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EXPECTING Care for a little Brandy? Singer-actress Brandy, 23, and producer husband Robert Smith (Michael Jackson’s ”Unbreakable”), 22, will greet their first child in July…. Actress Jeanne Tripplehorn, 38, and actor husband Leland Orser, 41, who met on the set of 1998’s Very Bad Things, expect their first child in June….Lion-maned ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, 36, and his wife, former model Perla Ferrar, 28, will welcome their first child in September.

WEDDINGS Seems she’s no longer blue. Country singer LeAnn Rimes, 19, wed dancer Dean Sheremet, 21, Feb. 23, in Dallas. It’s the first marriage for both.

ENGAGED Dawson’s Creek’s James Van Der Beek, 24, and Party of Five’s Heather McComb, 25, announced they will marry — a first for both. No date has been disclosed….Also up the Creek, actor Kerr Smith, 29, will wed actress Harmoni Everett (Josie and the Pussycats)….Family Ties little sister Tina Yothers, 28, and Las Vegas club owner Robert Kaiser, 36, confirmed they’ve been engaged since Christmas. They plan to tie the knot in August. It will be her first marriage, his second.

DEALS On Feb. 26, Riverhead Books bought rights to publish late singer Kurt Cobain’s journals for a reported $4 million. A book based on the Nirvana frontman’s private musings — including song lyrics — is due later this year.

AILING On Feb. 22 in Chicago, movie critic Roger Ebert, 59, who suffers from thyroid cancer, underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor. He was discharged Feb. 25, after docs gave his recovery a thumbs-up….In mid-February, Malcolm in the Middle mom Jane Kaczmarek, 46, was sidelined by migraine headaches that kept her from the set of her sitcom. The show’s producer, Regency Television, was prompted to drop one of its planned 23 episodes for the season. Other not-yet-completed episodes will be reworked with previously filmed material of the actress. Published reports note that Kaczmarek is angling for a pay raise and suggest her sick leave may be a negotiation tactic. Fox had no comment. Kaczmarek’s publicist issued a statement denying the allegation: ”There is no connection between her health issues and any contractual matters.”

COURTS On Feb. 15, the parents of 4-year-old Daniel Karven-Veres, who drowned last June in former Motley Crue rocker Tommy Lee’s backyard pool in Malibu, filed a wrongful death suit against Lee, 39. The accident occurred during a birthday party for Lee and ex-wife Pamela Anderson’s 5-year-old son. Ursula Karven and James Veres seek unspecified damages for their pain and suffering and for funeral and burial expenses. Lee’s spokeswoman had no comment….On Feb. 19, Philly star Kim Delaney, 40, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving. She was sentenced to two years’ probation, fined $300, and ordered to attend a safe-driving class. Delaney had been arrested Jan. 26 on suspicion of drunken driving, but prosecutors say there was ”insufficient evidence” that she was alcohol-impaired. In a statement, Dela-ney’s lawyer said his client was grateful for the DA’s ”determination that, contrary to various reports in the media, she was not found to have been drinking and driving.”…On Feb. 20, an L.A. jury ordered James Brown Enterprises to pay former employee Lisa Ross Agbalaya, 36, $40,000 in damages for wrongful termination. On Feb. 19, the same jury found that Brown was not guilty of sexually harassing Agbalaya, as she alleged. Both sides plan to appeal the mixed verdict….Take two. On Feb. 25, more than 150 television writers, representing Writers Guild of America members ages 40 and older, filed 23 separate class-action suits against major TV networks, production studios, and talent agencies. The plaintiffs initially filed a $200 million lawsuit in October 2000, citing their objective to ”re-create writing-job opportunities for older writers,” but a federal judge ruled in January that the Hollywood heavies could not be sued in one bulk lawsuit. Defendants include DreamWorks, the ICM and William Morris talent agencies, and the networks NBC and Fox, all of which declined to comment. A CBS spokesman ventures, ”We are confident we shall prevail.”