Plus, Meg Ryan & Dennis Quaid, Courtney Love, ''The Patriot,'' George Clooney, and more

By Lori Reese
Updated June 29, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT
LeAnn Rimes

CANCELLATION As her parents squabble in court over who gets to keep her millions, country teen star LeAnn Rimes will be resting her voice on doctor’s orders. The 17 year old was forced to cancel her 30-day tour because of a strained vocal cord. She hopes to reschedule some shows after she recovers.

SPLIT After more than nine years of marriage, Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid have split. The parting was ”mutual and amicable” according to the couple’s publicist, who did not offer further information. The two started dating while working together on the 1988 thriller ”D.O.A,” but postponed nuptials until Quaid kicked his drug habit in 1991. Ryan is in Ecuador filming ”Proof of Life” opposite Russell Crowe while Quaid takes on a supporting role in Steven Soderbergh‘s upcoming flick ”Traffic.”

WEBNEWS Courtney Love has made good on her promise to provide more material for Hole fans via new media than ex label Geffen ever could. Hole has made more than 50 MP3s available on their official website, a big step in the do-it-yourself direction Love said she wanted to take at last month’s Digital Hollywood Conference. At DHC Love delivered a manifesto accusing major labels of a kind of piracy that keeps musicians in a ”slave class” by not allowing them their own copyrights and limiting their access to fans. ”How can anyone defend the current system when it fails to deliver music to so many fans?” she asked. The Hole site also offers a forum for fans to trade bootlegs.

DAMN YANKEES First they stole the WWII spotlight in ”U-571,” now this. The city of Liverpool today demanded an apology from Hollywood for the depiction of British soldier and Liverpudlian hero Banastre Tarleton in ”The Patriot” as a bloodthirsty Yankee slayer. ”The experts agree that there is no real evidence to justify this character assassination of someone who has contributed to Liverpool’s great history,” said Edwin Clein, the mayor of the Beatles’ hometown. (Tinseltown offered no response.) Hey, come to think of it WE’D like an apology from Hollywood, too.

REEL DEALS George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh are set to produce ”The Jacket” a Vietnam flick about a time-traveling vet who is framed for murder, Variety reports. The Paramount project marks the first venture under the pair’s Warner Bros.-based Section Eight production company…. Michael Douglas has joined forces with MGM to develop a fact-based feature from ”Art Con of the Century,” an article written last year by journo Peter Landesman, says Variety. It will be a starring vehicle for Douglas…. Director Ivan Reitman says his next sci-fi project, DreamWork’s ”Evolution,” will be a return to the ”grand-scale” comedy of his ”Ghostbusters” films, according to Variety.

CASTING George Clooney isn’t the only ”Perfect Storm” star with a lot on his slate. Mark Wahlberg has signed a two picture deal to take the lead role in Twentieth Century Fox’s remake of ”Planet of the Apes,” reports Variety. Director Tim Burton will begin shooting this fall, with Fox planning a megahyped release for summer 2001.

UNIONS Darva Conger the game-show bride who ditched her insta-hubby on ”Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire,” has embraced a mogul of a different sort. She poses nude in the August issue of Playboy magazine — another union of convenience, according to her interview yesterday with CNN’s Larry King. The 34 year old nurse turned model spoke to King alongside Playboy boss Hugh Hefner, and said that she had opted to do the spread largely because she needed the cash. Conger, who declined to reveal how much she was paid, reportedly made as much as half a mil for the gig. When told that her ex, Rick Rockwell, said that he would merely ”flip through” the August issue of Playboy but not pay for it, Conger retorted, ”Well you know he’s notoriously frugal, so I’m not surprised that he’s not going to buy it. But I don’t honestly care.” Really, what good is a penny-pinching millionaire anyway?

MUSIC BIZ Motley Crüe frontman Vince Neil is planning to set up his own label, Rat Daddy Records, as a means to reissue his two early-’90s solo albums, one of which was produced by the Dust Brothers…. Santana signed a new contract with Arista, shocking observers who expected the group to follow the label’s ousted prez Clive Davis to his label venture with BMG Entertainment, reports Rolling Stone.

MEGAMERGER The Federal Communications Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed $124 billion union of AOL and EW Online’s parent Time Warner. The FCC, which must approve the deal, has already sent inquiries to both companies on issues ranging from instant messaging software and digital TV to stakes in other Internet and cable companies. Hope they don’t ask about those secret plans to take over the world and brainwash all of its citizens.