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It was a Milli Vanilli moment: Ashlee Simpson, whose first album, Autobiography, debuted at No. 1 in August, fled Saturday Night Live's stage Oct. 24 after a prerecorded vocal track began playing while she wasn't holding up a microphone. Simpson (pictured with host Jude Law) blamed the incident on a bout with acid reflux: "It was something I had never done and I didn't want to do," she told PEOPLE of lip-synching. "(But) my voice wasn't strong enough."
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Who is the most exposed star? Tara Reid (left) and Paris Hilton unwittingly competed for the title at P. Diddy's 35th birthday party on Nov. 4 when both flashed some extra skin on the red carpet. First, Reid's dress strap fell, revealing her left breast while she posed unaware for several seconds. Then Hilton, whose X-rated sex tape One Night in Paris hit video stores earlier this year, proved to be lacking certain undergarments.
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FAIR AND BALANCED?
FOX News host Bill O'Reilly settled a legal dispute in late October with producer Andrea Mackris, who accused him of sexual harassment, including uninvited phone sex. Mackris's suit came hours after O'Reilly and FOX had preemptively sued her and her lawyer Benedict Morelli for extortion. Details of the agreement were not revealed, but the married O'Reilly said: "All I can say to you is please do not believe everything you hear and read."
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BLAME IT ON VEGAS!
Call her a trendsetter. Before she met hubby Kevin Federline, Britney Spears wed hometown pal Jason Alexander Jan. 3 in Las Vegas after an evening of what Alexander called "just chilling." The marriage lasted a full 55 hours before it was annulled. Nicky Hilton followed the pop star's example, marrying New York businessman Todd Meister in an Aug. 15 Sin City ceremony and annulling it a few months later.
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THE SECRET DAUGHTER
Gwen Stefani got some surprising news in October from her husband of two years, Gavin Rossdale: that the Bush frontman is the father of his 15-year-old goddaughter, Daisy Lowe. Results of a DNA test proved the parentage of the aspiring model, whose mother is Rossdale's longtime friend Pearl Lowe. "If you look at Daisy, there's an acute likeness to Gavin," said a source.
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"I am a gay American," New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey said, dropping a political bombshell in August. With wife Dina Matos by his side, the Democrat resigned his elected position and admitted to an adulterous affair with a man, aide Golan Cipel, who had reportedly threatened to sue the governor for sexual harassment. Since leaving office Nov. 15, McGreevey has been living alone in a two-bedroom apartment and begun work at a private law firm.
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OH, SEE CAN YOU SAY?
What was Anna Nicole Smith's excuse for slurring her words, stumbling offstage and generally being loopy at the Nov. 14 American Music Awards? Nearsightedness. When she apparently couldn't read the TelePrompTer, the TrimSpa spokeswoman shimmied to the podium to introduce Kanye West and asked, "Like my body?," then declared the rapper a "freakin' genius." A rep for the newly svelte bombshell, 37, denied rumors that drugs or alcohol were to blame.
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Two months after she was released from prison, Mary Kay Letourneau was planning a walk down the aisle – with the former student she was convicted of raping more than seven years ago. Letourneau, who's 42, announced her engagement to Vili Fualaau on Larry King Live on Oct. 11. The ex-schoolteacher, who first had sex with Fualaau eight years ago when he was 13 and has two children by him, said she's been "blessed" and shares "a deep spiritual oneness" with him.
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Elton John unleashed his inner diva in September, calling the Taiwanese media "rude, vile pigs" after photographers greeted him at the Taipei airport with a wall of flashbulbs. The following month, John directed his ire at Madonna. At London's Q Awards, the singer accused Madge of lip-synching on her Re-Invention tour. "Anyone who lip-synchs in public onstage when you pay 75 pounds ($134) to see them should be shot," he said. Madonna's spokeswoman denied the allegation.
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ENEMIES: A LOVE STORY
Tatum O'Neal, 41, released her tell-all memoir, A Paper Life, in October, revealing sordid personal details about underage sex, drug use and parental neglect. In the shocking book, O'Neal, who became the youngest Oscar winner at age 10 for Paper Moon in 1974, described her father, actor Ryan O'Neal, as a bully who often punched her, and her mother, actress Joanna Moore, as an addict who would lock her in the garage without food.
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The sports world took a beating in November when it was revealed that the New York Yankees' $120 million-earning first baseman Jason Giambi (right) had admitted to using steroids for at least three seasons. The revelation came out of a federal investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), and included doping accusations against San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds and five-time Olympic track medalist Marion Jones (who both deny using illegal performance-enhancing drugs).
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SO SUE ME!
It was a busy year for Liza Minnelli's lawyer. The Cabaret star faced two lawsuits: one from ex-husband David Gest (left), who is seeking $10 million and claims she assaulted him during drunken rages (she denies it); and another from her former bodyguard and chauffeur, M'hammed Soumayah, who sued Minnelli for $100 million and has accused her of forcing him to have sex with her. In response, Minnelli has countersued and said she will "vigorously" defend herself against the charges brought by Soumayah, but stopped short of addressing the sex claims.
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THE BREAST OF TIMES, THE WORST OF TIMES
It was the moment America learned what a nipple shield was: On live television during the MTV-produced 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, Justin Timberlake tore off part of Janet Jackson's costume, revealing a metal sunburst on her breast. But CBS bore the worst of the fallout from the "wardrobe malfunction": The Federal Communications Commission penalized the network with a $550,000 fine, the highest ever levied against a broadcaster.