- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Really just friends

Brooke Shields was 13 when she met Michael Jackson, and the two “instantly became friends” - mainly because sexual tension was off the table, Associated Press reports.

The supermodel-turned-actress, 44, is among the stars who shared their memories of the King of Pop with Rolling Stone magazine for a special commemorative issue in his honor that goes on sale Friday.

Miss Shields - who also spoke at Tuesday’s memorial service honoring the superstar in Los Angeles - says she and Mr. Jackson became close because sexuality wasn’t part of their friendship. She describes her teenage self as “the most celebrated virgin ever.”

She says Mr. Jackson became “more asexual” to her as they got older. She remembers him being curious about her early relationships and says the pop star “was like a little kid who talked about the bases - what first base was, what second base was.”

Miss Shields says she last saw Mr. Jackson in 1991.

The final countdown

Casey Kasem has done his last countdown.

The 77-year-old DJ told “American Top 20” listeners across the country on Saturday that the program would be his last.

Mr. Kasem - also known as the voice of Shaggy from the “Scooby-Doo” cartoon series - launched his weekly countdown of the nation’s most popular songs, the “American Top 40,” on July 4, 1970. “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest took over the show in 2004, and Mr. Kasem went on to host two syndicated spinoffs, the “American Top 20” and “American Top 10.”

Mr. Kasem said he “loved every minute” of his broadcasting career but was leaving the show to “free up time I need to focus on myriad other projects.”

Coleman, wife spar

The honeymoon apparently is over for Gary Coleman.

The wife of the diminutive one-time “Diff’rent Strokes” star was arrested July 1 after smashing some of Mr. Coleman’s property in their Utah home, the New York Daily News reports.

Shannon Price, 23, was booked on misdemeanor charges of domestic violence and disorderly conduct before her release on $1,205 bond, the newspaper reported on its Web site.

Mr. Coleman, 41, apparently was not injured in the incident at the couple’s home in Santaquin, Utah.

Miss Price, 5-foot-7, wed the 4-foot-8 Mr. Coleman in August 2007, shortly after they met on the set of the 2006 comedy “Church Ball,” the newspaper said.

Mr. Coleman, best known as the adorable Arnold from the hit ‘80s television show “Diff’rent Strokes,” also has endured his own legal woes, including a December guilty plea to disorderly conduct.

He was arrested after hitting a man with his truck outside a Utah bowling alley following a dispute over pictures the man snapped with his cell phone.

Bruce to rebuild

Actor Bruce Willis plans to rebuild the lodge at a central Idaho ski resort he owns after the structure burned to the ground earlier this year.

The ski lodge at the base of the Soldier Mountain Ski Resort was destroyed in a March 30 fire. Investigators determined the fire was accidental and most likely started in the building’s electrical wiring system, Associated Press reports.

The resort employs about 50 people during ski season.

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

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