Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton, 52, is the descendant of a slave owned by relatives of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), according to genealogists hired by the New York Daily News. “It was probably the most shocking thing in my life,” Sharpton said. The eight-term senator Thurmond, once a staunch segregationist, began denouncing those views by the 1970s. He died in 2003 at age 100.
Prince Harry, 22, will be sent to Iraq, Britain’s Ministry of Defence confirmed Feb. 22. His regiment, the Blues and Royals, is expected to deploy this spring.
Brandy (inset), 28, is facing a second wrongful death lawsuit in connection with an L.A. car crash that killed Awatef Aboudihaj, 38. The complaint was filed Feb. 8 on behalf of Aboudihaj’s two sons, who lost their mother after the former Moesha star’s SUV struck her vehicle on a freeway Dec. 30. The suit seeks unspecified damages, which would be determined at trial. Brandy was previously sued Jan. 30 for $50 million on behalf of Aboudihaj’s parents…. Bobby Brown, 40, was arrested Feb. 25 in Attleboro, Mass., and jailed for failure to appear in court and pay $19,150 in child support and other debts. The singer—in the midst of divorce proceedings with Whitney Houston—owes the money to his former girlfriend Kim Ward, 39, with whom he has two children, LaPrincia, 17, and Bobby III, 15…. Courtmartialed U.S. soldier Sgt. Paul Cortez, 24, was sentenced Feb. 22 to 100 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of felony murder, rape and conspiracy for a March 2006 war crime in Iraq. Cortez admitted to helping plan and carry out the sexual assault of Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, a 14-year-old girl, and the subsequent killings of her and her family.
Comedian Kathy Griffin, 46, lost her father, John Griffin, 90, to complications from congestive heart failure and multiple myeloma on Feb. 17 in Los Angeles…. Rapper Chris Ludacris Bridges, 29, is also in mourning. His dad, Wayne Bridges, 52, died Feb. 25 in Atlanta from an undisclosed illness. The rapper dedicated his recent Grammy wins to his father.
Amanda Peet, star of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and screenwriter husband David Benioff (Troy), said hello to their baby girl Frances Pen, born Feb. 20 in L.A. Weighing in at 6 lbs. 10 oz., the newborn is the first child for Peet, 35, and Benioff, 36, who wed last fall. “[Amanda] has always wanted to be a mom,” costar Sarah Paulson recently told PEOPLE. “She’s going to be spectacular!”… Country star Brad Paisley, 34, and his wife, According to Jim’s Kimberly Williams-Paisley, 35, welcomed son William Huckleberry Feb. 22. “He is a healthy, gorgeous baby,” figure skating champion Scott Hamilton, a family friend, tells PEOPLE. “Kim’s eyes are sparkling.”