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BRITNEY BOUNCES BACK
Post-rehab, a healthier and happier Britney Spears shows off her svelte new shape
Since completing her 30-day stint in rehab last month, Britney Spears seems to have bid farewell to her hard-partying ways. She’s also said goodbye to a few extra pounds. “After all the negative stuff, she’s getting back to her ‘fighting weight,'” says one Spears business associate. That much was evident April 12, when the singer, 25, stopped by Bel Air boutique Sydney Michelle to stock up on supershort dresses. “She’s totally healthy and beautiful,” says an onlooker. “And her legs are awesome.”
What’s the secret to her seemingly sudden slim-down? “She’s working out, eating right and enjoying life,” says the singer’s rep. (Some published reports also claim Spears underwent a nonsurgical liposuction procedure called LipoDissolve during a recent trip to Vegas.) The mother of two—sons Sean Preston, 19 months, and Jayden James, 7 months—has also been sweating off the pounds with frequent trips to North Hollywood’s Millennium Dance Complex. “She’s got an amazing metabolism,” owner Robert Baker tells Scoop. “When she puts her mind to it, she can transform pretty easily.”
Spears’s next priority: getting her career back on track. “We’re working on the album,” says producer (and former flame) J.R. Rotem. So will this healthy new outlook finally get Britney back in the zone? “I hear she’s taking care of herself,” says longtime pal Lance Bass. “She’s definitely getting her life back in order.”
EVA LONGORIA‘S BRIDAL BASH
The date’s set; invitations are out—let the prewedding partying begin! On April 15, a Badgley Mischka-clad Eva Longoria (who will wed Tony Parker July 7) hit an outdoor bridal shower at Desperate Housewives costar Felicity Huffman’s L.A. home. “Eva was like, ‘I want a shower, and, oh, yeah, it’s at your house,'” Huffman said at the American Fertility Association’s Illuminations gala in L.A. Guests enjoyed specialty martinis, a dessert buffet and a contest to see who could make the best toilet-paper wedding gown (Teri Hatcher, who hosted another shower April 16, won). “It was a special day,” Longoria tells Scoop. “Felicity and my maid of honor Brittany Olson went above and beyond.” So what do you get the bride who has everything? More of everything. Stylist Robert Verdi sprung for cookbooks signed by chefs including Alain Ducasse and Nigella Lawson. And Housewives’ Brenda Strong splurged on an imported mirror for her costar’s living room. “One thing you can guarantee when Eva is around,” she said, “is that you’re going to have fun.”
Agassi and Graf: Doubles Disaster
Game, set, ouch! While going for a forehand shot during a children’s charity appearance in Houston April 15, tennis star Andre Agassi accidentally whacked his wife Steffi Graf in the face with his racket. (The couple had been holding hands so they’d be more evenly matched against their pint-sized opponents.) “Andre was just devastated,” says Jack Jensen, the orthopedic surgeon who mended Graf’s split lip with three stitches. “He was so apologetic, but she knew it was a fluke thing.”
OUTRAGE IN INDIA
Public displays of objection: On April 16—one day after Richard Gere, 57, planted smooches on the cheeks of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty during an HIV-awareness event in New Delhi—protesters in several Indian cities burned the pair in effigy for their PDA (still largely taboo in India). “He was only trying to entertain,” Shetty later explained. Gere’s rep had no comment.
Nick & Vanessa Movin’ in!
It’s official: Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo are cohabiting. On April 15 the couple of one year braved a nor’easter to move into their two-bedroom condo in Manhattan’s new Atelier building. (Rapper Eve also lives in the high-rise, which has a basketball court and indoor pool.) “Nick carried the huge boxes while Vanessa helped with the small ones,” says a source. “They were soaked.”
While filming Leatherheads in Charlotte, N.C., Renée Zellweger and The Office‘s John Krasinski (above) were spotted April 14 at a Blumenthal Performing Arts Center book reading, then catching a movie. New couple? “They’re just friends,” says a source close to the production. “Half the crew went to that reading.”
Jessica Alba & Cash Warren
What breakup? The Fantastic Four star and her producer-beau of nearly three years quashed trouble-in-paradise rumors with a vengeance while partying at Teddy’s in Hollywood on April 12. As one witness tells Scoop, “They were making out and holding on to each other for dear life.”
Mandy Moore & Greg Laswell
Has Moore found herself a new music man? The singer—who split from DJ AM in March—hit an April 11 Coach event in L.A. with the sexy singer-songwriter on her arm. “They were touching each other a lot,” said a witness. “Mandy was constantly smiling at him. They totally looked like a couple.” Her rep had no comment.
Could there be any truth to those reports that Canada’s cutest couple has split? The actor showed up sans girlfriend to the L.A. premiere of his thriller Fracture on April 11, telling Scoop, “She’s working.” Now a source close to the actress confirms the breakup. Reps for the two declined to comment.
Heather Takes a Tumble
Heather Mills makes dancing look so effortless, it’s easy to forget she has a prosthetic leg. But on April 16, she suffered her first public stumble, slipping to the floor at the end of her samba. Mills, 39, later laughed off the inevitable wipe-out. “I’m glad to finally get it over with,” she told Scoop. “I fall all the time. I’m used to it!”
JOEY’S GOT BACK
Joey Fatone may have lost 23 lbs. since starting on Dancing, but he still stands behind what’s directly behind him. On April 14 the singer, 30, boasted of his backside, “It’s big, juicy, and there’s nothing wrong with it!” Although his caboose can present dance-floor problems—”I gotta tuck [it] in,” he says—he’s still proud of his posterior: “I want to put insurance on it, like Jennifer Lopez [supposedly] did.”
Is Jennifer Lopez a Scientologist? She sure sounded like one during her April 11 Idol gig, saying cryptically, “Concentrating on the rightness brings more rightness.” (Turns out “rightness,” roughly meaning strengths, is a church buzzword dating back to a 1971 essay by founder L. Ron Hubbard.) But although Lopez’s dad is a member—as are BFFs Tom Cruise and Leah Remini—her rep insists, “She’s not a Scientologist.”
“I’m enjoying the idea that Sanjaya might win. This guy’s got a new haircut every day. I haven’t [voted for him yet] but I plan on it. Repeatedly!”
—Carson Daly on Sanjaya Malakar
Spotted in the audience: Season four’s Constantine Maroulis, who obligingly signed autographs for fans and stayed on his feet during all the contestants’ performances…. Simon Cowell was a no-show when the judges were first introduced. He had to be paged—twice! … Who’s Paula Abdul‘s mystery man? As the credits rolled, a good-looking admirer walked up and presented her with a bouquet of spring blooms…. The biggest ovation of the night? The one for Sanjaya (or perhaps his hair)….
Q + A
JENNIFER’S Spirited Gift of Gab
Like her phantom-loving character on Ghost Whisperer, Jennifer Love Hewitt believes the dearly departed have a lot to say … though they may not rattle their chains
Yes, she does see dead people—but only on CBS’s Ghost Whisperer. Jennifer Love Hewitt, 28, sat down with PEOPLE’s Natasha Burton to talk about love, life and afterlife.
Do you believe in the supernatural?
I don’t know if I believe in ghosts that you’d see—that are in clothes and chains and walking around your house. But I do believe that there are energies of people around us that are trying to get us messages.
Any surprising Whisperer fans?
I’m surprised at how many little kids watch. They want to know when Casper is going to be on, so I’ve told producers, “Please write Casper into the show.”
You’re also doing Hanes underwear ads. What’s it like to have the world see you in your skivvies?
A little nerve-racking! But it’s not real lingerie—you know, not lacy bras and things that some of the supermodels wear. It’s the kind of stuff I actually sleep in.
How are things going with your boyfriend, actor Ross McCall?
It’s the first time I’ve ever been in a relationship where you don’t have to try. And I think that’s the answer. That’s when you know that you’re in something really good and healthy and right.
With exes like John Mayer and Carson Daly, any advice on dating in Hollywood?
Don’t date in Hollywood. Until you find the right guy, don’t waste your time…. You know how they say you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince? Just wait for the prince! I wouldn’t bother with the frogs. I really wouldn’t.
What’s the weirdest piece of gossip you’ve heard about yourself?
That I’m pregnant.