- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 5, 2004

Calling it quits

New York Post

After a three-year love affair that was headed to the altar, Tiger Woods and his stunning Swedish model may have called it quits after a huge blowout, the Boston Herald reports.

Mr. Woods’ fiancee, Elin Nordegren, has been a noticeable no-show at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Mass., which ends today, where Tiger-watchers are abuzz with breakup rumors.

If history is any indicator, the intensely private couple — who blasted the manager of the South African resort where they got engaged last November for leaking the news — will not likely issue a statement.

Big Apple for Apple

San Francisco Chronicle

Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Chris Martin, are planning to leave London and raise their baby daughter, Apple, in New York.

Miss Paltrow gave birth to her daughter in the British capital in May, and has since decided that her old Big Apple stomping ground will be the perfect place for the child to go to school.

“We’ll probably be gypsies until she starts kindergarten, then we’ll settle on a place,” World Entertainment News Network quoted Miss Paltrow as saying. “But I would bet that she’ll be raised (in New York). I think it is the most interesting, complicated, wonderful, beautiful city.”

And while she’s looking forward to returning to New York, Miss Paltrow insists she has no plans for another pregnancy just yet.

“I’m so happy with Apple, I think we’ll just leave it at her for the moment,” she said.

Telltale tome

Dallasvoice.com

Throughout his lengthy career, the immensely talented (and occasionally immense) R&B; singer Luther Vandross has continually dodged questions about his sexual orientation. Widely presumed to be homosexual, he has never publicly confirmed — or denied — these inquiries, saying his private life is nobody’s business.

Those looking for an explicit, definitive answer in the just- published “Luther: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross” (HarperCollins, 368 pp.) Craig Seymour’s biography, will come away disappointed. While it may not tell all, this book is a solidly written and juicy examination of the life and career of a musical giant.

Had Mr. Vandross died from the massive stroke he suffered in 2003, “Luther” might tell a different tale.

Particularly intriguing are excerpts from a 1998 interview that Mr. Seymour, a District native and former reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, conducted with Mr. Vandross. After several circuitous attempts to broach the singer’s sexuality, Mr. Vandross tells his interviewer, “You’re trying to zero in on something that you are never ever gonna get ? Look at you, just circling the airport. You ain’t never gonna land.”

In any case, the star’s elusive sexuality makes up only a fraction of this biography, which competently chronicles his struggle for success and recognition. A chance meeting with David Bowie helped launch Mr. Vandross, and he also worked with Bette Midler during her Continental Bath days. He eventually recorded his own albums, earned a lot of money singing ad jingles, and produced a successful comeback for his idol, Aretha Franklin.

The tome also covers the tragedies in Mr. Vandross’ life, particularly the pain of losing his father and several siblings to diabetes, and the difficulties he has endured since his stroke.

Still, Mr. Seymour doesn’t shy away from controversies, such as Mr. Vandross’ disastrous 1993 tour with the R&B; group En Vogue (his behavior caused the three singers to dub him “Lucifer”); his blowout with Miss Franklin (she stormed out during a recording session when he snapped “Well, I’m the person who produced your first gold record in years”); and the unpleasantness caused by his relentless perfectionism (his longtime drummer Yogi Horton killed himself after an especially tense set of shows), leaving one with the impression that he indeed lives up to his “crooning land mine” reputation.

“There’s nothing wrong with seeking excellence in a field, and to the extent that Luther’s continued yearning has pushed him artistically, then it’s been a good thing,” Mr. Seymour says. “However, to the extent that it sometimes kept him from enjoying all he already accomplished, it’s been a shame.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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