More Legal Drama

Johnny Depp hits back at Amber Heard's Weinstein Co. subpoena in $50M defamation suit

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard settled their long and nasty divorce back in 2016, but the two are still fighting one another in court, thanks to the $50 million defamation suit Depp filed against Heard last March.

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The lawsuit, sparked by Heard's implications in a 2018 op-ed that Depp abused her, lurched into another standstill on Valentine's Day, according to Page Six.. On Friday, Feb. 14, Depp filed a petition asking the court to reject Heard's subpoena for all communications between the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star and Harvey Weinstein as well as documents related to "any act of violence" Depp may have committed while shooting a 2004 Weinstein Company-helmed film.

Depp's petition reportedly slams Heard's subpoena for being "overbroad," and complains that her request "seeks the production of documents that are not properly subject to discovery."

In other words, Depp's lawyers are arguing communication between their client and the producer behind some of his films should not be dragged into the case.

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Heard didn't mention Depp by name in the Washington Post piece about the domestic violence she says she endured. But Depp maintains anyone who reads it would believe he was the ex-partner to whom she was referring.

Meanwhile, audio recordings of Depp and Heard arguing in 2015 recently surfaced and seem to incriminate both of them as far as who abused whom.

"Babe, you're not punched …," Heard says at one point in the recordings, according to USA Today. "I don't know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you're fine. I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you," Heard adds.

Later in the recording, Depp can be heard saying, "I do not want to leave you. I do not want a divorce, I do not want you out of my life. I just want peace. If things get physical, we have to separate."

The recordings led some fans to create an online petition demanding Heard be removed from the "Aquaman" franchise.

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Lawyers for both stars have not yet commented on the latest move in the case.

Recovery details

Lady Gaga's dog walker expected to make full recovery after being shot

The man who was shot in the chest while walking Lady Gaga's three dogs this week is expected to make a full recovery.

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Ryan Fischer's family told TMZ, "Ryan is receiving extraordinary care in the hospital right now and his doctors expect him to make a full recovery. We cannot possibly say enough to thank all of the first responders, nurses and doctors who have worked so tirelessly to care for Ryan."

The statement continued, "Of course, we also want to thank Lady Gaga who has shown nothing but non-stop love and concern for Ryan and our family right from the outset. Ryan loves Gustavo and Koji as much as Lady Gaga does; so we join in her plea for their safe return."

Ryan was shot on Feb. 24 while walking Gaga's three French Bulldogs in Hollywood, Calif. Video of the incident shows a white car — believed to be a Nissan Sentra or Nissan Altima — pull up to Ryan during an evening dog walk. Two men quickly get out and demand that Ryan "give it up," presumably talking about the dogs. Following a brief skirmish, Ryan was shot by one of the men. As Ryan begged for help while bleeding profusely on the sidewalk, the thieves got away with two of the dogs, named Koji and Gustav. A third dog ran away but was later recovered. 

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Gaga, who's offered a $500,000 reward for the safe return of the dogs, was filming a movie in Rome at the time. Still, TMZ reports that police believe the crooks knew who the dogs belonged to and took them for ransom. But, no one has reportedly been in touch with the singer or her reps demanding payment so far.

Ramifications from the incident are already being felt in Hollywood, with many dog walking companies overhauling their typical routines and focusing on security measures to ensure the safety of the walkers and the animals.

party issue

Demi Lovato thinks gender reveal parties are 'transphobic'

Demi Lovato is feeling blue over an increasingly popular rite of passage. 

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On Feb. 25, the pop star shared an Instagram post stating that gender reveal parties are "transphobic." The social media message, titled "Why Gender Reveals are Transphobic," was initially posted by transgender rights activist Alok Vaid-Menon, and Demi clearly agreed with it. 

"This is not about being politically correct, it's about being correct. The refusal to acknowledge this stems from a misunderstanding of what transphobia is," the post said. "Transphobia is not just prejudice or violence against an individual trans person, it is a belief system that presumes non-trans people to be more 'natural' than trans people. Only individual people can self determine their gender."

"We condemn gender reveals not because of our identity, but because of reality," the lengthy post continued. "Gender reveals are based on the illusion that genitals = gender and that there are only two options 'boy or girl'… The idea that sex is based on genitalia is inconsistent with science."

Many of Demi's nearly 100 million Instagram followers commented, and it seemed that a large portion of them weren't feeling the message. 

"Most of parents just wanna celebrate that they're having a baby. Not the gender of the baby," one person said. Another said, "This has gone too far." A swath of people said the message was "unfair" or "ridiculous." 

"Demi i love you, but this is too much," one person said. "Today a gender reveal is 'transphobic' and then whats gonna be tomorrow?…a birthday celebration is gonna be ageist?!?! People need to stop living in la la land and join reality."

Addressing it

'Bachelor' frontrunner begs fans to stop defending her for past actions

Controversial "Bachelor" hopeful Rachael Kirkconnell is telling her supporters to back off. 

ABC

The 24-year-old has been under fire ever since old photos emerged that show her at a plantation-themed college party in 2018. She also allegedly "liked" racially insensitive social media posts.

Rachael has already apologized and said that her "ignorance was racist." Now, in a lengthy social media video, she is against apologizing and owning up to her past. 

"If you are in my comments or defending me anywhere telling people that I did nothing wrong, that there's nothing to be hurt about, there's nothing to be angry about or offended about, please stop," she said. "That's not our place to tell people what they can and can't be offended about. That's wrong. And that's part of the problem. So please stop saying that I did nothing wrong. That's not true."

Rachael's scandal reached a fever pitch in early February after longtime "Bachelor" host Chris Harrison somewhat downplayed her behavior, telling fans to give the contestant "a little grace, a little understanding." Following the interview, Chris apologized and stepped away from the ABC franchise amid backlash.

In her new video, Rachael indicated she's trying to educate herself on racial issues.

"I think that the first big step in all of this is white people stepping up and taking accountability," she said. "I've just come to realize that sitting aside and hiding in the corner and avoid being called performative, that doesn't help anything."

ABC

The controversy has played out after the current season of the "Bachelor" was filmed. Matt James, who's down to his final three women, Rachael among them, issued a statement about the "troubling information that has come to light since we wrapped filming."

"The reality is that I'm learning about these situations in real-time," he said, "and it has been devastating and heartbreaking, to put it bluntly."

Outpatient treatment

John Mulaney completes 60-day rehab stint: Report

John Mulaney is out of rehab after completing a two-month stint for substance abuse issues.

"John has completed 60 days in rehab and now he's in outpatient sober care," a source told Page Six on Feb. 25. "He is doing well, although he is still not ready to return to work."

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The former "Saturday Night Live" comedian surprised fans when he entered a rehab facility in Pennsylvania just before Christmas in 2020.  

"John's friends and family are happy that he's finally getting some help and focusing on his health," a source told the New York Post's gossip section at the time. "His fans know he's struggled in the past with sobriety, he has talked about it openly. Unfortunately he has struggled again during the pandemic."

"He's on board with his recovery," the source added, "he's not fighting against rehab."

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John has spoken of his vices in the past, telling Esquire in 2019 that he began drinking at 13 years old "for attention."

"I was really outgoing, and then at 12, I wasn't. I didn't know how to act. And then I was drinking, and I was hilarious again," he said.

John admitted that he eventually moved into hard drugs, including cocaine.

"I never liked smoking pot. Then I tried cocaine, and I loved it," he said. "I wasn't a good athlete, so maybe it was some young male thing of This is the physical feat I can do. Three Vicodin and a tequila and I'm still standing. Who's the athlete now?"

At one point, he said he drank perfume. In 2005, though, he realized he had a problem.

"I went on a bender that weekend that was just, like, fading in and out of a movie … It was just crazy," he told Esquire. "And I thought to myself, 'I don't like this guy anymore. I'm not rooting for him.'"

Without professional help, he stopped drinking and using cocaine, he said. 

John also spoke about his addiction in his 2012 Comedy Central special "New In Town."

Splitsville

Holly Madison and 'Ghost Adventures' star split after 2 years together

Holly Madison's relationship with "Ghost Adventures" star Zak Bagans is now a thing of the past. The two have reportedly broken up after nearly two years together.

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TMZ said the Playboy model and Zac remain friends and added that they are still on speaking terms. It's unclear what led to the breakup.

Holly and Zak first connected in May 2019 when she visited his Haunted Museum in Las Vegas. Soon, things became romantic and the two started dating. The duo had met before, but they were both in relationships during that initial meeting. For a while, they managed to keep their romance under the radar, but fans began to notice the similarities of Holly and Zac's social media pages. They were also often liking each other's photos and commenting. 

Neither has publicly commented on the breakup, but both may have hinted at sadness. On Feb. 24, Holly posted a photo of a salad on her Instagram Story and said she was trying to "make [herself] eat." On Feb. 22, Zac cryptically tweeted, "Loud music is therapy."

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Holly famously dated Playboy founder Hugh Hefner for years before they split. She later said she was suicidal while dating the magazine magnate. In 2013, she married music festival producer Pasquale Rotella at Disneyland, and the two share two children, Rainbow Aurora, who turns 8 in March, and Forest, 4. However, she and Pasquale split in fall 2018 and eventually finalized their divorce in February 2019.

ER visit

Viral Olympian McKayla Maroney rushed to ER in 'severe pain'

Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney was hospitalized after experiencing "severe pain" in her back and stomach that turned out to be kidney stones.

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In the early morning hours of Feb. 25, the infamous athlete posted a photo of the Benjamin & Carmela Du Emergency Pavilion in Orange County, California. She later posted images from a hospital on her Instagram Story bed and spoke about the pain she was experiencing.

"Tuesday I was throwing up all day, with severe pain in my back and stomach," she wrote. "Had to come to the ER at 3am because pain kept getting worse, and I couldnt' stop throwing up."

McKayla, 25, then added, "Just got my CT Scan back. I have a few kidney stones."

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Kidney stones are tremendously painful. The Mayo Clinic describes them as "hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys." The most common way to get rid of them is to naturally let them pass out of the urinary tract. In some cases, medical procedures or even surgery are needed.

McKayla was a member of the 2012 gold medal-winning United States Olympics team that was dubbed the "Fierce Five." She also won an individual silver medal on the vault. At the ceremony during which she received her silver medal, McKayla seemed less than thrilled with the results — she memorably appeared unimpressed while pictured on the podium, creating one of the most viral moments of the year. She later recreated her "not impressed" look with President Barack Obama during a visit to the White House.

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Since retiring from competitive gymnastics, McKayla has acted on several TV shows, including "Hart of Dixie" and "Bones." She's also played herself on several other programs.

Girl power

Daisy Ridley claps back after Ted Cruz diss

Daisy Ridley is dissing Texas Senator Ted Cruz after the politician took a dig at her and some of her fellow "Star Wars" castmates.

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Earlier this month, Ted expressed his support for Gina Carano after she was fired from Disney's "Mandalorian" following a social media post that compared Republicans to Jewish people during Nazi Germany.

"Texan Gina Carano broke barriers in the 'Star Wars'universe: not a princess, not a victim, not some emotionally tortured Jedi," the controversial Republican Senator tweeted. "She played a woman who kicked a— & who girls looked up to. She was instrumental in making 'Star Wars' fun again. Of course Disney canceled her."

Many "Star Wars" fans hammered Ted, citing a slew of strong, no-nonsense women from the franchise, including Princess Leia. 

Daisy, who plays the complex Rey in "Star Wars," wasn't even aware of the politician's tweet until it was brought up during an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. 

"I am very happy to be an emotionally tortured Jedi who doesn't leave their state when it's having a terrible time," she retorted.

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Ted, of course, came under fire and became widely viewed as being unsympathetic on Feb. 17 when he and his family jetted off to Cancun, Mexico, after a storm caused extreme freezing conditions, unsafe drinking water and mass power outages in the state he represents. On Twitter, many dubbed him "Cancun Cruz" or "Flyin' Ted."

As criticism mounted, Ted blamed the trip on his daughters, claiming they wanted to go on an impromptu trip to Mexico, and he said he was merely chaperoning them on the flight down and planned to abruptly return to Texas. However, many of his constituents pointed to the fact that Ted's wife, Heidi, was there and could have easily chaperoned the girls. Also, Ted was seen with luggage, a sure sign he wasn't planing a short stint under the sun. (Further, a United Airlines source said Ted's initial flight back was scheduled for Feb. 20). 

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Text messages later attributed to Ted's wife show that they flew south of the border because their house was "freezing" and felt that the pricey Ritz Carlton was a better option for the time being. The texts made no mention of the couple's daughters. Many fans were upset not only because of the Texas exit, but also because the family left their dog behind inside that exact "freezing" house. 

Violent pet-napping

Lady Gaga offers $500K reward after robber shoots her dog walker, steals 2 of her French bulldogs

On the evening of Feb. 24, an unknown assailant accosted Lady Gaga's dog walker, who was out exercising three of the singer's French bulldogs, and stole two of the pets, outlets including TMZ and People magazine reported.

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The dog walker was taken to a local hospital in unknown condition, according to TMZ, though an update indicates he is expected to recover from the attack.

Gaga is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of Koji and Gustav, "no questions asked," TMZ further reported. Gaga's rep confirmed the reward offer as the pop star and actress seeks information about her stolen dogs.

RELATED: Celebs out with their pets in 2021

Anyone with info should email KojiandGustav@gmail.com, her rep added.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department told People that the robbery and attack went down at 9:40 p.m. on Sierra Bonita Avenue in Hollywood.

Law enforcement sources told TMZ that the dog walker was out with three of Gaga's pets but that one of her pups ran away and was later recovered. A bodyguard was photographed picking up the dog from the scene.

The webloid described the shooter as "a male who used a semi-automatic handgun." He was seen leaving in a vehicle heading north toward Hollywood Boulevard.

RELATED: Presidential pets: Dogs and cats who've lived in the White House over the decades

It's unclear if the assailant knew he was stealing dogs that belong to Gaga, who's away in Italy working on a movie, TMZ explained.

accident memories

Simon Cowell gives first interview since breaking his back on e-bike

Simon Cowell knew he broke his back the very moment that he crashed on his e-bike last year. There wasn't a doubt in his mind.

The "America's Got Talent" judge spoke to "Extra" on Feb. 24, which marked his first time addressing the August 2020 accident, save for a few tweets in the aftermath.

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"It could have been a lot worse," he contends. "When I saw the X-ray, I really nearly could have smashed my spine to pieces, so I literally wouldn't have been able to walk." 

In speaking about the moment of the accident, Simon said, "I knew I'd broken my back the minute I landed. It was really, really kind of sudden and it hurt."

In a moment like that, you're not supposed to move, but those thoughts weren't running through his mind. 

"I was thinking, 'I've got to get back into the house because I can't lie there'… and made myself kind of get carried into my bedroom, which is right there at the beginning of the house, and I'm lying there and I'm kind of passing out… It was surreal," he said. 

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Simon, who ended up enduring a six-hour surgery to repair his back and later got $112,000 in new teeth, credited his longtime partner, Lauren Silverman, with nursing him along.

"She was amazing. Both her and [son] Eric, they were like my support. I couldn't have gotten through it without them, so we got closer," the mogul said.

Still, his ailing life at home was no picnic.

"The hardest thing was, and I said this to Lauren when I came out of the hospital… I was so embarrassed about coming home looking about 100 because I couldn't walk, and I have these metal rods in my back and these screws," he said. 

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Simon said he remembered telling Lauren that he didn't know what he would say to their 7-year-old son, Eric.

"[Lauren] obviously said something to him because he came in… and I was lying in bed and he said, 'Daddy, you're like Ironman,' and I thought that was the sweetest thing and it meant a lot," Simon recalled.

While not being able to be a completely hands-on dad was hard, Simon said the worst part of the recovery was "the helplessness."

"I've never been in this situation in my life where you literally can't move," he said. "The pain was off the charts… But you've got to stay positive… I made a promise to myself I'd be fitter than I was before I had the accident. Sure enough, that's what happened."