Plus: Blake taunted, Thomas Haden Church vs. Spidey, and more

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 23, 2005 08:00 AM

DEFENDED: Parents Martin and Janet Sheen tell Entertainment Tonight they will not permit tabloid rumors about their son Charlie Sheen to go unanswered. “We cannot remain silent during what appears to be a ruthless and savage attack by the media on Charlie’s character. To imply that he is in any way regressing to the behavior that cost him so dearly and almost ended his life just seven years ago is not only the lowest form of journalism, but sinks to the level of defamation.” Sheen’s wife, Denise Richards, filed for divorce last month, causing speculation over why the marriage was ending while Richards is seven months pregnant with their second child. Added the elder Sheen: “What happens between two people in a relationship or marriage is so private and deeply personal that it is not possible for anyone outside to truly understand or judge responsibly.”

PLEADED: Kelly Frank, 43, a painter working at David Letterman’s Montana ranch, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a felony count of plotting to kidnap the Late Show host’s toddler son and nanny and hold them for $5 million ransom. Frank’s lawyer said his client admitted “there were discussions about it, but with no purpose of carrying it out.” Frank is being held in custody until his next court appearance on April 5.

APPEARED: Pope John Paul II, 84, made a very brief appearance at his Vatican window on Wednesday following widespread reports that his health had deteriorated markedly in the past few days. The crowd cheered him but the pontiff said nothing to them. This marked his first appearance in public since Sunday and followed numerous reports about the health of the Pontiff, who underwent throat surgery last month.

EXPRESSED: Robert Blake, 71, says he has a clear conscience after his acquittal on charges he killed his wife, but he also has an empty bank account and owes a fortune in taxes. “People right now either love me or hate me,” he told Barbara Walters on Good Morning America. “The other day I went to the farmer’s market, and everybody was hugging me and stuff, but there were people on the outside saying, ‘Murderer.'” “Is your conscience clear?” Walters asked. “Of course it’s clear,” Blake replied. As for his bank account: “Right now, I’m worth a million dollars, and I owe Uncle Sam a million-and-a-half dollars, and I made a deal with him,” he said. “I said, ‘Uncle Sam, I’m going to pay you 25 grand a month.'”

CAST: Busy days ahead for the costars of Sideways. Thomas Haden Church has been cast as the villain in the next Spider-Man movie, to start filming early next year for release May 2007, director Sam Raimi has announced. The bad guy’s identity has not been revealed. Meanwhile, Sandra Oh, who played a freewheeling single mom in Sideways, plays a surgical intern on ABC’s medical drama Grey’s Anatomy (debuting Sunday at 10 p.m., after Desperate Housewives). “I get to play a woman who is extremely ambitious and unapologetic and driven, and sometimes not very sympathetic,” Oh tells AP.