- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 28, 2007

Murphy MIA in U.K.

Eddie Murphy missed the Jan. 21 “Dreamgirls” premiere in London, and some say it’s because he was unnerved by the fans of his British ex-girlfriend, former Spice Girls member Melanie Brown — aka Scary Spice.

“London is her turf,” an unnamed source told the New York Daily News. “And Eddie knows Mel has a loyal fan base. He’s afraid the U.K.’s reaction to him won’t be good because of what he did to her.”

What did he do?

Miss Brown, who claims to be pregnant by Mr. Murphy, was publicly dumped by the Oscar-nominated funnyman during his appearance on a Dutch talk show. Mr. Murphy, the divorced father of five, also questioned his paternity.

The star’s representative, however, says Mr. Murphy’s publicity obligations for his new film, “Norbit,” opening Feb. 9, prevented him from going to London.

“Eddie very much wanted to come to the U.K. premiere,” the spokesman said. “Eddie’s not attending the U.K. premiere of ‘Dreamgirls’ had nothing to do with Ms. Brown or anything else. He was looking forward to going.”

Miss Brown’s representative disagrees.

“The reason that the whole issue has been so public is because Eddie, for reasons best known to him, decided to discuss his relationship with Melanie in the media,” Miss Brown’s representative said. “Melanie had no idea that he was speaking to the media, so the whole thing was a terrible shock.”

Connor: No regrets

Tara Conner is milking the second chance Donald Trump gave her for all it’s worth. But has the disgraced Miss USA really changed her wild ways?

After a 31-day stint in rehab, Miss Conner tells People magazine she’s a “completely different person.”

The reformed party girl admits she started boozing at the ripe old age of 14, but now she’s come to terms with the fact that she has “an issue,” reports TMZ.com, quoting remarks by Miss Conner in the People story.

Despite the mess she made for herself, she says, “I would not change my past, because it gave me my future.”

Playboy cover-up

Mariah Carey will reportedly grace the March cover of Playboy magazine, but all of her private parts will be covered up, says EurWeb.com, citing a story in the New York Post.

According to the newspaper, the featured photos are outtakes from an album cover shoot.

A fairy-tale affair

David Beckham has long been considered soccer royalty, but now he’s officially received his coronation — sort of.

Mr. Beckham plays a prince in a new Disney campaign that is his first showpiece endorsement since announcing his move to Los Angeles.

He was one of the celebrities photographed last month in the roles of Disney movie characters for the “Year of a Million Dreams” promotion for Disney theme parks, Associated Press reports.

The international soccer star, marketing giant and fashion icon was photographed as the prince from “Sleeping Beauty,” astride a white horse and fighting a fire-breathing dragon.

The photo, shot at a lake near Madrid by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, will appear in several American magazines, including Vanity Fair and Vogue, in March.

Other photos for the Disney campaign feature singer-actress Beyonce Knowles as Alice in Wonderland and actress Scarlett Johansson as Cinderella. Miss Johansson is wearing a custom-designed Nicoletta Santoro gown and a 62-carat diamond-and-platinum tiara by Harry Winston valued at $325,000.

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

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