Adua Veroni, 58, and her husband of 35 years, opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti, 60, announced on March 20 in Modena, Italy, that they are separating. The two, who have three daughters, signed a separation agreement on March 18. The split follows the tubby tenor’s confession of an ongoing affair with Nicoletta Mantovani, 26, his secretary.

Former TV evangelist and talk show host Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, 54, is undergoing treatment for colon cancer at a hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Messner disclosed her illness on March 20, the same day her second husband, contractor Roe Messner, 60, was sentenced in Wichita, Kans., to 27 months in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud. He has prostate cancer, which though recently diagnosed has gone untreated because he reportedly has no medical insurance….

Stand by your woman. Actress Robin Wright, 29, underwent emergency surgery for undisclosed reasons on March 25 at a hospital in Los Angeles as Oscar nominee Sean Penn, 35, kept vigil at her bedside, missing the awards ceremony. Penn, the father of her two children, Dylan, 4, and Hopper Jack, 2, was nominated for his role in Dead Man Walking. Wright was released the following day and is recovering at home.

Actor and amateur I pugilist Alec Baldwin, 37, was acquitted of misdemeanor battery on March 22 by an L.A. superior court jury. The charges were filed after Baldwin hit photographer Alan Zanger, 51, when the lensman tried to videotape the Oct. 26 homecoming of Baldwin’s wife, actress Kim Basinger, 42, and their newborn daughter, Ireland Eliesse….

Robert Dewey Hoskins, 38, was sentenced on March 22 to 10 years in prison by an L.A. superior court judge. Hoskins, a drifter, was convicted on Jan. 8 of five counts of stalking, assault and threatening pop star Madonna, 37.

Rapper Notorious B.I.G. (né Christopher Wallace), 23, was charged with assault on March 23 in New York City for allegedly beating two fans with a baseball bat. The melee began when he refused their requests for an autograph. B.I.G., who was honored as rap artist of the year at December’s Billboard Awards, has an April 1 court date….

Actor-director Forest Whitaker, 34, was charged with drunken driving by Hollywood police on March 20. He was released on his own recognizance and is slated to appear in court on April 10.

David Packard, 83, who with partner William Hewlett founded the Hewlett-Packard Company that introduced the hand-held calculator, died of pneumonia on March 26 at Stanford University’s hospital in Palo Alto, Calif. In 1939, the two men used $538 to start an electronics company in a Palo Alto garage. Disney used their first product, an audio oscillator in making 1940’s Fantasia. In 1969, Packard left the company to serve three years as President Nixon’s deputy secretary of Defense. He semiretired in the 1980s but took back the helm-in 1991 when Hewlett-Packard fell into a financial slump. He finally retired in 1993….

The L. A. coroner’s office issued its final word on March 26 in the Jan. 19 death of Top Gun co-producer Don Simpson, 52. Simpson died accidentally from a combination of cocaine, sedatives, antidepressants and antipsychotic medications.

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