Plus: Legal break for Kobe, Kelly Ripa's big deal, and more

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated June 18, 2004 08:00 AM

EQUIVOCATED: Asked whether Britney Spears and her dancer boyfriend, Kevin Federline, are planning to marry, Spears’s rep Leslie Sloane Zelnick tells the New York Post’s Page Six gossip column: “She’s pretty lucky to have him, but I don’t know if she’s engaged or not.” Zelnick seemed to confirm that Spears and Federline are now living together in the pop princess’s New York and Beverly Hills homes, following the knee surgery Spears, 22, had last week. “Kevin was with her throughout the whole surgery and by her side the whole time,” says Zelnick.

ALLOWED: A Colorado judge has granted Kobe Bryant’s attorneys access to cell phone text messages sent among three people – including the woman accusing the NBA star of sexual assault and her ex-boyfriend – in the hours after the alleged attack. “The materials contain information that is relevant for discovery,” state District Judge Terry Ruckriegle said in a decision released Thursday. Bryant, 25, has pleaded not guilty to felony sexual assault, saying he had consensual sex with a Vail-area resort worker in his hotel room last June 30. His accuser turns 20 on Friday.

NEGOTIATED: Kelly Ripa, 33, reportedly will be paid about $40 million under her new, five-year Live with Regis and Kelly contract, or $8 million a year. Her co-anchor, Regis Philbin, 72, has two more years on his current contract. Ripa also will continue on her ABC sitcom Hope & Faith, which begins its second season in the fall.

DISCUSSED: Prosecutors in the Scott Peterson double-murder trial attempted to establish money as a motive for the former fertilizer salesman’s wanting to kill his pregnant wife Laci, with a gem-store clerk revealing on the stand Thursday that Laci had inherited $100,000 in jewelry. In another development, a juror reportedly spoke to Laci’s brother, Scott Rocha, as the two went through security at the courthouse. Judge Alfred Delucchi subpoenaed a security-videotape of the incident.

SELECTED: Antonio Banderas, Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Billy Joel, Ben Stiller and Donald Duck are among the 32 honorees who will receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame over the next year, as ratified this week by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. “The ceremonies for these artists will bring a lot of smiles and excitement to the local residents and to our visitors from around the world,” honorary Hollywood Mayor Johnny Grant said.