Archive for Sunday, June 19, 2005

People in the news

June 19, 2005


'Runaway bride' tells NBC why she bailed on wedding

Runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks claims the hoax she hatched to escape her wedding was a "life-or-death" decision, but it also turned out to be "the best mistake I ever made."

Breaking her silence on her not-ready-for-nuptials ordeal, the Georgia brunette told NBC News' Katie Couric she panicked as her big day loomed.

"That night, in that moment, it really became a life-or-death decision for me. : So I got on my bus," said Wilbanks, 32.

In the excerpts of the interview, Wilbanks did not elaborate on her "life or death" comment.

But Wilbanks told FBI agents that the pressures of planning a wedding for 600 guests and 28 bridesmaids and groomsmen "made her feel overwhelmed."

"Were there other alternatives? Sure there were. But that's all I knew at that moment," said Wilbanks, who has sold the rights to her story for $500,000 to New York-based ReganMedia.

Portions of her interview will be aired on NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the full interview will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday NBC's "Dateline," on Sunflower Broadband Channels 8 and 14.

An NBC News spokeswoman said the network was not involved in Wilbanks' ReganMedia deal, and insisted it did not pay for the interview.

Wilbanks bolted April 27 on a Greyhound bus, four days before she was to marry John Mason in Duluth, Ga. Her disappearance prompted a nationwide search, and even had police suspecting Mason of foul play.

She resurfaced in New Mexico on April 29, calling 911 from an Albuquerque 7-11 store with a tearful account of being kidnapped by a gun-wielding Hispanic man and his white female companion. She even described her abductors' van as blue.

But Wilbanks soon cracked under questioning by FBI agents, and confessed that it was all a hoax.

Upon returning home, Wilbanks entered an inpatient treatment program to address physical and mental issues, her family said.

Pressed on how she came up with such a detailed tall tale when she called 911, Wilbanks said, "Maybe I watched too many cops-and-robbers movies."

Redford used to speculate on Deep Throat's identity

Salt Lake City - Robert Redford, who played Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in "All the President's Men," said he used to speculate on who Deep Throat was and had figured "it probably had to do with the FBI."

Redford said the revelation that former Deputy FBI Director Mark Felt was the secret source who helped the Post report on Watergate has him "waiting to see if anybody is going to connect where we were then and where we are now."

"You can go right down the line (in the Bush administration), there's about 15 issues as strong or as big as the Watergate break-in was that have come and died out," Redford said last week.

He cited the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the "Downing Street memo" which suggested Bush's officials tweaked intelligence to support their invasion plans.

"There are guys out there digging and digging. There are stories appearing every single day," he said. "But is it getting any traction with the public?"

Macy honored in Maui

Wailea, Hawaii - Actor William H. Macy received the Rainmaker Award at the Maui Film Festival for "his magical ability to raise the creative dynamics of every project he touches," organizers say.

Macy won Emmy Awards as the star and co-writer of TNT's "Door to Door," a 2002 film about a salesman with cerebral palsy. He was nominated for an Academy Award for "Fargo" in which he played a bungling, scheming Midwestern husband.

Macy was accompanied by his wife, Felicity Huffman, of the ABC series "Desperate Housewives."

DiCaprio assaulted

Los Angeles - Leonardo DiCaprio was hit with a bottle while attending a party given by Paris Hilton's ex-boyfriend and needed about a dozen stitches to close a wound near his ear, People Magazine reported on its Web site.

The magazine said DiCaprio was at a party about 4 a.m. Friday at the home of Rick Salomon when a woman struck him with what appeared to be a beer bottle. Friends took the actor to a hospital where he received about a dozen stitches, People said.

Los Angeles Police Officer Jason Lee, a department spokesman, could not immediately confirm the report.

A call to DiCaprio's spokesman, Ken Sunshine, was not immediately returned, but People said the spokesman had confirmed the assault.

"While leaving a small private gathering, Leo was attacked by a woman who was trespassing and had been repeatedly asked to leave the property," Sunshine told the magazine. "The attacker struck him with a glass object before being restrained by witnesses."

Shakira fans show support

Mexico City - Colombian pop star Shakira drew thousands of fans to an appearance in Mexico City to promote her new album, "Fijacion Oral Vol 1."

The slender, golden-tressed singer signed autographs and greeted fans Thursday who had waited hours to see her, braving rain and long lines.

"You don't know how much this means to me, I didn't expect to see so many of you here," the 28-year-old performer told the crowd.

Those who didn't get Shakira's autograph were given posters, the government news agency Notimex reported.

Released last week, "Fijacion Oral (Oral Fixation)" is Shakira's first album in Spanish since 1998's "Donde Los Ladrones? (Where Are the Thieves?)."


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