Witherspoon, Phillippe split
Los Angeles - Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, who started the year on an Oscar-winning high, are ending it on a low note: The couple have separated.
"We are saddened to announce that Reese and Ryan have decided to formally separate," publicist Nanci Ryder said in a statement issued Monday on behalf of the couple.
"They remain committed to their family and we ask that you please respect their privacy and the safety of their children at this time," the brief statement concluded. Ryder said she could not elaborate on the split.
Witherspoon, 30, and Phillippe, 32, have two children, 7-year-old Ava and 3-year-old Deacon. The couple, who co-starred in the 1999 movie "Cruel Intentions," married that year.
In March, Witherspoon won a best-actress Academy Award for her role as June Carter Cash in 2005's "Walk the Line." Phillippe co-starred in the best-picture winner, "Crash," and is starring in Clint Eastwood's latest film, the World War II drama "Flags of Our Fathers."
Differences set aside
London - The ugly divorce battle between Paul McCartney and Heather Mills McCartney was put on hold this weekend at their daughter Beatrice's 3rd birthday party, according to published reports.
The two even spoke to one another during the 90-minute event, which was at a children's play center in East Sussex on Saturday, Britain's Hello! magazine reported Monday. About 15 guests attended, the magazine said.
McCartney reportedly took off in a car with Beatrice 10 minutes before Mills McCartney departed with leftover birthday cake in tow.
McCartney, 64, and Mills, 38, announced they were separating in May after four years of marriage. McCartney filed for divorce in July.
Their marital breakup has stirred a sensation not seen in Britain since Prince Charles and Princess Diana parted ways a decade ago, sparking immense rivalry in the British press for the best scoop.
Giving the gift of giving
Chicago - Oprah Winfrey has famously given members of her audience new cars, paid off their debts and fulfilled their wildest dreams. Now she's given them what she calls the "gift of giving back."
On a show that aired Monday, Winfrey gave more than 300 audience members $1,000 debit cards sponsored by the Bank of America to donate to a charitable cause.
Winfrey called the show her "favorite giveaway ever."
"I can honestly say that every gift I've ever given has brought at least as much happiness to me as it has to the person I've given it to," the 52-year-old talk-show host said. "That's the feeling I want to pass on to you."
People can give the entire sum to one person - relatives aren't eligible - or they can split it among charitable causes. Audience members also received a DVD recorder to tape their stories for a future show.
Harsh words from Cosby
Los Angeles - Bill Cosby criticized teachers and parents at a weekend education conference, saying they don't do enough to help kids.
Cosby spoke Saturday at a forum called "Education Is a Civil Right." Hundreds of Los Angeles-area parents, teachers and students attended the event at Maranatha Community Church.
Cosby, 69, was critical of black parents, saying they don't involve themselves enough in their children's education and don't know what their children are doing.
"We've got parents who won't check the bedrooms of their children to see if there's a gun," he said.
He chided teachers for not offering clear explanations to children who ask why courses such as English and algebra are necessary.
"If you teach English and you can't answer this child, then you're in trouble, and we've been in trouble," Cosby said. "We can't answer these children, because nobody's given them any goals."
In the past, Cosby has criticized some black children for not knowing how to read or write, said some had squandered opportunities the civil rights movement gave them and said whites are unfairly blamed for problems in the black community such as teen pregnancy and high dropout rates.