November 06, 2006 12:00 PM

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ROUND TWO

Sara Evans’s husband fires back following the country singer’s stunning—and sordid—allegations

After Sara Evans filed for divorce Oct. 12 and accused her political activist husband, Craig Schelske, of an affair with their ex-nanny, a close friend of Schelske’s hinted that “a very big shoe [was] going to drop.” On Oct. 20 came the thud: Schelske, 43, counterfiled, denying her accusations, offering to take a polygraph test and throwing his own charges back at Evans, 35. Among his claims: She was having an “intimate relationship with another man” (see box). Nashville is taking sides in this homegrown brawl. “They could draw and quarter [Schelske] in the middle of Music Row and people would show up to watch,” says one country music insider. Though Evans’s record sales are so far unaffected by the public turmoil in her private life, the Oct. 17 episode of Dancing with the Stars, in which she explained her decision to leave the show, pulled in 1 million more viewers than the previous week’s—a season high. “After it all shakes out,” predicts Anastasia Brown, a judge on USA’s Nashville Star, Evans’s “career will grow even bigger.”

SHE SAID

1 Schelske had an affair with their former nanny Alison Clinton, 28.

2 Their son Avery walked in on his father watching porn on TV.

3 Schelske keeps pornographic pictures of himself on his computer.

HE SAID

1 He did not sleep with Clinton—but Evans cheated on him.

2 When Avery walked in, he and Evans were watching adult films together.

3 The only naked photos that exist are ones she took of him.

ANNA NICOLE: HOMELESS?

Anna Nicole Smith finally laid her son Daniel to rest Oct. 19, but the beleaguered star is facing new woes. Just a day after the funeral, Smith received a letter from the owner of her Bahamian home demanding she move out. Owning at least $500,000 of property is key to Smith’s retaining permanent residency. If her status is revoked and she returns to California, she could be compelled to cooperate in a paternity suit filed there by photographer Larry Birkhead, who claims to be the father of her 2-month-old baby, Dannielynn. G. Ben Thompson, 59, a South Carolina developer who says he and Smith, 38, dated briefly last year, tells PEOPLE that he fronted the purchase of the house in August as a favor to Smith, with the understanding that she would buy it back. The revelation that she does not own the $1 million home, where she lives with fiancé Howard K. Stern and the baby, could threaten her Bahamian residency status. In California, where she last lived, Smith could be compelled to provide a sample of her baby’s DNA. (Stern is named as the father on the girl’s birth certificate.) Her lawyer, Ron Rale, would not comment on Thompson’s allegations, but says, “It’s just amazing, the sequence of events Anna Nicole has had to endure.”

COSTUME DRAMA

With Jared Leto’s sense of style, who needs Halloween? He plays dress-up to front his band 30 Seconds to Mars—then goes out on the town.

Oct. ’05

March ’06

June ’06

JUSTIN TIME

She rarely talks about him in public, but Cameron Diaz was positively bubbly about Justin Timberlake, 25, when he and pal Trace Ayala debuted their 2007 William Rast collection at Social Hollywood on Oct. 17. “Everything Justin does he tries to perfect,” the actress, 34, told Scoop. “I’m so proud of him.” Not that she gets any special treatment from her designer beau. “It actually took me a while to get a pair of jeans,” says Diaz, modeling the line’s low-rise denim. “I was like, ‘Hey, I should be getting free stuff!'”

heart monitor

MYSTERY RING

Kate Moss & Pete Doherty

Is Britain’s most notorious party couple about to settle down? British tabloids are reporting that Moss, who has dated Doherty on and off for nearly two years, is pregnant and engaged to the recently rehabbed rock musician. (The supermodel has been flaunting a massive diamond ring on her left hand.) A source close to Moss denied a pregnancy but pointedly did not refute the engagement rumors. Reps for both declined to comment.

STILL STRONG

Adam Brody & Rachel Bilson

Don’t believe the hype. Despite those pesky Brody-Bilson breakup rumors, a rep for the O.C. actress insists reports of a split are “not true.” The couple of three years certainly looked like lovebirds on Oct. 22, when they were spotted strolling hand in hand in Toronto (Bilson, 25, is there shooting the sci-fi drama Jumper). “[Rachel and Adam] are just really comfortable around each other,” says new O.C. costar Chris Pratt, a friend of the couple’s. “I think that’s what makes them a good pair.”

REALITY ROMANCE

Brody Jenner & Lauren Conrad

After breaking up with Nicole Richie, Jenner headed for The Hills. Jenner is now dating L.C. (Conrad), the Laguna Beach alumna. As the former star of the reality show The Princes of Malibu, Jenner isn’t shy around cameras—good thing, as they will both be featured on the new Hills. “She’s amazing,” says Jenner, who has hit L.A. clubs and a local paintball field with Conrad in recent weeks. “We’re having a great time.” But what does Kristin Cavallari—Jenner’s ex and Conrad’s nemesis—think of all this?

ENGAGED!

Jaime Pressly & Eric Cubiche

Okay, so the My Name is Earl star wasn’t surprised when Cubiche, a deejay, proposed. “We designed the ring together a month ago,” Pressly told Scoop at her J’aime fashion show benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “He gave it to me this past weekend. It was great!”

Doughray Scott & Claire Forlani

A rose-filled hotel suite set the scene, and a ring he designed himself sealed the deal when Desperate Housewives‘ Scott popped the question to Forlani (Meet Joe Black), his girlfriend of 10 months. Scott tells PEOPLE: “I feel so lucky to have met her.”

WEDDING

TOM & KATIE SET THE DATE

Another mystery solved! Now that baby Suri has made her world debut, Tom Cruise, 44, and Katie Holmes, 27, are clearing up one last burning question. The two (engaged since June 2005) have finally announced their wedding plans. “Tom and Katie will be married in Italy on Nov. 18,” says a rep, “and will be dressed by Armani.” No word, though, on whether 6-month-old Suri will also be wearing clothes by the designer.

PEOPLE.COM POLL

SCOOP ASKED, YOU ANSWERED

MELISSA ETHERIDGE NAMES HER BABY GIRL JOHNNIE ROSE:

49,032 VOTES

40% CUTE

60% KOOKY

MISCHA BARTON: BETTER WITH …

51,053 VOTES

81% LONG LAYERS

19% BANGS

THE THIRD SEASON OF LOST:

51,053 VOTES

15% SO AWESOME!

38% SO ANNOYING!

47% GIVE IT TIME…

WHOM WOULD YOU RATHER BE ADOPTED BY?

51,054 VOTES

MADONNA
22%

ANGELINA JOLIE
72%

WOODY ALLEN

6%

WHICH REALITY FRANCHISE SHOULD BE RETIRED?

51,053 VOTES

THE APPRENTICE
25%

SURVIVOR
24%

THE BACHELOR
45%

NONE! I’M STILL WATCHING

6%

WHICH RAPPER’S COMEBACK ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?

51,053 VOTES

P. DIDDY‘S PRESS PLAY

37%

JAY-Z’S KINGDOM COME

63%

VOTE ON NEXT WEEK’S QUESTIONS AT WWW.PEOPLE.COM/POLLS

Q + A

PLAYING DOCTOR

Forget Uncle Jesse. These days, John Stamos has fans feeling feverish for ER

We have a pulse! After 12 years,ER seemed ready for the defibrillator. Enter John Stamos, 43, as macho intern Tony Gates, and suddenly … ER is again NBC’s hottest show. Now if only Stamos could do something about his flat-lining love life.

What’s the secret to revitalizing a long-running TV series?

The truth is, people came back and realized it’s still one of the best hours on television. It’s not all because of me.

Isn’t that a little modest?

I’ve had a lot of failures since Full House. I feel like I’ve been given a golden ticket. Another shot. I’m not trying to figure out why it’s happening; I’m just glad it is.

Tony is ER‘s resident bad boy. What’s it like playing a darker role?

It’s fun. And, to be honest with you, it’s more me. I’ve played these shiny, happy guys. And I’m as [messed] up as everybody!

Would you be useful in a real-life emergency?

I wouldn’t. But, you know, I’ve played rapists and murderers, and I don’t think I’d be good at that either.

You split from Rebecca Romijn in 2004. Are you dating anyone yet?

If I tell the truth and say I spend an enormous amount of time alone, I don’t want to sound pathetic. And I don’t want people to go, “We don’t buy that!” But it’s kind of true.

Seriously?

I’ve just been trying to be happy alone. I think by doing that, eventually the right person will come. It’s almost like working out—it’s painful, but, you know, in the long run, it’s better for you than a quick fix.

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