- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2006

Billion dollar baby

Donald Trump has a new apprentice.

The billionaire developer yesterday announced on national television that his wife — Slovenian-born model Melania Knauss Trump — had given birth 20 minutes earlier to a boy.

“Everyone’s perfect,” Mr. Trump said in a telephone interview on MSNBC’s “Imus in the Morning.” He and wife had not yet decided on a name, Associated Press reported yesterday.

“I continue to stay young, right? I produce children, I stay young,” said Mr. Trump, 59. The baby is his fifth child and his wife’s first. The couple married in January 2005.

Mrs. Trump, 35, was in labor for eight hours, The Donald said. The tycoon’s first wife, Ivana Trump, is the mother of Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric, who are all in their 20s. Preteen Tiffany is the daughter of Mr. Trump’s second wife, Marla Maples.

Already hitched?

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes exchanged wedding rings with triangular Scientology symbols in an “unofficial wedding ceremony” aboard a Caribbean cruise ship, says the Denver Post, citing a report in Britain’s Sun newspaper.

According to published reports, Scientology members John Travolta and Kirstie Alley witnessed the ceremony, the London tabloid reported. A pregnant Miss Holmes, 27, due to give birth in a few weeks, and Mr. Cruise, 43, are planning to marry for real later this year.

“All I can say is they are not married in any sense of the word,” a spokesman for Mr. Cruise is quoted as saying.

An artist revealed

Michelangelo would not have approved.

A new exhibition is giving audiences a chance to see the creative process behind such Renaissance masterpieces as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the interior of the Medici Chapel in Florence.

“He wouldn’t have been pleased to see us surveying his working drawings,” says Hugo Chapman, curator of Italian drawings at the British Museum and author of a recent book on the artist. “Michelangelo just wanted you to look at his finished work and be overwhelmed by it and not realize that it’s the result of thousands of decisions.”

The British Museum is billing “Michelangelo Drawings: Closer to the Master” as a show of “works that Michelangelo, the perfectionist, wouldn’t have wanted anyone to see.” They reveal the painstaking preparation behind the great artworks, a process Michelangelo did his best to disguise. The artist, who died in 1564, regularly destroyed his sketches so that rivals could not steal his work.

The exhibition opens Thursday and has already sold more than 10,000 advance tickets — a museum record, AP reports.

Act hard for Howard

Although cameras showed Terrence Howard applauding when rappers Three 6 Mafia received an Oscar during the March 5 Academy Awards ceremony, the actor says he wasn’t happy with the group’s performance, Vibe magazine reports.

“Just seeing the way they performed, it kind of broke my heart,” Mr. Howard told the Web site AOL Black Voices, just weeks after the Memphis rap group performed “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” from the film “Hustle & Flow,” in which Mr. Howard starred and received a best actor nomination. “Not the way Three 6 Mafia did it, but everything I tried to escape in my portrayal of that role, it seems that they went right to the stereotype that I wanted to assassinate. The people who had choreographed it apparently hadn’t seen the film.”

He also said that he was surprised Three 6 was able to beat out its competition to win the Oscar for the best original song. “I was extremely surprised. I thought ‘In the Deep’ would win from ‘Crash,’” Mr. Howard says.

Easy come, easy go

The budding romance between Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and insurance executive Mark Freitas is apparently over — just a day after the New York Post revealed that Mr. Freitas is accused of assaulting two women.

“She went out with him once, and she is not going to date him again,” a spokesperson for the duchess told the New York Post.

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

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