Clay Aiken's coming out and Travis Barker's plane crash made news the week of September 22, 2008

Oscar winner Hilary Swank, 34, is recuperating after surgery to remove a ”small, benign growth,” according to a statement from her manager. ”Her condition has been resolved, and there are no continuing health issues.”

In an interview with People dated Oct. 6, American Idol alum Clay Aiken, 29, came out of the closet. The singer has a 7-week-old son, Parker, with music producer Jaymes Foster, 50.

Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz, 32, wed his girlfriend of four years, Jill Stonerock, 25, in Los Olivos, Calif., on Sept. 20.

On Sept. 22, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named nine nominees for induction in ’09: Jeff Beck, Chic, Wanda Jackson, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Metallica, Run-DMC, the Stooges, War, and Bobby Womack. The five winners will be celebrated in a ceremony in Cleveland on April 4.

On Sept. 17, an Oklahoma federal court dismissed a libel suit against writer John Grisham, 53. The plaintiffs were key figures in a wrongful-conviction case, which served as the basis for Grisham’s 2006 nonfiction best-seller The Innocent Man. In his ruling, the judge defended the author’s First Amendment rights: ”It is necessary to analyze and criticize our judicial system (and the actors involved) so that past mistakes do not become future ones.”…On Sept. 17 in Payson, Utah, Gary Coleman, 40, was charged with reckless driving and disorderly conduct. The actor is accused of backing his truck into a 24-year-old fan; he could receive a six-month sentence and $1,000 fine if convicted. Said his attorney: ”We intend to vigorously deny these charges.”

On Sept. 19 in London, George Michael, 45, was picked up in a park bathroom for drug possession and let go with a caution. ”I want to apologize to my fans for screwing up again,” he said in a statement. ”And to say sorry to everybody else, just for boring them.”… On Sept. 17, Love Story star Ryan O’Neal, 67, and son Redmond, 23, were booked in Malibu, Calif., on suspicion of drug possession after cops allegedly found narcotics in their home. (It was a routine search; Redmond is on probation for another drug arrest.) Both were released that day on $10,000 bail. Says O’Neal’s attorney: ”They’re not his drugs, he has nothing to do with them.”

Motown legend Norman Whitfield, 68 — who produced and co-wrote many 1960s classics like ”Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and ”War” — died Sept. 16 in L.A. after a long struggle with diabetes. — with additional reporting by Stewart Allen


Ex-blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, 32, and deejay Adam Goldstein (a.k.a. DJ AM), 35, are being treated for second- and third-degree burns at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga., after a Sept. 19 plane crash that killed two of the crew and two passengers in Columbia, S.C. Both are in critical, but stable condition. In a statement, their rep requested ”privacy for them, their families, and friends.” — KW