- The Washington Times - Monday, December 22, 2003

Saddest holiday ever’

Woe is Martha Stewart. In legal hot water for questionable stock trades, the lifestyle queen says her troubles have taken the fun out of Christmas.

“It’s the saddest holiday ever. It’s an unwelcome time for me, very unwelcome,” she told CNN’s “Larry King Live” in an interview that aired last night. “I generally have a Christmas party, but this year I’m only having a small family party.”

Miss Stewart’s criminal trial on securities fraud and conspiracy charges is scheduled to begin Jan. 12, according to the Associated Press.

Life of Steve

Not too long ago, Steve Martin was happy tending to his blossoming career as a writer, working at home on a screenplay for “The Birth of the Pink Panther” and adapting his novella “Shopgirl” into a movie in which he’ll star next year.

That comfy, evenly paced life has gone out the window.

“Everything was so fine. I had time on my hands, and occasionally I’d do a movie,” said Mr. Martin, as quoted by the Scripps Howard News Service. “My career’s all over the place now because I had this terrible thing happen to me: I had a hit with ‘Bringing Down the House.’”


File this in the you-can-say-that-again department.

Ben Affleck told reporters in Los Angeles that he and Jennifer Lopez are partly to blame for the media circus surrounding their wedding plans because they made themselves “too available.”

“I had kind of been through it with [ex-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow] and thought, ‘What’s the worst that could happen? How many articles could you write?’” he told Associated Press. “Well, I found out the answer to that question, and it wasn’t what I expected.”

Wallets wide open

Here we thought it was profoundly uncool to associate ourselves with the so-earnest-it-hurts rock band Creed. Nope.

On the band’s home turf, at least, Creed has cachet. Turns out one Kevin Eckenrod, a 40-year-old Clearwater, Fla., man, was busted for impersonating Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti, accepting free drinks and accompanying a new lady friend to her home, where he stole her credit card, Associated Press reports.

The Tremonti doppelganger also carried around publicity photos and scammed fans out of $1,000 for their very own fraudulently autographed copies. Though he’s 11 years older than Mr. Tremonti, many Creed fans fell for the impersonation. He’ll serve at least two years in prison, AP reports.

Jacko U.K. bound?

To go or not to go to Britain: That is the question facing Michael Jackson, officially charged with child molestation but permitted by prosecutors to travel to Britain to fulfill contractual obligations related to the promotion of his “Number Ones” CD.

As of now, Mr. Jackson has opted to stay put at his Neverland Ranch, according to Agence France-Presse. However, his publicist, Stuart Backerman, insists the decision to stay in the United States wasn’t based on public outcry about Mr. Jackson’s being able to travel abroad.

“The fact that he’s delayed his trip does not mean he isn’t going,” Mr. Backerman told AFP. “If he doesn’t go, it’s because of his own personal desire to stay in the U.S. over Christmastime.”

Don’t be shy

Most guys probably would jump at the chance to accompany Julia Roberts down a red carpet at the Academy Awards ceremony. Most guys, that is, except her husband, cameraman Danny Moder, who, not being a movie star, hasn’t warmed to stargazing.

A British tabloid newspaper reports that Miss Roberts is encouraging her hubby to step into the limelight as a gesture of solidarity amid reports that the couple is trying in vain to get pregnant.

According to a source for the Daily Star newspaper: “It’s been a pretty hard year for Julia and Danny, what with all the press attention on their marriage and their trying for a baby.

“Julia wants them to appear as a couple and not individuals. She understands he has a problem with the whole movie-star thing but she told him, ‘This is what comes with the territory when you’re married to one.’”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from wire and Web reports.

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