News, Feb. 27: Rosie O’Donnell Gets Hitched, Gibson Feels Unfairly Judged on “Passion,” Howard Stern Vents to Fans, More…

Top Story: Wedding Bells Ring for Rosie

Comedian Rosie O’Donnell and her lesbian partner, Kelli Carpenter, were wed Thursday in San Francisco, a day before the California state attorney general is slated to file a lawsuit that may end the controversial weddings, Reuters reports. O’Donnell and Carpenter said they were motivated to tie the knot after President Bush proposed a Constitutional amendment Tuesday banning same-sex weddings and cited the recent flood of gay marriages in San Francisco in his remarks. “We were both inspired to come here after the sitting president said the vile and vicious and hateful comments he did,” O’Donnell said after kissing her bride.

Gibson Feels Judged on his Passion

Director Mel Gibson told Jay Leno Thursday on NBC’s The Tonight Show that he feels his film The Passion of the Christ has been unfairly prejudged over the past year, The Associated Press reports. “For a year, it’s been nothing but nasty editorials and name-calling,” Gibson said, but he added he is adopting a loving attitude, “even for those who persecute you.” The director also alleged that a copy of the script was obtained “nefariously” before the film was completed, leading to “all these accusations of anti-Semitism,” which he has vehemently denied–and he never considered changing his script because of the protests. “I don’t know any director, any artist who would bow to this kind of pressure. It’s un-American,” Gibson said. The film grossed a whopping $23.6 million on its opening day Wednesday, prompting Leno joked in his opening monologue, that since the film was doing so well, “there’s now talk of turning it into a book.”

Shock Jock Stern Voices Opinion on Ban

Radio personality Howard Stern had more than a few words to say Thursday morning regarding being yanked off a half-dozen stations for his controversial radio show. “They are so afraid of me and what this show represents,” AP reports Stern told his legion of devoted listeners. The heightened anxiety created by the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake stint during the Super Bowl halftime show has put pressure on broadcasters to clean up their acts, and Clear Channel Communications took Stern‘s show off the air Wednesday in a dozen markets, including San Diego, Calif. and Pittsburgh, Penn., until Stern met its programming guidelines. “Janet Jackson is now forgotten, and I’m on the front page of every newspaper,” Stern complained Thursday morning.

A Friends Reunion?

It’s a split vote between Friends cast members on whether they would return for a reunion show. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, AP reports Courteney Cox Arquette, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow didn’t think it would be a good idea. “I think that would cheapen it,” Aniston told the magazine. “Do you remember The Brady Bunch reunion show? You remember the Happy Days reunion show? Were they ever good? Cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap.” The three male actors on the hit sitcom, however, were more amenable to the idea. Matthew Perry suggested, “Talk to me in 20 years. If I’m on really hard times, maybe I’ll be pitching one,” while David Schwimmer said, “…If it meant I get to revisit the relationships and work with those writers and actors again, then that would be a good thing.”

AFI Fetes MPAA’s Jack Valenti

The American Film Institute honored the Motion Picture Association of America’s president Jack Valenti with the Charles Heston Award Thursday for his contributions to the industry, AP reports. The ceremony was held in Los Angeles.

Clay Aiken Donates Clothes to Museum

Last year’s American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken saw his clothes–a white Italian-made shirt, black pinstriped pants and the shoes he wore on the show–on display at a museum in Raleigh, N.C., AP reports. “Today’s popular culture often becomes tomorrow’s history; we are pleased to have objects connected to Clay Aiken‘s early success,” Elizabeth F. Buford, director of the history museum and the Division of State History Museums, told AP.

Rowling Invited to Billionaire Club

J.K. Rowling, the wealthy author of the Harry Potter books, has joined Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s billionaires, Reuters reports. Rowling, once an unemployed single mother, saw her wealth rise to $1 billion after the publication of the latest Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and the success of the movie franchise, the magazine said Thursday. The founders of the Internet search engine, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, also made the list.

Lane, Broderick Say Goodbye to Producers–Again

After making a splashy comeback Dec. 30, original stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are leaving their hit Broadway musical The Producers April 4, AP reports. The (real) producers of the show declined comment Thursday, although John Barlow, a spokesman for the show, told AP casting is proceeding and said that the new performers will be announced when they’re signed. Since Lane and Broderick‘s return, the show has been doing well and last week took in more than $1.3 million, the highest gross on Broadway, AP reports.

Role Call: Theron Goes Aeon Flux

Charlize Theron, currently reaping numerous awards for her startling performance in Monster, is in negotiations with Paramount Pictures to play the futuristic assassin in a feature film based on the MTV animated series, Aeon Flux. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the MTV series revolved around a killer known for her extreme style, cool attitude, tight clothes and propensity for dying. The feature is targeting a June start with Karyn Kusama (Girlfight) in the director’s chair.