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Archive for Wednesday, May 7, 2008

People in the news

May 7, 2008

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Spears allowed longer visits with sons

Los Angeles - Britney Spears will have expanded visits with her sons following a child-custody hearing that went off without a hitch Tuesday, capping a three-month period of relative calm and stability for the troubled pop star and mother of two.

The longer visits are "recognition of the progress that has been made, a progress in structure and stability," said Mark Vincent Kaplan, lawyer for Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline. At a post-hearing press conference, Kaplan said Federline retains custody of 2-year-old Sean Preston and 1-year-old Jayden James, but that Spears would be allowed to see them for longer periods.

Surrounded by lawyers and her parents, Spears smiled slightly, looked straight ahead and did not respond to questions as she left the hearing, which was closed to reporters. Federline left a few minutes later, smiled at everyone, but also did not comment.

"We are so pleased with Britney's progress and we are very appreciative of the court's recognition of this progress," Spears' parents, Jamie and Lynne Spears, said in a statement read by court spokesman Allan Parachini.

Federline spokesman Elliot Mintz said his client is "extremely pleased with the way things went today."

Vanessa Williams finally getting her degree

Syracuse, N.Y. - Nearly 25 years after leaving Syracuse University, Vanessa Williams will get her bachelor of fine arts degree this weekend.

The 45-year-old actress-singer, who stars in ABC's "Ugly Betty," will also deliver the convocation address Saturday to graduates of Syracuse's College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Williams attended Syracuse's drama department as a musical theater major from 1981-1983. She earned the remaining credits for her degree through industry experience and performances on stage and screen.

In 1983, Williams became the first black Miss America. She surrendered the title in July 1984 after Penthouse magazine published nude, sexually explicit photographs of her taken several years earlier.

Over her career, Williams has sold more than 4 million albums, won critical praise for her performances on Broadway, made dozens of TV appearances and starred in several movies.

Scarlett Johansson flashes engagement ring

New York - Hours after confirming her engagement to Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson flashed a diamond ring at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala.

The 23-year-old actress unveiled the sparkler while walking the red carpet - sans Reynolds - at Monday night's celeb-studded event, which drew the likes of Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

Johansson, flanked by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, posed for the cameras in a cream gown by the designers that showed off her curves. Her publicist, Marcel Pariseau, said earlier in the day that Johansson and Reynolds were engaged and had not yet set a wedding date.

The couple reportedly had been dating for more than a year. Their relationship status was speculated about in gossip columns and tabloids, which published paparazzi shots of the pair.

Jonas brothers to star in 3-D concert film

New York - The Jonas brothers will be shown in all their 3-D glory next year in a movie featuring footage from their upcoming "Burning Up" concert tour.

The singing sensations, who make tweens dissolve into giggles, appeared this year in fellow Disney Channel star Miley Cyrus' successful 3-D concert film, directed by Bruce Hendricks. It collected $31.3 million in its opening weekend in February. Hendricks will direct the brothers' movie.

"More than just a concert, this film will take moviegoers inside the band's creative process, and present them in a very intimate and entertaining way," Walt Disney Studios President Oren Aviv said Tuesday.

The tour begins July 4 in Toronto and winds across the U.S. before closing Aug. 31 in Essex Junction, Vt.

In a statement, brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick said: "We can't wait to start working on this film for our fans. It's going to be awesome and we really want to bring a totally unique and different movie experience to everyone whether they've seen us live or not."

Ex-Motown star: $1M of equipment stolen

Detroit - Detroit City Council member and ex-Motown star Martha Reeves says thieves broke into her childhood home and stole about $1 million worth of uninsured recording equipment.

Reeves says speakers, microphones and karaoke machines were among the items taken Sunday night. She says the backdoor of the house on Detroit's east side was kicked in.

Reeves says "somebody should have called the police while this was happening."

The 66-year-old singer was part of the Motown group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and had hits in the 1960s including "Jimmy Mack."

She says the house where she grew up is now owned by her father.

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