By People Staff
December 19, 2011 12:00 PM

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MINDY McCREADY

“FIGHTING HER DEMONS”

There’s more bad news for Mindy McCready, 36, who was found hiding in a closet with her son Zander, 5, at an Arkansas lake house on Dec. 2 after a custody violation. The troubled country singer, who lost custody of her son in 2007 following a probation violation, had a Dec. 5 court date in Melbourne, Ark., to determine Zander’s guardianship. The details of the hearing are sealed, but for the past four years McCready’s mother, Gayle Inge, 56, has been Zander’s guardian. McCready’s drama started Nov. 29, when the singer took Zander after a supervised visit, prompting media speculation that she had disappeared and left town with the boy. McCready, who claims Zander was abused in Inge’s Florida home (an allegation that Inge has denied), told the AP Dec. 1 that she ran off “to protect Zander… . I don’t think I should be in trouble for protecting my son.” (As of press time, it was not clear if she will be charged with violating the custody agreement.) Zander’s father, musician Billy McKnight, 45, who is now sober and has unsupervised visitation rights, had been hopeful that custody would be restored to him. “I think I’m going to have full custody in January,” he told PEOPLE before the hearing.

In a dramatic twist, McCready says she is expecting again, which she claimed made her unable to adhere to a judge’s Dec. 1 order to return Zander to Florida. “She told me [a few weeks ago] she is expecting twins and she was really happy about it,” McKnight says. It’s just the latest chapter in what has been many turbulent years for the onetime Nashville star, whose 1996 debut album, Ten Thousand Angels, went multiplatinum. McCready has had several reported suicide attempts and run-ins with the law; in 2010 she appeared on Celebrity Rehab 3. “She’s fighting her demons,” says McKnight. “If she can get to a place where she admits that she has made mistakes and tries to correct them, we could see her shine again.”

BLAKE LIVELY & RYAN REYNOLDS

HEATING UP!

Ryan Reynolds, 35, who is currently filming in Boston, and Manhattanite Blake Lively, 24, travel for their quality time-jetting between their respective cities and more recently to Midway, Utah, to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at her sister’s bed and breakfast. The pair were also spotted checking out an apartment in New York City, and on Dec. 2 they shared ice cream in Ridgefield, Conn. “They seemed really in love,” says an onlooker. “Ryan stroked her hair as they held hands.”

HOLLYWOOD TOT SHOTS

Meet the under-age A-list! ToddleWood is the brainchild of New York City photographer Tricia Messeroux, 39, who re-creates famous pop-culture moments with youngsters (who range in age from 3 to 7) and donates a portion of her products’ proceeds to children’s charities. “They love playing dress-up,” Messeroux tells PEOPLE. “They really enjoy the shoots!”

A REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK

A Chat with Kate

PEOPLE’S ROYAL CORRESPONDENT SIMON PERRY SHARES A LAUGH WITH THE PRINCESS AT A ROYAL RECEPTION

This woman could give princess lessons. Only seven months into her royal role, Kate, 29, would have had every right to feel the jitters as she schmoozed journalists at a glitzy Nov. 28 cocktail party at Buckingham Palace. But during the short time I spent conversing with her and observing her throughout the evening, I saw no evidence of any nerves. She exuded warmth and was totally at ease. Looking striking in an emerald-colored Mulberry dress, she ran her fingers through her famous mane, talked animatedly and shared her hearty laugh as we reporters enjoyed champagne and canapes in the portrait-adorned Green Drawing Room. The Duchess of Cambridge smiled when questions turned to the attention she attracts when she runs errands in her life as a Royal Air Force wife in Wales-she told us that William jokes that she should try going shopping in disguise.

The event heralded the Queen’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years on the throne. On hand were Prince Charles, Camilla and William, 29, standing across the room from his wife, who on this night clearly needed no chaperone.

People TABLET BONUS VIDEO

Simon Perry: My Time With Kate

Simon Perry

ROYAL CORRESPONDENT

Beauty Queen

BUNGLES!

RIMA FAKIH ISN’T THE FIRST PAGEANT WINNER TO FALL FROM GRACE-CHECK OUT THIS BATCH OF PAST PRETTY BIG MISTAKES

Rima Fakih

Miss USA 2010

The former Miss USA, 26, was arrested in Michigan on the weekend of Dec. 3 on suspicion of drunk driving. Despite a tweet on her feed declaring her innocence, the origin of which remains unknown-“I’m NOT in Michigan and I’m NOT in jail!” it read-her lawyer Doraid Elder later confirmed to the Detroit Free Press that she’s “taking full responsibility.”

Carrie Prejean

Miss USA runner-up, 2009

Prejean, 24, didn’t wait until the 2009 pageant was over to stir controversy, telling judges she believed marriage should be reserved for straight couples-to public outcry. But it wasn’t until a partially nude photo and a sex tape surfaced that Miss USA owner Donald Trump relieved Prejean of her duties as Miss California USA in June 2009, citing “breach of contract.”

Tara Conner

Miss USA 2006

In December 2006, rumors swirled that Conner, then 21, was abusing drugs and alcohol. After photos emerged showing her in a passionate kiss with Miss Teen USA, and she reportedly tested positive for cocaine, Trump sent Conner to rehab, saying, “I’ve always been a believer in second chances.” She’s now a consultant for Caron Treatment Centers.

Vanessa Williams

Miss America 1984

Perhaps the most famous of the fallen beauty queens, Williams, 48, resigned as Miss America in July 1984 after nude shots from her pre-pageant days came to light-and ended up in Penthouse. But Williams had the last laugh, going on to successful careers in music and TV.

Marjorie Wallace

Miss World 1973

Just 104 days after becoming the first American to win the Miss World title, Wallace, then 20, had it taken away amid reports she was dating Welsh singer Tom Jones and British soccer star George Best. Pageant organizers said she “failed to fulfill the basic requirements of the job.” Three months later, she overdosed on pills. But she bounced back in 1981 as one of the first anchors of Entertainment Tonight.

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