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SHOWBIZ Sam Smith, Portia de Rossi, Brendon Urie, Beyonce
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-07-03

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Singer Sam Smith brought his "The Thrill of It All" tour to New York recently—and told the audience he's going through a tough time, Page Six reported. Earlier that day, news broke that the "Too Good at Goodbyes" singer, 26, and 13 Reasons Why actor Brandon Flynn, 24, had split after nine months of dating, and it appeared that Smith had deleted multiple photos of the pair together from his Instagram account. Later in the show, Smith performed his song "One Day at a Time," which he explained was written after he was tired of talking about a past breakup, and that it wasn't a part of his usual set list on tour.

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi said they embrace tabloid gossip, to a degree—because it means their same-sex marriage is viewed as normal, Page Six noted. "The divorce rumors came and then we really knew the perceptions had changed," de Rossi told Us Weekly. "I'm not kidding. I know it sounds ridiculous, but when that started happening I thought, 'Oh, now we're finally accepted.' We get the same s—t as every celebrity couple." The Arrested Development star and DeGeneres tied the knot in 2008.

Panic! at the Disco's Brendon Urie is starting a human-rights organization called Highest Hopes Foundation, Page Six revealed. The rock singer said the nonprofit will support "communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity." Panic! at the Disco will donate one dollar of each ticket from U.S. dates of its "Pray for the Wicked Tour" to Highest Hopes. The tour starts July 11 in Minneapolis and will also visit cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, Tampa and New York City. Urie also announced on June 29 on the Today show that he's pledged a $1 million gift to GLSEN to provide resources, training, and support to students working to create student-led GSA clubs in their K-12 schools, through his foundation, a press release noted.

Rolling Stone has released a list of the 100 Greatest Songs of the Century So Far—and topping the list is Beyonce's "Crazy in Love," ETCanada.com noted. Filling out the rest of the top five, in order, were "Paper Planes" by M.I.A., "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes, "Hey Ya!" by Outkast" and "99 Problems" by Jay-Z. A few of the other songs included Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head" ( #95 ), Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" ( #87 ), LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge" ( #77 ), Kendrick Lamar's "DNA" ( #64 ), Sia's "Chandelier" ( #52 ), U2's "Beautiful Day" ( #40 ), Outcast's "Ms. Jackson" ( #23 ), Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" ( #8 ) and Britney Spears' "Toxic" ( #14 ).

Olympic figure skater and Dancing with the Stars winner Adam Rippon—the first openly gay U.S. athlete to medal in the competition—recently explained in InStyle how, for him, coming out was ( and still is ) an ongoing process. In part, he stated, "My coming-out wasn't one moment. It's a process never really ends. Coming out is about about finding out who you are in stages, through moments of self-discovery."

An executive in the luxury Hakkasan nightclub firm, Beth Bartolini, caused controversy after calling Katy Perry BFF and nightlife maven Markus Molinari a "tr—ny" in a text message—then accidentally sending it to him, Page Six noted. Molinari posted the misdirected texts to Instagram, and received support from Hollywood pals Milla Jovovich, Lydia Hearst and Mia Moretti. Molinari posted Bartolini's texts with the caption: "Normally I wouldn't reply or give any attention to negativity people may say about me because it doesn't effect my universe, but it being PRIDE MONTH and you being a longtime 'friend' I decided to post this because this type of bullying/ignorance/ and just out right mean girl behavior should NEVER be tolerated & should be brought to light."

Bette Midler was accused of homophobia after posting ae tweet about President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Gay Star News noted. "Trump and Putin are meeting in Finland next month,' she wrote., adding, "That's a long way to travel for a blowjob, but hey — Putin's got the money." Some criticized Midler, while others defended her. In 2016, Midler apologized after a transphobic tweet about Caitlyn Jenner.

One lucky queen took home the crown on the season-10 finale of RuPaul's Drag Race—but the episode itself scored a win of its own, EW.com noted. VH1 announced the grand finale—which ( spoiler alert ) had New York City native Aquaria winning the title—broke a ratings record for the Emmy-winning reality series, posting its most-watched conclusion in its nine-year history. Roughly 527,000 viewers in the 18-49 demographic tuned in to watch the finale.

Terry Crews said he was threatened with retaliation for speaking out about a sexual assault by a Hollywood agent, saying the producer of The Expendables 4 warned of vague "troubles" unless he withdraws his civil suit, according to Deadline.com . In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Crews said Expendables producer Avi Lerner called his manager and asked that the actor to drop his sexual-assault case against Adam Venit in order to appear in the fourth installment of the action film. Lerner himself has been sued for sexual harassment, hostile work environment and gender discrimination by a woman identified only as Jane Roe.

On a related note, rapper/actor 50 Cent ridiculed Terry Crews for testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he is a survivor of sexual assault, Out.com revealed. The rapper took to Instagram to post a photo of Crews shirtless with the words, "I got raped / My wife just watched" and then another photo of Crews with a rose in his mouth that said "Gym time." The post has since been taken down. Crews told TMZ of 50's post, "I prove that size doesn't matter when it comes to sexual assault."

NBC has made a final decision on the show Champions, opting not to renew the freshman comedy for a second season, Deadline noted. Reportedly, there have been discussions with Netflix about picking up the series. Created by Charlie Grandy and Mindy Kaling, Champions centers on Vince ( Anders Holm ), a gym owner who lives with his younger brother, Matthew ( Andy Favreau ), and is on the verge of secretly selling the gym and moving to Florida when his high school fling, Priya ( recurring guest star Kaling ), unexpectedly drops off their 15-year-old son, Michael ( J.J. Totah ) on his doorstep. Totah, who's out, was often applauded for his depiction of an openly gay teen.

Lee Daniels has been slapped with a $5 million lawsuit by Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Damon Dash, who alleges that Daniels stiffed him out of a producer credit on a biopic about legendary comedian Richard Pryor, TheWrap reported. The suit says that attorneys for both sides went back and forth for years in an effort to mediate the situation. Alleging breach of contract and other counts, the suit seeks damages "in an amount to be determined at trial, but estimated at no less than $5 million." "He believed in me when nobody else did," Daniels later said of Dash, with a promise to end the lawsuit, Deadline noted.

A judge has ordered Sony to disclose the names of people it interviewed as part of an internal investigation into its former Kemosabe Records CEO Dr. Luke—following claims by singer Kesha that he raped her, Page Six noted. The record label has previously argued that information is protected by attorney-client privilege, but Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter disagreed in her order, demanding they name names within 20 days. Dr. Luke—real name Lukasz Gottwald—sued Kesha in 2014 after she went public with allegations that he'd raped her.

Allstate Foundation's Purple Purse is teaming with tennis champion Serena Williams to fight domestic abuse, ReelChicago.com noted. Since 2005, Allstate Foundation's Purple Purse has empowered more than 1.3 million survivors on the road to safety and security through its educational resources, including The Allstate Foundation's Purple Purse Moving Ahead curriculum. Beginning this summer, Purple Purse will team with female artists in six cities: New York, Houston, New Orleans, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles; Williams unveiled the first mural, by artist Isabel Castillo Guijarro, in New York City.

Sony Music Entertainment announced y that it has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Prince's estate for 35 previously released albums from the legendary musician's catalog, CBS Los Angeles noted. The music will be distributed by Legacy Recordings, a division of SME—with worldwide rights beginning immediately for 19 previously released album titles originally released between 1995-2010. However, several of Prince's biggest albums, including Purple Rain, are not part of the new deal due to their status as soundtrack recordings, Complex added.

Camila Cabello has become the first artist to top the Billboard pop and adult pop charts with the first two songs from a debut album, according to the publication. Cabello's "Never Be the Same" reaced the top of Billboard's Adult Pop Songs radio airplay chart, dated June 30. The set's lead single, "Havana," featuring Young Thug, led Pop Songs for seven weeks ( beginning Dec. 9 ) and Adult Pop Songs for one frame ( March 3 ).

Multi-platinum award-winning singer/songwriter and global superstar Josh Groban announced his eighth studio album, Bridges, which will be released on Sept. 21 via Reprise Records, a press release noted. The album is available for pre-order at joshgroban.lnk.to/Bridges, and fans who pre-order the album will receive three downloads of new songs including the new single, "Granted," along with songs "Symphony" and "S'il Suffisait D'Aimer." The album will also be available as in a deluxe version with two bonus tracks.

Oscar winner Jared Leto ( Dallas Buyers Club ) will star in and Daniel Espinosa will direct Morbius, based on the Marvel comic, TheWrap.com noted. The Morbius character was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man comic book in 1971. In the comics, Michael Morbius is a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who is transformed into a vampire while attempting to cure a rare blood disease.

A Manhattan judge had a message for Madonna: Stop messing with your neighbors, Page Six noted. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gerald Lebovits said the pop superstar was "merely harassing" fellow residents of her Upper West Side co-op for continuing to seek records from the board after she lost a legal bid challenging a rule that required her to be physically present in her $7.3-million home when any of her family or staff are there.

Drake has confirmed that he is a father—via music on his new album, Scorpion, JustJared.com noted. The rumors dropped over a year ago that Drake got former porn star Sophie Brussaux pregnant and now he finally is confirming that he is the father of her baby. On the song "Emotionless," Drake raps, "I wasn't hiding my kid from the world, I was hiding the world from my kid."

Following a $20-million suit over his song "Photograph" ( which was settled out of court ) and another over "The Rest of Our Life," which he composed for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, singer Ed Sheeran is facing another lawsuit over "Thinking Out Loud," Variety noted. Owners of that song's copyright claims that it lifts from Marvin Gaye's 1972 classic "Let's Get It On" and are seeking $100 million in damages.

Neon has acquired worldwide rights to Sharp Edges, a 1986 documentary about Tonya Harding competing at the National Figure Skating Championships at the age of 15, Page Six reported. Yale University student Sandra Luckow made the film as part of her senior thesis. It follows Harding going to her first National Figure Skating Championships, where she placed sixth. The movie features interviews with Harding and her mother, LaVona Golden. ( Alison Janney won an Oscar this year for portraying Golden in the film I, Tonya. )

Already facing rape and criminal sex act charges and a potential 25 years behind bars, Harvey Weinstein has been hit with even heavier legal weight from the Manhattan D.A.—that could see him in jail for life, Deadline noted. "A Manhattan Grand Jury has now indicted Harvey Weinstein on some of the most serious sexual offenses that exist under New York's Penal Law," said District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Joining the two women identified in the previous indictment in late May, the new indictment also includes two counts of predatory sexual assault.

In a new interview, Australian actor Guy Pearce suggested that Kevin Spacey inappropriately touched him during their time together filming the 1997 movie L.A. Confidential, TheWrap noted. When asked by TV host Andrew Denton about his time working with Spacey, Pearce said, "Yeah… yeah. Tough one to talk about at the moment. Amazing actor; incredible actor. Mmm. Slightly difficult time with Kevin, yeah. He's a handsy guy. ... Thankfully I was 29, and not 14."

Actress Heather Locklear has gone to rehab, according to a Page Six item that cites TMZ. The former Melrose Place star voluntarily agreed to check herself into a long-term treatment facility for substance abuse and mental health issues after she spent time in a psychiatric ward. She was recently arrested after drinking a bottle of tequila, crashing her Porsche at her California mansion and then attacking cops when they arrived.

Wynonna Judd's daughter, Grace Pauline Kelley, has been sentenced to eight years in prison after violating probation in November, according to Page Six, which cited Radar Online. The country star's 22-year-old daughter has landed herself time at West Tennessee State Penitentiary after leaving a drug recovery program last year and violating her probation.

Jerry Seinfeld questioned ABC's decision to cancel Roseanne Barr's rebooted sitcom in the wake of her incendiary tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, TheWrap noted. "I didn't see why it was necessary to fire her," Seinfeld told Entertainment Tonight "Why would you murder someone who's committing suicide? "I think they should get another Roseanne. They brought Dan Conner back—he was dead and they brought him back. So, why can't we get another Roseanne?"


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