February 12, 2007 12:00 PM

HEY! WHO’S THAT CLOWN?

Yes, it’s MEREDITH VIEIRA and, no, it wasn’t a very special wardrobe malfunction. Enlisting in the Big Apple Circus’s Clown Care program, the Today cohost entertained kids at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian. They were big shoes to fill. No matter. “Big shoes always get a laugh,” says Vieira. Did she have anything in common with her character? “Pretty much everything,” she says. “That’s the scary part.”

ALBA’S SWEET SURPRISE

Cupid’s been kind to JESSICA ALBA, bestowing her boyfriend of two years, CASH WARREN, with good taste in jewelry. For Valentine’s Day, Warren asked celeb jeweler Jason of Beverly Hills to help design a ring (inset) and matching necklace of white and pink pave diamonds for the actress. Though a Jason spokesman says, “This is not an engagement ring,” one thing is for sure: If nuptials do roll around, Alba’s digit will be well-dressed.

FAST TAKES

WILMER VALDERRAMA had a (bowling) ball at his 27th-birthday bash at Ten Pin Alley in Atlanta. The actor partied with 20 pals, including little sis MARILYN (above).

PAULA ABDUL was named Woman of the Year by the Nevada Ballet Theatre. As for talk the American Idol judge is harsher this year, she replies, “[It’s] ridiculous—I’m the nice one!” And speculation she was impaired during recent TV interviews? “I’ve never been drunk a day in my life. I don’t do recreational drugs.”

KIRSTEN DUNST dined with Drew Barrymore‘s ex FABRIZIO MORETTI Jan. 26. “[He’s] the first person since Jake [Gyllenhaal] she really likes spending time with,” says a source. “But she’s not jumping into anything.”

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