- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Justin time

Justin Timberlake has accepted an apology and damages from a tabloid newspaper that falsely accused him of cheating on girlfriend Cameron Diaz with a British model, according to Associated Press.

Mr. Timberlake had filed a libel lawsuit at London’s High Court over a July 2004 claim in the News of the World that he had had a fling with model Lucy Clarkson.

Benjamin Beabey, lawyer for the tabloid’s publisher, News Group Newspapers Ltd., said yesterday that the News of the World apologized “for the distress and embarrassment caused by this article. It entirely accepts that the allegations are without foundation.”

Miss Clarkson’s lawyer, David Griffiths, said the model acknowledged that the story was “an entire fabrication on her part.”

Inquisitive minds

Acclaimed Czech director Milos Forman is set to direct a film about Spanish grand master Francisco de Goya starring Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman, focusing on one of Spanish history’s bloodiest chapters, the Inquisition.

“Goya’s Ghosts” tells the story of the last years of the Spanish Inquisition, when the Roman Catholic Church tortured and executed suspected Jews, as told by the painter, played by Stellan Skarsgard.

Miss Portman plays Goya’s muse Ines, falsely accused of heresy, while Mr. Bardem plays a sinister monk, Brother Lorenzo, Reuters news agency reported yesterday.

Cancer crossfire

Victoria Gotti yesterday denied that she lied about having breast cancer but said her diagnosis showed she had “precancerous cells.”

“What I have is considered by most to be cancer — noninvasive cancer,” Miss Gotti said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“If you look it up on the Internet, it is cancer,” added the daughter of late mob boss John Gotti. “They refer to it as noninvasive cancer.”

The New York Post, which carried a front-page headline declaring “Gotti’s sick cancer scam,” yesterday reported that Miss Gotti never had breast cancer as she had told the rival Daily News.

“I could leave it alone and watch it, or get surgery,” she told the Post. “I chose to be aggressive and get the surgery.”

Cancer crossfire II

Rod Stewart appeared in federal court in Las Vegas this week, saying he was there to “defend my honor” in a breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by a casino resort.

The Rio hotel-casino, which is owned by gambling giant Harrah’s Entertainment, filed suit after the British rocker canceled a 2000 concert while recuperating from thyroid cancer surgery, according to AP.

The company is seeking return of $2 million paid to Mr. Stewart for the show, plus interest and attorneys fees.

“We don’t hold his illness against him,” Rio lawyer Stephen Morris said. “We only wish to hold him to his contract, which says if he is ill or incapacitated and can’t perform, he will return the $2 million.”

Mr. Stewart’s lawyer, Louis “Skip” Miller, told reporters the singer has been willing to reschedule and has offered to perform two shows for the price of one.

Mum’s the mom

Jennifer Garner doesn’t want to talk about her private life, her marriage to Ben Affleck or her impending motherhood.

Miss Garner, 33, says she became “hyperprotective” after news of her pregnancy “got out when I was in the middle of my first trimester.”

“I hadn’t even had a chance to tell my friends. That alone was so ugly,” she says in an interview in the September issue of InStyle.

Miss Garner and Mr. Affleck were wed June 29. “We were able to have a beautiful, private wedding, and I couldn’t be happier,” she told the magazine.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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