updated 03/02/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 03/02/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST
The Travoltas' Heartbreak
HOW THEY'RE COPING
It's been been more than six weeks since the Jan. 2 death of Jett Travolta, 16, and parents John, 55, and Kelly, 46, along with their daughter Ella Bleu, 8, are "trying to grieve and return to some sort of normalcy for Ella," a source tells Scoop. "But life isn't normal without Jett." The Travoltas have been lying low at their Ocala, Fla., home, taking occasional long walks and slowly reconnecting with friends. "I just got a lovely long letter from them," actress and longtime family friend Anne Archer told Scoop. "They're doing okay. They're at home, and they're dealing with it." Adding to their pain is the ongoing criminal case in the Bahamas, where prosecutors allege that a politician and a paramedic tried to extort $25 million from the family after Jett died there. "They were so hurt by the moochers," says the source. "But things have calmed down. Every day it gets better."
RUMOR PATROL TV EDITION
Katherine Heigl & T.R. Knight
ARE THEY LEAVING GREY'S?
No! "That was a very interesting rumor—it's not true," Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes assured Scoop at the NAACP Image Awards Feb. 12, a few days after Grey's actor James Pickens Jr. said that Heigl, 30, and Knight, 35, were packing up their stethoscopes. "His quote was taken out of context."
IS SHE LEAVING HOUSEWIVES?
Yes! After five seasons with Desperate Housewives, Sheridan, 45, "is looking forward to her next project," her rep confirmed to Scoop. Costar Eva Longoria Parker, 33, told reporters Feb. 16, "She's not only one of my best friends from the show, but I love [her] character, Edie Britt."
Mickey Rourke, 52, who thanked his dogs during his Golden Globes acceptance speech, says his pooches were his savior 14 years ago, when he "self-destructed." In an interview for the Oscar-night (Feb. 22) edition of The Barbara Walters Special, Rourke says, "I just wanted to push a button and disappear. Then I looked at my dog, and he made a sound, almost like a human sound. I mean, I don't have kids. The dogs became everything to me. The dog was looking at me going, 'Who's going to take care of me?'"
Scoop has confirmed that Usher's wife, Tameka Raymond, 38, went to Brazil for stomach liposuction Feb. 6, two months after delivering their second son. After receiving general anesthesia, she went into cardiac arrest and was put in an induced coma. Says a source at the clinic: "She's getting better every day" and "does not have cerebral damage."
NEW ARM CANDY
He's met her kids, appeared with her in a steamy pictorial, and now Madonna's new companion, Brazilian model Jesus Luz (in his early 20s!) has seemingly taken an interest in the singer's spirituality too. On Feb. 14, three days after the pair dined with friends at Macelleria in Manhattan, Luz joined the singer, 50, her daughter Lourdes, 12, and son David, 3, at Manhattan's Kabbalah Centre. Still, a friend shrugs off rumors of a romance: "He's just a hot guy to hang out with."
PARIS, WHO? BENJI BOUNCES BACK!
Following a Feb. 14 concert at Las Vegas's Wasted Space, Katy Perry, 24, and Benji Madden, 29, spent the night snuggling at Lavo and later at Spearmint Rhino. "There's chemistry," says a source. But Perry blogged that reports of romantic club-hopping with Paris Hilton's ex were overblown, adding, "Benji is a nice young fellow."
THE BACHELOR BLOG
Jason Mesnick is blogging at people.com/bachelor about the latest episode. This week's excerpt: "The hot tub date with Jillian [inset] got pretty hot, and that passion was exactly what I needed to feel with her.... Molly asking me to spend the night really showed me that she was there for me and was completely opening herself up to me.... I hoped Melissa and I could concentrate on us and not her difficult hometown date.... It was tough sending Jill home. She had become my ultimate friend on this journey."
ROCKING GOOD CAUSE
Beyoncé wowed the crowd at Saks Fifth Avenue's "Unforgettable Evening" benefiting the EIF's Women's Cancer Research Fund in Beverly Hills Feb. 10. The event honored Courteney Cox Arquette (who yelled, "They spelled my name right!" when she saw her award) and Gwyneth Paltrow for their work on cancer causes. The singer belted a "take that, Etta James!" rendition of "At Last" for guests like Rita Wilson and Sheryl Crow.
VALENTINE'S DAY DATES: Amy Poehler and Will Arnett met up with Poehler's Parks and Recreation costar Rashida Jones at Chateau Marmont. Robin Thicke whisked wife Paula Patton to the Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley for some room service and movies. Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo celebrated a day early at N.Y.C.'s Serendipity with a frozen hot chocolate. Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens had a long lunch at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, where baby-face Efron was dutifully carded for his Amstel Light.
• 2/12, L.A.: What feud? Miley Cyrus (with boyfriend Justin Gaston—who picked up the tab), Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato hit Koi for dinner. • 2/11, L.A.: Sheryl Crow celebrated her 47th b-day at Il Sole with son Wyatt, 21 months, and pals. The whole restaurant sang "Happy Birthday," and Wyatt blew out the candle on Crow's tiramisu. • 2/14, L.A.: Paris Hilton got all dolled up—literally—in a Barbie-esque outfit for a pink-themed early 28th-b-day bash at her house.
5 Questions for...
The star talks about working his PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive title into his Oscar-hosting duties, his family's reaction to the plum gig, and how his countrymen pay homage to the show
1 Will you work your Sexiest Man title into the show?
I'm trying! It's too good to let go. The comedy writers think it's the best bit of fodder they could ever have.
2 How did you hear you'd landed the host job?
I was in London and I woke up to a phone call about midnight. I was dumbstruck. My wife, Deb, was coming to bed, and I said, "Baby, you're about to get in bed with the host of the 81st Academy Awards!" and she started jumping up and down!
3 How are the preparations going?
I'm in this rehearsal world. I've just spent two hours with comedy writers, and I have been having the time of my life.
4 What do your kids [Oscar, 8, and Ava, 3] and wife think?
My son said, "Okay, so Oscar's dad is hosting the Oscars," and when I leave for rehearsal, Ava thinks I'm going off to host the show every day. Deb is counting down and beyond excited.
5 Did you watch the Oscars back in Australia?
At drama school our biggest party of the year was on Oscar night. It's a very common drinking game in Australia: whenever anyone thanks God or their parents you have to "skull" [chug your drink]. Those are the rules!