Spears, 'N Sync singer not engaged Teen pop sensation...

PEOPLE AND PLACES

July 11, 2000

Spears, 'N Sync singer not engaged

Teen pop sensation Britney Spears and boy band 'N Sync vocalist Justin Timberlake are just friends and have no plans to get married, contrary to British media reports they were engaged, their publicist said yesterday.

The News of the World newspaper, Britain's biggest-selling tabloid, reported Sunday that Timberlake had popped the question two weeks ago and that Spears had accepted. The paper cited an unnamed source as saying no date had been set.

"Contrary to what has been erroneously reported, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake are neither engaged or married," said a statement issued yesterday by the singers' publicist, Lisa Kasteler. "The story ... is, not surprisingly, completely without merit."

Spears and 'N Sync both record for the Jive Records label.

Kasteler said the two singers, both 18, are friends but are not romantically involved.

Graham out of hospital

Evangelist Billy Graham has been released from a Minnesota clinic following treatment for Parkinson's disease and exhaustion, hospital officials said yesterday.

Graham, 81, was admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester in late June for a disease-related buildup of fluid on the brain and fatigue following a preaching crusade in Nashville, Tenn.

Graham was said to be looking forward to resuming his ministry and planned to participate in Amsterdam 2000, a weeklong gathering of 10,000 evangelists from around the world set to begin July 29.

Not quite human

Director Ridley Scott has confirmed what many sci-fi fans have long suspected - Deckard, the hard-bitten hero played by Harrison Ford in 1982's "Blade Runner," is not quite human.

"He is a replicant," Scott was quoted as telling Britain's Channel 4 television, referring to the genetically engineered androids Ford's 21st-century Los Angeles cop is charged with tracking down.

Film fans have debated the character's nature since Scott released his director's cut of the movie in 1992.

A commercial flop when it was initially released - with a studio-imposed voiceover and a tacked-on happy ending - "Blade Runner" became a cult classic.

Light side of the job

The move from NBC News White House correspondent to co-host of NBC's "Weekend Today" taught David Bloom something about television "cotton candy," he says in TV Guide.

"The first half-hour, you're delving into serious issues," Bloom said. "Then you're making cotton candy. It's all fun. It's within my capacity to be a serious journalist and to learn how to make cotton candy."

"He really popped as a correspondent, but I wasn't sure he could make the transition to anchor because he's so intense," said NBC News President Andrew Lack. "But he has surprised me. He grows more comfortable each week and has shown he can do it."

Elle Mom

Supermodel Elle MacPherson says motherhood has taken its toll on the figure that earned her the nickname "The Body."

"When you stop breast-feeding, your body gets back into shape quickly. There are a few stages you go through - at three months, six months and then a year," MacPherson said in the July 11 issue of Hello! magazine.

"Then, two years down the track, everything goes downhill because you're that much older!"

The 37-year-old Australian and her partner of five years, French financier Arpad Arki Busson, 37, have a 2-year-old son, Flynn.

MacPherson told the British weekly she would like to have as many as three or four children, saying motherhood is her "greatest achievement."

Texas nest for ex-Eagle

Former Eagle Don Henley is enjoying life in the slow lane now that he has left Los Angeles and returned to his native Texas.

"I really believe I've discovered my better self," Henley, who married Sharon Summerall in 1995 and is raising three children, told the Daily News of Los Angeles over the weekend.

The change is evident in "Inside Job," his first release of new material in 11 years. In one track, "Everything Is Different Now," the former Eagle sings: "I hate to tell you this, but I'm very, very happy."

The singer-drummer returned to Texas after his Los Angeles home was destroyed by a 1994 earthquake.

Then there's the money

James Brown, move over. Jay Leno may be the new hardest-working guy in show business.

Besides putting in marathon work days as the host of "The Tonight Show," Leno performs stand-up comedy at private shows - as many as 100 performances a year.

Leno earns an estimated $14 million annually at NBC. He gets as much as $100,000 per appearance by corporate customers eager to see the late-night talk show host perform in a more intimate venue, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Leno said many people outside of show business work just as hard as he does, without the recognition. But he doesn't discount the financial rewards.

"People always say, `Oh, money can't make you happy,' " Leno said. "But if you're already happy, money can make you happier."

Today's birthdays

Actress Brett Somers is 73.

Actor Tab Hunter is 69.

Singer Bonnie Pointer is 49.

Boxer Leon Spinks is 47.

Actress Sela Ward is 44.

Singer Suzanne Vega is 41.

Rock guitarist Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) is 41.

Actress Debbe Dunning is 34.

Rapper Lil Kim is 25.

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