Scoop

updated 01/23/2006 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/23/2006 01:00AM

RETURN TO ROMANCE
On a trip to Las Vegas, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline looked very much the happily married couple

Arguments may come and go, but Britney Spears and Kevin Federline's love is here to stay. Or at least back on high heat. To recap: Last month, when they traveled to Las Vegas, they booked suites at separate hotels and Federline went clubbing without his wife. This time the pair drove to the desert on Jan. 5 from their Malibu home with son Sean Preston and checked into the Aladdin hotel together. Spears, 24, and Federline, 27, opted for some family time with Spears's parents and siblings, who were staying in nearby rooms. The next day the couple hit the town lovebird style: After dining with friends at Nobu at the Hard Rock Hotel, Spears nuzzled up to Federline for a long stretch of post-dinner PDA. Still, philosophical differences may linger. Spears told Vegas entertainment reporter Robin Leach, “I want more babies. I love being a mom.” Federline, speaking to Ryan Seacrest on the latter's L.A. morning radio show, seems to favor a cautious approach. “We're going to wait,” he said. “We've talked about it, but [we have our] careers and first baby. You've gotta spoil the first one.”

Livin' La Vida Lohan

It would have been a chaotic week for anyone—more so for a 19-year-old. Hospitalized after an asthma attack in Miami. Described in a magazine as a bulimic who once took drugs. Wrote a short letter attacking said magazine, asked to be left alone. Back in New York to meet with the director of her next film. Out and about, dining with female friends at a cozy pub before hitting a chic club and partying past 3 a.m.

That's life these days for Lindsay Lohan. And, she says, she's fine with it. Mostly. “I am blessed to have this job and wonderful family,” she wrote in an open letter to the press, attacking a Vanity Fair interview in which, the magazine claimed, she admitted to having bulimia and taking drugs in the past. “Lies,” said Lindsay. “Words were twisted,” said her mother, Dina. “Lindsay is very honest.” Vanity Fair responded, “We stand by our story,” adding that the magazine had tape recordings of their Lohan interview.

The actress starts filming Chapter 27, a movie about John Lennon's killer, in two weeks. “She's really excited about her career,” one friend tells People. “She's definitely grown up.”

Forest Thin as a Sapling!

New show, new body. Just as the FX police series The Shield returned Jan. 10, this time around featuring actor Forest Whitaker as Internal Affairs investigator Jon Kavanaugh, the actor has unveiled a slimmer physique. He won't say precisely how much weight he lost, but the long-time vegetarian, 44, “got serious about exercising and dieting” four months ago, taking walks outdoors and on the treadmill and doing martial arts sessions, says his rep. With three upcoming movies A Little Trip to Heaven, Mary and The Last King of Scotland—in addition to the series, it's a big year for a thin man.

Newlyweds MEMORIES SOLD!

If these walls could talk … Well, actually, they don't have to, because scenes from most of Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey's marriage were played out here in their Calabasas, Calif., house for the cameras of MTV's Newlyweds and are still available on DVD. Still, they really won't be going home again: Just a few days after Simpson and Lachey put the house on the market, it was sold to actor Justin Berfield, 19 (he plays the bully brother Reese on Malcolm in the Middle and is a Simpson family friend). Purchase price was not disclosed, but the house was listed at $3.75 million by real estate agent Kay Cole of Sotheby's International. A source close to Simpson says she's “emotional” about selling the only home she shared with her estranged husband, “but it's another thing that you have to do when you get divorced.” Adds a Lachey friend: “If you are really moving on with your life, part of that process is selling the house.” The 6,500-sq.-ft. five-bedroom Mediterranean-style property includes an infinity swimming pool in which Jessica was filmed sunbathing solo while Nick shot a music video in their yard, a custom-built walk-in closet that was a Christmas gift from Nick to Jess, and so much more….

•LIST PRICE - $3,750,000
•REMEMBER WHEN … The couple shared countless take-out meals here? And Nick made Jessica a Valentine that read, “I look forward to growing old and gray together”?
•Jessica tossed her dirty laundry over the railing? Or the times caveman Nick slung Jessica over his shoulder to carry her to the bedroom?
•Jessica cooked for Nick (chicken not tuna in season one and pancakes in season two)? Or when a chef helped her prepare a gourmet meal for her husband?

MATT: PART OF THE TEAM

Matthew McConaughey is a man of passion. He made that clear Jan. 4 when the University of Texas won the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. People's reigning Sexiest Man Alive cheered the Longhorns to a 41-38 victory over USC, then invited the team back to his L.A. home for a night of celebration. He “was just one of the gang, high-fiving us,” says assistant strength coach Aaron Humphrey. The actor, Class of '93, often attends his alma mater's football practices, delivers emotional locker room pep talks, and even composed a team mantra—“I don't think so, I know so,” which he chants while doing a “chicken dance.” After the game, coach Mack Brown told McConaughey, 36, “Matt, this is like winning an Oscar.” The actor's response: “No, this is big time!”

In the Words of Macaulay

Macaulay Culkin has an addition to his résumé: author. The 25-year-old former child star has written his first book, Junior, a semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical collection of journal-like entries, drawings, letters and poems—often about a troubled father-son relationship. In one letter to “Father” he writes: “You taught me how I never want to be with my children …. You taught me about anger and rage.” In another, his character simply repeats an obscene word over and over and over in a letter to his father. But “Dad” also tops his list of “Things That Are Important.” Also on the list? “Solar panels. Bananas. Carpenters.” In real life Culkin has not spoken to his father, Kit Culkin, 61 (left), since a custody dispute in 1997.

Charlie and Denise: Over over?

For a while, it looked like their split wouldn't stick. Shortly after Denise Richards filed for divorce from Charlie Sheen last March after nearly three years of marriage, they were often spotted together, and he said they were trying to reconcile. Just last month they shared some quality time in the Caribbean. But on Jan. 4, lawyers for both asked that their case be removed from the L.A. County Superior Court and handed to a private arbitrator. Richards's rep said “she is moving forward with divorce proceedings.” A source close to the couple adds, “It's a surprise. Denise was happy when they started their vacation.” Richards plans on staying close to her ex for the sake of their daughters Sam, almost 2, and Lola, 7 months.

George Michael: Ready to Wed

When George Michael attended Elton John's civil-union ceremony in London last month, he may have been doing a little wedding planning of his own. The British pop star, 42, and his partner, Dallas art-gallery owner Kenny Goss, 47, plan to tie the knot in Britain this June. “George and I have been together for 10 years, and to legalize our union is important to us,” Goss tells Scoop. The couple plan to celebrate with a bash in London. Of the ceremony, Goss says, “I would love to be able to do the same in my own country and have a big party in Dallas.”

Idols Abroad

Simon Cowell can be nasty when it comes to dissing contestants on American Idol, but—experts believe—he has never told anyone they “sing like a donkey.” Contestants on Ethiopian Idols, the AI counterpart that has been a hit in that nation of 73 million since the show's fall debut, hear that sort of thing all the time. “Sometimes [contestants] get angry,” judge Feleke Hailu, 46, the Simon of Addis Ababa, told the Associated Press. “One singer threw a stick at me.” Ethiopian Idols is held in a hotel. The winner gets a record deal and a cash prize.

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