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News, April 9: Billy Bob Thornton's Girlfriend Pregnant, Robert Rodriguez Quits DGA, Howard Stern Dumped for Good After FCC Fine, More…

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Apr 09, 2004 | 12:51pm EDT

Top Story: Thornton's Girlfriend in Family Way

Billy Bob Thornton and his girlfriend Connie Angland announced Thursday that they are expecting a child this fall, The Associated Press reports. "The due date is set for sometime in October," Thornton publicist Arnold Robinson said. Angland, 39, doesn't work in the entertainment industry. Thornton, who will be seen in the upcoming The Alamo, has three children from two previous marriages.

Rodriguez Resigns From DGA

Spy Kids director Robert Rodriguez resigned from the Directors Guild of America, due to his desire to co-direct Sin City with novel series creator Frank Miller, Variety reports. DGA rules dictate that there be only one director assigned to direct a motion picture at any given time, although the guild occasionally grants a waiver, such as with the Coen brothers. "I didn't want Frank (Miller) to be treated as just a writer, because he is the only one who has actually been to Sin City, " Rodriguez told Variety. "I am making such a literal interpretation of his book that I'd have felt weird taking directing credit without him." Rodriguez also quit the DGA a decade ago so he could direct a segment in the Quentin Tarantino-orchestrated film Four Rooms. Rodriguez's resignation has also puts his other film project, Paramount Pictures' Princess of Mars, in jeopardy since Paramount is required to employ only guild directors.

Stern Dumped for Good by Clear Channel

Clear Channel Communications Inc. has severed all ties with shock jock Howard Stern, Reuters reports, after the FCC imposed a $495,000 fine for indecent comments on his show, John Hogan, president and chief executive of Clear Channel Radio, said the company was not willing to shoulder the "great liability" of broadcasting Stern's popular radio show. Stern issued a statement on his Web site calling the FCC's actions part of a "McCarthy-type 'witch hunt."' "It is pretty shocking that governmental interference into our rights and free speech takes place in the U.S.," Stern said in the statement.

Are They or Aren't They?

James Brown and his wife, Tomi Rae Brown, who apparently are not legally married, will likely have a second legitimate wedding if she's able to annul her previous marriage to Javed Ahmed of Pakistan, his lawyer told AP. Tomi Rae Brown filed a formal petition for annulment in December, saying the marriage lasted three days and was "done under the pretense of a man trying to stay in the country." Meanwhile, the Godfather of Soul himself filed for an annulment from Tomi Rae after he was charged with criminal domestic violence in January, but the couple has since reconciled. "The hope is once she gets the annulment from Mr. Ahmed finalized, we will be able to do the annulment [with James Brown] in Aiken County very swiftly, then it's my impression the parties would be able to enter into a marriage without these entanglements," Jim Huff, Brown's lawyer, said Wednesday.

Media Want Jackson Ban To Be Lifted

Representation for news organizations, including AP, have asked an appeals court to immediately lift a gag order that bars those involved in the Michael Jackson child molestation case from speaking about it publicly, AP reports. In a filing before the state Court of Appeals, attorney Theodore Boutrous said the order imposed unconstitutional "prior restraint" on attorneys and potential witnesses and blocked the media's ability to address false rumors and news reports. Jackson attorney Mark Geragos remained opposed. "Our position remains the same," he said.

Christians Offended by Madonna's Sunday Concert in Ireland

Madonna, whose Re-Invention tour stops in Ireland in August, has come under fire from Christians for booking her first ever concert in the country on a Sunday. The show is scheduled for Aug. 29 at Slane Castle, 30 miles north of Dublin, leading many to believe Madonna, who has developed an interest in Jewish mysticism, refused to play on Saturday because it is the Jewish Sabbath. Joe Deegan, Slane's parish priest, told Reuters Friday the decision was insensitive in a country where 90 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. The last time Slane Castle hosted a major concert on a Sunday was in 1984 when Bob Dylan played, a show that sparked riots.

Embattled Singer Scott Weiland Set To Tour

California authorities will allow former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland to tour with his bandmates in their new group, Velvet Revolver, Billboard.com reports. Weiland has spent the past several months in a court-ordered drug rehabilitation center after pleading no contest last year to heroin possession. The band, which consists of Slash's former Guns N' Roses colleagues, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum, and guitarist David Kushner of Suicidal Tendencies, will play medium-sized venues leading up to the June 8 release of their RCA debut album Contraband.

Police Arrest Avril Lavigne's Stalker

Police in Lynnwood, Wash., arrested a man for allegedly stalking teen pop singer Avril Lavigne, the AP reports. Thirty-year-old James Speedy was booked into jail for investigation of stalking after police searched his home in suburban Seattle Wednesday--the same day Lavigne played a free concert at a mall south of Seattle. He later posted $5,000 bail and was released. Police have been investigating the case since last summer, when they were contacted by authorities in Ontario, Canada, about harassing letters and e-mails sent to the 19-year-old Canadian singer.

Eric Clapton Launches Tour

Guitarist Eric Clapton has confirmed a two-month North American tour of arenas and outdoor amphitheaters. According to Billboard.com, the tour kicks off June 9 in Oklahoma City and wraps Aug. 2 in Los Angeles. Clapton will be touring in support of his just-released Warner Bros. album Me and Mr. Johnson, which debuted at No. 6 Wednesday on the Billboard 200. The album features new interpretations of songs by Robert Johnson, the Mississippi Delta-bred, hard-living folk blues legend who died at age 27, just months after his only recording sessions in 1936-37.

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