With apologies to Debbie Allen, fame costs, and for many female celebrities, persistent speculation about the contents of their uterus is where they start paying. Cases in point: Katie Holmes and Nicole Kidman, otherwise known as the current and the former Mrs. Tom Cruise, respectively, who both became the subject of pregnancy whispers this week.
Let's start with Katie, 30, who managed to reignite long-simmering baby talk courtesy of two questionable fashion choices. On Wednesday, she was snapped in a billowy black babydoll-by-way-of-Plymouth Rock dress while out and about in Los Angeles. A few days earlier, she raised suspicions by camouflaging her middle half in rib cage-grazing pants while rehearsing for her performance in a Memorial Day concert in Washington, D.C.
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The belly rumblings come a couple weeks after In Touch alleged that Katie and Tom are so eager to give 3-year-old Suri a sibling -- or two -- that they've been looking into options such as in-vitro (the actress's rep poured cold water on the claim).
They also coincide with a completely conflicting tale from Britain's Closer magazine, which purports that Tom and Katie aren't sharing enough "intimate" moments together and may be living "separate lives".
So, which is it for Suri's parents? Stork time or alone-time?
Turns out it's neither. When we contacted Tom's rep for comment, he assured us that "both rumors are 100 percent false."
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The Cruises are currently gearing up to spend the summer in Melbourne, Australia, where Holmes will be filming the thriller "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark."
No word on whether Tom's older children, Isabella, 15, and Connor, 13, will also be heading Down Under, or if they'll perhaps spend some time with mom Nicole Kidman, who, like Holmes, is getting an unwanted obstetrics exam from the media.
The evidence, such as it is, includes a weensy bit of swelling around the slimline star's midsection (the paper unkindly calls it "a poochy stomach"; we typically call it "dinner"), which was highlighted by a clingy red silk dress she wore Wednesday night as she and the country crooner took in a Broadway show.
Also raising eyebrows is her decision to return her tresses to a more natural shade of red after a prolonged period of unflattering strawberry blondeness.
Then there's her recent ditching of Woody Allen's latest project, which was set to start filming in London later this year (you'll recall that she dropped out of "The Reader" when she learned she was pregnant with Sunday, with the role later earning Kate Winslet an Oscar).
Nicole's rep, however, denies she's knocked up, although the mouthpiece leaves some wiggle room by couching the bun-in-the-oven response with the hazy phrase, "Not to my knowledge."
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Kidman herself has tried to downplay the baby burblings. Last November, she laughed off reports that she was sporting a bump by explaining, "I think I've always had a little tummy . . . it runs in the family. My sister does, my mum does, my grandmother did . . . We affectionately refer to it as the 'little tummy.'"