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Taking Names: Brand, Perry to end marriage

- - Sunday, January 1, 2012

Russell Brand is divorcing Katy Perry after 14 months of what appeared to be a storybook marriage.

"Sadly, Katy and I are ending our marriage," Mr. Brand said in a statement released to the Associated Press on Friday. "I'll always adore her and I know we'll remain friends."

Mr. Brand, 36, offered no other details, but in papers filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the British comedian cited irreconcilable differences.

He and the 27-year-old pop singer were married in October 2010 at a resort inside a tiger reserve in India, and their mutual affection had become a rather sweet feature of the Hollywood celebrity circuit.

The couple announced their engagement in January 2010 after meeting at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, where Mr. Brand hosted and she performed.

The comedian, who once struggled with substance abuse, was effusive about his bride while promoting projects earlier in 2011, saying marrying Ms. Perry has "given me much more strength in what I do."

"For a long while, what I do professionally was all that mattered to me really," he said last March. "Now I think, well, whatever I do, I'll just go back to her, and that's incredibly comforting."

A representative for Ms. Perry, whose name is listed as Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson in the divorce papers, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The Internet had been abuzz recently with rumors about possible trouble for the couple after they were seen during the holidays without their wedding rings.

Helena Bonham Carter honored by Queen Elizabeth

Oscar-nominated actress Helena Bonham Carter, famed for playing quirky characters as well as British royalty, joins a former prisoner, a reality TV guru and several Olympics organizers on the list of people being awarded honors by Queen Elizabeth II this New Year's, the Associated Press reports.

Ms. Bonham Carter missed out on the best supporting actress Oscar for her role as Queen Elizabeth, the supportive wife of King George VI in "The King's Speech." Her other major roles have included characters in films such as "Planet of the Apes" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

The queen, who is the daughter of King George VI and Elizabeth, awarded Ms. Bonham Carter a CBE, short for Commanders of the Order of the British Empire. The actress has said she is dedicating the CBE to her late father.

Businessman Gerald Ronson, who was convicted in 1990 for a share-trading scandal and served six months of a one-year jail sentence, was awarded a CBE for his services to charity. Mr. Ronson fought a long legal battle to clear his name, and although the European Court of Human Rights later ruled his trial was unfair Britain's highest appeal court never overturned his conviction. He now runs property company Heron International and is a leading philanthropist.

Peter Bazalgette, who brought the show "Big Brother" to the U.K. and devised a string of much-copied lifestyle and reality shows, was made a knight. Professor Geoffrey Hill, who has been described as the greatest living poet in the English language, also became a knight.

Britain's honors are bestowed twice a year by the monarch — at New Year's and on her official birthday in June. Recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public.

James Earl Jones swears in friend as county sheriff

Not every county sheriff gets to be sworn in by the voice of Darth Vader.

Actor James Earl Jones performed that duty Thursday for his longtime friend and neighbor Adrian "Butch" Anderson, the sheriff in Dutchess County, N.Y., where Mr. Jones lives.

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Anderson's fourth term as sheriff in the Hudson Valley county began with Mr. Jones administering the oath of office in place of a judge.

Mr. Jones told about 250 attendees at the ceremony in the town of Poughkeepsie that his many movie roles included playing a judge in "Sommersby," a 1993 post-Civil War film that starred Richard Gere and Jodie Foster.

Mr. Jones also famously provided the voice for Darth Vader in the original "Star Wars" trilogy. His deep, distinctive voice also was featured in Disney's animated film, "The Lion King."

Lloyd Webber: Olympics will close London theaters

Andrew Lloyd Webber said London's Olympic Games will force most of the capital's theaters to close for the summer.

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Lloyd Webber said Friday the games will make it "very tough" for shows in London's West End and predicted that three major musicals would not play over the games.

The composer told BBC radio that the biggest hits — such as his own "The Phantom of the Opera" — would play over the games, but that others would struggle to draw crowds.

He said advance bookings for West End shows were running at only 10 percent of their normal level.

Mr. Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group owns seven London theaters. Others in the industry have predicted a slump in demand over the summer.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports