George Clooney makes a wonderful, if frenetic, father in One Fine Day, his romantic comedy with Michelle Pfeiffer. But having kids of his own anytime soon isn't on his wish list. "It doesn't seem like a smart thing for me to do, and I'm pretty adamant about that. The most important thing in my life is my work," says Clooney, 35, who's currently dating French beauty Celine Balitran and dividing his time between the sets of the upcoming Batman movie and his hit TV series ER. "I don't have anything in me that says, 'Rush out and have kids.' It's the ultimate responsibility." But Clooney loves to play uncle to his friends' children. "I like having all the fun and none of the responsibility. I love getting them all hyped up, then giving them back to their parents." Pfeiffer, however, predicts he will eventually become a dad, and a good one. "Once he gets started," she says, "he'll have 12."
FOREVER YOUR LAKER GIRL
Paula Abdul makes her dramatic acting debut in In the Shadow of Evil, an ABC movie (Jan. 12) about a woman who reclaims her life after being raped. "I worked hard to convince the network that I could play a serious role because in everyone's mind I'm the pop princess," says Abdul, 34. "But I'm used to that. I've gone from 'She's a Laker girl; she can't be a choreographer' to 'She's choreographer; she can't be a singer' to 'She's a singer, not an actress.' " Currently, Abdul's recording a dance album and adjusting to her new marriage to clothing designer Brad Beckerman. "We're totally in love," she says, "but we both have our moods, so we're learning to give each other space when we're crabby." Keeping Abdul's four dogs out of their bed isn't easy, either. "Brad's one rule," she says, "is no exposed dog butt on the pillows."
THE MAMA THING
Motherhood suits Madonna, who has learned to survive on short rations of sleep ("Two or three hours at a time," she says) since giving birth three months ago to Lourdes, her daughter with personal trainer Carlos Leon. "When she was first born, she looked exactly like me," says Madonna, 38, who's knocking 'em into the aisles in her movie musical Evita. "Now she's changing and she looks more like him. She does have my eyes. And I definitely see a strong will."
Madonna is already teaching little Lourdes music appreciation. "I sing all the time to my daughter," she says. "Lots of silly songs that I make up. But don't ask me to repeat them." She doesn't mind offering some advice for first-time fathers in the delivery room, though. "Do everything you're told," she says. "Be a good cheerleader. And never, ever say, 'It's not so bad.' Say, 'You are almost there!' And say it a lot."
On New Year's Day, British actress Joan Collins was officially informed that Queen Elizabeth II had named her an Officer of the British Empire. "I got a message via the British consul general in L.A.," says a thrilled Collins, 63, who's best known on this side of the Big Pond for her role as Alexis Carrington in TV's Dynasty. "You get to put the initials OBE after your name," says Collins, who'll go to Buckingham Palace later this year to receive her honor. "The Queen or Prince Charles presents you with a medal. I've never actually seen one—it's not the sort of thing you wear." But is it the sort of thing that leads to, say, better tables at chic restaurants? "Well, I always get the best table, so I don't need to worry about that," says Collins. "There are a lot of advantages to being an actress, you know, even without an OBE."