NEWS BRIEFS: Michael 'Not in Detox'

03/05/2004 AT 10:15 AM EST

DENIED: Michael Jackson's spokesperson is shooting down a New York Post story claiming the pop star, 45, is in drug rehab. "Michael is in Aspen, on vacation with his kids. However, he is very concerned with the innuendoes and the rumors," his rep, Raymone Bain, told Friday's "Today" show. "He is not in detox. He is absolutely, positively on vacation with his kids." As for Jackson's reaction to a very damning Vanity Fair article that detailed his purported seduction of young boys (reportedly giving them wine in Coke cans that Jackson called "Jesus juice"), Bain, who has been working for Jackson only a month, said that her client was "outraged." If the stories don't stop, she added, Jackson will sue.

HIRED: "The Boy from Oz" star Hugh Jackman, 37, will host Broadway's Tony Awards, to be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on CBS June 6. "I'm honored to be invited to host the Tonys for a second time," Jackman, who is expected to win as Best Musical Actor in the otherwise lame "Oz," said in a statement. "This, on top of the incredible reception I've received from the Broadway community, caps a thrilling year being the new kid on the block."


QUOTED: "It is very difficult for any couple who are married if both people ... are very ambitious. I don't know if it's just too hard to be married to a woman that wants to be a movie star. I know that she has that right to want that." -- Ethan Hawke, 33, on the breakup of his marriage to Uma Thurman, to ABC's "20/20" in an interview to air Friday night


DIED: Vernon Grissom, 68, the estranged father of "American Idol" favorite Clay Aiken, died last Friday in a North Carolina hospital. His son did not attend his funeral, even though Aiken had performed in Raleigh, N.C., that day, say reports. Grissom had left Aiken's mother when the "Idol"-to-be was just a toddler.

RECUPERATED: Monaco monarch Prince Rainier, 80, has returned to his royal palace in Monte Carlo after 12 days of hospital treatment for heart problems, his office said. Rainier has been in and out of the hospital in recent months. He was last admitted Feb. 21 to a Monaco heart and chest clinic, where doctors diagnosed a coronary lesion and repaired a blood vessel, the palace said.

BEGUN: "Batman Begins," a new movie about the origins of the Caped Crusader, started filming Thursday in Iceland, with "American Psycho" actor Christian Bale, 30, starring as the shadowy vigilante who protects Gotham City from psychotic villains, reports the Associated Press. The cast also includes Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Katie Holmes, Ken Watanabe and Liam Neeson. Filming is due to continue in London and Chicago.

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