By People Staff
June 27, 2005 12:00 PM

Jen: Back to Work

WITH BRAD AND ANGELINA HEATING UP THE BIG SCREEN, JENNIFER ANISTON HEADS EAST TO BEGIN HER NEXT FILM

As millions of moviegoers turned out to watch her ex frolic with that sexy Mrs. Smith, nobody would have blamed Jennifer Aniston if she had stayed home under the covers. Instead, after weeks of maintaining a low profile in L.A. and at her Malibu beach house, Aniston headed for Chicago, where she will soon begin shooting a romantic comedy titled, ironically, The Break Up.

By all accounts, Jen’s mood has been anything but somber. She, her costar Vince Vaughn and their four-person entourage “were talking, smiling, having fun,” says Fausto Espinoza, a server at Chicago’s Coco Pazzo Cafe, where Aniston feasted on Cornish hen and sipped Chardonnay on June 8. “She’s awesome,” says Vaughn, who helped hatch the idea for the film. “I always thought of her when we were developing the movie. She has just a wonderful warmth and likability about her.” So has he got any dating advice for the newly single girl in Chicago? “Oh no. I don’t have advice for anyone.”

Oprah in Africa

Among the news flashes announced by Oprah Winfrey during a recent trip to South Africa: Based on results from a recent DNA test, she believes she is descended from Zulus, who come from southern Africa. On the same trip, she donated $1,025,000 to the Mama Jackey’s Ithuteng Trust, a youth program she visited in Soweto (above) on June 9.

BRANGELINA

The Public Weighs In

How hot are Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Scoop and PEOPLE.com polled more than 6,000 moviegoers about the duo’s relationship on film.

How would you rate their onscreen chemistry?

Scorching 51%

Hot 39%

Warm 7%

No better than Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in Gigli 3%

Was the chemistry real or just acting?

Real 73%

Acting 27%

Do they have a romantic future together?

Yes 42%

No 18%

Don’t Care 23%

Out of respect for Jennifer Aniston, refuse to answer 17%

Would you like to see Pitt and Jolie costar again?

Yes 57%

No 21%

Don’t Care 22%

FATHER KNOWS BEST

“I don’t believe in overdoing the first birthday. They won’t remember it. They have no idea [it’s their birthday].

—David Arquette on his and Courteney Cox Arquette‘s plans for a low-key celebration for their daughter Coco’s first birthday on June 13.

Was It Only Yesterday?

Before they were famous, they were…schoolmates? In the early ’90s, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Nicole Richie and Kimberly Stewart were students at the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, Calif. The girls (seen here in pictures from their yearbooks) “were all extremely close,” says a school official. “They loved soccer and cheerleading.”

Sweet Nineteen

As 19th-birthday parties go, it was a relatively tame one: some sushi, balloons, matching white-frosted birthday cakes. So it went at LA. eatery HamaSaku on June 13, when Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen marked the teen milestone with about 20 friends and relatives. “Everyone was laughing all night,” says a fellow diner. “They seemed really happy and relaxed.” The low-key fete also marked the one-year anniversary of the start of Mary-Kate’s treatment for an eating disorder, which she first began last June. Though recovery “is an ongoing process,” says the Olsens’ rep Michael Pagnotta, “it is not something that defines who [Mary-Kate] is.” Pagnotta points out that in the past 12 months, the sisters “took total control of their company, moved to New York and got through an entire freshman year [at New York University]. It has been a year of tremendous change in a positive way.” On summer break the single sisters—Ashley recently split from boyfriend Scott Sartiano; Mary-Kate remains friendly with ex David Katzenberg—are bouncing between coasts.

YOU DON’T KNOW JACK

Jack Osbourne is not the man he once was—and he’s pretty happy about it. The former reality-TV heavyweight has shed 30 lbs. since April, when he began filming the British series Extreme Celebrity Detox. “Losing weight has come with the territory,” notes Osbourne, 19, who undertook an intense training regimen to prepare for the show’s stunts, which include a Thai kick boxing match. Osbourne, now an avid mountain climber who runs 30 minutes a day “on an empty stomach” and shuns bread and sweets, initially cleansed himself for a week by consuming a “foul” potion of herbs and spices. He spent seven more days fasting. “I didn’t eat anything the whole time, only liquids, and I had colonics twice a day,” says Osbourne. “After that, your body is functioning in such a high, pristine condition that it’s easy to lose weight.” He adds that any discomfort has been worth it. “My self-esteem has gone through the roof,” says Osbourne, who currently weighs in at 179 lbs., and plans to drop 15 more. But the 5-ft. 8-in. star has a more immediate goal: “I want to have a six-pack. I want abs of steel.”

May 2004

209 lbs.

CLOTHES

Not long ago he opted for anything casual and loose.

June 2005

179 lbs.

HAIR

Out with the Brillo look, in with the fauxhawk.

SHARP VISION

Goodbye Four Eyes: Jack ditches the glasses.

SUITED UP

And now, Jack Black? Something a little more formal—and darker.

SHOES

Something old: He sticks with the same sneakers.

Destiny’s Destiny

Destiny’s Child is breaking up, effective Sept. 10. “It’s not a split, it’s a retirement” says a rep for the trio, together for almost six years. “They’re going to continue to love each other.” One insider at Sony BMG, the group’s label, says the move might have something to do with lead singer Beyoncé Knowles’s desire to focus more on solo projects. A spokesman for Knowles referred calls to the group’s rep, who says that Knowles, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland will all be pursuing solo careers, adding, “Their lives after Sept. 10 won’t be dictated by an itinerary. They’ll always be together as friends. This is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing.”

POP QUIZ

Today’s Matt Lauer

Matt Lauer takes a look at the 100 greatest Americans, as determined by an America Online poll, in a new four-part series on the Discovery Channel (Sundays, 9 p.m.). Scoop asked Lauer, 47: What does one learn studying the likes of Madonna, Abe Lincoln, Babe Ruth and Howard Hughes?

Who surprised you by not making the list?

Mister Rogers, who impacted the lives of generations of American children. Sen. John Edwards makes the list; Thurgood Marshall doesn’t. That’s somewhat striking. I love Madonna, but does she deserve to be on the list if Hemingway doesn’t?

Who’s your choice for the greatest?

I’m not going to say. I’m moderating two major debates about it, so it doesn’t make sense [to say].

What qualities do you share with the Top 100?

I pale in comparison. The only quality I have in common with them is that some people know my name.

Who are you most like?

I’m probably more like the athletes than the founding fathers. I have a particular skill and have tried to make the most of it.

Among the nominees, who has the best hair?

Trump or George Washington. Do you go with the white wig, or whatever that [Trump] thing is called? And Michael Jordan. For guys who are losing their hair he did what no one else could do—made it hip to be bald.

Your summer plans?

My summers are family summers. I’m a barbecue guy. I wait all year for the months where I can sit down and throw a steak on the grill and eat corn on the cob with the kids and let them get butter all over their faces.

As the recent ratings show, Today is facing a stiff challenge from ABC’s Good Morning America. What will keep Today on top?

Playing to our strengths, doing the show that we want to do and not reacting to what other people are doing. We have to get back to being true to ourselves. That’s what’s made us No. 1 all these years.

ON THE BLOCK

PRICE: $1.5 million

PLACE: West Hollywood

Actress Tia Carrere (Wayne’s World) is selling her Asian contemporary house perched above the Sunset Strip. Most of the rooms open onto balconies with expansive city views. The three-bedroom retreat includes a custom sound system and a master suite with sliding Japanese doors, hot tub, sauna, fireplace and steam shower.

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