- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 28, 2003

Bling-bling’s back

Internet Movie Database

Superstar Jennifer Lopez flew into a panic after leaving her engagement ring on the sink of her hotel bathroom recently, the Internet Movie Database reports.

The singer and actress — who is engaged to Hollywood hunk Ben Affleck — realized her mistake after she’d checked out of a New York hotel, and ordered her limo driver to turn around and head back. “She realized she’d left it behind after checking out of the Manhattan hotel,” an unnamed source told imdb.com.

Screaming at him to floor it, horror-stricken J-Lo raced back and blew by the doorman so fast he never got his hand on the door handle, the source said. “She yelled at a manager that she’d left something important behind but he told her to calm down. The housekeeper had found the ring and it was in the safe. Moments later, he handed it over as Jennifer sobbed and thanked him profusely.”

In a similar incident, Miss Lopez nearly lost the pink diamond ring at the Los Angeles restaurant The Ivy in March when it slipped into a sink after she’d taken it off to wash her hands.

Bundle of joy

E! Online

A special Christmas delivery for Kate Winslet.

The “Titanic” star and her British director hubby Sam Mendes are proud parents of a baby boy.

The newborn, christened Joe Mendes, made his grand debut Dec. 22 at an undisclosed New York hospital, Miss Winslet’s publicist, Jennifer Allen, announced Friday. Mighty young Joe tipped the scales at 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

“The couple is overjoyed,” Miss Allen said in a statement. No further details were disclosed.

Joe is the first joint production for the high-powered twosome, who married in secret last May. (The couple announced Miss Winslet was pregnant just two months later — you do the math.)

Miss Winslet also has a 3-year-old daughter, Mia, from her first marriage.

Mr. Mendes, who won an Oscar for “American Beauty,” hooked up with Miss Winslet in 2001, shortly after she split from then-spouse (and another Brit filmmaker) Jim Threapleton.

Miss Winslet, 28, is a three-time Oscar nominee (best actress for “Titanic” and best supporting actress for “Sense and Sensibility” and “Iris”).

‘Idol’ matters

E! Online

It’s been a good week for Reuben Studdard.

First, his album “Soulful,” debuted on top of the charts; then, the Velvet Teddy Bear took care of some legal distractions.

The reigning “American Idol” champ agreed to shelve his lawsuit against hip-hop clothing maker 205 Flava Inc. for reportedly using his famous mug to sell their signature jerseys. Mr. Studdard figured 205 Flava had made $2 million off his fame.

“Reuben Studdard and 205 Flava Inc. have resolved their differences, and [“American Idol’s” U.K.-based parent company] 19 Entertainment will begin marketing 205 Flava products,” the singer’s attorney Byron Perkins said in a statement. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Mr. Studdard said he approached 205 Flava to supply him with jerseys for the show in a nod to his hometown, Birmingham, Ala., whose area code is 205. He wore the jerseys for several weeks, before ditching them for the final episodes. In his suit, Mr. Studdard said the company, sans permission, kept using his image to promote their clothes, including a photo on its Web site of him performing on “Idol.”

But brothers Frederick and Will Jenkins, owners of 205 Flava, disputed Mr. Studdard’s account, claiming they had cut a secret deal with him to wear their duds while competing on “Idol” in exchange for a kickback — all in violation of show rules.

The Jenkins’ refused to reveal how much money was involved in the settlement, but said it was enough so “all of us can live.”

Indeed, Mr. Studdard is living large right now. In addition to a Grammy nod this month for best male R&B; vocal performance for his single “Superstar,” Mr. Studdard’s “Soulful” sold a whopping 417,000 copies in its first week to open on top spot of the Billboard album chart.

Still, his opening-week figures aren’t quite in the same ballpark as his “Idol” runner-up, Clay Aiken, whose “Measure of a Man” sold 613,000 copies upon its October release and debuted at number one. It has since sold 1.7 million copies.

And speaking of Mr. Aiken, the spiky-haired pop star graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Dec. 20, receiving his B.A. degree in special education in an afternoon commencement.

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

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