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Look, up in the hills! And out on the town! It’s Lance Armstong, Matthew McConaughey and Jake Gyllenhaal—all together, all the time. Prepping for a movie? A celebrity bikeathon? Nope, just three amigos hanging out. Since when have these guys been BFF? Fellow Texans Armstrong and McConaughey have been pals for a year. “Lance is teaching Matthew the tricks of cycling,” says a source close to the actor. And with the addition of Gyllenhaal (ESPY host Armstrong asked him to be a presenter at this week’s awards), they’re enjoying rowdy road trips. On July 7 in Malibu, “they were loud and having a great time,” an observer tells Scoop. After a July 8 ride, they kept their cool when forced to borrow $10 to cover their Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf tab. And it seems all that exercise works up an appetite for partying. On July 6 (and again on the 9th), McConaughey and Armstrong hit L.A.’s Hyde lounge. “They didn’t talk to girls,” says a patron. “They seem like frat bros.”
JESSICA’S B-DAY FIESTA
Ten days after her divorce from Nick Lachey became final, Jessica Simpson marked her 26th birthday July 10 with her parents and several close friends (including hairstylist Ken Paves and former assistant CaCee Cobb) in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. (Little sis Ashlee, who’s currently on tour, couldn’t make it but called in.) On the agenda: “Everything you do at the beach,” a Simpson pal tells Scoop. “They drank margaritas. They laid out in the sun.” The party kicked into high gear that night, with a beachside bash. “They had sangria and Mexican food and sat around telling stories and dancing,” says the pal. “Jessica is the [happiest] she has ever been.” The intimate party was a marked contrast to last year’s blowout, attended by 150 of Simpson’s buddies (including Mandy Moore and Eva Mendes—and Lachey, of course). Still, the pop star will be back in the limelight soon: She debuts the video “A Public Affair” July 19. And she may even cross paths with her ex soon: She is hosting the Aug. 20 Teen Choice Awards, where Simpson, Lachey—and his new squeeze Vanessa Minnillo—are all nominated.
Did Kathy Griffin’s ex-husband give her a ring—and steal her PIN?
Why did Kathy Griffin and her husband of five years divorce in May? Here’s her $72,000 answer: He was stealing. In a July 10 interview on Larry King Live, the Emmy-nominated star of My Life on the D-List claimed that her ex-husband, computer technician Matthew Moline, “was sneaking into my wallet when I was asleep … taking my ATM cards … and withdrawing money … that totaled $72,000.” Griffin, 45, went on to say that he “admitted it and apologized” and that they went to couples therapy but, ultimately, couldn’t overcome the trust issues. While Moline said in a statement that he has “no intentions of engaging in a public debate,” Griffin may have other plans. When King asked if she’d use the theft in her stand-up, she said, “I end up putting everything into my act.”
Nicky’s Dream Hotel
Nicky Hilton is going into the family business—without the family. In November, the hotel heiress will launch Nicky O: A Nicky Hilton Hotel (the O is for her middle name, Olivia), a 94-suite property in Miami Beach’s Art Deco district. “I’ll go to my family for advice, but they’re not involved,” Hilton, 22, tells Scoop. “[It’ll be] glamorous and fabulous.” (Rooms will range from $300 to $5,000 a night for the Roberto Cavalli-designed penthouse.) Paris’s younger sis—who dates Entourage’s Kevin Connolly—will help design everything from the marble lobby to the staff uniforms. “I know a good hotel,” she says. “I think I can make them.”
NICKY O’S NICETIES
• Mini cupcakes—not chocolates—on your pillow
• The halls of each Nicky O. Hotel will have a “signature scent”
• The lobby will be decorated with Nicky’s friends’ photography
• An international newsstand will sell papers, magazines and her favorite treats: gum from Tokyo and the U.K.’s Flake chocolate
Keith Richards Rocks On
Plummeting from a palm tree last April landed Keith Richards in the operating room, but the Rolling Stones guitarist is now “ready to rock,” his rep told Scoop July 11. That night he and the band finally launched their delayed A Bigger Bang tour in Milan before a crowd of 70,000 excited Italians. “Six weeks [recovery], not bad for a brain job,” Richards, 62, told the Associated Press. “I feel great.” His chief complaint about the episode? “I was p—– off when they woke me up. I was in such a good sleep.” He may need additional rest soon: After the 21-date tour wraps Sept. 3, Richards will begin shooting his role as Johnny Depp‘s father in the third installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.
PAUL AND HEATHER: THE NEXT BATTLE
In London the latest twist in the Paul McCartney-Heather Mills McCartney divorce was headlined in a British tabloid, which claimed that 1) there’s a tape of an incendiary phone conversation between the ex-Beatle and his daughter, fashion designer Stella McCartney; 2) the recording had fallen into Heather’s hands; 3) Stella says very nasty things about Heather; and 4) Heather thereafter confronted Sir Paul. Reps for Paul and Heather had no comment, and Stella’s rep did not return calls. “The lawyers have said that anybody connected with this [incident] can’t discuss it,” says a source close to Heather, who also claims Paul will not pay for Heather’s driver/security guard except when she is with their daughter Bea: “He’s saying it’s not his problem.” Are they fighting dirty? “It’s taken a turn for the worse,” says another close source. “Heather can be explosive, but Paul has a furious temper too. There are a lot more punches to come before the blood is on the mat.”
ON THE BLOCK
BIRTHPLACE OF BRANGELINA
PRICE: $2.875 million
PLACE: Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Attention Team Jolie members with disposable income: The Kenaston Residence, the modernist house where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie posed as man and wife for the infamous 60-page photo spread that appeared in W magazine, is for sale. The 5,000-sq.-ft., four-bedroom house wraps around an outdoor pool and boasts floor-to-ceiling glass walls and mountain views. A favorite with art directors, the estate also has been used in photo shoots for James Blunt, Madonna and Coldplay.
She may be known for her family-friendly roles (and 18-year marriage to Tom Hanks), but these days Rita Wilson is all about micro-minis and mesh tops. Midlife crisis? Nope; the 49-year-old actress is making her Broadway debut as scandal-loving sex kitten Roxie Hart in Broadway’s long-running production of Chicago. She gives us the Scoop.
Is it fun to play Roxie?
It’s one of the top three jobs I’ve ever had. The rush you get out of performing live is already good, but when you add singing and dancing into it—it magnifies it another 10 times.
Were you gung ho about taking the role? Or did you need convincing?
I always wanted to do a musical but I have never pursued it. Life just didn’t turn out that way. When I got this offer, I went to see the show and I thought, “This is impossible! I can’t do this.” But Tom was very convincing. He said, “You’ve got to do it. You’re going to be great. You’ve got to rise to the occasion.” And I spoke to Melanie Griffith and Brooke Shields, who both played Roxie. They were incredibly enthusiastic. These are two women I respect. If they said it’s fantastic, they can’t be wrong.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
The dancing…. I’ve taken dance classes and the things you do in drama school. But nothing that I could say, “Yes, I am a dancer.” Ever. Disco, maybe.
And what about the skimpy costume?
It’s really fun and sexy. Anytime you experience something as gleeful as singing and dancing, you feel less self-conscious.
Your run ends Aug. 6. What’s the first thing you’ll do on the 7th?
I’ll wake up and regret that I’m done with the show.
LINDSAY LOHAN DEBUTED HER AWKWARD SIGNATURE STANCE (CALL IT “THE EARRING CHECK”) IN MAY 2005. NOW EVERYONE’S DOING IT (OR SOMETHING CLOSE)
“THE INVISIBLE CELL PHONE”
“THE SHOT PUT”