Suspect in Lady Gaga dog walker shooting released from prison by mistake
Whoops. It seems the man suspected of shooting Lady Gaga's dog walker and attempting to steal her dogs last year was released from police custody on April 6 by accident. A "clerical error" was behind the mix-up that resulted in James Howard Jackson's release, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told People in a statement on April 8. "The investigation is continuing and the LASD Major Crimes Bureau is actively working to get Mr. Jackson back in custody," the Sheriff's Department added. James, 19, is suspected of shooting Ryan Fischer on Feb. 24, 2021, before driving off with two other suspects and Gaga's three French bulldogs. The pups were later recovered, but Ryan was hospitalized with injuries from the attack. Gaga has since called him a "hero" for protecting her dogs.
Keep reading to see how Will Smith responded to the Academy's decision to ban him from the Oscars for 10 years, then read on for more celeb news…
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Will Smith barred from the Oscars for 10 years after slap
Will Smith has been banned from attending the Oscars for the next decade after slapping Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Academy Awards. In a statement published by CNN on April 8 after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science's board meeting, Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said: "The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards." That means Will won't be able to follow the Oscars tradition of presenting next year's Best Actress award, despite his 2022 Best Oscar win for "King Richard." Will, who has apologized publicly for the slap and resigned from the Academy, responded to the announcement by telling CNN, "I accept and respect the Academy's decision." An unnamed board member told the outlet there was "tons of debate" about how to respond to the slap before a decision was made. Explaining the ban on behalf of the board, the president and CEO said the Oscars "were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year; however, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit onstage." The board also apologized for failing to "adequately address the situation in the room" via the telecast. Finally, the letter expressed the board's "deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances." Chris has since refused to address the incident. "This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith's behavior is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy," the Academy's leaders added. "We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted."
JLo and Ben Affleck are making it official once again
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are engaged again! Nearly two decades after the pair called time on their relationship in the early aughts — and a few days after Jen was photographed with an awfully big, sparkling piece of bling on her left ring finger, JLo confirmed the news in her "On the JLo" newsletter on April 8. According to People, the singer and actress showed off her new, green engagement ring in the post, which included a caption that read, "so this happened." (The outlet later confirmed the engagement with Jen's rep.) She'd previously called green her "lucky color" in the newsletter. "I've realized there are many moments in my life where amazing things happened when I was wearing green," she wrote at the time. "Maybe you can remember a certain green dress," she added, reminding fans about the Versace dress she wore to the Grammys in 2000. Jen, 52, and Ben, 49, sparked engagement rumors earlier this week after photos surfaced showing Jen checking out furniture and home goods with her daughter, Emme, in Los Angeles, while wearing the new sparkler. (JLo and Ben are reportedly in contract on a new, $50 million home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles.) Asked about the difference between the couple's current romance and their first stab at love in the early 2000s, Jen recently told People: "It's beautiful the way it feels very different than it was years ago … There's more of an appreciation and a celebration for it, which is nice. When you find somebody and you really, really love them and you get a second chance at that? That is a really rare, precious, beautiful thing and we don't take it for granted." The on-again couple previously got engaged then called off their wedding and split in 2004.
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Britney Spears says conservatorship destroyed her confidence and more
After confirming she is, indeed, writing a memoir, Britney Spears made new claims on Instagram this week about how her conservatorship affected her self-confidence and mental health. In a since-deleted post (via Billboard), Britney looked back on the "freedoms" she feels were "taken" from her for 13 years before the conservatorship was terminated in November 2021, and blamed her family keeping the rules in place for so long. "When you finally can drive alone …..and keep going !!!! Thanks to nobody but me for realizing taking all the freedoms that give a woman confidence is not only wrong … it's immoral !!!!" Britney wrote in the April 7 missive. "My family HAD NO IDEA not allowing me to go to a spa … drive my own car … walk out my front door was wrong … and they definitely had NO idea that it was completely wrong to hold a woman in a chair for like 10 hours a day !!!!" She went on to tell her family she had a "message" for them, which she delivered via emojis showing off a certain, um, "meaningful" finger. "It is EYE OPENING the psychology in still being able to drive alone the past year !!! I don't feel like an old helpless lady anymore !!! THANK YOU for giving me what I so hardly worked for … a life … freedom … character through confidence !!!" she continued." Near the end of the caption, the singer, 40, thanked "Jesus" for "allowing me to wake up today and remember my value and worth," then admitted keeping those things in mind remains in jeopardy "because I was manipulated in believing I wasn't valued."
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Why Kendall Jenner missed 'The Kardashians' premiere
Most of the Kardashian-Jenner krewe — including plus-ones like Kim's boyfriend, Pete Davidson — came together in Los Angeles on April 7 to celebrate the premiere of their new Hulu series, "The Kardashians." But one famous sibling, Kendall Jenner, was notably MIA. The culprit was reportedly her health. A source later told E! News, the model "tried really hard to be there and support the family but was really sick." While Kim gushed to E! that Pete had joined for "support" even though the premiere scene isn't really "his thing," her sister, Kourtney Kardashian, brought her fiancé Travis Barker along, marking the couple's first public appearance since their faux wedding in Las Vegas last weekend. "Once upon a time in a land far, far away (Las Vegas) at 2am," Kourt joked on Instagram, sharing photos from the "ceremony," "… after an epic night and a little tequila, a queen and her handsome king ventured out to the only open chapel with an Elvis and got married (with no license) …" "The Kardashians" hits Hulu on April 14.
Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan reportedly looking to rent second home in NYC
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan have settled into their family's new life in Montecito, California, but could soon be spending more time in New York City. According to the Daily Mail, the two are now mulling the idea of renting an apartment in the Big Apple as a "second home." The outlet claims they're looking on the east side of Midtown Manhattan, in the hopes of finding something close to the United Nations as they continue their philanthropy work through their Archewell Foundation. Having a place in NYC could also be helpful to the couple in terms of their deal with Spotify, whose U.S. headquarters are located there. The two visited the U.N. in September 2021, meeting with Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and the organization's U.S. ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, to talk about issues including climate change, vaccine equity, mental health services, racial justice and gender-based economic issues, all of which they touched in during their speech at Global Citizen Live. Per the Mail, Meghan's first podcast on Spotify has no official release date yet, but is expected to premiere this summer.
The Weeknd leads Billboard Music Award finalists ahead of Coachella
With a whopping 17 nominations including top artist, The Weeknd leads the 2022 Billboard Music Awards finalists, the outlet announced April 8. Doja Cat is right behind him, having snagged 14 nods, including top artist, while Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Olivia Rodrigo all notched 13 chances to win during the May 15 ceremony. The nominations honor comes at an interesting time for The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye. After making a stink about the Grammys in 2021 and vowing to boycott the awards going forward, the singer still got Grammy gold at last weekend's awards show, courtesy of his Kanye collaboration, "Hurricane," which won Best Melodic Rap Performance. Meanwhile, Abel's slated to take over Kanye's slot at Coachella later this month after the rapper bailed amid ongoing drama with his ex, Kim Kardashian. Page Six, however, claims Abel threatened to yank his performance, too, after allegedly being offered "just a few million" dollars to cover the same slots on the bill for which Kanye was reportedly promised $8 million plus a $500,000 production fee. A source told the outlet Coachella announced The Weeknd's shows without having nailed down a deal with the singer. The insider claims producers finally "caved" to Abel's fee demand on April 6. He's set to close out both weekends of the festival on April 17 and April 24.
Ed Sheeran on why copyright lawsuits are 'damaging to' the music industry
Ed Sheeran won the latest copyright infringement suit he faced earlier this week when a judge cleared the singer and his co-writers of claims they lifted the hook from a song called "Oh Why" for Ed's hit, "Shape of You." After releasing a video statement on the day of the ruling, April 6, Ed elaborated on his points about the recent proliferation of such lawsuits in an interview with BBC Two's "Newsnight." Allegations like those made by "Oh Why" writers Sami Chokri and Ross O'Donoghue, Ed told the BBC, have forced him and other artists to rethink their approach to the songwriting process entirely. According to People, Ed now video records his songwriting sessions. "We've had claims coming through on the songs and we go, 'Well here's the footage and you watch. You'll see there's nothing there,'" he said on "Newsnight." "There's the George Harrison point where he said he's scared to touch the piano because he might be touching someone else's note. There is definitely a feeling of that in the studio." Ed, 31, also suggested songwriting has been drained of some of the joy it once brought him. "I personally think the best feeling in the world is the euphoria around the first idea of writing a great song," he said. "That feeling has now turned into 'Oh wait, let's stand back for a minute'. You find yourself in the moment, second-guessing yourself." As the pop star explained in his video statement, the frequency with which copyright suits are filed in music lately is "really damaging to the songwriting industry." He added, "There's only so many notes and very few chords used in pop music. Coincidence is bound to happen if 60,000 songs are being released every day on Spotify."