News, Jan. 12: Pitt and Aniston Friends Seek a Reconciliation, Critics’ Choice Pick “Sideways,” Hilton and Richie Banned From School, More…

Pitt and Aniston friends seek a reconciliation

Friends of split Hollywood supercouple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are convinced their break-up is temporary–and just the chance to step back before they start a family. Movie star Pitt revealed he was ready for kids in several interviews last year, and sources close to the pair insist their much-publicized split is a chance for both to consider their future together. One family friend tells People magazine, “They didn’t want people to think the separation is a bad thing. The decision was good for them. They’re getting along. They really care about each other. The separation is a step back to see if their relationship is going to be forever or if it’s not. They’re searching for the answer, which is not an easy one to come up with.” Pitt hinted at the trial separation last summer in an interview with Vanity Fair. He said, “Neither of us wants to be the spokesperson for a happy marriage…Jen and I always made a pact, that we’ll see where this is going.” The speculation about a possible reconciliation has been fuelled by the fact that neither Pitt nor Aniston has visited a divorce lawyer to discuss a permanent split. After announcing their split on Jan.7, the couple have been living together in their newly-renovated Hollywood Hills home.

Five alive for Sideways

Wine-drinking comedy Sideways took another step towards Oscar glory last night after claiming five top honors at the 10th annual Critics’ Choice Awards. The movie claimed the night’s best picture prize, while actors Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen took home the event’s best supporting actor and actress honors. Martin Scorsese picked up a best director award for The Aviator and another Oscars favorite, Jamie Foxx, claimed yet another best actor prize for Ray Charles biopic Ray.

Hilton and Richie banned from school

Socialites-turned-reality TV stars Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie have been banned from a New Jersey school after announcing plans to film a segment of their new show there. The high-living duo had hoped to film an episode of The Simple Life at the JP Cleary Middle School in Minotola, but governors aborted the project after being deluged with protests from parents. Hilton and Richie were planning to work as substitute teachers at the school–and be filmed trying to keep order. One angry parent says, “Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie‘s reputation leaves a lot to be desired. What if one of them were to let slip an obscenity. Many parents were left puzzled when the idea was first raised.”

Springer to launch radio show

Jerry Springer is embarking on a fresh challenge to front his own three-hour daily radio talk show, while continuing to present his infamous Jerry Springer Show. The 60-year-old presenter will cover a range of serious topics at a local Cincinnati radio station initially, with the intention of spreading the show across America on Clear Channel-owned radio stations. Springer enthuses, “I get another profession–that’s wonderful. It’s a job with some substance and we’ll talk about serious things in the world, but it’s going to be fun as well.” Springer believes he’s eminently qualified for the role–having worked as a lawyer, mayor, TV news anchor and television presenter. He says, “At least on paper, you couldn’t have better preparation for the job of a talk show host. You have substance, skill of broadcasting, and being an entertainer.”

Shue goes back to university

Leaving Las Vegas star Elisabeth Shue has joined the ranks of Hollywood’s cleverest minds after completing a political science degree at Harvard University. The actress took a year out of her acting career to finish the degree she started at Wellesley College long before she became an actress. She says, “I needed to finish at Harvard and I had one semester left. It was just something I had to do which I felt was important to complete. Frankly I was really looking forward to a break and reinvigorating my mind and learning and just to see what it was like to go back to school as a woman, and how would I respond to learning. It was really good to want to be in school, to choose your classes–because they’re difficult. I chose the best classes and had the most incredible professors and I had so much work but I welcomed it because I was old enough to know that that’s what it’s all about.”

Russo injured at the People’s Choice Awards

Hollywood actress Rene Russo is recovering a bruised head, after getting into an accident backstage at Sunday’s People’s Choice Awards. After giving Mel Gibson his favorite drama award for The Passion of the Christ, Russo made her way down the stairs to the Distinctive Assets celebrity gift room to collect her $15,000 presenter’s goody bag. But before arriving at the doors of the room, Russo banged her head and sustained a bloody cut over her right eyebrow. She was then taken to a nearby hospital to get stitches.

Jackson infuriates pal with boxing excursion

Pulp Fiction star Samuel L. Jackson left one of his famous pals infuriated, after sneaking out of her wedding reception to attend a boxing match. The Hollywood actor was one of many celebrities–including Natalie Cole, Vivica A. Fox and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in attendance at TV personality Star Jones‘ wedding to banker Al Reynolds on Nov. 13. But rather than stick around for the dinner after the ceremony, Jackson and baseball star Dave Winfield made their way to Madison Square Garden to enjoy two heavyweight bouts, returning in time to hit the dance floor for the last two hours of the reception. Jackson, whose wife LaTanya Richardson was a bridesmaid at the wedding, says, “I didn’t get a Christmas gift because I left and went to the fight. My wife got a gift, I didn’t get anything–and I was told that’s why I didn’t get anything.” Jackson adds that Donald Trump, also a guest at the wedding, had planned to meet them, but didn’t make it, while comedian Chris Rock had a few observations about the ceremony. He says, “Chris Rock and I were sitting there watching the wedding… and observing the fact that guys are only interested in two weddings in their lives; yours and your daughter’s. The rest of ’em are kinda intrusions in your life.”

Hoffman reveals Streisand’s sex life

Dustin Hoffman has exposed an intimate secret Barbra Streisand told him on the set of Meet The Fockers–she and her actor husband James Brolin have sex six times a week. The veteran movie stars teamed up to play husband and wife in the sequel to 2001 hit Meet The Parents, and decided the best way to achieve on-screen chemistry was to bond off camera. And Hoffman was delighted to discover the sum of his and Streisand‘s weekly sex routines added up to every day–even though he could only make a single contribution to the tally. He says, “Just shortly after we started working on the movie, we confessed to each other. We were saying, ‘So how much sex do you get?’ And we confessed that between the two of us, we got seven days a week of sex. I was once, and she was six times.”

Retraction: Steve Bing never denied fathering Liz Hurley’s child

On January 6, WENN reported that in 2001, “[Steve] Bing denied [Elizabeth] Hurley’s claims he was the father of her then-unborn child.” WENN was subsequently advised that Bing never denied he was the father of Hurley’s child. Indeed, Bing himself initiated paternity proceedings to establish his legal right to provide generous support for the child. WENN is sorry for the error and pleased to set the record straight.

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