WEEK IN REVIEW: Shocking Jacko Story
MICHAEL MIRED: Vanity Fair reporter Maureen Orth writes in the March issue that Michael Jackson, who faces child-molestation charges, allegedly seduced boys by giving them Coke cans filled with white wine he called "Jesus juice" and red wine purportedly nicknamed "Jesus blood." Among Orth's other claims: a Demerol-and-morphine-addicted Jackson spent years in and out of rehab and secretly underwent detox in Seoul, Korea, and ex-wife Debbie Rowe allegedly threatened to reveal Jackson's secrets unless he forked over at least $8 million in hush money.
ASHTON'S 'LOVE': Newly established box-office star Ashton Kutcher ("The Butterfly Effect") will team with "Something's Gotta Give" costar Amanda Peet for the upcoming romantic comedy "A Lot Like Love," said the Hollywood Reporter, adding that it took the casting of Peet to convince Kutcher to sign on to the project. Kutcher, 25, and Peet, 31, will play longtime acquaintances who can no longer fight the attraction between them. Shooting is scheduled to begin in April, while Kutcher is on a break from FOX's "That '70s Show."
WALTERS WALKS: After 25 years as host of "20/20," veteran newswoman Barbara Walters, 74, announced that she will step down this September from her perch at the ABC newsmagazine. This is not being called a retirement, according to the statement from ABC. "I want to have more flexibility in my life without the responsibilities of a weekly newsmagazine," said Walters. She will still handle about six interview specials a year for ABC News, including her annual pre-Oscar show.
COMBS CASE: Jury selection began in Manhattan Monday for a $3 million lawsuit against Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, 34, filed by his former chauffeur, Wardel Fenderson, 45, said reports. Fenderson contends he was forced by the music mogul and his bodyguards to speed away from a Times Square nightclub on Dec. 27, 1999, ignoring police orders to stop after a shooting took place. Combs, who was cleared of weapons charges in the case, is expected to take the stand in the suit, and his companion at the time, Jennifer Lopez, reportedly has been subpoenaed.
'GIGLI' RAZZED: Capping an already tough weekend for Jennifer Lopez -- whose breakup with Ben Affleck was confirmed late last week -- her spectacularly bad movie with her ex-fiancé, "Gigli," leads the pack for the 24th annual Golden Raspberry Awards, scoring nine nominations, tying it with "Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat." The Razzies, which traditionally pay (mock) tribute to Hollywood's worst achievements of the year, will be handed out Feb. 28, the day before the Oscars.
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