July 12, 2004 12:00 PM

SISTER TO SISTER

While her sister Mary-Kate battles an eating disorder, Ashley Olsen pledges her support and talks about the twins’ plans for the future

Three weeks after her twin sister Mary-Kate checked into a treatment facility to battle an eating disorder, Ashley Olsen wants everyone to know that her sibling is doing well. “She’s hanging in there,” Ashley tells PEOPLE. “She is taking the time that she needs for herself right now.”

Ashley says that the problem is not entirely new. “She’s been struggling with it for quite a while,” she says. “She actually has time right now to go away, and to relax and help herself before she moves to New York City [for college in the fall].” (As for reports that Mary-Kate is in rehab for drug use, a rep for the sisters says that is “absolutely false.”) A source close to them says Mary-Kate had developed the disorder almost a year ago and is currently at an undisclosed rehab facility working with a “world-renowned psychiatrist” and a nutritionist. Says Ashley: “[Having an eating disorder] has nothing to do with working hard or being successful. This is an issue that a girl down the street can have. It’s an issue a lot of people deal with.”

After Mary-Kate emerges from rehab, Ashley hopes she and her twin, 18, will attend New York University together, possibly do movies separately and “live our lives the way we want to live them.” As for helping her sister, Ashley says, “You have to be there for your family; you have to support people in times of need. And you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anything else.” Bottom line? “I’m here for her whenever she needs me.”

Julia: The Maine Attraction

Julia Roberts is nothing if not versatile. After living the glam life as she filmed Ocean’s Twelve with George Clooney and Brad Pitt in Rome, the actress downshifted last week for a trip to Portland, Maine, where her husband, cinematographer Danny Moder, is filming the independent movie Straight Out of Compton 2. The couple, expecting twins next year, kept a low profile, staying in an old hotel in Portland’s art district and frequenting an equally unpretentious neighborhood Italian restaurant. Wearing Birken-stocks and jeans, Roberts visited Moder on the set, where he kissed her between takes. “She’s glowing,” says Compton actor Tony Cox. “She’s got a little belly and loves it. She always has her hand resting there.”

VANESSA & RICK SPLIT

Vanessa Williams and her husband, L.A. Laker forward Rick Fox, may have appeared to have been a happy couple, but according to a source close to Williams, the two have actually been quietly estranged for the last 18 months. Williams and Fox married in 1999 and have a 4-year-old daughter, Sasha. The split is “not entirely surprising, since they’ve spent their entire marriage living on opposite coasts,” says the insider. (Williams lives in Westchester County, N.Y., while Fox works in Los Angeles.) Reps for both confirm the breakup but say neither side has filed for divorce.

Hilary’s New Friend

Aaron Carter? So over it. These days Hilary Duff appears to have Good Charlotte lead singer Joel Madden on her mind. Duff, 16, and Madden, 25, were spotted at restaurants and parties together in Toronto last weekend. A source says that the two arrived separately at the MuchMusic Video Awards but were soon seen kissing in the VIP lounge. Reps for Duff and Madden say that they are “just friends.”

Sorvino, No Longer Single

On June 11 Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino, 36, and her boyfriend, actor Christopher Backus, 22, exchanged “I dos” at the Santa Barbara courthouse. “It’s perfect if you want something low-key,” a local source says of the setting. “You get a nice feel with the breeze coming off the ocean.” The surprise nuptials—in Santa Barbara, couples can obtain a license and wed the same day—were followed by a trip to Italy, where Sorvino received an award from a Sicilian arts organization before the two moved on to Capri.

AVENGING APPRENTICE?

What would The Donald think? Apprentice contestant Katrina Campins and fiancé Ben Moss (above), after checking out the Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., site for their Aug. 14 wedding, discovered Moss’s car had been towed from a nearby lot When the couple confronted a tow-truck driver, an argument ensued. In police reports the driver says Campins slapped him, while she says his face fell into her hands. At the towing office fighting escalated, and Campins says she suffered a broken nose. The couple plan to sue; towing firm employees would not comment. Police are investigating.

the smoking gun

CONTRACT DEMANDS

Saron Stone

Sharon Stone’s lawsuit over the collapse of a Basic Instinct sequel is set for trial July 7, with the actress seeking the $14 million she claims was guaranteed for her participation. The movie’s producers contend there was never a deal and point to unresolved issues, including the star’s perk list. That five-page document, obtained by Court TV’s The Smoking Gun, details Stone’s movie-set demands. These include a private home on location or a presidential suite at a first-class hotel; three nannies, each to be paid $1,500 weekly; two cell phones; two pagers; a 24-hour armed bodyguard; the right to retain all wardrobe and jewelry, unless rented; two assistants, one for $1,500 a week who doubles as a trainer; the right to approve the caterer; and Pilates equipment.

POP QUIZ

Maria Shriver

California’s First Lady, Maria Shriver, has written What’s Happening to Grandpa?, a children’s book about Alzheimer’s disease. Scoop caught up with Shriver, 48, to chat about her work and about life with Governor Schwarzenegger.

Why did you write this?

My dad [Sargent Shriver, 88] was diagnosed a couple of years ago. I wanted people to know about this disease and to explain it.

Was it tough to write?

These books are always tough. It’s real, you’ve experienced it. You’re trying to simplify a very complex disease. I asked my kids all the time how it sounded, if they’d read it, about the illustrations, the color, the length. I vet everything through them.

Any advice for people who have family members battling the disease?

There is no right way to handle it. So many caregivers say, “I can’t do this. I can’t sit home for 10 years.” They’re worried about being judged, about putting a loved one in a home. Every family deals the best way that they can.

Any summer plans?

To continue to try and sell my book and spread the message. To get my kids into camp and make their summer worthwhile. To help my husband.

What’s the best part of being First Lady?

Meeting people. They either express gratitude or give me a hundred suggestions about what I should be doing or what Arnold should be doing.

The worst part?

Losing a job I loved as contributing anchor for Dateline NBC. But, hey, change is always good.

Are you looking for a home in Sacramento?

No, we’re staying [in L.A.]. So Arnold is looking for a hotel room [in the capital].

Will you attend the GOP convention next month?

I’m going to go to the Democratic convention, where they’re honoring my uncle [Massachusetts senator Edward Kennedy]. If my husband speaks [in New York], I’m sure I’ll go listen to him.

ON THE BLOCK

MICHELLE’S MANSION

PRICE: $49 million

PLACE: Brentwood, Calif.

SPECS: Michelle Pfeiffer and husband David E. Kelley are putting their luxury compound on the market, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 3½-acre estate features a 7,500-sq.-ft. a main residence with six bed-rooms and seven baths and a 3, 867-sq.-ft. four-bedroom guesthouse.

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