Plus: Jennifer Love Hewitt redux, Vincent D'Onofrio relapse, and more

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 17, 2004 09:00 AM

EXPOSED: New York Yankees slugger Gary Sheffield revealed Tuesday that someone posing as a minister attempted to blackmail him for at least $20,000 with alleged sex tapes of the athlete’s wife with another woman and R. Kelly, reports New York’s Daily News and the New York Post. The alleged tape was purported to have been made more than 10 years ago. In a statement, Sheffield said that he knew his wife, a child gospel star, had had a relationship with Kelly before their marriage, and does not care to see the tape. “I will not be blackmailed (and) have my family dragged through the mud,” he said. The FBI reportedly has suspect Derrick Mosley, of Chicago, in custody. His lawyer would not comment. Kelly (who has pleaded not guilty in a current child porn case) denies knowing anything about this alleged tape, his rep tells the Post.

REQUESTED: Filmmaker Roman Polanski has asked England’s highest court to allow him to sue Vanity Fair magazine for libel via video link so he can avoid the risk of being extradited to the United States, Reuters reports. The director of The Pianist fled the U.S. in 1977 after admitting to having sexual relations with a minor. Polanski, 71, lives in Paris and says the magazine defamed him by accusing him of seducing a woman who was with another man. The Oscar-winning director wants to use the English courts for the suit, but is scared if he goes to Britain he’ll be extradited to the U.S. as a “fugitive from justice.” The law lords are expected to give a decision in writing by early next year.

DELIVERED: Actress Laurel Holloman, 36, the star of Showtime’s The L Word, and her husband, production designer Paul Macherey, 36, welcomed daughter Lola on Nov. 4 in Vancouver, B.C., PEOPLE reports in its latest issue. It’s their first child.

CLAIMED: Liza Minnelli, 58, says her former bodyguard, who claims she forced him to have sex with her to keep his job, and her estranged husband David Gest have joined forces to attack and embarrass her publicly, according to Manhattan State Supreme Court papers filed on Nov. 9 and just posted on the “Celebrity Justice” Web site. The documents also say M’Hammed Soumayah, 56, breached a confidentiality agreement by giving Gest, 52, personal information about Minnelli. The papers note that soon after Soumayah filed his $100 million lawsuit against Minnelli, Gest issued a press release supporting the bodyguard’s charges. Gest has filed his own $10 million lawsuit against Minnelli.

REVIVED: Jennifer Love Hewitt, 25, is being given another chance, as ABC is bringing back her comedy project that the network originally developed last season, says the Hollywood Reporter. The untitled project, which has been given a green light for six episodes, stars Hewitt as a sports producer who unwillingly becomes an on-camera reporter on a sports TV show. Ed O’Neill (Married … With Children) costars.

RELAPSED: Law & Order: Criminal Intent star Vincent D’Onofrio, 46, was back in a hospital Tuesday after fainting for the second time in a week, the Associated Press reports. D’Onofrio was hospitalized for two days last week when he fainted after rehearsing a strenuous scene that included climbing for the New York-based NBC drama. He had been expected to return to work Tuesday. But he fainted again late Monday at his New York home and returned to the hospital for further observation and testing, said a series spokeswoman, adding: “He’s in good spirits and producers are optimistic he’ll be released soon.”

ARRESTED: Lionel Richie’s estranged wife, Diane Richie, has been arrested in Beverly Hills for allegedly allowing her boyfriend, Daniel Tomas Fuente Serrano, to convert her bathroom into an illegal cosmetic surgery clinic offering anti-wrinkle treatments, officials said. She reportedly spent a night in jail but was released on $25,000 late Tuesday.

SUED: Alabama writer Glynn Wilson is suing biographer Kitty Kelley, claiming the best-selling author plagiarized his work in her The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty. “I’m trying to make a living down here as a freelance writer and these New York writers rip you off,” Glynn Wilson tells the Birmingham News. The lawsuit was filed last month in Birmingham federal court against Kelley and publisher Random House Inc. Katherine J. Trager, general counsel for Random House, told The New York Times that the lawsuit was “meritless” and that the company was “confident that we will obtain its dismissal.”