MARY-KATE RETURNS TO NEW YORK, SKIPS A CLASS AND JOINS HER SISTER BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL ON THE CLUB SCENE
The publicity surrounding Mary-Kate Olsen's brief trip home in mid-October might have persuaded lesser teen moguls to change their ways. She's cutting class at New York University, claimed some reports. (In fact, she had permission from her professors to skip a week to attend to business matters in California.) Her health is worsening, said others. (Her battle with anorexia is ongoing, said her rep, but she was in no danger of a serious relapse.) And she and her twin sister, Ashley, 18, seem to be out every night till the wee hours.
So did the Olsens buckle down upon Mary-Kate's return to New York City, hit the books and lie low? Not exactly. On Oct. 24 they dined on sushi in a back booth at Manhattan's Next Door Nobu, joined by Ashley's friend, restaurateur Scott Sartiano, 30, and another man. The foursome left at 10:30 p.m. to catch a late movie. The following day, back on campus, Mary-Kate missed a writing seminar. (Her rep insists, however, that she is still committed to her studies and has no plans to drop out.) That night, a Monday, the sisters continued their partying ways at their favorite downtown hot spot, Butter, with a group of friends. The evening's highlight? Gyrating in a playful bump-and-grind on the dance floor to the Biggie Smalls tune "Hypnotize." The party ended around 2:30 a.m.
AS GO THE OLSENS...
Democracy marches on! The Olsens Just voted for the first time, mailing their absentee ballots to California. There will he no public endorsement, though: Mary-Kate and Ashley kept their choice—or choices?—a secret.
ASHLEE: 'I CAN'T ALWAYS BE PERFECT'
Hoping to put her lip-synching episode behind her, Ashlee Simpson comes clean about her Saturday Night Live snafu and vows to prove herself on the road
At first, Ashlee Simpson blamed the band for screwing up her Oct. 24 Saturday Night Live performance, saying they played the wrong song. Then her record company claimed a computer glitch sent out a prerecorded vocal instead of electronic percussion. Finally Simpson, 20, said an attack of acid reflux forced her to use the prerecorded track to cover her ailing vocal chords. And that's the story she's sticking to. "It was something I had never done and I didn't want to do," Simpson tells Scoop. "[But] my voice wasn't strong enough." When her recorded voice boomed while her microphone was no-where near her lips, an embarrassed Simpson shuffled off the stage. "So many artists [lip-synch] all the time," says Simpson, who would not name names. "The one time that I do, I get completely humiliated." Next step? Shoring up her performing credentials. Two nights later Simpson made fun of her gaffe at the Radio Music Awards in Las Vegas—where she received a cortisone shot from Wayne Newton's doctor, her father said—and impressed the audience. She has a tour of high schools coming up. "I work my butt off," she says. "I wouldn't do it if I didn't love music."
UP AND DOWN WITH CHRISTIAN
Christian Bale dropped from 184 lbs. to 121 lbs. in four months to play a crazed insomniac in The Machinist. He drank lots of water, took long runs and subsisted on an apple and a latte a day for the last month of his diet. And then...Bale shot up to 221 lbs. in about four months for Batman Begins, exercising and eating four protein-packed meals a day, including mashed potatoes with tuna for breakfast.
CRUISE VS. EVEREST
Tom Cruise's next adventure? He wants to climb Mount Everest. "I really enjoy the challenge of climbing," the actor said Oct. 25 at an American Film Institute retrospective of his work. He also took a moment to praise a film in which he does not appear: Napoleon Dynamite, which he saw twice. "When I like movies, I'll see them over."
WHAT THE MOUSE MAN GAVE
Former president Michael Ovitz spent more than $6 million on gifts and expenses during his 14-month tenure at Disney, according to papers filed in a shareholder suit questioning his $140 million severance package. Among the beneficiaries of his largesse:
THE GOODS >>
JANET JACKSON >> $2,140 Catered dinner for five at his home
TOM CRUISE >> $328 Baby clothes and a signed NFL football
OPRAH WINFREY >> $260 Various Disney items
DAVID LETTERMAN >> $1,051 When Ovitz was a talent agent, he brokered Letterman's move to CBS in 1993. As Disney president, Ovitz gave the Late Show host and former client jewelry priced at $495, $488 worth of gourmet food and a collection of videos worth $68.
MICHELLE PFEIFFER >> $585 Bedding accessories
TIM ALLEN >> $430 A framed Roy Lichtenstein print
TOM HANKS >> $4,424 A Hiroshi Sugimoto print
ANNETTE BENING AND WARREN BEATTY >> $390 Assorted liquor
BETTE MIDLER >> $338 A collection of books
LINDSAY LOHAN'S HOSPITAL STAY
For Lindsay Lohan, the fever attack coupled with bad headaches that sent her to L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with a 103° temperature on Oct. 21 could not have come at a worse time. The actress was in the middle of filming Disney's family comedy Herbie: Fully Loaded. And she was set to shoot a cameo role on That 70s Show with her boyfriend, Wilmer Valderrama. Doctors ran a series of tests on Lohan, 18, who complained of exhaustion. The hospital stay forced filmmakers on Herbie to shut down for three days; producers of That 70s Show replaced her with another actress—Lohan had been set to play a girl fought over by Ashton Kutcher's and Valderrama's characters—and they promised her another guest role when she recovers. Lohan was released from the hospital on Oct. 26 and is expected to return to work on the film Nov. 1.
Demi Moore hosted Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow in London Oct. 21 at a Kabbalah party for Rabbi Michael Berg's book Becoming Like God. Meanwhile, Maria Maples (right) posed in nothing but red string, which devotees believe wards off negative vibes, for a Kabbalah promotion.
FAITH HILL & TIM MCGRAW
Who knew? Tim McGraw has roots in the Roman empire. (His mom's maiden name is Betty D'Agostino.) Which is why the country singer was recently honored at the National Italian American Foundation gala in Washington, D.C., where McGraw and wife Faith Hill, both 37, chatted with Scoop.
Did the call from the Italian American organization come as a surprise?
McGraw: Yeah. With a name like McGraw, you don't think about that very often. But I do have a strong Italian heritage, from my great-grandfather Donato Augusto D'Agostino, my grandpop Giovanni Giuseppi D'Agostino—and my mom teaching me to make pasta and spaghetti sauce, which is one of my specialties.
What does your Italian heritage mean to you?
McGraw: A lot. I grew up in the South. In a lot of ways the Italian culture and the southern culture go hand in hand, because it's all about family, neighbors and community.
Your mom tells us you're a very good Italian cook.
McGraw: I can make great manicotti. My noodles and gravy is my specialty. It's sauce. But we call it gravy.
Your eighth wedding anniversary was Oct. 6. How did you celebrate?
Hill: We just hung at our house in California, which was a very peaceful day that we rarely have, with three daughters [Gracie, 7; Maggie, 6; and Audrey, 2] and a crazy life.
What's the secret to a long marriage?
Hill: I don't know. We just love each other very much.
McGraw: I'm a man that lives in a house with four women. So probably the secret is to shut up.
Tim, you made your movie debut in Friday Night Lights, and Faith made hers in The Stepford Wives. Did you read lines to each other?
McGraw: Absolutely. I wouldn't think of doing anything without her input.
Hill: He's my best friend. So I had to use him to practice.
Will there be more Hollywood in your futures?
Hill: There are several things in the works. Nothing I can talk about now.
McGraw: I'm not going to give up my day job. I've got three daughters. That's a lot of shoes.
ON THE BLOCK
PRICE: $1,795 million
PLACE: Los Angeles
Missing: Poppy Montgomery.
The Without a Trace actress is leaving the Los Feliz area for a place closer to the beach and selling her 2,500-sq.-ft, three-bedroom, three-bath home. The Mediterranean-style pad, built in 1937, features hardwood floors, a pool, gourmet kitchen and views of the L.A. skyline.
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