February 02, 2009 12:00 PM

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People.COM

Britney Spears
STILL ON THE RIGHT TRACK!

It’s been almost five months since BRITNEY SPEARS won three Moon Men at MTV’s Video Music Awards—widely considered her comeback kickoff—and now come more promising signs that she’s getting her life back on track: Spears, 27, is moving to a new home in the quiet city of Calabasas, Calif., outside of Los Angeles, and has started rehearsing several times a week for her Circus tour, which kicks off March 3 in New Orleans. “I just took my babies to our new home, and they loved it!” Spears wrote on her Web site on Jan. 13. “I can’t wait to move in.” Says a source: “Calabasas is low-key, far enough away from all the craziness of L.A. It will be a nice place for [her sons] Preston and Jayden. Britney needs this fresh start.”

Joaquin Phoenix

THE NEXT RAP SUPERSTAR?

He’s an Oscar-nominated actor, but on Jan. 16 Joaquin Phoenix, 34, appeared in his new profession: rapper. “The [desire to act] has been replaced by my desire to do music,” Phoenix told Scoop before performing at Las Vegas’ Lavo nightclub. Dressed in jeans and a torn gray hat, Phoenix sang (“I want a refund”), gyrated and even said he was crying during the short performance. Then he tripped as he exited the stage and settled into his VIP table.”I’m sure there’s room for improvement,” he says. “But it’s exciting [and] I’m very happy.”

RUMOR PATROL

DID VANESSA AUDITION FOR THE TWILIGHT SEQUEL?

“There’s no truth to it,” a source tells Scoop of reports that Vanessa Hudgens, 20, auditioned for the role of werewolf Leah Clearwater for the Twilight sequel New Moon. The source adds that the film’s producers do plan to cast a Native American in the bloodthirsty role.

“They have definitely Photoshopped the crap out of me, but I don’t care. Ha-ha! Whoever she is, she looks great!”

KELLY CLARKSON, blogging about her seemingly flawless image on her new album All I Ever Wanted

NAUGHTY 90210
TV’s hottest zip code is on fire with costar couplings!

GOING STRONG

JESSICA STROUP & DUSTIN MILLIGAN

At a Nov. 10 party at L.A.’s Thompson Hotel, Stroup, 22, and Milligan, 23, already seemed smitten with one another. “You could tell something was going on,” a partygoer says. “She likes that he has a bit of an edge. They just have a great chemistry together, a great connection.”

MAKING IT WORK

JESSICA LOWNDES & ADAM GREGORY

“They’ve been on and off for months,” says a source. But on Jan. 10, Gregory held her bags at the HBO Luxury Lounge. A week earlier they celebrated his 21st birthday at the Bank nightclub in Las Vegas. “He makes her laugh,” says the source.

GETTING CLOSE

ANNALYNNE MCCORD & KELLAN LUTZ

Just a guest star, Twilight‘s Kellan Lutz, 23, clearly made an impression on McCord, 21. The two had a steamy New Year’s week in the Miami area, dancing at LIV nightclub and hitting the beach. Says a source: “They’re really playful with each other.”

Jeremy Piven

SUSHIGATE: ROUND TWO

Is there something fishy about Jeremy Piven’s claim that mercury poisoning—brought on by a 20-year, twice-a-day sushi habit—forced him to quit his role in Broadway’s Speed-the-Plow in December? The play’s producers filed a grievance with the Actors’ Equity Association Jan. 16 to get to the bottom of his exit—a move Piven’s rep called “absurd and outrageous,” adding he withdrew from the play due to “medical necessity.”

EXCLUSIVE

THE BACHELOR BLOG

KEEP IT CLEAN

The Bachelor‘s Jason Mesnick, 32, is blogging at people.com/bachelor about the latest episode. An excerpt from this week’s posting: “At the Keep-A-Breast group date, Erica and Melissa [inset] applied baby oil on my chest. I was so flattered. I blushed a bit, but the oil did help me save a few chest hairs (Ouch!). Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad. It was so hard not giving Natalie a rose. Yes, she called me names … And that never feels good!”

Insider

SUNDANCE

WHAT YOU MISSED

The annual film fest snowed celebs—Ewan McGregor and Jim Carrey promoted I Love You Phillip Morris. Kevin Bacon was in town for his flick Taking Chance. Ben Affleck supported Reporter, then hit the MySpace cafe. Robin Thicke, Sting and a slew of stars were fans of Tao at the Sundance Lift, but the fest’s biggest buzz? 500 Days of Summer starring Zooey Deschanel.

THE AWARD GOES TO:

• FESTIVAL DARLING

Emma Roberts, who wowed with two films—Lymelife and The Winning Season.

• MEMORABLE MOMENT

When 50 Cent gave Jim Carrey a b-day shout-out at Vitaminwater House, the actor jumped onstage and boogied hard as girlfriend Jenny McCarthy looked on.

• BIGGEST PARTYERS

Mariah Carey and husband Nick Cannon were at nearly every venue and jammed at the Rock Band lounge.

FAST TAKES

• 1/16, San Diego: John Legend sang “Happy Birthday” to Estelle, who celebrated turning 29 at club Stingaree.
• 1/17, Park City: Eliza Dushku hit the ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY/L’Oréal Paris party.
• 1/17: Kevin Bacon and wife Kyra Sedgwick relaxed at the Black Kenneth Cole party: “It was awesome being at Sundance with my wife.”
• 1/17: Kaycee Stroh reminisced about her wedding at the Sephora Lounge.
• 1/18: Nicky Hilton worked up a sweat for charity at the Gatorade G Gym at Village at the Yard.
• 1/17, L.A.: Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman threw son Max a Where the Wild Things Are-themed 1st-birthday party.

5 Questions for…

KYRA SEDGWICK

The star of the TNT crime drama The Closer dishes about her tough-as-nails character, a close encounter with Sally Field and raising teenage kids

1 What’s in store for your character, L.A.P.D. Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, this season?

These episodes really kick ass! I asked the writers to have some really personal, private moments for Brenda. There’s a lot more darkness and depth.

2 You were nominated for a Golden Globe for best TV actress in a drama. What was one of the evening’s highlights?

[Fellow nominee] Sally Field came up to me and said she felt sick that I didn’t win. It was so nice and surprising, especially since we were basically in competition with each other!

3 You’re on hiatus until March. Any fun plans?

I’ve got to be home as much as I possibly can. I just spend time with my daughter [Sosie, 16, with her husband, actor Kevin Bacon].

4 You’re a spokeswoman for Change a Pet’s Life Day—a national free adoption drive on Jan. 24—and you have two pets at home. Why are you such an avid pet-lover?

My kids Sosie and son Travis, 19 are growing up and I’m grateful to have Paulie, a Labrador retriever, and Laura, a Russian Blue cat. Teenage kids want to hang out with their friends more than me. My dog never feels that way! He doesn’t roll his eyes when I say something stupid.

5 What type of dog should the Obamas get?

They should go to a shelter. I have a bias for mutts. But as long as they love the dog and give it a good life, that’s all that’s important.

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