- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Is it over?

Are the splitsville rumors about Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey finally coming true?

According to the issue of Us Weekly that hits newsstands tomorrow, the “Newlyweds” couple has separated. Mr. Lachey’s representative told ET Online, however, that the reports are “not true.”

The pair was last seen together in public September 11, when they sang a duet at a football game.

Us Weekly reports that rumors of a split began swirling again when Jessica arrived solo — and without her wedding ring — to her sister Ashlee Simpson’s 21st birthday party last weekend in Las Vegas.

Great expectations

Let the couch-jumping begin: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are expecting a baby.

Miss Holmes’ pregnancy was reported yesterday by People magazine, notes Associated Press. The couple have been dating since April and became engaged in June.

“Tom and Katie are very excited, and the entire family is very excited,” Lee Anne Devette, Mr. Cruise’s spokeswoman — and sister — tells People.

It would be the first child for Miss Holmes, 26. Mr. Cruise has two children, Connor, 10, and Isabella, 12. Both were adopted during his second marriage to Nicole Kidman.

No further details were available. But Miss Holmes, according to Miss Devette, “has never felt better.”

Mr. Cruise, 43, is now shooting “Mission Impossible III.”

Bobby’ campaign

Emilio Estevez has added Sharon Stone and Elijah Wood to the high-wattage cast for “Bobby,” his passion project about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, which he will write and direct.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Nick Cannon and Freddy Rodriguez also have joined the lineup, which already includes Anthony Hopkins and Demi Moore.

The report says the ensemble film mixes fact and fiction as it tracks the hours leading up to Mr. Kennedy’s assassination at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel on June 6, 1968.

Wonder cure

Stevie Wonder has been tested for pioneering surgery that uses a microchip to restore the sight of the blind.

The 55-year-old singer, who has been blind since shortly after birth, is in talks with pioneering Johns Hopkins Hospital surgeon Dr. Mark Humayun to have a microchip inserted at the back of his eye, according to published reports.

The sight recovery would be limited, and he would not be able to see the faces of his wife and children, but he would be able to perceive simple shapes and forms.

“I’ve been tested, and there was some possibility that I could maybe be a candidate,” Mr Wonder tells the syndicated entertainment show “The Insider.”

Unrelenting

Canadian Mounties have arrested three paparazzi on the hunt for actor Brad Pitt on the set of his new Western movie. Mr. Pitt is in Calgary to play the title character in “The Assassination of Jesse James.”

Since his split with Jennifer Aniston, shots of Mr. Pitt with reputed new flame Angelina Jolie can fetch up to $500,000, Agence France-Presse reports.

Behind the Bard

An Elizabethan diplomat named Sir Henry Neville was the real author of William Shakespeare’s plays, a new book claims, reports BBC.

The book, titled “The Truth Will Out: Unmasking the Real Shakespeare,” says the courtier — nicknamed “Falstaff” by close friends — used Shakespeare as a “front man.”

Written by Brenda James and William Rubinstein, the book includes a foreword by Mark Rylance, artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.

Despite that vote of confidence, Jonathan Bate, professor of Renaissance literature at the University of Warwick, said there was “not the slightest shred of evidence” to support the book’s claim.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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