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NICOLE’S NEW BEAU

Stepping out with Brody Jenner (and slimmer than ever), Nicole Richie raises eyebrows all around

It looks like a typical quickie Hollywood romance. Just three months after splitting up with ex-fiancé DJ AM—for the second time—Nicole Richie, 24, is cozying up with Princes of Malibu star Brody Jenner, 23. (He recently split from yet another reality TV star, ITALIC “Laguna Beach”] alumna Kristin Cavallari.) But don’t be fooled: Richie and Jenner go way back—he even predates Paris Hilton. “I was there when [Brody] was born!” Nicole’s dad, Lionel Richie, a longtime friend of Jenner’s songwriter mom Linda Thompson and Olympic track star dad Bruce Jenner, tells Scoop. “They grew up together. To see them together now is like, ‘Where are you going with this?’ But they’re having a wonderful time.” Indeed, from lunch at Hollywood’s La Conversation Café (a Nicole fave) on Aug. 23, to dinner at Mr. Chow, to an A-list birthday bash for celeb stylist Rachel Zoe in Hollywood Aug. 25 (see Insider, page 67), the two “just fit together,” says a source who knows Richie and Jenner. “They are a very normal couple and Brody is a decent, nice, down-to-earth guy. Even though it’s relatively new, it seems like they’ve been together forever.” Or at least since the ’80s, when the pals often played at one another’s houses. “[Nicole] is like my godchild…. She’s a darling girl, very intelligent and very together,” Thompson tells PEOPLE. “I think they’re very cute [as a couple]. Will they get married? Who knows? He’s young and so is she.” But does Jenner get the all-important dad stamp of approval? “Oh, yeah,” says Lionel. “He’s a great kid.”

Richie’s Weight Struggles

Nicole told Vanity Fair in June that she “recognize[d]” her eating issues and pledged to “fix it.” But recent photos suggest she may have lost even more weight since then. Still, her dad, Lionel Richie, insists she’s on the right track. “She’s gotten really serious about [her health] now. [I’ve asked her], ‘How do you want to solve it?'” Nicole is meeting with trainer Adam Ernster for twice-weekly strength training workouts—no cardio. Plus, adds Ernster, “she’s trying to gain weight and … improve her eating habits.” Lionel says he’s committed to helping her: “Trust me, I’m going to nag.”

DOUBLE TAKE

Forming a new supergroup? Nope. But the very pregnant pop star and the very pale rocker do seem to be in perfect harmony.

BRITNEY SPEARS

White Stripes’ JACK WHITE

An “N-O” from J.Lo

When singer Jesse McCartney told an Atlanta radio station Aug. 24 that Jennifer Lopez quit Dallas in early August because she was “pregnant,” he launched a media frenzy. But according to her rep, the singer-actress is emphatically “not pregnant.” McCartney, 19, whose girlfriend Katie Cassidy is appearing in the upcoming flick, quickly apologized, saying in a statement: “I have no firsthand knowledge whether Jennifer Lopez is pregnant or not.” Oops.

TWINS IN TRAINING

Seeing double? Matthew McConaughey and Lance Armstrong are in total synch, down to their matching wardrobes and bare, tanned chests. (Has Jake Gyllenhaal seen this?)

K-Fed Stars on CSI

Press pause on those deadbeat husband jokes. Just days after his rapping wrapped the Teen Choice Awards, Kevin Federline, 28, showed up for another gig: playing a menacing teen on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. “I play a little edgy dude,” Federline says of his first acting job—with lines, at least. (He also appeared in a video for wife Britney Spears.) The episode doesn’t air until October, but Federline, who recently nabbed a distribution deal with Sony, has already received one rave: “[Britney] is very, very excited,” he tells Scoop. “Man, she’s supportive.” Nothing like encouragement from the woman of the house.

PEOPLE.COM

POLL

SCOOP ASKED, YOU ANSWERED

WHO HAD THE WORSE WEEK?

TOM CRUISE 52%

PLUTO 48%

What do you think of Joe Lawrence’s new look for Dancing with the Stars?

IT’S HOT 44%

WHOA! IT’S NOT 56%

WHO IS HANDLING HER BREAKUP BEST?

CHRISTIE BRINKLEY 34%

HEATHER LOCKLEAR 33%

KATE HUDSON 32%

HEATHER MILLS McCARTNEY 1%

CAMERON DIAZ
BETTER BLONDE OR BRUNETTE?

5%

BRUNETTE

95%

BLONDE

ANSWER NEXT WEEK’S QUESTIONS AT WWW.PEOPLE.COM/POLLS

Q+A

Rules of Romance

In Flavor of Love, one of reality TV’s more unusual hits, women compete ferociously for the affections of rapper-turned-romance-icon Flavor Flav. Scoop asks: What does Flavor want?

Flavor of Love competitors, listen up: The gold-grilled star of the hit VH1 reality show, real name William Drayton Jr., 47, has just a few requirements, involving beauty, scent and … cookie dough?

What are the first things you look for?

She’s gotta be pretty. Gotta have good brains on her shoulders. And she has to have good housewife skills.

What’s your ideal first date?

I’m a Benihana person. Take a walk on the beach, bottle of Moët and some strawberries.

If a woman wants to catch your eye, what should she do?

No. 1: Have on some nice clothes. No. 2: Smell good. No. 3: Don’t be obnoxious. No. 4: Have good character.

Describe your dream girl.

I want a girl who looks good when she wakes up in the morning. We could take her face and dip it in dough and she’ll make some nice-face cookies. Some girls wake up, man, you could put their face in dough and you’ll get a gorilla cookie, for real! … I’ve had some beastlies on my show.

Are you a gentleman?

I’m an open-the-door, pull-out-the-chair kind of guy. For the first two months. After that, you will be opening your own door!

Would you rather date a fellow celebrity or a civilian?

Someone not famous. Sometimes it’s a competition between two celebrities. I like to keep the spotlight to myself, thank you!