♦ Guy Ritchie and Madonna's marriage came to an official end in the High Court of London courtroom this morning. Neither "Ciccone ML" or "Ritchie GS" actually showed up in person for the proceedings, but Madonna had drinks with ex-husband Sean Penn on Wednesday night, possibly as part of an early celebration. [People, The Sun, P6]
♦ The longest pregnancy in history is finally over: Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz welcomed a son named Bronx Mowgli Wentz into the world last night. Yes, that's Bronx Mowgli. [People]
♦ According to The Sun, Michael Jackson has converted to Islam and has changed his name to "Mikaeel." [The Sun]
A VIP host at the Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas made a quick phone call to reinstate his gym membership after hanging out with actor Ryan Phillippe poolside this weekend. The host was overheard as to have said, "I know that I canceled my membership three weeks. I know that ... Well, I just spent the last twenty minutes staring at the glistening abs of Ryan Phillippe ... He was in a bunch of movies ... Yeah, he was married to Reese Witherspoon ... Great guy, but you try standing next to him when he's not wearing a shirt ... Exactly ... Cool. Personal trainer. She's going to be hot, right? I mean, you can tell me. Okay, cool. See you tomorrow then."
- Britney Spears gave up custody of her two sons to ex-husband Kevin Federline, retaining only visitation rights. The singer had been showing signs of steady mental and physical improvement, so it seemed odd she'd give up her custody battle so readily. Meanwhile, Spears' handlers keep trying to nudge her into making some more money for them, already. Sad.
Today’s news that Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon’s seven-year long marriage has just now “officially” ended invites all kinds of speculation on just why it took nearly two years for the divorce proceedings to finalize. Citing “irreconcilable differences” all the way back in 2006, the blonde duo split amid speculation that Ryan’s bad boy behavior ranged from publicly making out with current girlfriend Abbie Cornish on the Texas set of Stop Loss to an increasing level of resentment regarding his wife’s fast-rising star status. And while celebrity divorces do typically take longer than usual, considering how many more properties, cars, adultery allegations and cash they tend to have, we find the timing of this particular pair’s final John Hancocks a little suspicious given the past month's unusually abundant Reese-and-Ryan gossip flood. Is today’s news just a coincidence, or did each party's very public pictorial statements recently have anything to do with it?
Poor Ryan Phillippe. First, he earned a reputation as a shameful cheating husband who hurt the precious piece of Oscar-winning apple pie that is Reese Witherspoon, then gay-basher-turned-gay-lover Jay Leno urged Ryan to look “gay” on national television, and then his role in Stop Loss failed to live up to expectations. Rubbing salt into an already open wound, he admitted to USA Today last week that he avoids looking at pictures of Reese and Jake Gyllenhaal, calling the images “bizarre.” But last night, Phillippe finally battled this ongoing string of bad luck and publicly appeared at an Australian awards gala with "other woman" Abbie Cornish on his arm. We took a look back at all the hiding these two have done over the years, and what may have inspired Ryan to show the media he’s no longer in need of a pity party.
Our condolences go out this morning to Paramount, whose sulky, twangy, denim-and-rippling-flesh marketing push for Stop-Loss couldn't trick weekend moviegoers into checking out yet another Iraq War message movie. At Defamer HQ, the search for answers behind the disappointing $4.5 million gross — too many muscle shirts? Ryan Phillippe/Abbie Cornish babymaking rumors peaked too soon? — extended to the conservative journal Men's News Daily, where crack industry analyst Greg Strange's devastating Monday-morning hindsight is sharper than ever:
Judging from the TV ads and posters for Stop-Loss, the film looks as if it would be just another teen flick where pretty boys with pretty faces chase some equally pretty girls with equally pretty faces. However, director Kimberly Peirce's first film since Boys Don't Cry is actually a big, serious movie about the plight of soldiers fighting in Iraq. But before you go and tune out the film solely on the basis of it being another one of those dirge-like films, it's worth noting that THR is predicting that this may be the very first movie centered around the War in Iraq that actually breaks through with both critics and audiences: