POP PRINCESS: As the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams square off during Sunday’s Super Bowl XXXVI, Pepsi’s pop princess pitchwoman, Britney Spears, 20, will be steeped in nostalgia. The Wall Street Journal reports that during the highly rated sports event (84 million people watched last year), the soft drink giant plans to unveil a new commercial that stars Spears in a series of vignettes from old Pepsi commercials that have been strung together and re-shot to include her. The paper notes that the 90-second spot was created before Sept. 11, yet conveys a subdued mood that seems appropriate for the tone of the times.
ROSIE’S BOOK: Rosie O’Donnell will come out as a lesbian when her memoir, “Find Me,” is published on April 23, an executive at Gruner + Jahr, which publishes her Rosie magazine, told PEOPLE.com. Although O’Donnell, 39, dedicated her Daytime Emmy award to her constant companion, Kelli Carpenter, last May, the talk show host has never officially declared her sexuality. Speaking to PEOPLE.com, O’Donnell’s press representative, Lois Smith, said that the entertainer has never made her sex life a political issue and advised Rosie’s fans to “just read the book,” which she described as being an “honest, stream-of-consciousness” narrative about various incidents in O’Donnell’s life. As reported by New York’s Sunday Daily News, in the book O’Donnell “talks about her relationship with women and having a girl break her heart in college.”
CRUISE’S MISSION: Tom Cruise briefly broke off from his European promotional tour of his critically lambasted latest movie, “Vanilla Sky,” to promote another favorite cause of his, Scientology, reported Reuters. The actor, 39, an unabashed follower of the Church of Scientology, lobbied Dan Coats, the U.S. ambassador in Berlin, Germany, to fight for the group’s rights in that country, diplomats said. During the meeting, which reportedly lasted more than an hour, Cruise made a passionate appeal for Coats’s support to improve the organization’s status in Germany, which denies that Scientology is a church, insisting instead that it masquerades as a religion in order to make money. Furthermore, notes Reuters, Scientologists are barred from government jobs in some areas of the country.
DELANEY BUST: Actress Kim Delaney, who played an alcoholic policewoman on “NYPD Blue,” was arrested last weekend on suspicion of drunken driving, police in Malibu said. Delaney, 40, was busted outside her home at 7:50 p.m. Saturday after a witness driving behind her rang authorities on his cell phone to say that her vehicle was moving erratically. “He followed her to the house,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s department Sgt. Peter Charbonneau told Reuters. “Deputies arrived at the house. She ultimately came out, and the citizen identified her as the person who was driving.” She is set to appear at a hearing on March 27
REESE’S PIECES: After getting her movie start in 1991’s “The Man in the Moon,” Reese Witherspoon, 25, delved full-time into acting when she took a leave of absence from Stanford University in the late ’90s. Now, her dedication is paying off. Variety reportsed that the “Legally Blonde” star is about to start commanding an $8 million paycheck. That, says the trade journal, will be her fee to star in an as-yet-untitled drama set in the world of professional women’s tennis that begins shooting in May. As it is, Witherspoon, who is marred to 27-year-old “Gosford Park” actor Ryan Phillippe (they have a daughter, Ava Elizabeth, born in September 1999), has been on the fast track as far as salary is concerned. Her fee for “Blonde,” a hit of last summer, was $1 million, and for this coming fall’s “Sweet Home Alabama” she was paid $5 million.
HASTY PAIR: “Die Hard” action star Bruce Willis (who showed his sensitive side in “The Sixth Sense”), 46, and “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker, 36, were named this week as Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals’s man and woman of the year. The actors will receive the traditional brass “Pudding Pots” in two separate ceremonies presented by the nation’s oldest undergraduate organization next month, university officials told the Associated Press. These awards go to performers who have made “a lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment.” Parker’s fete is set for Feb. 7, while Willis will get his on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.