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Alec Baldwin & Kim Basinger
CUSTODY BATTLE ROYALE
Daughter Ireland, 11, is caught in the crossfire of her parents’ ongoing brawl
Virtually all parents lose their tempers at some point. But on April 11, when Alec Baldwin called the cell phone of his daughter Ireland, who lives in L.A. with his ex-wife Kim Basinger, for a court-approved chat and once again got her voice mail, the New York City-based actor flew into a rage. “I don’t give a damn that you … are a child or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the a–,” he said in a message. “You are a rude, thoughtless little pig, okay?”
No, not okay. After hearing the recording on April 18, an L.A. family court judge barred Baldwin from seeing Ireland, 11, until a May 4 hearing. “Everybody always asks why this custody battle has been going on for so many years,” says Basinger’s rep Annett Wolf. “Now they have the answer.”
That’s not how Baldwin’s side sees it. “Yes, he can get hot-headed,” says brother William. “But only about things that really, really matter. Like family.” Since their 2001 split, the exes have been engaged in an ever-escalating game of “he said, she said.” Basinger, 53, alleges he is volatile and abusive, while Baldwin, 49, claims she is mentally unstable and bent on alienating Ireland from her dad.
Now, predictably, they’re battling over Baldwin’s voice mail. His lawyer Vicki Greene has asked the court to investigate who leaked the tape to the media. Wolf denies it was Basinger. Meanwhile, Ireland managed to have a seemingly normal weekend, going to ballet class, bowling and the Nuts for Mutts event in L.A. What’s next? “[Alec] cares very deeply about his daughter,” says friend Lorne Michaels, executive producer of 30 Rock. “He’s in no way trying to justify his behavior. This is something he has to deal with—and he knows that.”
In The Diana Chronicles (out June 12), author Tina Brown claims the princess was neurotic and obsessed with wealth. Di’s friends disagree. “Now that Diana isn’t here to defend herself,” says pal Rosa Monckton, “out come the knives.” Among the book’s shocking claims:
The surgeon dumped her after she pressured him to find a more high-profile job.
During their affair Diana saw the cavalry officer as a boy toy taken in by her beauty.
She dated the playboy—also killed in the ’97 car crash—to anger Buckingham Palace.
In her last weeks, Diana was plotting to wed the Gulfstream billionaire.
Jen & Vince
The inevitable reconciliation rumors have started swirling around Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. (Hey, they’re both still single.) Aniston’s rep had no comment. A Vaughn pal insists they’re “only friends.”
STILL AT RISK?
Britney Spears‘s bizarre April 13 videotaped rant—in which she sarcastically mocks her ex-manager Larry Rudolph for sending her into rehab—has some worried. “It shows a very troubled woman with lots of things she needs to work out,” says a source close to Rudolph. “She’s her own worst enemy.” Her dad, Jamie, rushed to Rudolph’s defense, saying Spears was “out of control” before treatment. (“I am praying for my father,” the singer responded in the New York Post.) “This is someone who’s in denial,” adds a source close to Kevin Federline. “Denying it is the first step to relapse.” Spears’s rep had no comment.
Kate & Owen’s
Kate Hudson‘s 28th-birthday wish? A day of pampering and then partying with Owen Wilson. On April 19 the actress invited eight gal pals to her SoHo digs for champagne and makeovers by a team from Benefit Cosmetics. Then Wilson (who was first linked with Hudson last August) and the whole glammed-up gaggle went out on the town, dining at La Esquina and hitting the Box nightclub. “Kate and Owen were very intimate,” say a source. “There was a lot of kissing and laughing.” Next up? Hudson jets to the Bahamas to film Fool’s Gold and, says a pal, Wilson may join her. Adds the source: “He’s pretty head over heels at this point.”
ALSO CELEBRATING B-DAYS
Suri Cruise partied with Brooke Shields‘s daughter Grier (who was also born on April 18 last year). And Jennifer Garner marked her 35th with a bash at the Penthouse in Santa Monica’s Huntley Hotel April 20.
Dancing with the Stars’ Heather Mills
WHAT’S UP, DOC?
Heather Mills is no stranger to pain—she lost her left leg in a 1993 accident with a motorcycle. But even she struggled when the grueling Dancing practices left her with tendonitis in her right foot. “It takes so much banging [because] it does most of the work,” she tells PEOPLE. Enter Ronald J. Weinstock, who treats Mills and a few of the show’s dancers with his Therapeutic Magnetic Resonance device. (In layman’s terms, it regulates signals sent from the injury site to the brain.) Says Mills: “It’s amazing.”
Janice Dickinson: Blaker Girl? The ex-model went wild for Blake Lewis, giving him a standing ovation…. Unlike most weeks, the show was pre-taped April 23 to air on Tuesday. When the crowd grew restless during endless retakes, Ryan Seacrest kept them entertained. His tactic? Mocking Simon, of course.
PAID to PARTY
Celebs get paid mega bucks to hit clubs, soirees and store openings. What would it take to get a famous face at your next bash? Very deep pockets—and perhaps a few M&Ms
Her love don’t cost a thing. But her concerts? London-based billionaire Andrei Melnichenko paid $1.2 million for her to sing at his April 21 birthday bash. (She also often requires a stash of M&Ms, says a source.)
Two Las Vegas clubs, Tao and Pure, are in an early bidding war for the chance to host the ex-Laguna Beach star’s 21st birthday next January. One insider says they’ve already surpassed the $50,000 mark.
An industry source says the actress reportedly got $400,000 for her mid-April trip to Japan to shoot a Jill Stuart ad campaign and hit a Charlotte Ronson store opening. (Her rep says this figure is incorrect.)
As the most in-demand male star, Timberlake earns at least $200,000 to appear and well over $700,000 to perform, says one nightlife insider. “He’s at the top of his game now,” adds another.
Along with her profile, Simpson’s appearance fee has risen in the past year. She now gets $75,000—almost as much as big sister Jessica!—to attend a club event. (Last year, her fee was $50,000.)
His rap career was a nonstarter, but K-Fed has been cashing in at clubs, earning between $35,000 and $55,000 to show up. “He’s a ‘take-anything-you-can-get’ kind of thing,” says an industry source.
Q + A
Taye Diggs scrubs in as a general practitioner for the proposed Grey’s Anatomy spinoff
Paging Dr. Diggs! Returning to television after Day Break, Taye Diggs, 36, ditches his detective kit for a stethoscope as he joins the cast of Grey’s Anatomy May 3. (The episode will serve as a pilot for the proposed spinoff starring Kate Walsh.) He talked to PEOPLE‘s Lisa Ingrassia.
What can you tell us about the pilot?
I don’t want to get into trouble! I play a doctor named Samuel Bennett. Other than that, I don’t know what I can tell.
Sigh. Guess we’ll just have to watch. Were you a Grey’s fan before?
I’m not ashamed to say yes! My wife [Rent costar Idina Menzel] and I have the TiVo set.
Do you have a McNickname yet?
I don’t think this is a McNamey kind of show. Grey’s has that on lockdown. We’ll have to come up with something different.
Are you ready for all those grisly hospital scenes?
I can be squeamish—so I’ll certainly have to act in this. Hopefully I’ll just be sticking thermometers in people’s mouths and feeling their glands.
If the pilot gets picked up, will you relocate from New York to L.A.?
Yeah, but we’ll keep our spot in New York City. My wife and I want to [hold on to] that hard edge.
Who’s that barking in the background?
He’s a Yorkie with a fresh summer haircut. I wanted to make him as masculine as possible. I can’t wait to take him back to New York and toughen him up.
Maybe he’ll meet a nice lady dog in Manhattan?
There are a lot more lady dogs. But even they have attitude.