Aaron Rodgers says psychedelics helped alleviate his fear of death
Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers says he's no longer afraid of mortality the way he once was, thanks to his past use of psychedelics. Asked if he ever worries about "dying" on this week's "The Pat McAfee Show," Aaron, 39, admitted he was seriously stressed out by the pre-2000 "Y2K" concerns that a computer bug might cause society to break down at the start of the millennium. "I definitely had a major fear of death. Ayahuasca and psilocybin really helped me with that," he said, referencing a brewed, tea-like drink found in South America that causes psychoactive effects and the psychoactive element found in so-called "magic mushrooms." "When you've seen the other side, it makes the idea of death more of a passage and less of an ending and more so the next chapter of life," Aaron explained, adding that by "the other side," he meant "the veil between the seen world and the unseen world.
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Quality time on Capitol Hill
Angelina Jolie and her daughter, Zahara Jolie-Pitt, teamed up again in Washington, D.C., this week, meeting with lawmakers to advocate for better protections for victims of crimes. The mother-daughter pair was specifically pushing for a provision that would "give crime victims access to criminal reports and evidence" as part of the Patrick Leahy and Orrin G. Hatch Justice for All Act, according to a report from The Hill. Photos from their trip show Angelina and Zahara — a Spelman College freshman — at the offices of Sen. Patrick Leahy and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, People reported Wednesday (Dec. 14). "Currently, there's no method within the federal government that provides crime victims with a right of access to their own records of crimes they experienced and reported," Angelina said in a statement about her interest in the provision. The actress, director and humanitarian, who shares Zahara with ex, Brad Pitt, has brought her daughter to Capitol Hill in the past, involving her in discussions about the Violence Against Women Act and more.
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Taylor Swift rings in her 33rd birthday with a studio visit, custom cake and a Critics Choice nod
After a pre-birthday celebration in New Orleans with boyfriend Joe Alwyn, Taylor Swift rang in her 33rd year "in the studio," alongside producer Jack Antonoff, she told fans on Instagram on Tuesday (Dec. 13). Though she didn't share the studio's location, Taylor, Jack and Joe were all spotted checking out a live jazz set at New Orleans' Preservation Hall on Saturday, where Taylor reportedly tipped the band — including acclaimed musicians Charlie Gabriel and Shannon Powell — without much notice or hassle from other music fans, according to photographer Erika Goldring and Nola.com. On Instagram on Tuesday, acclaimed New Orleans sweet-spot the Bywater Bakery thanked the singer "for having us make your Birthday cake" during her visit. (Both Joe Alwyn and Margaret Qualley, Jack Antonoff's fiance, have been filming "And" in New Orleans in recent weeks.) Taylor had a few other peripheral birthday gifts come her way this week, too, including Best Original Song nods from the Critics Choice Awards and Golden Globes for her track, "Carolina," from "Where the Crawdads Sing."
Megan Thee Stallion claims Tory Lanez offered her $1M to stay quiet after alleged Tory Lanez shooting
Megan Thee Stallion testified on Tuesday (Dec. 13) that rapper and singer Tory Lanez offered her $1 million to stay quiet after he allegedly shot her feet during an argument as she walked away from their car in 2020, according to Rolling Stone. Dressed in a slim-fitting (and reportedly meaningful) purple suit, Megan took the stand Tuesday and told jurors she and Tory, who was also in the Los Angeles courtroom, were in car with their friend Kelsey Harris after attending a party at Kylie Jenner's home in the Hollywood Hills. According to Megan, Tory told Megan at one point to "stop lying" about their relationship, and Kelsey suggested the music stars were hiding something. Megan acknowledged to the court that she and Tory had been sexually involved in the past, but explained, "Because I knew Kelsey had a crush on Tory, I didn't want to hurt her feelings." A screaming match ensued, according to Megan, and the rapper said she requested the SUV to stop and let her out twice before she finally did get out — then heard five gun shots aimed at her feet. "I literally turned like this, and I could see him with the gun," she said, demonstrating how she could see what was happening when she was shot in the back of her left foot. "He's saying, 'Please don't say anything. I'll give y'all a million dollars. I can't go to jail. I already got caught with a gun before,'" Megan continued. She added that the incident happened at "the height of" the Black community's response to George Floyd's death at the hands of police. Asked about her injuries, she initially told police she'd stepped on glass. If convicted of all charges — assault with a firearm, illegal possession of a firearm and negligent discharge of a gun — Tory could face 22 years or more behind bars and deportation.
Scarlett Johansson says she was 'groomed' to play 'bombshells' as a teen
Scarlett Johansson will be the first to admit the roles that made her a household name could have cut her acting career short and snuffed out her producing ambitions. That's because she was "groomed" as a teen to play sexy "bombshell" roles, Scarlett, 38, recently said on the podcast "Two With Bruce Bozzi" (via Yahoo). "I had a really hard time doing 'Lost in Translation.' I was 17, I was far away, I was working with Bill Murray who I was an enormous fan of and he obviously has a very big personality and he's sort of a formidable character at times," she recalled. "Our characters have this kind of real love for one another, this profound relationship, and that was hard for me to — I struggled with that for different reasons." When that project wrapped, Scarlett hit the set of "Girl With the Pearl Earring," to play another bombshell (opposite Colin Firth). Describing how she began on "this path of ingénue," she said: "Young girls like that are really objectified and that's just a fact." Reflecting on that time of her life, around age 18 or 19, Scarlett recalled, "… I was coming into my own womanhood and learning my own desirability and sexuality," telling the host, "I think it was because of that trajectory I had been sort of launched towards — I really got stuck." She explained: "I was kind of being groomed, in a way, to be this what you call a bombshell-type of actor. I was playing the other woman and the object of desire and I suddenly found myself cornered in this place like I couldn't get out of it." Scarlett went on to credit her agent, Bryan Lourd, with helping her find her voice and get work she really wanted. The "bombshell" persona she was first saddled with, she noted, "burns bright and quick and then it's done and you don't have opportunity beyond that." Today, Scarlett wants to produce more. "My ideal job is a corner office on the Disney lot," she said.
As tributes to Stephen "tWitch" Boss flooded social media amid news of his death on Wednesday (Dec. 14), TMZ reported the beloved "Ellen" DJ did not look "visibly upset" when he checked into the motel in Encino, Calif., near his home, where he died by suicide on Tuesday at age 40. Employees who spoke to the outlet said the star checked in with just one small bag and booked a one-night stay. They reportedly noted no one heard a gunshot. In a statement shared with People, tWitch's wife, Allison Holker, recalled how he "lit up every room he stepped into," and "was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans," among other words of praise. She also asked for privacy for both herself and the couple's three children.
Will Smith details harrowing 'Emancipation' set moment when he got stuck in a neck chain
On the latest edition of "Red Table Talk," Will Smith reflected on one of the most harrowing moments he experienced on the set of "Emancipation," which sees him play the real-life, formerly enslaved man-turned Union Army soldier known as "Whipped Peter," circa 1863. At one point during pre-production, Will recalled, he got stuck in a neck chain, leaving him overwhelmed with anxiety as the crew ran to find a key to free him. "So they put it on, I'm standing there and he goes to take it off and it doesn't work. So it's locked on and my heart jumps and I'm like, 'Oh no, oh no, oh no,'" Will said. "My heart is pounding and I'm like, 'Will, do not freak,'" he recalled. "I'm still scared. Imagine what it was like for Peter to have that stuff on, barefoot and nobody cared," he continued, speaking frankly with his three children on the show. "Really dehumanizing … I hadn't been able to articulate why, but I felt embarrassed. I was embarrassed while I was standing there and I was waiting. It was emasculating, dehumanizing, all of that." Despite the internal struggles he had while playing the character — whose scarred back was photographed and helped galvanize the abolition movement — Will noted that Peter's legacy was positive, as is the film's message. "This is not a slave movie," he said, "this is a freedom movie."