July 26, 2004 06:00 AM

Is it new husband Marc Anthony’s influence, or just being in love? Whatever the cause, Jennifer Lopez seems to be showing her softer side lately. As her upcoming movie Monster-in-Law wound down, the cast and crew held a Wiffle Ball match on the Culver City, Calif., set, with teams divided into Yankee and Red Sox fans, and Bronx native Lopez cheered on the Yankees (who lost 10-5). “J.Lo is a woman of the people, she was out there cheering on her Yankee Wiffle Ball team,” says assistant producer (and Red Sox team captain) Neal Flaherty. And lest you think this was a one-time deal: We’re told that in Winnipeg, Canada, while filming Shall We Dance, Lopez “took all the dancers to 529, the finest restaurant in town, and she bought them all presents,” says producer Simon Fields. “All different presents for different people.”

Free Association
We asked Emmy-winning talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres for her quick takes on a few hot topics.
Martha Stewart’s jail sentence: “That sucks.”
George Clooney: “H-h-h-hot.”
Blackout in Athens before the Olympics: “Hold onto your Speedos.”
Ken Jennings, Jeopardy! winner: “I’d like to have him on my show.”
My biggest guilty pleasure is: “Holding a poodle on my lap and petting its tummy. It’s not really it, but I can’t tell you my biggest guilty pleasure. And I don’t know that I’ve held a poodle on my lap. I mean, I like poodles.”
Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct sequel: “Good for her.”

Caught in the Act
Recently Spotted:
Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, in Houston on a stop on Jessica’s Reality tour, where they stayed in the Hotel Derek’s Big Texas suite. The hotel treated Jessica to some of her favorite Kiehl’s beauty products, and even pampered her new pooch, Daisy, with a “Derek’s Dogs” bandana, canine treats, dishes and a bed made of sheets.

Robin Williams, at the summer gala of the 40th Chicago International Film Festival, where he received a Career Achievement Award. We asked if he plans to return to the Middle East to entertain troops. “Yeah, I’d like to go back,” said Williams. “I’ve been to Afghanistan twice and Iraq.” And how does he lift their spirits? “Just be as funny as you can.”

Kid Rock, at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, where he downed chilled lobster, shrimp, Porterhouse steak and tiramisu. (Between meals, he also performed at the hotel and casino.)


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