Plus, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Tommy Lee, Julia Roberts, Spike Lee, and more
CHARTS Eminem‘s ”The Marshall Mathers LP” sold 1.76 million copies, beating Britney Spears‘ ”Oops!… I Did It Again” sales of 1.3 million and setting a new high for one-week and debut-week sales for a rap artist, and a solo artist — male or female. Eminem’s bubblegum-blasting rants knocked Britney out of second place behind ‘N Sync for the best opening sales of all time. ”Oops!” fell to No. 2, moving 612,000 copies, nearly doubling Matchbox Twenty‘s ”Mad Season” opening sales of 364,000 (No. 3). A Perfect Circle‘s ”Mer De Noms” debuted at No. 4 (188,000), while ‘N Sync’s ”No Strings Attached,” slid to No. 5 (169,000). The biggest loser of the week was Pearl Jam‘s ”Binaural,” which tumbled from No. 2 to No. 12.
MARRIAGE The first official confirmation of Janet Jackson‘s secret marriage to composer Rene Elizondo arrived yesterday, when Elizondo filed a petition for divorce from the superstar, citing ”irreconcilable differences.” Jackson announced in February that the couple was parting ways, but, even then, the two maintained that their union was merely a ”personal relationship.” As it turns out, they were wed in 1991. Jackson said in a statement that they had elected to keep the marriage under wraps in order to have a ”normal family life.” ”Normal” being a relative term for a Jackson.
PIRATED The unreleased techno-funky title track from Madonna‘s forthcoming album ”Music,” has been circulating the Internet, reports MTV news. Clips of the song ranging from 30 seconds to 3 minutes were allegedly leaked through fan sites and — surprise! — Napster, over the weekend. Her manager says the music was ”stolen,” and represents a ”work in progress.” Her label, Warner Bros., had no sympathy for the overeager listeners, saying ”any site that does not remove our copyrighted material runs the risk of civil and criminal prosecution.” Who’s afraid of the big bad label?
SNITCH Tommy Lee says it was Pamela Anderson who told the DA that her estranged ex violated his parole by sharing a glass of champagne with her on New Year’s Eve, in a statement issued yesterday by the rocker’s label, MCA. The notice also stresses that Lee’s previously reported digression, which earned him five days behind bars and an extended parole, was his only one. Guess Pam takes her crime-fighting ”VIP” role very seriously.
STAKED Julia Roberts claimed her Internet domain name back from a cybersquatter who allegedly tried to auction the URL juliaroberts.com on eBay, after her lawyers successfully pleaded the case to an international arbitration panel. What about juliaroberts.net?
EXPECTING, MAYBE Celine Dion‘s husband and manager, Rene Angelil, confirmed that the singer underwent the two previously reported operations in order to improve her chances of having a child. Angelil told Canadian reporters that they hope to know in a few weeks whether the diva is pregnant.
CASTING Oscar winner Mira Sorvino is committed to star in the indie film ”Wisegirls,” about three waitresses in a Mafia owned restaurant…. Alan Alda will join Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt in Paramount’s ”What Women Want”…. Reese Witherspoon is in negotiations to star in MGM’s comedy ”Legally Blonde,” adapted from a novel by Amanda Brown…. The Rock is in talks to star in two major pictures, an untitled film written by ”X-Files” scribes Glen Morgan and James Wong, as well as another chapter in Universal’s ”The Mummy,” franchise (he’s already booked to play the Scorpion King in ”The Mummy 2”). Variety reports that the World Wrestling behemoth is looking at a possible paycheck of $5 mil per flick.
REEL DEAL Spike Lee will direct Showtime’s ”3 A.M.,” a mystery set in New York, starring Danny Glover and Pam Grier. Lee, and his partner at 40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks have the right to sell the project theatrically before it premieres on the cable network.
BLOWING SMOKE Woody Harrelson makes his latest statement in support of marijuana, narrating a documentary entitled ”Grass” that premieres in San Francisco this Friday. ”We should all have the right in this country to do what we want, if we don’t hurt anyone,” he says. After all, he just wants to cultivate his garden.
BOOKS Random House will publish a book consisting of letters written to Nancy Reagan from the Gipper, entitled ”I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan.” Good thing we have the former prez to remind us that there’s more to life than nuclear expansion and the threat of total annihilation.
DEATHS Legendary Latin jazz bandleader Tito Puente died after complications during heart surgery in New York. The Mambo King, who is credited with giving Latin jazz an up-tempo beat, won his most recent of five Grammy Awards in February for ”Mambo Birdland.” He was 77…. Petter Lindstrom, the man whom Ingrid Bergman deserted for Roberto Rossellini in one of the biggest Hollywood scandals of 1940s, died in Sonoma, Calif. He was 93.