- The Washington Times - Monday, April 3, 2006

Heightened interest

Gambling911.com says pop star Whitney Houston is more popular than ever before based on Web traffic, but not necessarily for her singing.

About 10,000 readers have accessed BetUS.com since it offered to pay for Miss Houston’s drug rehab after the National Enquirer printed pictures of what it claims is her “drug den” bathroom, complete with drug paraphernalia, marketwire.com reports. Miss Houston has not commented on the reports, nor has she accepted the BetUS.com offer.

Meanwhile, things appear to be getting worse for the once glamorous singer. FoxNews.com reported Thursday that Miss Houston is broke and about to be evicted from a luxury town house in Atlanta that she shares with ‘80s R&B; singer Cherelle (real name Cheryl Week Norton). The Web site also reports that Tina Brown (not to be confused with journalist Tina Brown), the sister of Miss Houston’s husband, Bobby Brown, may have received as much as $200,000 for selling the salacious story about Miss Houston’s reported plight — including details about her $6,000 dentures and lack of personal hygiene — to the National Enquirer.

Miss Brown also says she took cocaine with Miss Houston.

Different instinct

Now that it looks as if “Basic Instinct 2” isn’t going to revitalize her acting career, Sharon Stone is going to focus on her songwriting career. The actress went straight to a Manhattan recording studio following her appearance on ABC’s “The View” last week, the New York Post reports.

“Basic Instinct 2,” the long-awaited sequel to the 1992 film that made Miss Stone a star, earned a paltry $3.2 million during its opening last weekend.

On the road again

The Material Girl/Mom will embark on a world tour this summer.

Madonna will open the Confessions Tour in Los Angeles on May 21, work eastward through North America and jump to Europe on July 30, landing in Cardiff, Wales, Associated Press reports.

Other planned stops, announced yesterday, include Las Vegas, Phoenix, Chicago, Montreal, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and Atlantic City, N.J. European destinations include London, Rome and Paris. The tour also will extend to Japan, featuring concerts in Tokyo and Osaka. More dates are expected to be added.

It is Madonna’s first tour since her 2004 Re-Invention Tour. She will be supporting her 2005 album, “Confessions on a Dance Floor.” As previously announced, Madonna, 47, will make her first festival performance at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., on April 30.

Home sweet home

Rebecca Romijn is settling down with her fiance, Jerry O’Connell, in an old brothel.

“It’s called Wagon Wheel Ranch,” Miss Romijn, the star of the WB’s new “Pepper Dennis,” tells Time magazine. “Jerry was quite a bachelor when we met. There was nowhere to put your cocktail down in his place. Just the pingpong table.”

Mr. O’Connell, 32, a star on NBC’s “Crossing Jordan,” and Miss Romijn share a 1930s home north of Los Angeles. Miss Romijn, 33, offered little news on plans for their wedding other than to say it’s “definitely” going to be this year. The actress, who split from John Stamos in 2004, also stars in the upcoming film “X-Men: The Last Stand.”

Rent’ reunion

They’re baaack: the original Broadway cast of “Rent” in New York for one performance only — April 24 — to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the long-running Jonathan Larson musical, AP reports.

A limited number of $20 same-day lottery tickets will be available for the performance, but most tickets will be priced at $1,000 to $2,500 and will include a post-performance party at Cipriani 42nd Street. Proceeds will benefit three nonprofit groups — Friends in Deed, the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation and New York Theatre Workshop, where “Rent” originated before moving to Broadway in April 1996. Among the cast members scheduled to appear are Taye Diggs, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp and Daphne Rubin-Vega.

Mr. Larson died of a heart condition in January 1996, just as “Rent” was to open off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop. He was 35.

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

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