April 12, 2004 12:00 PM

A Mothers’s Prayer

Cissy Houston asks for a moment of reflection as her daughter Whitney struggles with substance abuse

Gospel singer Cissy Houston is calling on prayer to help her daughter. Whitney Houston checked into a substance abuse rehab program last month. The New York Daily Newsreported March 24 she left rehab after five days and is now in a residence near Atlanta. According to her rep, she is “continuing the program she chose for rehabilitation in a private facility.” But her mom is appealing to a higher power. Cissy told New York radio station KISS-FM she plans to hold an April 5 prayer vigil at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, asking mothers to pray for her daughter and those in need because “nothing we have done so far has helped, but we know that God can change things.” Meanwhile Whitney’s husband, Bobby Brown, was jailed March 24 in Massachusetts for failure to come up with $63,500 in child support and fees for two children he fathered with a former companion. He was released a day later after paying the money. Brown now faces a May 5 hearing in Georgia for misdemeanor battery against Houston, stemming from a Dec. 7 incident. Of Brown, said Cissy, “How many mothers would not choose their son-in-laws? I don’t hate Bobby. He just got off to a wrong, wrong start.”

Bergin: Kiss and Tell and Sell

Where JFK Jr. is concerned, it seems, there’s always more to say. The person saying it this time is former Baywatch star Michael Bergin, who claims that he and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy had a long-term sexual relationship that continued even while she was married to John F. Kennedy Jr. In his new book, The Other Man, Bergin says the two were not only involved physically but were in love. In an A&E special devoted to the book, Bergin says, “She reassured me all the time that I was the one.” Later he tears up while recalling the 1999 plane crash that killed Bessette, her sister and her husband. “I never really got a chance to say goodbye,” says Bergin, who modeled Calvin Klein underwear while Bessette worked as the company’s publicist. He is now engaged to makeup artist Joy Tilk, the mother of his 4-year-old son and newborn daughter.


New York City is threatening to trump The Donald. City inspectors say they’ll fine him up to $2,500 on each of four violations if he doesn’t take down the giant banner promoting his hit show The Apprentice, now hanging from Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. The banner, say city inspectors, is in violation of building and zoning codes because it’s too big, too high and was put up without the proper permit. But Trump is unfazed. “The show ends April 15. That’s when I’ll take it down,” says the mogul. “Nothing’s upsetting to me.” Actually, April 15 is well within the deadline imposed by the city’s Department of Buildings, which gives Trump 35 days to comply with its summons before risking the fines. Still, argues Trump, The Apprentice “is such a good thing for New York, you’d think they’d forget about a fine.”

Who Should Be the Next James Bond?

Pierce Brosnan says he may no longer play Bond, James Bond. Who should be the next 007? Scoop posed the question on People.com. Here are the results:













Marc–Leave Jen Out of It

Marc Anthony wants to mate one thing perfectly clear: Jennifer Lopez had nothing to do with the breakup of his marriage to former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres, 29. Torres filed for divorce in January, and Lopez broke up with Ben Affleck the same month. Since then Anthony, 35, and Lopez, 34, who dated back in 1999, have been seen together in clubs and restaurants in Miami Beach and Los Angeles. “If the rumors are true, it would be the lowest blow I could receive from him; Torres told Spanish-language talk show host Cristina Saralegui. But on his Web site on March 24, Anthony denied Lopez was implicated in his split with Torres. “The fact that Jennifer Lopez has been unjustly dragged into this is wrong,” Anthony wrote. “In no way, shape or form did she have anything to do with the rupture of my marriage. I want to make that 100 percent clear.” Anthony, who also recently cleared a paternity test, wrote that the decision to dissolve the marriage “had nothing to do with anyone or any other situation. It was about two people coming to terms with compatibility issues. As my ex-wife has said, ‘We are better off as friends.’ ”

The Rap on Hip-Hop: Energy Drinks

It’s a music, it’s a culture, it’s…a beverage? In an unusual move, some of the genre’s stars are now marketing their own energy drinks containing vitamins, amino acid and a little fizz. Nelly swigs Pimp Juice, made with guarana, a caffeinated berry. Ice-T stands behind lightly carbonated Liquid Ice. And Russell Simmons backs DefCon3, notable for its blue hue—which might pose a problem when it comes to marketing. Jon Craven, editor of the beverage trade magazine BevNet, notes that even Pepsi had trouble selling drinks that color. But then, it’s a new generation.

Reality Check

A Hunk-a Hunk-a Burnin’ Hung

The William Hung juggernaut continues. Soon after belting out his cringe-worthy rendition of “She Bangs” on American Idol, Hung, 21, signed a $25,000 recording contract with Koch Records and the Fuse music network. After a day in the studio, the UC Berkeley civil engineering student emerged with Inspiration, a CD featuring his interpretation of such hits as “Hotel California” and “Rocket Man.” Now Hung has—naturally—made a music video for his first single, “She Bangs.” And what’s a video without babes? In this one Hung is surrounded by dancers and reality-TV stars, including Joe Millionaire’s Sarah Kozer and For Love and Money’s Paige Jones. “[Making the video] was fun,” says Hung. “It’s like a first step in becoming a real pop star or a real singer.”

Bride of Fear Factor

Guests at the wedding of Chris Jackson and Monica Gonzales can be forgiven for being wary of the buffet. The couple, who gulped maggot milkshakes on their way to winning $1 million on the couples version of Fear Factor, were set to wed April 1 in Las Vegas. Officiating? Joe Rogan, the show’s host, who became an ordained minister online. The ceremony between Jackson, 27, a hairstylist, and Gonzales, 24, a receptionist, will be taped for a reunion show. “Ninety percent of the Fear Factor couples should be divorced,” says Rogan. “But Jackson and Monica were really supportive of each other.”

Idol’s New Heartthrob

His audition threads of choice were church clothes, and Simon Cowell likened him to a pen salesman. So what makes Jon Peter Lewis one of America’s favorite Idols? “He’s the boy next door,” says Kelly Smurthwaite, a newspaper editor at Lewis’s college, Brigham Young University-Idaho. “He’s genuine—what you see on TV is how Jon really acts.” His jagged dance moves and easygoing attitude have certainly won over teenage girls, who wait hours for the 24-year-old’s autograph. Chat rooms are flooded with Lewis postings, fan sites have popped up on the Internet, and Lewis memorabilia can now be found on eBay (how about a Lewis bracelet?). Aw, shucks. “An idol is someone whose character is worth idolizing,” says Lewis. “It’s just about being my best self, having fun and working hard.”


Jennifer Beals

What a feeling! Jennifer Beals is rounding out the first season of Showtime’s The L Word, a sexually provocative series set in L.A. on which she plays half of a lesbian couple. Beals, 40, spoke with Scoop about the show and the film that first brought her fame, 1983’s Flashdance.

Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, in his new book Hollywood Animal, says you got the lead in Flashdance after studio boss Michael Eisner showed audition reels of Demi Moore, a model and you to the most macho guys on the Paramount lot—and asked which one they wanted to have sex with. True?

I’ve heard the story, and I have no idea. It’s bizarre.

Some people criticized Jennifer Lopez for ripping off your Flashdance routine in her “I’m Glad” video. How did you feel about it?

I didn’t see it that way at all. I thought it was fun to see. I thought it was interesting.

So it was an homage?

I think so. It depends on what lawyer you’re talking to.

On to the present day. Does The L Word feel like a comeback?

I don’t think in terms of comeback. I think, oh, people are aware of the things that I do and the stories that I’m a part of.

What do you like about the series?

At the end of the day the show is about love, period. Nothing’s really more exciting than love. That’s what it’s about. Love is the toppermost poppermost.

The critics like it.

I don’t read any reviews or press coverage. It makes me analytical about the work.

You honestly don’t read your reviews?

No. I just wasn’t interested in hearing somebody talk about me. And frankly, I don’t often watch things that I’m in.

You’re an avid photographer. Have you been taking pictures on the set?

Yes, I have been. I have some pictures from when we did a Vanity Fair shoot. When I get the camera in my hand I can get really bossy. It brings out the bossiest bossiness of me.



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