- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 4, 2004

Runaway bride

Associated Press

Pop star Britney Spears married a childhood friend from Louisiana in an early-morning ceremony, but quickly arranged to have it annulled, a source close to the singer told the Associated Press yesterday.

George Maloof Jr., owner and operator of the Palms Casino Hotel, confirmed that the 22-year-old Spears married Jason Allen Alexander of Kentwood, La., about 5:30 a.m. Saturday at a Las Vegas wedding chapel.

“Nobody knew it was coming,” said Mr. Maloof, Miss Spears’ good friend.

The two arranged an annulment Saturday afternoon in the presence of several people, including a Las Vegas lawyer, said a source close to Miss Spears who spoke on condition of anonymity. The signed annulment will be official when the courts open this morning, the source said.

Calls to Miss Spears’ representatives were not immediately returned.

Miss Spears and Mr. Alexander journeyed by limousine to the Little White Wedding Chapel on the Strip after a stop at the Ghostbar, a club in the Palms Casino Hotel. The chapel staff told the couple they couldn’t get married without a license, so they were taken to the Clark County Marriage Bureau office in the downtown Las Vegas courthouse. They applied for and were granted the marriage license, then driven back to the chapel, where they were married.

The bride wore a baseball cap and torn jeans down the aisle and was escorted by a Palms limousine driver, the source told the AP.

Miss Spears was still staying at the Palms yesterday morning.

The pop tart released her fourth album “In the Zone” in November. It debuted at the top of the album charts. She begins a concert tour March 2 in San Diego.

The wedding was only the latest lurch toward adulthood by the Miss Spears, a one-time children’s television performer turned teen-aged sex symbol who most recently has posed scantily clad on magazine covers and kissed Madonna on national TV.

Miss Spears’ most high-profile romance previously was with fellow pin-up Justin Timberlake, now enjoying a successful solo career after years with the boy band ‘N Sync.

Miss Spears last year admitted that she had sex with Mr. Timberlake, despite famously vowing to remain a virgin until she wed.

Private parts

Internet Movie Database

Legendary filmmaker Woody Allen is locked in a bitter battle with the publishers of his forthcoming autobiography, after refusing to lift the lid on his notorious private life, the Internet Movie Database reports.

Mr. Allen, 68, is writing his life story for publishers HarperCollins for a reported fee of $2 million, but has drawn the line at discussing his past with wife Soon-Yi Previn and former loves Mia Farrow and Diane Keaton.

Mr. Allen’s relationship with his 33-year-old spouse is the focus of much interest as it marked the acrimonious end of his long love affair with her adoptive mother, Miss Farrow.

Rawls says ‘I do’

Associated Press

While Britney’s “I do” may be iffy, nuptials are indeed a certainty for Lou Rawls.

The velvety voiced blues and jazz singer best known for his 1976 hit “You’ll Never Find (Another Love Like Mine),” married his girlfriend of two years on New Year’s Day in Memphis.

The 70-year-old crooner wed Nina Malek Inman, a 33-year-old flight attendant, at midnight after performing New Year shows at the Liberty Bowl and the Peabody Hotel.

Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton performed the ceremony before a handful of people in a small room at the hotel, Mr. Rawls told the Associated Press in a telephone interview.

The couple was engaged, but hadn’t planned to marry on New Year’s, he said. Mr. Rawls has been married twice before.

“We just looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s do it.’ So we went to the city hall in Memphis and got the license and our security guard knew the mayor real well so he called the mayor,” the three-time Grammy-winner said.

The couple will reside in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Diddy no more

New York Post

Is Sean Combs ready to shed his silly “P. Diddy” nickname?

The hip-hop superstar told the New Year’s Eve crowd at Nikki Beach in St. Barts: “First they called me Puff Daddy, then they called me P. Diddy. But now I’m just Sean Combs.” Mr. Combs toasted fellow revelers Naomi Campbell, Lauren Hutton and Kim Cattrall during his microphone-enhanced musings.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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