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The Duchess of York, 42, has a new man in her life. He is Rupert Beckwith-Smith, a 41-year-old artist and racing-car enthusiast she started dating since breaking up last fall with Italian Count Gaddo della Gherardesca after four years on and off together. Beck-with-Smith is a brother of Fergie’s close childhood friend Carolyn Cotterell, who died of skin cancer in 1999. “They go back a long way, and each consoled the other over the death of Carolyn, but they have since met up and seen more of each other,” says a source. The pair have had quiet dinners together and Fergie’s pals are quite pleased. Says one: “She has not looked better or happier for a long time.”

It’s fun to have famous friends. Sex and the City‘s John Corbett was invited to play in the pro-am of the Mercedes Championships, the PGA Tour’s season-opening tournament, held in Maui earlier this month. He brought along his longtime friend—and diehard golfer—actor Cort McCown on the all-expenses-paid trip. Corbett isn’t much of a golfer, however, and when he saw what serious golfers some other stars like Clint Eastwood and Yankee ace Roger Clemens are, he let McCown play in his place. Corbett even cad-died for his friend on the long, hilly Kapalua course. So what did Corbett get out of the deal? McCown bought him a Hawaiian shirt.

Christine Taylor and Ben Stiller’s baby isn’t due for three months, but the countdown has begun. They’re getting the tyke’s room together, and one of Taylor’s friends just threw her a very intimate tea shower because they couldn’t wait until the real shower next month. “Ben is super excited,” Taylor tells us, “but it’s so overwhelming. He’s already anticipating the lack of sleep.” His diet may improve, however. “I’ve been cooking a lot more, coming up with new recipes,” she says. “We’re such homebodies now.”

Add Jennifer Love Hewitt to the list of actors who want to be rock stars. The Party of Five alum, who just finished filming Tuxedo with Jackie Chan, tells us she recently took up the guitar, which she plans to play on her fourth album, due later this year. She has been practicing hard at her North Hollywood home, writing and rehearsing with rocker Meredith Brooks (“Bitch”), who’s producing her CD.

Before Carrie Fisher sat down with her Star Wars director George Lucas for an interview to air Jan. 30 on her Oxygen Network talk show Conversations from the Edge, she gave him an “insult box,” a gizmo that blabs out put-downs like the ones the two tossed around while cowriting TV’s The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. But Lucas laughed last. He surprised her with the Star Wars audition tape Fisher made with Harrison Ford when she was 19. She had never seen it.