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Showbiz: Reese Witherspoon, Tyra Sanchez, Aaron Rodgers, Whitney Houston
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
2017-09-05

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Reese Witherspoon has signed on to a project about the life of Megan Phelps-Roper, the granddaughter of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps, The Huffington Post noted. The film, titled This Above All, will focus on Phelps-Roper's life as a member of the anti-gay hate group, according to Variety. Phelps-Roper—who is the daughter of WBC's spokesperson Shirley Phelps-Roper—grew up in the church, but left with her sister in 2012 and was ultimately excommunicated from her family.

RuPaul's Drag Race winner Tyra Sanchez will be a father for the second time, NewNowNext.com noted. On season two, Sanchez—a.k.a. James Ross IV—spoke about becoming a dad at age 17. ( The son is now 12. ) On Twitter, Sanchez revealed she's going to be a parent again, writing, "Someone's becoming a father for the second time."

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently talked about openly gay former offensive tackle Ryan O'Callaghan ( an ex-teammate ) with ESPN, according to Outsports. "I'm incredibly proud of him," Rodgers told ESPN's Mina Kimes. "I know he had a lot of fear about it, and how he would be accepted, and how people would change around him. ... I think society is finally moving in the right direction, as far as treating all people with respect and love and acceptance and appreciation. And the locker room, I think the sport is getting closer." Rodgers added that the lack of job security in the NFL undermines the willingness of some athletes to come out of the closet.

Can I Be Me—Nick Broomfield and Rudi Dolezal's new documentary currently playing on Showtime—revisits those rumors about Whitney Houston's sexuality, according to Out.com . However, this article said that this movie looks at the rumors from the perspective of Houston as a victim of fame, the music industry and her own mistakes. Also, according to some Whitney acquaintances, mother Cissy Houston's disapproval of lesbianism fueled the late singer's angst and anguish.

Shawn Mendes, 19, can't seem to escape rumors about his sexuality, but fans thought he put the gossip to rest by coming out of the closet—in a tweet that turned out to just be fake news, according to NewNowNext.com . A post that looked like it came from the singer's Twitter account read, "Guys, my sexuality shouldn't be anyone's business. Yes, I'm gay and I'm proud." However, fans quickly realized the Twitter account was an imposter. Mendes already addressed the rumors last year in a Snapchat video, scolding people for treating the situation as though it would be an insult to be gay.

Bjork announced the release of a new single called "The Gate" on her website, and it will be out Sept. 18, Variety noted. The musician described the song thusly ( in all lower-case letters ): "the gate is essentially a love song, but i say 'love' in a more transcendent way. vulnicura was about a very personal loss, and i think this new album is about a love that's even greater. it's about rediscovering love — but in a spiritual way, for lack of a better word."

Madonna is heading overseas to a new home in Portugal, Billboard noted. The Michigan native had been living in New York. She said on Instagram Sept. 2 that she finds the energy of Portugal inspiring, and it makes her feel creative and alive. A spokesman for the singer said she fell in love with the country after ending a tour there in 2004. Madonna posted that she'll be working on a film and new music in Portugal.

Cara Delevingne has signed on to co-star alongside Orlando Bloom in the upcoming Amazon drama series Carnival Row, Variety reported. Carnival Row is a fantasy-noir set in a neo-Victorian city. Mythical creatures fleeing their war-torn homeland have gathered in the city, and tensions are simmering between citizens and the growing immigrant population. The series marks both Delevingne's and Bloom's first regular roles in a television series.

Gloria Gaynor wants people affected by Harvey to know they will survive— and she's communicating that message through a new version of the song that has defined her career, the Los Angeles Times noted. Gaynor, whose "I Will Survive" became an anthem over the years, rewrote the 1978 disco hit to reach out to victims in Texas and posted her rendition on social media. In part, the rewritten lyrics read, "First we were afraid/We were petrified/Thinking Texas couldn't live/With floodwaters this high." Also, Coldplay unleashed a new original song written after the band was forced to cancel a show in Houston with Hurricane Harvey bearing down.

Pet Shop Boys will release the second set of albums in the act's CATALOGUE: 1985-2012 series of reissues of all their Parlophone studio albums on Oct. 20, a press release noted. This second set includes the albums Yes ( from 2009 ) and Elysium ( from 2012 ). Both albums will be packaged with an extensive booklet in which Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe discuss each song, illustrated with many archive photographs. The reissue series began earlier this year on July 28, with the releases of Nightlife, Release and Fundamental.

Miley Cyrus and Kristen Stewart have had private nude photos of themselves leaked online and released on an internet porn site, The Independent reported. Dozens of other high profile individuals such as Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods also had images of themselves hacked and published on the site. According to TMZ, Stewart and girlfriend Stella Maxwell have lawyered up, demanding that several websites take down those images.

A fan has immortalized Tyra Banks' spectacular break on America's Next Top Model in ink, NewNowNext.com noted. New Yorker Marcus Underwood has permanently etched Banks, along with the words "I was rooting for you," on his calf, where it joins the rest of Underwood's diva tattoo gallery—which includes Whoopi Goldberg, Princess Diana and Medusa.

Actress Alicia Vikander is set to marry actor Michael Fassbender in a secret ceremony on the party island of Ibiza next month, according to a Page Six item. Fassbender, 40, is paying for the entire party to stay at a five-star resort as he ties the knot to the 28-year-old screen siren. The couple met on the set of film The Light Between Oceans in 2014.

Kendall Jenner will be honored at New York Fashion Week as a Fashion Icon of the Decade—despite the fact that she's only 21, The New York Daily News noted. "Decade???? she was 11 a decade ago??? have you SEEN what the kardashians were wearing 10 years ago???" one Twitter user questioned. Jenner, who is a member of the Kardashian empire, will be honored along with several others at The Daily Front Row's fifth annual Fashion Media Awards on Sept. 8 during the upcoming New York Fashion Week.

Kathy Griffin—who made headlines in June after she was featured in a photo holding a bloodied mask that resembled President Trump—told The Cut that she is no longer friends with her former New Year's Eve co-host, Anderson Cooper, Page Six noted. The CNN anchor said, "For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate." Griffin told the magazine that she was upset that Cooper did not reach out to her before commenting publicly.

In other Griffin-related news, three months after apologizing for the photo shoot, Griffin said she wants to take that back, Deadline reported. "I am no longer sorry, the whole outrage was B.S., the whole thing got so blown out of proportion. I lost everybody—I had Chelsea Clinton tweeting against me!" Griffin complained in an interview with Seven Network in Australia, where she is on tour. At one point, she told show co-anchor Samantha Armytage, "You're full of crap. Stop acting like my little picture is more important than talking about the actual atrocities that the president of the United States is committing."

"Mickey" singer Toni Basil has sued Disney and Viacom over the unauthorized use of her 1982 hit in shows like South Park and RuPaul's Drag Race, Rolling Stone noted. In the lawsuit, filed Thursday at Los Angeles County Superior Court, Basil also lists retailer Forever 21 and publishing company Razor & Tie as companies that have violated the song's copyright. The lawsuit accuses the companies of charges ranging from violations of California business and professions code and the Lanham Act to "federal racketeering mail fraud and wire fraud."

MTV announced that singer-actress Christina Milian will join Lance Bass as host of the network's new series 90's HOUSE, premiering Tuesday, Sept. 26, a press release noted. Guest stars include Mario Lopez, Tatyana Ali, Michelle Williams, Joey Fatone, Marques Houston, Tyson Beckford, Salt N' Pepa, Kid N' Play, Bill Bellamy, Joey Lawrence, Kel Mitchell, Lori Beth Denberg and more. The competition show places 12 millennial housemates in a '90s-inspired house that forces the young adults to officially unplug their modern-day devices and party like it's 1990.

Nominations for the 51st CMA Awards were announced—and Miranda Lambert ( whose double album The Weight of These Wings was released shortly after the CMA Awards in 2016 ) scored the most nominations with five, including nods for Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Music Video of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year and Single of the Year, RollingStone.com noted. Keith Urban and reigning Vocal Group of the Year Little Big Town are tied with four nominations apiece, with Urban finding himself in the Entertainer of the Year category for a second consecutive year. The 51st CMA Awards, hosted once again by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, will air live Wed., Nov. 8, on ABC.

Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" posts a milestone 20th week at number one on Billboard's Adult Contemporary radio airplay chart ( dated Sept. 16 ), the publication noted. With its continued reign, the song becomes only the seventh to have spent at least 20 weeks at the top. Some of the other songs to top this chart for at least 20 weeks include Adele's "Hello," Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" and Uncle Kracker's "Drift Away," ( featureing Dobie Gray ), which topped the record with 28 weeks.

Reality-TV star Jax Taylor moved on from his split with Brittany Cartwright, gathering with friends to watch the premiere of Vanderpump Rules: Jax and Brittany Take Kentucky at a gay bar in West Hollywood, California, Radar Online noted. Taylor's sexuality has come into question on Vanderpump Rules before, as Tom Schwartz revealed that the bartender has "slept with many, many women and a few men" at his birthday roast last season. On an episode of Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens Live, Taylor confessed to Cohen that he has kissed several men.


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