'I'M AS HAPPY AS I COULD POSSIBLY IMAGINE'
Like any good country crooner, Jessica Simpson packed her debut country album, Do You Know (out Sept. 9), with songs about heartbreak and good-for-nothin' men. But these days, Simpson, 28, is singing a different tune about love. In an exclusive interview with Scoop before her Aug. 7 concert at the Indiana State Fair (right), she chatted about her nine-month romance with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, 28, for whom she penned the song "You're My Sunday." "I love every quality that Tony has," she gushed. "I can't predict the future, but right now I'm as happy as I could possibly imagine."
What makes Romo different from the ex she dubbed "Butthead" (Nick Lachey? John Mayer?) before performing "When I Loved You Like That"—a.k.a. her "bitter song"? "He really inspires me," said Simpson, who later added, "I don't think that I would be in a relationship this long if I didn't hope for happily ever after."
HE'S A DAD
It's a boy!
Clay Aiken's got a new gig: proud papa! The former American Idol runner-up, 29, and his friend, music producer Jaymes Foster, 50, welcomed son Parker Foster Aiken at 8:08 a.m. on Aug. 8 at a North Carolina hospital. Parker—which is Aiken's mom's surname—weighed 6 lbs. 2 oz. and was 19 inches long. Aiken's mom told a Raleigh radio station that Parker has "dark hair." And on his blog, Aiken gushed, "The little man is healthy, happy and as loud as his daddy."
Michelle Williams and Spike Jonze's blossoming courtship is becoming increasingly public. The N.Y.C.-based couple were spotted Aug. 2 having a PDA-filled dinner at Little Dom's in L.A. "They would lean in and kiss each other over the table," says a source. By the end of the meal, Williams was sitting on his lap. Says one supportive friend: "Good for her!"
While Winona Ryder's career is on the mend—she has a handful of movie roles, including one in the next Star Trek installment, on tap—her personal life isn't so great. The actress, 36, and musician Blake Sennett, 34, have split. Says a source: "It was tough on her."
Nick & Vanessa
As wedding rumors continue to swirl ("Not yet," says a source), Vanessa Minnillo, 27, continues to warm up to Nick Lachey's family. On Aug. 6 she joined Lachey, 34, his mom, Cate, stepdad Bruce and other relatives for an outing to L.A.'s Getty Museum. Says a witness: "Nick and Vanessa were hugging and kissing." And a few days later, they continued their lovefest at the LG Villa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (pictured).
ROMANTIC ROAD TRIP
Sir Paul McCartney, 66, and Nancy Shevell, 48, kicked off a cross-country journey July 31 along U.S. Route 66 in a 1989 Ford Bronco. The couple have since been sighted in Illinois and New Mexico (pictured). "They totally looked in love," said an eyewitness in Joliet, Ill. As for rumors of engagement, a source says, "it's still early."
THE People POLL
Who Makes A Better Couple?
Is Nick Jonas, 15, better off with ex Miley Cyrus, 15, or with current flame Selena Gomez, 16? More than 20,000 PEOPLE.com readers weighed in.
NICK & SELENA
NICK & MILEY
SAM RONSON: TURNS 31 WITH LINDSAY
After a Miami trip to spend time with her family and gal pal Lindsay Lohan (the Ronson clan loved Lohan), Samantha Ronson returned to L.A. for a two-day birthday bonanza. On Aug. 6 Lohan, 22, surprised Ronson at midnight with a cake full of candles at her deejay gig at Crown Bar. The next night, the pair celebrated at a cocktail party at lingerie boutique Kiki de Montparnasse—and arrived in a rented ice cream truck from which the birthday girl helped herself to pixy stix and kept the giant balloon star.
Ryan Phillippe and Abbie Cornish
HER B-DAY SURPRISE!
Ryan Phillippe, 33, whisked girlfriend Abbie Cornish to Las Vegas for her 26th birthday (she had never been!). The lovebirds checked into the Palazzo Las Vegas Aug. 6 and enjoyed a romantic dinner in the kitchen of Restaurant Charlie, where Phillippe plated their 12-course meal and topped it off with a cake. The following day, the duo relaxed and later took in Cirque du Soleil's O before capping the night off at Tao nightclub.
• 8/5, L.A.: Kirsten Dunst mistakenly wandered into Green Door's jazz night thinking it was a Pineapple Express afterparty, but stayed anyway!
• 8/8, Pittsburgh: Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis hand-picked the talent for the American Eagle Outfitters New American Music Union music festival.
• 8/9, L.A.: The Suite Life of Zack & Cody stars Dylan and Cole Sprouse turned 16 with a Nintendo Mario Super Sluggers-themed bash and impromptu break dancing by guest (and Will Smith's son) Jaden.
• 8/9, Malibu: Pregnant Ashlee Simpson told pals to "rub my belly!" at the Boost Mobile BBQ while hubby Pete Wentz deejayed.
The actress talks about starring with beau Javier Bardem in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona—and kissing Scarlett
First things first: So what was it like working with Javier?
All I'm going to say is that he's an amazing actor!
You play Maria Elena, the passionate and excitable ex-wife of Javier's character. Are you similar to her in any way?
Well, I hope I don't have such a big temper. I don't need to be like my characters. I don't need to agree with them. I need to understand them.
Maria Elena is also a gifted painter. Do you share any similar artistic talents?
I cannot paint, that's for sure! I'm terrible at it. I was training with a teacher for the movie.
Was it uncomfortable shooting kissing scenes with Scarlett Johansson?
The set was very crowded that day, but everyone had a reason to be there.
Did you and Scarlett bond during filming?
She and I became friends, and we stay in contact. I really like her and like working with her.
How did you and Scarlett unwind?
We went out one night in [the town of] Oviedo and we ran into this bronze sculpture of Woody [Allen]. They love him. We took pictures with the sculpture, hugging it, and gave [the photos] to Woody.
How did you like working with Woody Allen?
He is one of the masters of cinema. I've watched some of his movies 10 times. He seems shy, but when he relaxes he's incredibly funny.