August 03, 2005 06:00 AM

Singer Rob Thomas and wife Marisol have had a tough couple of years. The Grammy-winning singer and his model spouse have been battling Marisol’s lupus-like autoimmune disorder, but they’ve gotten through their “dark days” with the help of Tyler, an abused 5-year-old terrier mutt that they adopted last year.

The animal lovers picked up their brown-and-white dog from Pets Alive, a no-kill shelter on a 77-acre ranch in upstate New York. “At the time we didn’t have any animals because we traveled so much,” says Thomas, who reports that Marisol’s health is on the upswing. “Tyler has been a godsend. My wife hasn’t been well in the last couple of years and he’s been a savior. He just got her through that whole process.” To show their gratitude, the couple are appearing in an upcoming Discovery Channel Animal Planet special about Pets Alive, called Trail Mix, which will air in January.

And as for Tyler, he’s now leading the jet-setting life. “If we are going overseas, we usually leave a few days early and fly him to Florida where Marisol’s parents live, and pick him up on the way back,” says Thomas. After returning from a recent Australian promotional tour for Thomas’s platinum-selling solo album Something to Be, they decided Tyler deserved extra-special treatment. “We chartered a plane just for him, so we wouldn’t have to go through the heartache of putting him under the plane in this heat.” Now that’s a lucky pup.

Running Man
American Idol judge Randy Jackson has lost more than 100 lbs. since getting his gastric-bypass surgery in 2003, and now he’s encouraging other people to stay in shape. We recently caught up with him emceeing the Nike Run Hit Wonder 5K race in New York City’s Central Park and we just had to ask: Who would win a race between him and fellow Idol judges Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell?

“Dude, c’mon, look at these calves,” he told us at the event, whose proceeds will go toward the NikeGO initiative encouraging young people to become more physically active. Okay, but what if Simon happened to get in the way? “I’d trip him,” he said with a grin.

Jackson, who’ll return for Idol‘s fourth season in January, is staying busy this summer: He’s been touring as Mariah Carey’s bassist and performed with the singer at Live8 in London. And he has a syndicated radio show debuting in September.

Caught in the Act
Stealth costars Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel, partying together at Miami club Mansion. Though it was an early night for Biel (she left by 1:20 a.m.), Foxx stayed late and held court in the hip-hop room, where he stood on the couch with bottles of Patron tequila and champagne.

Gavin Rossdale, playing tennis at the Night at the Net at UCLA, an event benefiting the MusiCares Foundation. The rocker was on a celeb tennis team with Andre Agassi, but lost the match to comedian Jon Lovitz and pro James Blake. There to cheer on Rossdale: wife Gwen Stefani.

• By NIA LAWRENCE, DOUG BRUNSWICK, JON WARECH and PRIYA MOHAN

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