Scoop

updated 06/02/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/02/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

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BRITNEY & MEL
GO ON VACATION TOGETHER!

She may not be a perfect 10 (yet!), but Britney Spears, 26, did her best to look the part during a Costa Rican getaway at Mel Gibson's 400-acre compound. During the tropical retreat, which kicked off May 15, a bikini-clad Spears rode an ATV, sunbathed and boogie boarded. "They went away for a few days to relax," a source tells Scoop of the trip, which included Spears' dad, Jamie, her William Morris agent Jason Trawick and her assistant Brett. On the evening of May 16, the group enjoyed a BBQ of fresh produce and meat flown in from the capital city of San Jose. Along with being a great host, Gibson, a source says, "is someone who understands her better than the average person." Gibson, who dined with Spears in March in L.A. along with wife Robyn, also has a history helping troubled stars, including Courtney Love and his Air America costar Robert Downey Jr. "There is no agenda," says the source. "It's simply an act of human kindness."

OWEN WHO?
KATE MOVES ON ...TO LANCE!

Kate Hudson is nursing her recent breakup from Owen Wilson by stepping out with another notorious Texas playboy, Lance Armstrong. After a quick stop at Kid Rock's afterparty at New York City's Wildwood Barbeque restaurant in the wee hours of May 16, Hudson, 29, and Armstrong, 36, traveled to Austin later that day. Aside from an intimate dinner for two at the swanky restaurant Eddie V's (Armstrong once brought pal Jake Gyllenhaal there), the duo's weekend was filled with bike rides and big group outings. They had dinner May 17 with a large party, including Armstrong's three children, at Hula Hut, a University of Texas hangout. "They sat with a view of the lake and ordered burgers and fries," says an eyewitness. (Hudson's son Ryder was in New York City with his dad, Chris Robinson.) Reps for both had no comment on the getaway or exactly how the duo connected, but, says a source, "Kate and Lance were having fun together."

RUMOR PATROL

Lindsay & Nicole
STILL BFF'S

Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie put feud buzz to rest March 14 at L.A.'s Crown Bar, when they looked more like BFF's than a sparing duo (A report had claimed that Richie was unhappy that Joel Madden and Lohan socialized at Crown Bar May 5). During this recent outing, Richie and Madden joined Lohan's table, and when Lohan pal deejay Samantha Ronson blasted New Kids on the Block's "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," Richie dropped to her knees mid-dance and pointed to Lohan.

Fergie: LEAVE MY DAUGHTER ALONE!

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, says the British press is being "very, very mean" about her daughter Beatrice's curvy figure (A Daily Mail columnist referred to her as a "pampered Miss Piggy"). "She is a regular size 10," Ferguson, 48, a Weight Watchers spokes--person, said of Beatrice, 19, who was photographed a few weeks ago in a bikini on St. Bart's. "She is very fit and healthy."

EXCLUSIVE SKETCHES

Ellen DeGeneres
I'M MARRYING PORTIA!

On May 15, when the California Supreme Court overturned a ban on gay marriage, Ellen DeGeneres, 50, said she and partner Portia de Rossi, 35, are tying the knot. (Federally, gay marriage is still not recognized.) "We want it to be legal," a tearful DeGeneres said on her show. "I'm so excited!" But there's one more hurdle: what to wear! Scoop asked Badgley Mischka, Reem Acra, Marc Bouwer and Lela Rose to share their dream designs for what Ellen should wear on her big day.

REEM ACRA
"A white tux would give her a relaxed yet chic look," says Acra. "And it keeps comfort in mind."

LELA ROSE
"It's offhanded and not so formal," says Rose. "Ellen always has fun with the way she dresses."

MARC BOUWER
"I can't see her in anything but trousers," says Bouwer, who suggests she pair them with a ruffled shirt.

BADGLEY MISCHKA
"Ellen always looks so chic in a pantsuit," say Mark Badgley and James Mischka. "She should stick with her signature look."

PDA ALERT

Hayden and Milo's
ROMANTIC BRUNCH

Heroes may be on hiatus, but the courtship between the show's costars Milo Ventimiglia, 30, and Hayden Panettiere, 18, sure isn't on a break. The couple, who have been quietly dating since the fall, headed to the Beverly Hills Hotel's Polo Lounge on May 18 for a Sunday brunch. "They arrived at 2 p.m. and made their way to a booth in the back of the patio," says an eyewitness. "Hayden led the way, with Milo right behind her, putting his hand on her back. Once they were seated, Milo stroked Hayden's arm and rubbed her leg every so often." But, all good things must come to an end: Milo, who was "looking lovingly at Hayden," toned down the PDA once the couple were joined by another pair of diners.

Insider

CANNES: THE PARTIES!

At Nikki Beach May 17, on-again couple SEAN PENN and ROBIN WRIGHT PENN got cozy at PETRA NEMCOVA's bash for her film Love Evolution. Petra, who was Penn's gal-pal while he and Robin were on the outs, played it cool. "At one point [they] kissed—even when Petra was speaking to the crowd," says an onlooker. "She pretended not to notice ... but it was right in front of her face!" Later that night, in an epic poker battle at the Partouche Charity Poker Festival at the Palm Beach Casino, WOODY HARRELSON won $250,000 for his charity Oasis Preserve International. HARRISON FORD and CALISTA FLOCKHART opted for romantic dinners. "They [stared] into each other's eyes," says an onlooker at Tetou restaurant.

BIRTHDAYS, BIRTHDAYS, BIRTHDAYS!

CHRIS BROWN: HE'S 19
Brown celebrated May 13 with undercover-lover Rihanna at Rebel in N.Y.C. "They walked out together ... she was holding his arm," says a staffer. A cake decorated with his likeness was so heavy two men were needed to carry it into the club.

JANET JACKSON: SHE'S 42
Jackson was surprised with a bash thrown by boyfriend Jermaine Dupri at Katsuya Hollywood. The party raged on at S Bar. "When Janet got there they began to play only her music," says a guest. "It was so cute!"

AUDRINA PATRIDGE: SHE'S 23
Patridge, who is currently filming Into the Blue 2, blew out sparklers (unsuccessfully) at Las Vegas's LAX nightclub May 17. Hills pal Lauren Conrad—not there! The party ended at 5:30 a.m. when she finished dancing on a couch at Noir Bar.

'I'M FINE!'

Gossip Girl's Michelle Trachtenberg was steady on her feet at Entertainment Weekly & Vavoom's Upfronts party at N.Y.C.'s Bowery Hotel May 13, despite collapsing earlier that day. "I'm fine! My blood sugar got a little low," she explained. "I felt like such a nerd—so embarrassed!"

Denis Leary
The acerbic star of Rescue Me reveals his lust for Oprah!

Q&A

Rescue Me season 4 is on DVD June 3, and new episodes won't air until March. What are you working on?
I wrote a book called Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid by Dr. Denis Leary. I rant and rave ... and basically explain how I grew up.

Is that how you discovered that you and Conan O'Brien are distant cousins?
My Uncle Jerry has been saying for years, "That O'Brien kid reminds me of somebody." We're like, whatever. And then he drew our family tree ... we had a second cousin, her name was Dougherty, which is Conan's mother's maiden name. Conan came from Worcester. I came from Worcester. So I told Conan and he was like, "No way." He finally came to realize it when my son Jack, who is 6'6, is built exactly like Conan.

You're in the HBO election drama Recount (May 25), so vote on who's sexier: Hillary or Condi?
Oh my God! Do I have to? I'd have to go with ... Barack Obama. And I'm a straight man!

Your song "At the Rehab" pokes fun at celebs in and out of rehab. What should they do instead?
Oprah should have a secret program. You go on her show, she kidnaps and holds you hostage until you quit. You talk about Condoleezza and Hillary; the real deal is Oprah! She's cute, sexy, and who doesn't like her? If she runs for President, she's got my vote.

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