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updated 11/14/2005 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/14/2005 01:00AM

PARTY PAIR
Tom Cruise takes the stage with fiancée Katie Holmes at a Scientology fund-raiser

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes may be ex-pectant parents, but that doesn't yet translate to quiet nights home. During a charity dinner at Scientology's English headquarters, St. Hill Manor in East Grinstead, on Oct. 29, "they were very sweet—holding hands and looking very cuddly," says one guest. "They looked like they were having a laugh." At one point during the $350-a-plate dinner, singer Isaac Hayes, a fellow Scientologist, called Cruise, 43, and Holmes, 26, to the stage, where they belted out rock standards with the band. On their song list? "Mustang Sally" and "Old Time Rock and Roll," which Cruise famously sang in his underwear in 1983's Risky Business (below). "They were laughing and smiling and talking to the crowd," said one of the 3,000 guests. "The crowd started dancing." Earlier at the event, Cruise accepted an award for service to Scientology to thunderous applause. The actor left with Holmes shortly after the festivities.

JEN'S N.Y. WEEKEND
Her new movie is Derailed, but Jennifer Aniston's life, after major bumps, seems back on track. In New York City to promote the psychological thriller, a jovial Aniston, 36, hit Manhattan hot-spots, dining with friends Oct. 27 at Babbo ("I don't think many people eating here even recognized her," says a waitress), checking out Columbus Circle with costar Clive Owen and attending a Halloween party Oct. 29 at Nobu 57. Asked at a press conference about her split from Brad Pitt, she took pains to say that, at heart, her experience was like that of millions of others. "This is nothing out of the ordinary. People walk through this stuff all the time," said Aniston. "I'm not a role model or poster child for how to do anything. I have a great family, a great support system, great friends." Taping Larry King Live, set to air Nov. 8, she deflected the host's questions about her relationship with Vince Vaughn. (King: "Vince Vaughn, I love him." Aniston: "Oh, God." King: "Come on, we love him." Aniston: "Yes, we love him. He's great." King: "Is it serious?" Aniston: "I'm not talking about it.") Asked again about wanting children, she answered yes (again), but not as a single mom: "I'd like to share that with someone."

Meet Vince, Your Principal
Vince Vaughn's latest role? Principal, at Amundsen High School Oct. 27, as part of Chicago Public Schools' Principal for a Day program. He visited 20 classes and coached English lit students rehearsing Sophocles' Antigone. "He acted out some of our lines," says student Amer Grozdanic, 18. Adds Ambria Taylor, 18: "He talked to us like we were equals." But when students asked about his romance with Jennifer Aniston he was less forthcoming. "I didn't know the paparazzi were going to be here," Vaughn joked. "We're really good friends and she's a really good person."

The End of the Affair
Nicollette Sheridan, 41, may not have been so desperate to be a housewife after all. The actress and her fiancé, Swedish personal trainer and part-time actor Nicklas Söderblom, 40, have called off their 10-month engagement. "They have parted ways after a year and a half," said her rep, who gave no reason for the split. The Australian newspaper The Age reported that Sheridan had lunch in Sydney last month with former boyfriend Simon Main during a trip to promote a lingerie brand before the split was announced. Sheridan and Söderblom, who met at a Hollywood gym where he was working as a personal trainer, became engaged last winter while vacationing in Aspen. Sheridan's costar Teri Hatcher and her daughter are standing by their pal. "She knows that Emerson and I are here for her whenever she needs us. But Nicollette's good." Adds costar James Denton: "I have no idea what went wrong, because they're so close. They're both wonderful people. But of all people, she'll certainly be fine. Nicollette is a force of nature."

POTTER'S ANGLIA PILFERED?
The latest installment of Harry Potter mystery? The case of a missing 1962 Ford Anglia, reported stolen Oct. 27 from the now-defunct South West Film Studios in Cornwall, England. It's believed to be the rusty turquoise car used in The Chamber of Secrets, though officials are unsure whether the vehicle is the original or a replica (Warner Bros. sold the car after filming and could not confirm its authenticity). The Anglia has no engine, and, remarkably, does not actually fly like it did in the film, when it took Potter to Hogwart's School. "A number of leads have come in which officers will be following up," says a Cornwall police spokesperson.

A Baby for Heath, Michelle
Heath Ledger, 26, and Michelle Williams, 25, welcomed a daughter, their first child, on the last weekend of October. Says their Brokeback Mountain costar Jake Gyllenhaal: "Heath wears his heart on his shoulder. [With] that kind of sensitivity and strength, his child will feel safe."

Mother Knows Best
Fans of UPN's Everybody Hates Chris sympathize with the hard knocks childhood of the comedy's title character (who's based on the show's creator, Chris Rock, 40). So what was the real Chris like back in the day? Scoop went to the woman who knows best—his mother, Rose Rock, 60. "He was pretty good at doing his chores, but he'd just do dumb stuff, like not do his homework. But he'd never do anything bad," she says. Any childhood traits remain? "To this day, I think he still jumps in all the puddles while walking in the rain. He loves video games. That's his thing. It relaxes him. And he still eats a lot of peanut butter and jelly." Okay, but did he eat his vegetables? Says Mom: "Pretty much."

HOW ARE YOU RAISING YOUR KIDS?

Inevitably, if you're a celebrity mom, reporters grill you about your child-rearing techniques. Put on the Dr. Spock spot, here's what some in the latest wave of parents have said:

CATHERINE ZETA-JONES
Has son Dylan, 5, and daughter Carys, 2

I DO: Try to make meals a family affair. "I have a European background so we all sit down together at lunch."

I DON'T: Overindulge. "I don't give them kid food. No candy. Almost no juice. When my kids have juice, it's like they are having their first taste of champagne."

DENISE RICHARDS
Has daughters Sam, 19 months, and Lola, 5 months

I DO: Indulge my daughter's girly side. "Sam already loves makeup. When I put on lip gloss I give her a little dab."

I DON'T: Overthink basic meals and get too fancy. "Sam gets scrambled eggs and toast or oatmeal," says Richards. "She's very into dipping things, like her toast into her oatmeal."

REESE WITHERSPOON
Has daughter Ava, 6, and son Deacon, 2

I DO: Allow the kids to be top priority. "I always take care of the children first."

I DON'T: Plan to give them a free ride forever. "Ryan and I were discussing how hard it's going to be for our children to be living such a nice life and then [perhaps] have to live in an apartment and drive a crappy car."

MADONNA
Has daughter Lourdes, 9, and son Rocco, 5

I DO: Encourage intellectual curiosity. "I never wanted to think in a robotic way, and I don't want my children to think that way either. I think parents should be constantly questioning society."

I DON'T: Turn on the tube. "I was raised without television. I don't know why that's shocking."

POP QUIZ

I Am Me's
Ashlee Simpson

She's No. 1, she's top of the pops, she's...Ashlee Simpson, whose I Am Me CD outsold every other recording upon its release the last week of October. Simpson, 21, spoke with Scoop about her music, her dark side, her fans and her successful comeback after her lip-synching fiasco on Saturday Night Live in October 2004.

Is this album different?
There's a different energy to it. There are ballads that are emotional, but there are really fun songs that you can dance to. The energy is more confident as well.

What will fans learn about you from this CD?
I think people will hear this record and think, "Oh, I totally know where she's at, what she's writing about."

Is that a good thing, that level of transparency?
Yeah, I think it is a good thing. Everything I've gone through this year—whether it be a breakup, or SNL, finding myself—I feel like I faced a dark side and a light side and that's okay.

What do you mean by a dark and light side?
You know, going through SNL, going through insecurity, that's the dark side. Being able to find the beauty in that and know it's okay to not be perfect, that it's okay to fall on your face, that's the light side.

Is it hard to make your own mark with such a famous sister?
I think that I've always been an individual. Even though my family is famous, I've always been kind of who I am. I haven't changed since a little girl.

Are there any tricks to helping maintain that level of individuality?
I'm that person who, right when you think your head's about to go through the clouds, gets slapped with humility.

How so?
I've always remained close with my friends and my family. I've seen people lose their heads and I know I never want to be like that.

Had any moments that made you realize that you're more famous than you used to be?
Playing at clubs, I look out and see fans singing my songs and they're wilder than I am. That is the coolest feeling.

ON THE BLOCK

DYNASTY'S DOMICILE
PRICE: $14.5 million
PLACE: Pasadena, Calif.

Does the façade look familiar? Fans of the '80s soap Dynasty will recognize this 17-room Palladian villa as the fictional TV home of the fightin', feudin' Car-rington family. The estate boasts nine fireplaces, an elevator, a tennis court and a reflecting pool, the site of the mother of all TV catfights—Joan Collins vs. Linda Evans (inset). Shoulder pads not included.

MORE ON: Tom Cruise

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