Scoop

updated 02/02/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/02/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

ARMOR, NOT AMOUR
Britney, three weeks later: Conversations with God, those doctor visits and why she (and Enrique Iglesias) are wearing skirts and carrying swords

Britney Spears has finally come out of hiding—but it looks like she may still be grounded. After checking herself into her own postwedding witness-protection program, the newlyunwed at last broke her silence about her failed 55-hour marriage by calling MTV's Total Request Live. "I was in Vegas and, I just, I don't know...things got out of hand," she said. "I was with my friend and we just hit it off completely." She balked, though, when asked if she has feelings for her ex, Jason Alexander. After all, Spears was on-air to introduce her new video, Toxic, in which she dons a number of disguises and makes out with a number of men and poisons at least one of them. In real life things seem to be a bit quieter. She was photographed in L.A. boarding a plane and toting Conversations with God. She was also spotted, a source said, visiting a dermatologist at the Parkside Medical Center in Santa Monica with two bodyguards, and entering an L.A. hospital with her mother—her reps say there's nothing wrong with Spears's health, she's just a good daughter keeping her mom company on doctor's visits. And, for the moment, she's focusing on armor, not amour: Off to Europe after her L.A visit, she's promoting a new Pepsi commercial in which she plays a gladiator (left). Her fellow celebs-in-arms? Beyoncé, Pink and Enrique Iglesias.

BEN & JEN: Back to Basics
Reports of the death of The Couple Known as Bennifer have been greatly exaggerated. Never mind the night out with P. Diddy. Jennifer Lopez was with fiancé Ben Affleck just a few nights later, when they were spotted holding hands and kissing as they dined together at Tuscan Steak in Miami Beach. Earlier in the week Lopez had been photographed not wearing her engagement ring, but the next morning, the ring was back on her finger as she lounged by her pool. So what is the state of the union? Not a breakup but more like a retrenchment, with both parties returning to their comfort zones. Affleck, according to his rep, will take a break from acting until summer and work on a writing project with old pal Matt Damon. Lopez is back in the studio, this time with her old pal Marc Anthony, recording a song for her upcoming movie Shall We Dance? Asked by Germany's Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag if he and Lopez were together, Affleck said. "Yes, we are. Yes. Yes." Still, it's probably not a good idea to start buying wedding gifts. After their romantic dinner in Miami Beach, Ben and Jen left in separate cars.

Aniston: Peace Sign?
Jennifer Aniston is still hurting over mother Nancy Aniston's 1999 book, From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A Memoir. The book featured personal family anecdotes that may have upset the very private Jennifer. Is Aniston ready for reconciliation? In an interview on ABC's Primetime Thursday, Diane Sawyer showed the actress pages from the book. "I never saw this before," said Aniston, who cried on-camera. "She made a mistake," she said of her mother. "I don't think she knew any better." After several years in which Jennifer and Nancy, 67, have not spoken, Aniston said, "now we're sort of all standing in our comers, just waiting for the other to approach, probably." She added, "I never thought my mom would not know my husband." (Nancy Aniston could not be reached for comment.) The book was described by its publisher as a "tender, poetic and charming memoir [that] represents a healing exercise." Despite the emotion of the Sawyer interview, a source close to Aniston says there is no sign of imminent reconciliation on the horizon.

Tiny Bubba
Where have you gone, Bill Clinton? The former President is sporting a slim new profile thanks to a stepped-up exercise program and the South Beach diet. Although he's not saying how much weight he has lost, Clinton, 57, began shedding pounds last summer by cutting back on highly processed low-fiber carbohydrates such as white bread. But a shrinking boy needs a treat now and then: Who can blame the ex-Prez for dropping into a hometown bakery in Chappaqua, N.Y., Jan. 16 and ordering a raspberry muffin before heading off to an economic summit in Saudi Arabia? Any drawbacks to losing the pounds? Said Clinton: "I had to get all new clothes."

When Good Appliances Go Bad
Among this week's hotter-than-usual celebrities: Rachel Hunter, Natalie Cole and Donald Trump. Just before Cole took the stage at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on Jan. 17, flames destroyed a 1,500-sq.-ft. cottage on the grounds. "The fire was accidental and caused by Natalie Cole's makeup team leaving too many hair [appliances] plugged in and unattended," says Palm Beach Fire Marshal Bill Amador. No hard feelings. "Natalie gave a great concert!" said Trump. Meanwhile, in Mexico, a Jan. 11 fire leveled several bungalows, including Hunter's, at a resort south of Puerto Vallarta, where gusty winds knocked over candles. Hunter, 34, was evacuated in a rowboat.

MY BIG FAT OBNOXIOUS FINANCÉ
Randi AWOL?

In Scottsdale, Ariz., 35 first graders at Pope John XXIII Catholic School Community want to know when teacher Randi Coy is coming back. Coy, 23, took a short leave late last year to appear on FOX's My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé. But she did not return after Christmas. Will she be back? Coy is coy. "I'm taking it one day at a time," she says. Principal Bill Langley's position? "She needs to know what she really wants to do." And what about...the children? "I want them to worry about reading and writing and not if a teacher is on a reality show," says Langley.

POP QUIZ

Ben Stiller

There's no escaping Ben Stiller. He's on the big screen (Along Came Polly), the small screen (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and on DVD in the new collection of The Ben Stiller Show, his short-lived (1992-93) FOX series. Scoop caught up with Stiller, 38, on the set of his next film, Dodgeball.

FOX canceled your show 10 years ago. Now you're a star. What happened then?
We were on against 60 Minutes. And the FOX ad campaign for the show consisted of a half-page ad in TV Guide that was like a stick drawing of a dog peeing on a fire hydrant, and the line said, "Something smells funny on FOX: The Ben Stiller Show." So it wasn't a big surprise when we debuted at, like, 102 out of 103 shows on the air. We saw very quickly that the writing was on the wall.

What's on TV today that makes you laugh?
I like Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. He's emerged as having a real voice. It's kind of unexpected, the way he became this great political comedian.

After your Something About Mary role, is it even possible for you to use hair gel anymore?
I've never been a big hair gel person anyway. Luckily. It was that and "How's your zipper?" That comment lasted for a few years, and then that was overtaken by shouts of "Hey, Focker!" [his character in Meet the Parents]. I don't know which is the lesser of two evils.

Any Meet the Parents moments in your daughter's future?
I don't know. It's so hard to even comprehend right now. She's so young. We'll see if we even want to allow [Ella Olivia, 1] to reach puberty. Maybe we'll just keep her at that cute 3-or 4-year-old age. Having a daughter does make you look at women in a whole new way. I'm sure I'll be extremely protective.

Is your father, Jerry Stiller, like his character George Costanza's dad on Seinfeld?
He doesn't scream like hat. Things with my dad are always subtle. He's always telling me to take Saw Palmetto [a dietary supplement] for my prostate. Just warning me in a good-natured way.

ON THE BLOCK

BECKHAM'S BARN
PRICE: about $3 million
PLACE: Cheshire, England
SPECS: David and Victoria Beckham—you may know her as Posh Spice—are selling Hollinshead House, one of their English homes, following the soccer star's move to Madrid last year. The five-bedroom estate features an indoor pool and a $43,000 tree house for sons Brooklyn, 4, and Romeo, 17 months.

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