R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan embarked on a brief hiatus from her music career three years ago to sort out her troubled love life. The Bust Your Windows star rose to fame in 2008 under the guidance of rapper Missy Elliott and garnered critical acclaim with her debut album Fearless, which earned her a slew of Grammy Award nominations.
In 2011, the singer decided to take a break from recording, prompting some critics to believe she stepped away from the spotlight because her sophomore album, Love Me Back, failed to sell as well as her first.
However, Sullivan insists she was dealing with much deeper issues at the time.
She tells Essence.com, "I was going through a tough time in life. I was in a relationship, it was not good and it kinda took all my focus from everything.
"When things are bad, they just take up all of your energy. You can't really see straight. Once I got out of it, I realised that I had stopped doing something that I'd wanted to do all my life. Something that I had been working to do all my life. I realised that I had lost myself. That should have been the last thing I stopped - my music - because I love it."
Sullivan turned to her Christian faith and family to help her through her troubles and she is now working on her third album, Reality Show.
She adds, "God and my family got my mind right."
Model Christie Brinkley paid tribute to her ex-husband Billy Joel's late mother by writing a heartfelt letter praising the family matriarch. The Piano Man's mum, Rosalind Nyman Joel, died aged 92 on Sunday (13Jul14) at a hospice in Long Island, New York.
Brinkley and Joel's marriage ended 20 years ago, but the blonde beauty was moved to write an Instagram.com post about her former mother-in-law, who was grandmother to the former couple's daughter Alexa Ray Joel.
Along with a youthful black and white photo of Rosalind, Brinkley added in the caption, "At sad times we look for ways to find the good to lift our spirits, So I have only to imagine what Rosalinda's Eyes have seen to find cause to celebrate a life well lived!
"Just in this year alone she saw her son, (Billy Joel) receive the Kennedy Center Honor, the highest cultural honor possible, from the President of the United States no less, and Rosalind greatly appreciated the arts (sic)!
"She also saw her son get a regular gig at Madison Square Garden (where he already holds a record and where Roz is welcomed on a first name basis!). And her eyes sparkled with pride and joy as the former Gilbert and Sullivan chorus girl, watched her granddaughter Alexa perform at the famed Cafe Carlyle surrounded by a large group of her friends enjoying themselves.
"I know as a mom myself that when you see your kids happy healthy and enjoying their passions you feel content and happy. Rosalinda's Eyes will live on not only in the song inspired by her, but in Billy, and Alexa... and Nanny Roz herself would find that worth celebrating. #cherishedgrandmother #restinpeace (sic)."
Veteran actor Christopher Walken has been cast to play Captain Hook in the upcoming U.S. TV special Peter Pan Live!. Executives at NBC are developing a musical version of the children's tale for TV following the success of last year's broadcast of The Sound of Music Live! starring Carrie Underwood as Maria, the role made famous by Dame Julie Andrews in the 1965 movie, and have tapped the Man on Fire star for the villainous role. He says, "I started my career in musicals and it's wonderful after all this time, at this point in my career, to be in this classic musical I watched as a child and to work with (producers) Neil Meron and Craig Zadan again after (2007 film adaptation of) Hairspray. It's a chance to put on my tap shoes again." NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt adds, "He's one of the most unique actors in our business. He might really just be a song and dance man at heart... This might be the first tap dancing Captain Hook you've ever seen." Peter Pan Live! will air in America in December (14).
Veteran comedian Steve Rossi has died, aged 82. The Allen & Rossi funnyman passed away on Sunday (22Jun14) at a hospice in Las Vegas. He had been suffering from cancer prior to his death.
His longtime comedy partner Marty Allen has paid tribute, telling the Las Vegas Sun, "What can I say? I am totally at a loss for what has happened. We had a lot of great years together... He was a wonderful talent and a wonderful man."
Veteran entertainer Wayne Newton says of Rossi, "He was a great man and a great friend. He will be missed dearly," and Penn Jillette, of illusionist duo Penn & Teller, adds, "Teller and I saw Allen & Rossi in Atlantic City in the '80s, and they were wonderful. There are things that only people who have been part of a comedy team know. I will miss Steve's calls to talk about those things."
Allen & Rossi rose to fame in the 1950s and enjoyed regular turns on variety shows such as The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and The Merv Griffin Show, while they also appeared with The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. They also spent several years touring with Nat King Cole.
Allen & Rossi parted ways in 1968, but reunited on a number of occasions over the years. Their last tour was in 1994.
Actor John Hawkes is set to make his official New York stage debut in new play Lost Lake. The Lincoln star will play the owner of a run-down lakeside property opposite The Devil Wears Prada's Tracie Thoms.
Daniel Sullivan will direct the Off-Broadway production, penned by Pulitzer Prize winner David Auburn.
The show is slated to begin its run at the New York City Center this autumn (14).
Hawkes has previously only graced the stage in a special charity show as part of Broadway's 24 Hour Plays in 2006.
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea has matched a U.S. pop chart record set by the Beatles after taking her hit Fancy to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. The hip-hop star also lands a spot at number two as a guest on Ariana Grande's Problem, making her the first artist since the Fab Four in 1964 to land the top two places on the chart with her first two Hot 100 hits.
The Beatles managed the feat with I Want to Hold Your Hand and She Loves You over 50 years ago, following their breakthrough appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Azalea also becomes only the 15th act to score a one-two punch at the top of the countdown in the same week, and just the third woman behind Mariah Carey in 2005 and Ashanti in 2002. She also becomes only the fourth solo female rapper ever to top the Hot 100 - Lauryn Hill, Lil' Kim and Ludacris' sidekick Shawnna previously landed at number one.
It's a great early birthday gift for Azalea, who turns 24 on 7 June (14). Her Fancy ends John Legend's reign at the top of the Hot 100 with All of Me. The ballad slips two spots to three on the new chart, while Pharrell Williams' Happy and DJ Snake and Lil Jon's Turn Down for What round out the top five.
Meanwhile, Coldplay have stormed to the top of the U.S. album charts with the biggest first-week sales of 2014. Their new release, Ghost Stories, sold 383,000 copies to become the band's fourth Billboard 200 number one. It's also the first release to top 300,000 sales in a week this year. Country star Brantley Gilbert's Just As I Am debuts at two with impressive first-week sales of 211,000, and Michael Jackson's posthumous release Xscape slides a spot to three. Former number ones the Frozen soundtrack and the Black Keys' Turn Blue round out the new top five.
Le Pacte via Everett Collection
It's the beginning of the summer, which means it's time for Hollywood's biggest and brightest stars to make their way to the French Riviera for the Cannes Film Festival, while the rest of us look on with jealousy. But just because you didn't snag a ticket to the most glamorous film event of the year, that doesn't mean you can't keep up with all of the big films premiering over the next two weeks. To help you stay on top of things, we're running down the films that premiered in competition every day, along with what the critics are saying about them. It's all the fun of being at Cannes, without the hassle of having to fly there.
Mr. Turner Mike Leigh's latest collaboration with Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner takes place during the last 25 years in the life and career of the famous British painter JMW Turner. The eccentric Turner was equally as famous for his lack of manners as he was for his talent, and he was both loved and hated by the general public and the aristocracy. In addition to the ups and downs of his career, Leigh's film also touches on the devastation that the death of Turner's father caused, his tumultuous relationship with his housekeeper (Dorothy Atkinson) and his unique and sometimes dangerous methods of painting.
"For a director who's specialized in finding poetry in the everyday, it's fitting that while the backdrops are Turner-esque, the people who fill them are more Hogarthian. No one looks like a movie star in a Mike Leigh film, and he's assembled a dream team of previous collaborators here... But it's Spall's film, and he's remarkable in it, all snorts and snarls and grunts, hands often tensed into a kind of claw ... There's as much animal in him as man, which only makes the beauty that comes from him the more impressive." - Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist
"Returning to the large-canvas period filmmaking of his 1999 Gilbert & Sullivan bio 'Topsy-Turvy,' Leigh has made another highly personal study of art, commerce and the glacial progress of establishment tastes, built around a lead performance from longtime Leigh collaborator Timothy Spall that’s as majestic as one of Turner’s own swirling sunsets." - Scott Foundas, Variety
"The director obviously empathizes with his protagonist cussedness, and his monomaniacal devotion to his art, but what’s more resonant here is Leigh’s ability to draw out Turner’s soft, capacious underbelly, visible in his easy rapport with Sophia, or the way he listens keenly to Mr. Booth’s remembrances of working on slave ships, intelligence that would feed into one his greatest paintings, 'Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On.'" - Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
Timbuktu Centered on the unrest caused by Islamist extremists in Mali, Timbuktu tells several different stories about people who are brought together by the crimes and choas that is ravaging their country. Director Abderrahmane Sissako, who grew up in Mali, hired a cast of experience actors - like Abel Jafri and Hichem Yacoubi - and newcomers to illustrate the way that culture and conflict has torn the country apart.
"Abderrahmane Sissako's passionate and visually beautiful film Timbuktuis a cry from the heart...In many ways, Sissako's portrait of Mali is...built up with enormous emotion, teetering between hope and despair." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"Timbuktu is an impressively well-made film, eschewing what might be the obvious choice of presenting the events in a docu-realist style, in favor of constructing a loose mosaic of stories...For all its value in bearing witness to the kind of atrocious acts that get but little attention on the world stage, this is not mere testimony, this is cleverly crafted and remarkably affecting storytelling." - Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
"While previous films have showcased [Sissako's] skill at bringing magnetic dignity to his characters, “Timbuktu” confirms his status as one of the true humanists of recent cinema... Performances are mesmeric, even the smaller roles, and Sissako’s unfailing sense of color, contrasting with the pale desert landscape, holds the eye without distracting from the story." - Jay Weissberg, Variety
Actress Courteney Cox has sparked rumours she is engaged to wed Snow Patrol rocker Johnny Mcdaid after she was photographed wearing what appeared to be an engagement ring on her wedding finger.
The Friends star has been dating the musician since late last year (13) after their mutual pal Ed Sheeran introduced them, and McDaid has since moved into his girlfriend's Malibu, California mansion. Now the couple appears to be really getting serious after Cox displayed a diamond ring on her left hand on Sunday (20Apr14) as the pair made its way through Los Angeles International Airport to catch a flight to New York. However, the actress had removed the ring as she and McDaid posed for pictures outside Manhattan's Ed Sullivan Theater on Monday (21Apr14), when she was interviewed on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Cox and McDaid have yet to address the rumours, and representatives for the actress had yet to respond to requests for a comment as WENN went to press. If the couple is engaged, fans shouldn't be surprised - earlier this month (Apr14), Sheeran said, "Things are moving fast. He moved in and, judging by the last time I saw them, they couldn't be happier. They get on really well and are genuinely good friends, pardon the pun."
When asked if the couple might marry soon, he added, "I wouldn't be surprised, but it's still early days. They certainly enjoy each other's company and feel very comfortable with each other."
Cox was previously married to her Scream co-star David Arquette, the father of her nine-year-old daughter Coco. Arquette has also moved on following the couple's 2013 divorce - his entertainment reporter girlfriend, Christine McLarty, is pregnant with their first child together.
The Simpsons writers paid tribute to TV veteran David Letterman in the opening credits of the cartoon series' Sunday night (06Apr14) episode in America, just days after he announced his plans to step down as the host of The Late Show in 2015. In the touching clip, Homer Simpson and his colourful family raced to the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York to join Letterman on his show. The animated host was unimpressed when his guests ran up on stage and sat on his couch, stating, "I think we're done here," before prompting his house band to play The Simpsons theme. After a final shot of Letterman, the screen cut to black and the message "We'll miss you, Dave" appeared. The TV favourite announced he was retiring from the show during a taping of his Thursday night (03Apr14) programme.
Late-night U.S. TV legend David Letterman has announced his retirement. The Late Show host will vacate the Ed Sullivan Theater stage in New York City next year (15).
Letterman made his announcement while taping his Thursday night (03Apr14) show, according to guest musician Mike Mills. It is not known who will replace the beloved TV personality.
Letterman has hosted The Late Show for over two decades.
Responding to the news, fellow late-night host Jimmy Kimmel tweets, "David Letterman is the best there is and ever was."