Peter Kramer / Invision/AP
Peter Kramer / Invision/AP

By Kat Giantis

In these leaner times, even the stars are keeping a close eye on the bottom line, although for Fergie, Beyoncé, Scarlett Johansson and Valerie Bertinelli, that means diligently watching their proportions, not their pocketbook.

"I'm finally back to the weight that I was before ['Nine']," kvells Mrs. Josh Duhamel, who's currently rocking Cher's "I Got You"-era 'do, to In Touch, referring to the 15 pounds she had to gain for the A-lister-packed big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical. "It's taken me forever!"

It's also taken some help.

"I have a trainer," says the singer, 33, who is prepping for a summer tour with the Black Eyed Peas. "Now I'm just trying to sculpt and get ready for the tour, get my stamina up."

Sculpting is something that Beyoncé is all too familiar with: The fabulously curvy chanteuse, 27, recently revealed to Vogue that she starts every day with a six-mile run and an intense, squat-crammed workout with her personal trainer.

But little of that was evident on March 8, when Beyoncé was snapped in New York sporting a Thierry Mugler gown that took the hippie-chic trend a mite too literally by bulking up her sides to cartoonish proportions (see her bloat couture here).

The photos prompted speculation that she'd added a few pounds, which sent her rep into damage control mode.

"This is not a weight-gain issue," the flack assures Us Weekly. "Beyoncé is in the best shape of her life. The exaggerated hips are a design element of a truly couture dress. Beyoncé has always loved this dress."

A Mugler mouthpiece claims that the sparkly number, which was originally created for Jerry Hall, had to be tailored to fit the singer, with the original 23-inch waistline cinched to a Dita Von Teese-esque 19 inches (yes, 19 -- and we ain't saying nothin').

"The padded hips intentionally focus attention to the waist," says the spokesperson, who doesn't explain why inflated body parts are necessary to accomplish this.

Meanwhile, Scarlett Johansson may be paring down her enviably lush figure in order to shimmy into her sure-to-be-airtight Black Widow costume in "Iron Man 2."

The auburn-tressed, ruby-lipped starlet, 24, showed off a less va-va-va-voomy shape in a plunging black dress at a London soiree Tuesday night.

"She was talking to Thandie Newton about the rigid diet she's on," a mole tattles to the New York Post, before adding that Mrs. Ryan Reynolds was "really working it."

And in a final bit of figure news, somewhere, Schneider is attempting to shield his eyes with his handyman's belt as a bikini-clad Valerie Bertinelli giddily shows off her Jenny Craig-slimmed figure on the cover of this week's People.

The former "One Day at a Time" star-turned-ex Mrs. Eddie Van Halen, 48, reveals to the mag that she hadn't donned a stringy swimsuit for almost 30 years but decided to take the plunge after dropping 40-plus pounds through diet and exercise over the past year.

"I thought, 'If I'm so afraid of a bikini, there's something wrong,'" the 123-pound, belly button ring-flashing brunette tells the mag. "And so I had to get back into one!"

With the cover shoot as motivation, Bertinelli, who was already walking 10,000 steps a day, ramped up her routine.

In December, she hired a personal trainer and began running five times a week, eventually nixing salt and decreasing her daily food intake from 1,700 calories to a measly 1,200.

Despite the probable hunger pangs, Valerie says she's in the best shape of her life (and for those suspicious types, the mag insists the airbrushing was "minimal").

"I never, ever, ever had deltoids!" she marvels. "Oh my God, when I'm doing exercises and I see them pop out, I'm like, 'Yes!'"


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