their black-lipstick-wearing young people. "I think we owe it to the community," Jacquez says.
ON THE TOWN
HER BOY BEN
Space is getting scarce in the Affleck family trophy case. Less than a year after Ben, who had brought his mom, Chris, to the Oscar ceremony, picked up an award for co-writing Good Will Hunting, she returned the favor. Chris, a Cambridge, Mass., school-teacher, brought along Ben and his brother, actor Casey (Chasing Amy), as they all were given an award by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Said Ben, who dug his prom tux out of his mother's closet for the occasion: "I still like to come home and sleep in the house I grew up in."
Love and Missives
In the name of romance, it seems everyone is doing the write thing
Cancel the flowers and ink up the quill pen; the preferred pledge of affection these days is the passion-packed love letter. Author Nick Bantock has sold more than 2 million copies of his Griffin and Sabine stories, told through mash notes. Nicholas Sparks's 1996 The Notebook remains on bestseller lists as another of his love-letter novels, Message in a Bottle, goes big-screen with Paul Newman and Kevin Costner in February. Campbell Scott corresponded with Jennifer Jason Leigh in CBS's The Love Letter, while the Romance Classics network examines the passion-pen phenomenon in Signed, Sealed, Delivered on Dec. 16. Biggest of all could be Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan (above) exploring romantic e-mail in Dec. 18's You've Got Mail. So what's the attraction? Bantock says love letters allow sweethearts to think before delivering their sentiments: "It's loving without the fear of getting it wrong."
ON THE BLOCK
It's clear that John Denver, who died when a plane he was piloting crashed in October 1997, hadn't planned on selling his Aspen aerie. "His clothes are still in one of the closets," says a Realtor. "And his guitars are still there." The 6,849-square-foot house on 7.6 acres is listed at $3.9 million and includes a meditation deck, Japanese garden and guest house. Proceeds are expected to go to his children—Zachary, 24, and Anna Kate, 21 (from first wife Annie), and Jesse Belle, 9 (with second wife Cassandra Delaney).
Shoshanna does her own thong
How quickly they grow up. Why, it seems just yesterday that Shoshanna Lonstein was a 17-year-old high school senior at Manhattan's elite Nightingale-Bamford School, dating thirty something Jerry Seinfeld. And now look at her. She's 23, the Seinfeld thing has been over for years, and her very own line of designer lingerie—Shoshanna calls it playful—goes on sale this month. Carrying her line: Bloomingdale's and New York City's trendy Scoop boutique. Why underwear? "I always made my own bathing suits and bras," says Lonstein, "because I couldn't find ones I liked and that fit."