At a New York fund-raiser, Angelina Jolie says she'll help build an AIDS clinic and talks about adopting again—soon
One thing Angelina Jolie has realized since becoming a mom to Maddox, 4, and Zahara, 9 months? That she wants to adopt again. "I'm planning on it," Jolie told Scoop at the first annual Worldwide Orphans Foundation benefit Oct. 24 in Manhattan. "Most of the night I just thought about how quickly I want to adopt again. It's a very special thing. There's something about making a choice, waking up and traveling somewhere and finding your family." So what corner of the globe will Jolie adopt from next? "There are so many wonderful places. There are many parts of Asia, Africa, South America, so sooner or later I'll end up everywhere, I'm sure."
At the gala event, which Jolie attended with brother James Haven (beau Brad Pitt was in Winnipeg filming), the actress announced she is partnering with Dr. Jane Aronson, the foundation's founder, to build a pediatric AIDS center in Ethiopia, where Zahara was born. "I personally am not willing to wait any longer for action by the United States or any government while children are suffering and dying," she told the crowd. Tears welled up in the star's eyes when she told Scoop how her daughter survived in an Ethiopian orphanage when others did not. "I know some of the kids that were next to my daughter; two of them passed away, with symptoms very similar to hers. I really do believe that if I didn't get her out at that time, that she wouldn't be here. She was days away." Jolie also credits Aronson, her children's pediatrician, with saving her daughter's life. "It was really tough. You need this wonderful, calm doctor who tells you everything is going to be okay," she says. In fact, Jolie and Aronson, who has two children from Vietnam and Ethiopia, have struck up a close relationship. "I am incredibly lucky to have such a good friend," Aronson said. "She's fun. She's sweet. She's interested. She's sincere. We had a lot of playdates this summer. We just sent a whole parcel of artwork to Maddox from the kids because the kids miss him."
Is Maddox old enough to understand what adoption is all about? "We've always addressed it," she says. "I say, 'You're from Asia, you're from Cambodia. Asia is not Mommy's continent, it's your continent.' He jokes about how his continent is bigger.... He knows where Zahara came from. It is pretty amazing."
NO VALDERRAMA DRAMA?
Another night, another Hollywood party. And there's Wilmer Valderrama surrounded by a bevy of young starlets. "A lot of people are out to make me look like this womanizer," the actor tells Scoop. "The press has created this bachelor persona, but it's not really me. Hey, I take it as a compliment. It must be the first time in history where a sidekick on a show has this kind of persona offscreen."
So, Scoop asks, what is the Gospel According to Wilmer? "I've been sooo single for the past year," says the actor, 25, who is filming the eighth season of the FOX hit That '70s Show (premiering Nov. 2). "Right now, I just love working." He recently wrapped two movies, has a lead role on the animated series Handy Manny, and is launching a clothing line in February. "I won't have a day off until Dec. 31," he says. Still, he says, he plans to find time for a Mrs. Valderrama in the not-too-distant future:
"I'm open-minded. I'd love to have kids soon."
And what about those famous dates?
Mandy Moore: "I was with her for almost two years. When it ended, it took me another four years to even give it a shot again. That was tough."
Lindsay Lohan: "Everyone has moved on just fine. I really wish her love too, because I really think she can use some."
Ashlee Simpson: "We've been friends for about 5 ½ years. All of a sudden we couldn't be in the same room before people were saying we were making out." They did not, he says; they remain just friends.
Jaime Pressly: "There is no story there. All of us on the show have been friends with Jaime for many, many years.... Jaime is an amazing girl."
For their third-wedding anniversary on Oct. 26, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey were scheduled to be worlds apart—she was en route to Nairobi, Kenya, in support of Operation Smile (a charity that aids children with facial deformities), he was working in L.A. But it appears that the most recent distance between Hollywood's favorite are-they-or-aren't-they couple might be strictly geographical. Both attended Ashlee Simpson's Oct. 21 record-release party at West Hollywood's 0-Bar, where Jessica was overheard gushing to pals that it was "so wonderful to be away" on the couple's trip to Italy (an early anniversary getaway) and calling her excursion to Africa "worth the sacrifice" of spending the actual day away from her husband. As for Lachey, he'll be busy in the recording studio during his wife's absence. The couple left the party shortly before 1 a.m., hand in hand.
Blow the Man Down
Al Roker—who has lost about 120 lbs. since his 2002 gastric bypass—might have wished, for just a moment, that he had some of it back. On Oct. 24, as he was giving a live report on Today, Hurricane Wilma blew him over, even though his cameraman crouched below, holding onto Roker's legs. The resulting video clip, replayed endlessly on TV and the Internet, caused some to wonder: Why not report indoors and point the camera outside? Scoop asked and was referred to a comment Roker gave New York's Daily News: "There's a certain sense of fun and a thrill."
A Steve Martin Top 5
Steve Martin, 60, received the eighth annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23. Scoop asked the guests: What makes Steve Martin so funny?
1 Self-loathing and unhappiness.
2 He loves to laugh. And he's not competitive.
3 He will never touch a cliché with a 40-foot pole.
4 He is funny physically, which is a rare commodity.
ROCKING IN MEMPHIS
AS Justin Timberlake took the stage on Oct. 22 to be honored by the Recording Academy's Memphis chapter, he felt elated—but also a bit embarrassed. "I am 24 years old," says the singer, who got his start in the choir of his grandfather's Baptist church in his nearby hometown of Millington, Tenn. "You almost feel pretentious being honored."
Especially in front of the folks who first saw you in diapers. Still, he says, "it's great to be home and hang out with my family." Which is what he's been doing while filming the drama Black Snake Moan, his fourth movie in the past year. The singer next plans to record solo album No. 2 (fellow 'N Syncer JC Chasez, a guest, confirmed there were "no future 'N Sync albums being recorded"). For now, Timberlake is honing his acting skills—on his own. Girlfriend Cameron Diaz, 33, doesn't give him tips, he says: "We are all pleasure."
CELEB FEUD OF THE WEEK
BON JOVI VS. MADONNA
Jon Bon Jovi, 43, took issue recently with the Material Mom for her parenting skills. "Madonna takes those kids [Rocco, 5, and Lourdes, 9] out to every premiere she ever goes to. These kids have done nothing, and yet we all know what they look like? I've been in this industry for 22 years and no one has any idea what my four kids look like," the Jersey rocker told Britain's Mirror. A rep for Madonna, 47, shot back: "I'm delighted to hear what an authority Mr. Bon Jovi is on Madonna's talents as a mother. Madonna has never brought her children to a movie premiere.... He can rest assured [her] kids are cherished, adored, well fed, respected and extremely loved."
With Shopgirl in theaters and The Family Stone arriving soon, it looks like a Claire Danes moment at the multiplex. Reason enough for Scoop to chat with Danes, 26, who was a teen when her career took off with TV's My So-Called Life.
Do you feel like you've come of age?
Well, I'm getting older, I guess. One of my best friends since I was 9 just got engaged, which was a bit revelatory. It was an aha moment. Like, Oh God, I think I really am a grown-up now—I think it happened.
Did you grow up too fast?
I've been acting since I was 12. I got a loft when I was 18 and signed for an architect, so my actual numerical age has never been proportionate with my emotional age. But I'm catching up.
We read that [boyfriend] Billy Crudup was initially slated to be in The Family Stone.
I don't think he was. I don't know. I don't talk about him in interviews.
What do you do between roles to keep fresh?
I took a writing class not so long ago at the New School [in New York City]. I take life-drawing classes often. I take dance classes. I just did an hourlong dance solo performance for a few weeks.
I enjoyed it. That's how I discovered acting—through dance—and it was really a wonderful, exciting challenge. Terrifying, because I was up there by myself, and sometimes there was music, sometimes there wasn't. So I couldn't even hide behind sound.
You've stayed a New Yorker.
My parents moved to L.A. with me when I did My So-Called Life when I was 14, and they've embraced the culture. But I'm happy in New York. I can't really see myself anywhere else. It's home. There's diversity there, and the pace. You can walk places, and you have such regular contact with people.