By Jennifer Wren
August 08, 2005 12:00 PM

BIRTHS

Sean Astin (The Lords of The Rings), 34, and his wife, Christine, 37, welcomed their third child, daughter Isabella Louise, on July 22 in L.A. Big sisters are Alexandra, 8, and Elizabeth, 2. “Mom and baby are fine. Everyone is very happy,” says Astin’s rep.

ENGAGED

Actress Amanda Peet (Something’s Gotta Give), 33, got engaged to screenwriter David Benioff (Troy), 34. This will be the first marriage for both New York City natives.

I DO!

Tennis champ Lleyton Hewitt wed fellow Australian and soap opera star Rebecca Cartwright July 21 at the Sydney Opera House. Hewitt, a finalist in this year’s Australian Open, was engaged to Belgian tennis star Kim Clijsters but the pair called off their nuptials last fall. Hewitt, 24, and Cartwright, 22, are expecting a baby in the fall.

  • LEGAL MATTERS
  • On July 21, a Manhattan jury decided Ashanti must pay former record producer Genard Parker $630,000 for breach of contract. Though Parker, 38, worked with the singer, 24, when she was a teen, Ashanti claimed Parker did not fulfill the terms of their deal. …New York’s attorney general Eliot Spitzer announced July 25 that Sony BMG Music Entertainment agreed to pay $10 million for paying radio stations to play artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion and Good Charlotte. Spitzer alleged that Sony BMG gave radio employees extravagant gifts such as trips and flat-screen TVs to get their music on the air. A rep for Sony said, “Various employees pursued some radio promotion practices… that were wrong and improper, and [Sony] apologizes for such conduct.”

DEATHS

Gerry Thomas, the inventor of that All-American classic the TV Dinner, died of cancer in Phoenix at age 83. Inspired by an airline aluminum meal tray, Thomas, a C.A. Swanson & Sons salesman, came up with the idea for a multicompartment frozen dinner. The first Swanson TV Dinner—turkey with cornbread stuffing and gravy, mashed potatoes and peas—was an instant success when it debuted in 1953, selling 12 million in its first year.

RECUPERATING

Country singer Mindy McCready was admitted to a Florida hospital after suffering an overdose July 22, which left her unconscious in a nearby hotel. In recent months, McCready 29, has had a few run-ins with the law, including a DUI arrest in May and pleading guilty to prescription drug fraud last November.

  • UPDATE
  • On July 25, Photographer John Rutter was found guilty of forgery, attempted grand theft and perjury regarding topless photos he shot of Cameron Diaz, 32, in 1992. Prosecutors claimed Rutter, 42, forged her signature on release forms and threatened to sell the photos unless he was paid $3.5 million for them. Rutter, who will be sentenced on Sept. 15 and faces up to six years in prison, is “devastated,” says his lawyer…. A Salt Lake City judge found Brian David Mitchell, 51, one of Elizabeth Smart’s alleged kidnappers, mentally incompetent to stand trial. The judge cited Mitchell’s refusal to communicate with his lawyers and questioned his ability to offer relevant testimony. Mitchell will go to the same treatment program as his common law wife, Wanda Barzee, 59, also charged and deemed mentally unfit in January 2004. Mitchell’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment.
  • ADOPTED
  • Hugh Jackman (X-Men), 36, and his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, recently adopted a second child, Ava Eliot, who was born on July 10. She joins big brother Oscar, 5, who was also adopted. A source close to the star says, “The family is thrilled.”
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