- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 18, 2004

Joel altar-bound again

San Francisco Chronicle

Rocker Billy Joel is now engaged to his girlfriend Katie Lee — despite their 28-year-age gap.

The 54-year-old musician asked Miss Lee, 26, to marry him during a trip to St. Barts and gave her a five-carat diamond ring to seal their engagement, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in Friday’s edition.

“They haven’t set a date yet, but they couldn’t be happier,” the newspaper quotes an unnamed friend of the couple as saying.

Mr. Joel and Miss Lee, a restaurant correspondent for PBS’ “Living It Up,” began dating last spring. Mr. Joel was previously married to his business manager Elizabeth Weber and to supermodel Christie Brinkley — who, apparently, has no hard feelings.

“I wish Kate and Billy every happiness,” Miss Brinkley said.

Baldwin’s new role

Internet Movie Database

Golden Globe-nominee Alec Baldwin is excitedly preparing for his first-ever homosexual role, in a biopic of noted fashion designer Halston.

The flamboyant Halston, real name Roy Frowick, died from AIDS in 1990 — and his intriguing life is set to be the subject of a new movie titled “Simply Halston,” with Mr. Baldwin in the starring role.

The movie is slated for release later this year.

“These people I know are producing a film and they want me to play Halston in the movie,” Mr. Baldwin said.

“They want me to go to a nutritionist, lose 30 pounds and get really hollowed out because he was very ill. It’s an amazing part.”

But, he explains, the biggest shock of all won’t come from his altered appearance.

“There’s a full-blown love scene with a guy in that,” Mr. Baldwin adds.

Bogus bedroom antics

New York Post

Jessica Simpson and hubby Nick Lachey are coming out swinging against a Web site that claims to have footage of them having sex in their bedroom. The site says it has about 45 minutes of “XXX-unedited footage” of Miss Simpson and Mr. Lachey enjoying some intimate marital moments and a post-coital argument. The site says it was culled from unedited footage of the couple’s hit MTV reality show, “Newlyweds,” using cameras triggered whenever there was movement in the bedroom. But before anyone gets too excited, Miss Simpson’s publicist tells In Touch magazine the tape is a complete hoax: “It is not them, and lawyers are getting involved.”

Dueling divas

San Francisco Chronicle

R&B; superstars Beyonce Knowles and Janet Jackson are battling it out — over who stands where during a magazine photo shoot.

According to reports, Miss Knowles only agreed to appear on the front cover of Essence magazine with chart rivals Mary J. Blige and Miss Jackson, if she could stand in the middle. Miss Blige currently graces the cover of the magazine’s February issue with her new husband, Kendu Isaacs.

Essence’s top brass are apparently steeling themselves to tell Miss Knowles, 22, the lead singer of the pop trio Destiny’s Child, that they’ve already promised the best spot to Miss Jackson, 37.

“Beyonce may have got her way in Destiny’s Child but this is different. It’s going to be hard to keep everyone and their entourages happy,” an unnamed source told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Beyonce is the hottest thing in music right now — she has four Grammy nominations, number ones all over the globe and wants to take center stage. But as far as Janet is concerned, it’s a case of ‘been there, done that.’”

The pair are also due to meet at the Super Bowl, Feb. 1, when Miss Knowles will sing the national anthem and Miss Jackson will headline the half-time entertainment.

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

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