Liz & Bing & Brando & the maid: It's court time
Oh, the joys of mother-hood! Baby booties, nursery rhymes, getting served with legal papers from your child's alleged daddy. On April 17 American millionaire and film producer Stephen Bing filed a request in Britain's High Court to determine the paternity of ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley's newborn son Damian. Hurley, 36, who gave birth on April 4, says Bing, 37, is the father. He expressed skepticism, saying their 18-month courtship, which ended last year, was not "exclusive."
One issue: money. "If it's Steve's son," says his friend Anthony Pellicano, "he is going to make extremely generous contributions to the upbringing of this child." That's news to Hurley, who claimed Bing hasn't contacted her since Damian's birth. (Bing claims otherwise.) The actress "is willing to participate in paternity tests," she notes in a statement, though she is "distressed" at the publicity.
Money is also an issue with Maria Cristina Ruiz, 43, a former housekeeper and girlfriend to Marlon Brando, 78. She says the actor fathered her three children—ages 8, 10 and 12—and lived with the family until last December. While the actor financially supports the children, Ruiz filed suit on April 18 asking Brando for $100 million for support and property rights. (He had no comment.) Says her attorney: "She still loves him."
Low Note for a Soprano
Robert Iler shed all semblance of his rebellious Sopranos alter ego on April 23 and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor petty larceny stemming from a July 3, 2001, incident involving the theft of $40 from a couple of teenagers.(Iler, 17, was initially charged with second-degree robbery along with three of his friends.) "Knowing that others demanded money from the victims," Iler admitted quietly to the court, "I intentionally aided them." The judge sentenced Iler and one of his cohorts to three years' probation; the other two cases are pending. Says Iler's attorney: "They were teenage kids who got involved in a situation they didn't know how to handle."
Love Is Off the Air
After five seasons and a romantic history that would make Elizabeth Taylor blush, Ally McBeal is closing up shop (the series finale airs May 20). But with only a few episodes to go, fans of the neurotic, dancing-baby-plagued attorney are wondering if her game of musical men will ultimately end with the One. Amid Ally's myriad dalliances (Salad Dressing Guy) and flirtations (the Boy) were a handful of serious, if unsuccessful, suitors. Scoop asked relationship expert Barbara De Angelis, author of Are You the One for Me?, and Aisha Tyler, host of UPN's dating romp The 5th Wheel, to analyze Ally's knight or flight response—and give us their forecasts for a happy ending.
Ally with Tim Dutton
The British Dude (Ally dumped him because of bad sex.) "No matter how good someone looks on paper," says De Angelis, "if they're not good in bed, it's not going to work,"
...with Matthew Perry
The Clone (He reminded Ally of her ex.) "Life sends us the same lessons over and over again," says De Angles. "That's unfinished emotional business she needs to handle,"
...with Jesse L. Martin
The Doctor (She cheated on him.) "He was too hot for her," says Tyler. "There was a line forming around. Never tell your boyfriend when you kiss other men."
... with Gil Bellows
The First Love (He died.)"It didn't work out because of his hair," says Tyler (he once dyed it bright blond). "It was Billy Idol look-at-me-I'm-cool hair. The moral: Bad hair color kills."
... with Jon Bon Jovi
The Plumber (and maybe her Best Shot) "It's hard for lawyers to show up at company dinners with guys who have wrenches hanging from their pants," says Tyler. "I predict doom."
...with Robert Downey Jr.
The Soulmate (He left town to be with his son.) "Ally wasn't ready to be a mom," says Tyler, "She was wearing skirts shorter then her new sons friend would be wearing."
Georgia on His Mind
When naturalists wanted help naming a new subspecies of butterfly they discovered last year, high in the Udzunga Mountains of Tanzania, they turned to...Harrison Ford? "He's an outspoken environmentalist," explains Carter Coleman, founder of she African Rainforest Conservancy, I which sponsored k the expedition. I (In other eco-news, Ford, 59, I an experienced helicopter pilot, was also tapped recently to patrol the Hudson River to help hunt for polluters.) Despite reading up on the insect, Ford didn't rely on scientific method to pick the new moniker. He named the butterfly Georgia, after his 11 year-old daughter.
Law & Order alum Angie Harmon has asked Congress to make video voyeurism—the taping of an individual in an intimate situation without his or her knowledge—a federal crime. "This is not about celebrities skinny-dipping," the actress told reporters on Capitol Hill April 16. "This is happening to you." Harmon, 29, portrayed a Louisiana woman whose neighbor secretly taped her in her bedroom and bathroom in a Lifetime movie this year.
Last June someone at her wedding to New York Giants star Jason Sehorn, 31, secretly recorded the ceremony and sold it to a tabloid. "I don't even have the video, but they do," she says. "It's become an open wound."
For René's Accuser, a New Charge
Yun Kyeong Sung Kwon, the Los Angeles minister who accused Celine Dion's husband, René Angélil, of rape, was arrested last week on charges of writing $500,000 in bad checks at two Las Vegas hotel-casinos in 1999 and 2001. On March 15 Kwon alleged in a civil suit that Angélil forced his way into her room at the Imperial Palace hotel in March 2000 and raped her. She seeks to set aside a settlement she had reached with Angélil, 60, in June 2000, saying it was signed under duress. Kwon's lawyer had no comment. Angélil's attorney David Chesnoff said he hoped that police would consider Kwon's "credibility and motivation."
Flying the Friendliest Skies
Forget the opulent summer homes and flashy sports cars. Celebrity's best perk? North Carolina's four-runway Wilmington International Airport, where stars returning from Caribbean hot spots can enjoy hassle-free passage back into the U.S., sometimes without leaving their Gulfstreams.
Bypassing hours-long lines and exhausted customs inspectors at bigger airports, anyone who can afford a private jet can have their passports and luggage checked painlessly, usually while the planes are refueling. (A different terminal
in the airport handles local commercial flights.) "I like to think Wilmington can help make their reentry a little more pleasant," says Air Wilmington president Bill Cherry, 55, whose facility has helped ease entry for Michael Jordan, Sandra Bullock, Robert De Niro, Oprah Winfrey, Mick Jagger, Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts.
One extra Wilmington treat: When Britney Spears had a flight delay last January, "Britney wanted to go to the mall," says Cherry. "So I just gave her bodyguards the keys to my Chevy Tahoe."
with Ricky Martin
On April 19 students at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in The Bronx found a new man in charge: singer Ricky Martin, who participated in the Principal for a Day program sponsored by PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning), an organization supporting New York public schools. Martin, 30, talked for a few minutes with Scoop about his own education, before his vida became loca.
So, what was high school like for you?
I was tutored from the age of 12 until I graduated from high school.
I was already on the road [with the boy band Menudo]. We had tutors with us, and we had to study, even on Saturdays and Sundays
Get good grades?
It was a priority, because laws in Puerto Rico say that if a minor is working and his grades are lower than a B average, then he couldn't be in a band.
Geography. I love geography. Also science. I'm really a frustrated doctor, (laughs)
Least favorite subjects?
Math. Pythagoras and me never really got along.
Ever wish you went to a regular high school?
Yeah! I never had a senior prom.
What do you want to share with the kids today?
I think it is important to talk about persistence and to leave the word "mediocrity" out of your vocabulary. I need to talk about the importance of fighting for what you believe in.
Has going back to school made you ponder a possible career change?
I've been working on acting. I want to go back to film and theater. But music will always be my priority. Being onstage is really what I live for. I think it's the most beautiful addiction that there is. I don't really see myself doing anything else at this point.
ON THE BLOCK
Count one less celeb in Manhattan's legendary Dakota directory. Singer Roberta Flack is selling her three-bedroom apartment in the Central Park West building, once home to John Lennon, Judy Garland and Leonard Bernstein, and the current residence of Yoko Ono, Connie Chung and Lauren Bacall. Flack's pad features four fireplaces, a mirrored living room, a steam room and a whirlpool, but no park views. The 62-year-old singer, who has lived there since 1982, is also separately selling personal items, including musical instruments. Asking price? A soulful $5 million.