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updated 08/07/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/07/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

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ABJECT APOLOGY
Three weeks after the split, Christie Brinkley remains out of sight while husband Peter Cook begs her forgiveness

Since the news broke that her husband, Peter Cook, had an affair with his 19-year-old assistant, Christie Brinkley has been lying low with son Jack, 11, and daughter Sailor, 8. Where? In a place with "no computers, no phones," one of the supermodel's best friends, Jill Rappaport, told NBC's Today July 20. "She just wanted to put [the kids] where they could be shielded from all these horrible headlines." Cook, who has been in contact with the children, is now making headlines of a different sort. On July 25 he reached out to Brinkley with an apology in the New York Post. "I have loved her since the day I met her," he told columnist Cindy Adams via a statement read by his lawyer Norman Sheresky. "I'm sorry. I'm contrite. I'm stupid. Foolish. No excuse." In other words, as Sheresky tells Scoop, "He'd like to be back together with his wife." Brinkley, according to Sheresky, has not yet filed for divorce, and more than $60 million in property assets alone are at stake if she does. If it comes to that, the lawyer told Adams, "it will not be nasty. She can have whatever she wants." As for the other woman: Diana Bianchi, forthcoming in a TV interview last week, is now avoiding the spotlight. "She's hysterical," says her grandmother Carole Bianchi of the aspiring pop singer. "[Cook] was married to a beautiful woman who we have adored. Don't blame my granddaughter. She is caught in the middle."

KENNY'S A' COURTIN'

He may not have had her at hello, but he did have her in his music video. After his four-month marriage to Renée Zellweger was annulled last December, Kenny Chesney is now stepping out with a new lady: Colombian-born actress-model Vane (pronounced va-NAY) Millon, who appeared in his "When the Sun Goes Down" video (inset) and will be seen in his upcoming "You Save Me" video. Chesney, 38, and Millon, 24, hit it off while shooting in Mexico in April; in May the country singer brought her as his date to the Academy of Country Music Awards. "They like to laugh," says a close friend of Chesney's. "She seems like a homebody; Kenny's not a big party guy. They're both pretty simple." Don't expect a plunge anytime soon. "She's got a career, and he's got a tour," says the source. "I don't think them rearranging their lives is the priority."

The Next Files

Gillian Anderson, 37, is going to become a mom—again. "She is happy to announce that she is expecting her second child, due at the end of the year, with businessman Mark Griffiths," her manager told PEOPLE exclusively. The former X-Files actress has an 11-year-old daughter, Piper, from her first marriage. She separated from her second husband, foreign correspondent Julian Ozanne, in April after 16 months of marriage.

Rosie's First Guest

When Rosie O'Donnell joins The View in September, she can count on at least one friendly face: her first guest, Jessica Simpson, a source close to the singer tells Scoop. "When Jessica was starting out, Rosie took a chance putting her on the Rosie O'Donnell Show, and Jessica never forgot it."

A PUBLIC AFFAIR
It's the title of Jessica Simpson's new CD, but her ex Nick Lachey is playing it out with Vanessa Minnillo

Big Apple, big PDA. On July 24 Nick Lachey spent 12 seriously lovey-dovey hours with gal pal Vanessa Minnillo in New York City. The pair first got cozy around 3 p.m. over a shared banana ice cream tower dessert at the Atlantic Grill restaurant on Manhattan's Upper East Side. "They were very touchy-feely and sitting close, looking into each other's eyes a lot," an onlooker tells Scoop. Later that evening the couple headed to the downtown hotspot Butter, where they tucked into a booth and let their affections unfold to the musical selections. Minnillo first danced with pals, including Jamie-Lynn Sigler grooving to the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back." Then, say eyewitnesses, Minnillo indulged Lachey in numerous lap dances to songs like Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous." The clincher? Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love," which left the couple in an all-out makeout session, before leaving hand-in-hand around 3 a.m.

His Will Be Done

Though the estimated worth of Aaron Spelling's estate is more than $300 million, a source close to his daughter Tori says his will leaves her "less than $1 million" in cash and stocks. Because Tori was so close to her father, says the source, "it's disheartening to her." To contest it, Tori would have to go up against the executor—her mother, Candy—with whom she's been feuding. "It's not right that people think she's an heiress," adds the source. "It's the furthest from the truth."

Leo Lends a Hand—and a Seat

When Francesco Clark scored tickets to Madonna's Confessions concert in New York City July 18, he probably wasn't expecting a round of musical chairs. Unable to access his riser-level seat, the wheelchair-bound Clark, 28, and his sister missed the first three songs moving between locations—none of which allowed him to see over the standing crowd. Enter Leo DiCaprio. "He just walked up and said that we could sit next to him in the front row," Clark, who runs his family's cosmetic company, tells Scoop. "He actually gave up his seat and went out of his way to make sure that we could see ... they were the best seats we could possibly get."

Faux Shiloh

Yes, it has come to this: Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York City is unveiling its first-ever wax infant replica. The baby in question? Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's daughter Shiloh, of course. The figure, which took two weeks to fashion, naps perpetually beneath the calm—or vacant?—gaze of her wax parents in an African-themed nursery. While the exhibit lasts, Madame Tussauds will donate $1 to UNICEF for every Jolie-Pitt family photo that visitors buy.

AS SEEN ON TV

Here's one way to stand out in a pageant without Vaseline or double-stick tape: Wear a winning dress from the hit reality-TV show Project Runway. For the July 23 Miss Universe competition, Miss USA Tara Conner donned "the exact same dress from the show" for the evening gown segment, says Kayne Gillaspie (in black, right), who co-created the organza design with fellow contestant Robert Best. After the show wrapped, Gillaspie (a pageant-dress designer by trade) fitted Conner—and worked security detail. "I made that thing like Fort Knox," he tells Scoop. "Every rhinestone was checked, and I made sure the hem was the exact right length. If she trips, that's a huge faux pas." But Conner stayed on her feet and earned fourth runner-up, while the gown earned some serious pageant cred. Says Conner: "Several girls came up to me backstage and said, 'It's so pretty.'"

Sore Winner

Answer: This former Jeopardy! champion wrote an open letter blasting the show for everything from its blue set to its obscure questions and stiff host. Question: Who is Ken Jennings?

In 2004 he came away from a 74-game winning streak on Jeopardy! with $2,520,700. Now Ken Jennings, 32, is dissing the show—and host Alex Trebek—in a letter posted on his Web site ken-jennings.com. The software engineer's tirade comes just weeks before his book Brainiac hits stores in September. Both camps were unavailable for comment. Herewith, a few of the things Jennings is getting off his chest:

"The old folks love [Trebek]. Nobody knows that he died a few years back and was replaced with the Trebektron 4000. "

"Electric blue everywhere ... Was that hip in 1984?"
—JENNINGS ON THE SET DECOR

"Does every category have to be some effete left-coast crap nobody's heard of?"

DAVE & CARMEN'S COZY SPLIT

On July 22 witnesses swear they saw Carmen Electra, newly separated from husband Dave Navarro, hanging out with Jamie Foxx at the Hollywood club Element, but Electra says that's just not true. She was home watching TV—with Navarro. "Dave thinks it's funny, but I'm upset because there's not one ounce of truth [to it]," Electra tells Scoop. Though officially split, they live together for now and are still "so connected," says a source close to Electra. "There's a positive way of remaining friends." Navarro too "isn't moping around or depressed," says a source. In fact, at the July 23 taping of Rock Star: Supernova, he wore his wedding ring but still gazed at cohost Brooke Burke exclaiming, "Damn, she's hot."

GOATEE 1-2-3
It's not a hairy math problem—it's just the addition of a little beard.

JAMES GANDOLFINI + BEN AFFLECK = VINCE VAUGHN

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