Pop star Kelly Clarkson, 30, had to catch her breath after she accepted the wedding proposal of fiancé Brandon Blackstock, 36, on Dec. 14. The singer, who in 2002 became the first winner of American Idol, has been dating Blackstock, a talent manager who is the stepson of Reba McEntire, for about a year. It will be Clarkson’s first trip down the aisle, while Blackstock has two children from a previous marriage. In announcing her engagement she tweeted, “Happiest night of my life last night! I am so lucky and am with the greatest man ever.” No date has been set for the nuptials.
New Girl star Zooey Deschanel, 32, was granted a divorce from her husband, Benjamin Gibbard, Dec. 12 in Los Angeles. The actress, who performs in the band She & Him, and the Death Cab for Cutie frontman, 36, married in September 2009 and separated two years later. They have no children, and neither is seeking spousal support.
On Dec. 13, doctors discovered that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 65, had sustained a concussion earlier in the week when she fell at her home. Clinton had picked up a stomach virus in Europe and was extremely dehydrated, causing her to faint and hit her head. The former First Lady, who has visited more countries (112) than any previous secretary of state, will continue to work from her home.
Sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar, 92, the father of Grammy-winning singer Norah Jones, died Dec. 11 following heart surgery in San Diego. Called the “godfather of world music” by his late friend George Harrison, Shankar’s association with the Beatles exposed Western audiences to the then-exotic sounds of the sitar (Harrison played the instrument on the Beatles’ song “Norwegian Wood”) and soon, rock, jazz and classical stars incorporated the sitar into their work. Together with Harrison, Shankar organized the landmark Concert for Bangladesh in 1971 at Madison Square Garden, a benefit to aid millions of starving refugees who were trying to escape the war in Bangladesh by entering India. • Daniel Inouye, 88, the U.S. Senate’s most senior member, died of respiratory complications in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 17. The Honolulu native became Hawaii’s first congressman in 1959 and served as its senator for 50 years. Inouye was a Red Cross volunteer who treated wounded soldiers after the attack on Pearl Harbor and later lost his right arm in combat. The staunch advocate for Hawaiian public works projects was also awarded the Medal of Honor.
SCRUBS STAR WEDS
After six years together, actor Donald Faison, 38, married his fiancee, Cacee Cobb, 35, on Dec. 15 at the L.A. home of his former Scrubs costar and best man, Zach Braff. Cobb’s maid of honor at the down-home “backyard wedding,” which featured southern-style food, was her best friend, Jessica Simpson, who tweeted that her pal was “the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen in my life.” It’s the first marriage for Cobb and the second for Faison, currently starring in The Exes.