- The Washington Times - Monday, February 13, 2006

Back in the bayou

Louisiana native Britney Spears will celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans later this month, when the devastated city hopes to revive some of its old partying ways.

“I am honored to be a part of the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans this year,” Miss Spears, 24, told Associated Press yesterday.

Mardi Gras parade season begins Saturday and will run through Feb. 28. Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras Day, is Feb. 28.

Wedded bliss

Scott Stapp, former lead singer of Creed, has married former Miss New York Jaclyn Nesheiwat, AP reports, citing a posting on People magazine’s Web site.

The couple exchanged vows Friday night at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, an estate on the waterfront of Biscayne Bay in Miami, the magazine reports.

Mr. Stapp’s 7-year-old son, Jagger, served as the best man.

The 32-year-old singer founded the rock band Creed and won a Grammy Award in 2000 for the song “With Arms Wide Open.” He struck out on his own last year with the solo album “The Great Divide.”

Miss Nesheiwat is director of public affairs for the Scott Stapp Foundation, which promotes healthy parent-child relationships.

The couple became engaged late last year, the singer’s publicist, Dvora Vener Englefield, said last month.

Gaye biopic a go

The final three years in the life of District native and Motown legend Marvin Gaye will be revisited in director Lauren Goodman’s forthcoming biopic, “Sexual Healing,” MTV.com reports.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, production on the film, which will be shot in Hungary and Germany, is set to begin in three months.

Actor Jesse L. Martin, who appeared in both the stage and screen adaptation of the Broadway musical “Rent” (but is perhaps best known as Detective Ed Green from NBC’s “Law & Order”), has signed on to portray Mr. Gaye in the film.

“Sexual Healing” will revolve around Mr. Gaye’s emigration to Europe in 1981 after years of tax problems, record-label disputes and alleged cocaine abuse. Following the move, he staged a triumphant comeback with 1982’s “Midnight Love,” which featured the title hit “Sexual Healing.” Depression soon followed, and Mr. Gaye returned to America to live in his parents’ California home. After a heated argument, he was shot fatally by his father on April 1, 1984 — the day before his 45th birthday.

Trim down, Janet told

We’re about to see a lot less of Janet Jackson — literally. The pop queen bulked up over the last year but has been given marching orders by her recording label, Virgin, to lose the weight by September — or it won’t release her album, the New York Post reports.

“After the incident at the Super Bowl [two years ago], it just went downhill. Her album ‘Damita Jo’ was a flop. Then her brother Michael had the child-molestation trial — it just wasn’t good to her,” an unnamed source told the newspaper.

Miss Jackson reportedly found solace in food and — as recent photos will attest — packed on the pounds. “This new album is supposed to be pretty good,” the source continued, “but Virgin feels it can’t market it without Janet being back in fighting form, so they have hired her a personal trainer and put her on a diet. She has to lose at least 20 pounds.”

Representatives for Virgin Records and Miss Jackson did not return calls seeking comment.

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

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