FINAL ANSWER It’s official: Tom Cruise filed for divorce from wife Nicole Kidman Wednesday, citing irreconcilable differences. In the Los Angeles divorce papers, Cruise stated the date of separation as December 2000. On Monday, the couple released a statement claiming their careers strained their marriage.
In upcoming issues of Us Weekly, People, and British and American tabloids, ”unidentified friends” suggest that the real source of trouble wasn’t the power couple’s careers, but their religious affiliations (he’s a Scientologist, she grew up Roman Catholic) and nationalities (she supposedly wants to bring up their two adopted children in Australia, while he’s more comfortable in the U.S.) Regardless of which rumors are true, Cruise has just made it obvious that any hopes of reconciliation are far and away.
CHART ATTACK After six months on the Billboard charts, Shaggy has finally reached No. 1, bumping off Jennifer Lopez. ”Hotshot” sold nearly 246,000 copies, bringing him a couple of weeks away from triple platinum certification. ”J.Lo,” meanwhile, had to settle for No. 2, moving 179,000 units (30 percent less than her debut week). The ”Save the Last Dance” soundtrack stayed No. 3 for the third consecutive week, selling 172,000 albums, and The Beatles’ ”1” held on to No. 4, with 159,000 in sales. But the real mover on the charts is New York rapper Ja Rule, whose ”Rule 3:36” jumped to No. 5 (from No. 10) this week, selling 99,000 copies.
Rounding out the top 10 are: Dido‘s ”No Angel” at No. 6; compilation album ”NOW That’s What I Call Music – Vol. 5” at No. 7; Atlanta MC Ludacris‘ ”Back from the First Time” at No. 8; Dream‘s ”It Was All a Dream” at No. 9; and LeAnn Rimes’ ”I Need You” debuts at No. 10, despite the country singer’s public apologies for the record (she claims the label made it without her input).
LEGAL BRIEF A San Francisco woman has accused actor Don Johnson (”Nash Bridges”) of sexually harassing her at a trendy sushi bar last month. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the woman — who has not been identified — claims Johnson grabbed her and made sexually explicit comments on January 20. It’s not the first time the TV star has been sued: In 1997, two female ”Nash Bridges” employees filed charges against Johnson for inappropriate behavior. That case was settled out of court, and Johnson alleged the women had tried to extort $1.5 million in exchange for forgetting the suit. This time, however, Johnson’s attorney Ronald Litz says Johnson was being ”charming” with a fan.
AWARDS ALERT The Writers Guild of America nominated 10 screenwriters Wednesday for their annual awards. Cameron Crowe (”Almost Famous”) received his third nod for original screenplay. Joining him in that category are first time nominees Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy (”Best in Show”); Lee Hall (”Billy Elliot”); Susannah Grant (”Erin Brockovich”); and Kenneth Lonergan (”You Can Count on Me”). In the adapted screenplay category, nominations went to second time honoree Steve Kloves (”Wonder Boys”) and Robert Nelson Jacobs (”Chocolat”); Wang Hui-Ling, James Schamus, and Tsai Kuo Jung (”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”); D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, and Scott Rosenberg (”High Fidelity”); and Stephen Gaghan (”Traffic”). The WGA awards will be presented March 4 simultaneously in Beverly Hills and New York.
CASTING Tommy Lee Jones will star in the big budget William Friedkin (”Rules of Engagement”) thriller ”The Hunted.” The Oscar winner will join Benicio Del Toro and Connie Nielsen, who have both signed on for the project, which starts production in March.
Tim Robbins will play a supporting role in director Jonathan Demme’s romantic thriller ”The Truth About Charlie,” starring Mark Wahlberg and Thandie Newton. The film starts shooting March 14 in Paris.
WGA nominated actor John Cusack is participating in two film projects before the possible strikes this summer. He will star in the independent biopic ”Hoffman,” about young Adolf Hitler’s relationship with his Jewish art teacher. Cusack will also executive produce the dark comedy ”Never Get Outta the Boat,” an ensemble film that will be shot on digital video.
Natasha Lyonne is also lining up her films this season. First up, she will reprise her role from ”American Pie” in ”American Pie” II, which starts shooting Feb. 11. All of the other ”Pie” players had already signed on. Lyonne will also join the cast of ”Kate & Leopold,” a time travel love story from director James Mangold (”Girl, Interrupted”). The Miramax film stars Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman.
CONGRATULATIONS Halle Berry has married her longtime boyfriend, singer Eric Benet. According to the AP, Berry’s manager confirmed Tuesday that the two got hitched ”sometime in January.” Berry, 32, met Benet at the premiere party for her Emmy winning HBO movie, ”Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.”
OBIT The ”Queen of the West,” actress singer Dale Evans, died Wednesday, Feb. 7 at age 88. Evans, most famous for starring in 27 Westerns with her husband, Roy Rogers, died of congestive heart failure at the couple’s Apple Valley, Calif. Home. After meeting Rogers on the set of 1944’s ”The Cowboy and the Senorita,” Evans went on to marry Rogers — who was newly widowed — in 1947. The cowboy couple were married 41 years before Rogers passed away in 1998. A native Texan, Evans even wrote their legendary theme song. ”Happy Trails,” Dale.