James Franco breaks silence on sexual misconduct allegations
Four years after James Franco was hit with a string of allegations of sexual misconduct, the actor is breaking his silence on the claims with an in-depth conversation on SiriusXM's "The Jess Cagle Podcast," excerpted by People. The 2018 accusations were made by five women, including four former acting students. Two of those women went on to file suit against the star; he settled the lawsuit this summer. Looking back, James says his thinking was clouded by a combination of a sex addiction and his belief that his active sobriety meant he was engaging in something "spiritual," even though he now sees he was "acting out" in other addictive ways. Asked about his prior silence, James cited writer Damon Young's theory that "when something like this happens, the natural human instinct is to just make it stop" and "apologize," but said that approach doesn't "allow you to … look at what was underneath," and understand the "behavior" that allowed you to be "blind to yourself." James continued, in part: "So I've just been doing a lot of work … I was in recovery before for substance abuse. There were some issues that I had to deal with that were also related to addiction. And so I've really used my recovery background to kind of start examining this and changing who I was." He added that he battled sex addiction for more than two decades. "The insidious part of that is that I stayed sober from alcohol all that time … So in my head, it was like, 'Oh, I'm sober. I'm living a spiritual life.' Where on the side, I'm acting out now in all these other ways, and I couldn't see it," he said. As the interview wrapped up, James admitted he was a serial cheater for many years and was "blind to power dynamics … but also completely blind to people's feelings." Finally, he admitted, "I did sleep with students, and that was wrong. But like I said, it's not why I started the [acting] school and I wasn't the person that selected the people to be in the class. So it wasn't a 'master plan' on my part."
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio finally reunite after COVID kept them apart for years
"Bonded for life." That's how Kate Winslet describes her long and well-documented friendship with Leonardo DiCaprio in a new interview with The Guardian. Kate, 46, first got close to Leo, 47, when they played Rose and Jack in 1997's "Titanic." Their relationship has only grown closer in the years since, in spite of the fact Kate lives in London, while Leo spends most of his time, States-side. But once the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in early 2020, their usual get-togethers were derailed. By the time they finally saw each other in Los Angeles recently, three years had passed since they last got together. "I couldn't stop crying," Kate shared, according to the Daily Mail. "I've known him for half of my life. It's not as if I've found myself in New York or he's been in London and there's been a chance to have dinner or grab a coffee and have a catch-up. We haven't been able to leave our countries. Like so many friendships globally, we've missed each other because of COVID," the "Mare of Easttown" star continued. "He's my friend, my really close friend," she added. "We're bonded for life."
Keep reading to find out why Beyoncé and Jay-Z could make Oscar history in 2022 …
Why Beyonce and Jay-Z could make 2022 Oscar history
Once again, Beyoncé and Jay-Z are poised to make awards season history. This time, however, it's got nothing to do with the Grammys. Instead, it's about their marriage. On Dec. 21, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed its "shortlists" for 2022, including Best Original Song. As predicted, both Bey and Jay made the cut, with Beyoncé's "Be Alive," from "King Richard" and Jay-Z's "Guns Go Bang" from "The Harder They Fall" landing on the 15-song list of nominees. If their new tracks both make it through the final round of music voting, it will mark the first time in Academy Awards history that a married couple has competed against one another in the same category, according to Billboard. The next round of music voting chops the current list of 15 songs down to five nominees, after which the entire academy votes on a winner. Beyoncé, for her part, is no stranger to setting awards records. With 28 Grammys to her name, she's the most Grammy-decorated woman artist in history; as of 2021, Bey's also tied with Quincy Jones for the second most wins of any artist in history. (Conductor George Solti holds the record at 31 wins.) Jay-Z comes in at No. 9 with 23 Grammy wins — the most awards of any rapper in history. This would be the first Oscar nod for both Bey and Jay. The 94th annual Academy Awards are slated for March 27, 2022.
Kim Kardashian reportedly 'won't see' Pete Davidson on Christmas
Sounds like Kim Kardashian West and Pete Davidson are putting their new romance on hold for Christmas, at least temporarily. After Kim's visit to her beau's old Staten Island stomping grounds last weekend, Pete reportedly joined her in Los Angeles for a few days. But one source tells People the "SNL" star will only "stay until Christmas," while a second says Kim will spend the holiday with the four children she shares with her ex, Kanye West. "She had a good trip to New York. Pete took Kim to some of his favorite places. She had fun," says the insider, who adds, "Kim is celebrating Christmas with the kids and won't see Pete." There had been some buzz about a potentially awkward run-in between Kanye and Pete, both of whom were likely invited to the Kardashian-Jenner family's annual Christmas Eve bash; it's unclear if Pete plans to leave town before the party.
Cardi B gifts Offset $2M for his 30th birthday
Migos rapper Offset turned 30 on Dec. 14, but Cardi B waited until this week to celebrate her man's big day with a sneaker-themed party in Los Angeles — and a $2 million birthday check, which Cardi cut for her husband at the bash. According to TMZ, Cardi said the gift was "seed money" for a number of business ventures Offset has in the works for 2022. Offset wasn't the only partygoer who left a little richer, though. Video from the throw down shows Offset hurling cash out at the crowd, which included Kanye West, The Game and Offset's Migos bandmates. "Happy birthday to my huuuuusband, best friend and babydaaadddyyy 😩😂😂," Cardi gushed to Offset in an Instagram birthday tribute. "I love you so much and I'm so proud of you. We have overcome so much together. I love the man that you're becoming and I love the father that you are," she continued. "Thank you for always being there for me, for being a great confidant and advisor and for never allowing me to sell myself short ❤️ … May life keep blessing you and you continue to thrive. I'm so excited for the world to see what you got coming 🔥. I love you!!"
'Sopranos' star once gifted $33k to each cast member to save series
A new book reveals "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini gave each member of the cast $33,000 following a rocky period of salary negotiations with HBO. In "Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers," author James Andrew Miller sheds new light on the massive, 16-person gift, which Gandolfini reportedly handed out to his regular co-stars during Season 4 of the critically acclaimed series. According to the book, via Insider, the star was originally contracted for $5 million a season to star as Tony Soprano in the show. His salary doubled after Season 3, but as the success of "The Sopranos" grew, so did his demands for a salary bump, according to Miller's book. At one point, Gandolfini even sued HBO for breach of contract; the network sued the actor right back. "Jim was a brilliant actor but a complicated guy to deal with," former HBO president of programming Mike Lombardo explains in "Tinderbox." It wasn't until HBO brass threatened to halt production on "The Sopranos," putting the entire cast out of a job, that Gandolfini reportedly agreed to HBO's $13 million-per-season offer. That's when Gandolfini took out his checkbook and presented each one of his regular co-stars with $33,000. As the late actor's former castmate Steve Schirripa previously told Insider, Gandolfini invited each actor to join him in his trailer, "one by one." "He would say, 'I just want to thank you for sticking by me.' And [then] he handed you the envelope," Schirripa said. The book also delves into Gandolfini's mental health challenges and substance abuse issues, with HBO CEO Jeff Bewkes recalling show executives "were concerned about Gandolfini staying alive," given his habit of "occasionally" going "on a bender" that forced them to stop production. Gandolfini died in 2013 after suffering a heart attack. He was 51.
Britney Spears' lawyer slams singer's dad over legal fees ask
Britney Spears' lawyer Mathew Rosengart called Jamie Spears' petition to have Britney pay his legal fees a "legally meritless … abomination" in a new statement to The Hollywood Reporter. Britney's dad filed the request earlier this month, claiming the singer's payment of his "… attorneys' fees is necessary to ensure the Conservatorship can be wound up quickly and efficiently to allow Britney to take control of her life …" Britney, 40, has been paying Jamie's court-related costs for the length of the 13 years long conservatorship, which was terminated in November, nearly two months after Jamie stepped down as co-estate conservator. "The request is shameful," Mathew told THR. "Mr. Spears reaped many millions of dollars from Britney as a conservator, while paying his lawyers millions more, all from Britney's work and hard earned money." He went on to note "Mr. Spears was suspended ignominiously" and said, "Under the circumstances, his petition is not only legally meritless, it is an abomination. Britney poignantly testified about the pain her father caused her and this only adds to it. This is not what a father who loves his daughter does."
Princess Anne's husband tests positive for COVID-19
Princess Anne's husband, Royal Navy Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, has tested positive for COVID-19 after the palace announced Queen Elizabeth II wouldn't be making her usual trip to Sandringham for the holidays this year. The Daily Mail reports Timothy, 66, is isolating at the Gatcombe Park estate. As of Dec. 22, Anne, 71, appeared to be COVID-free. The royal family health news comes amid a surge that's been blamed on the highly transmissible new omicron variant, which has shut down Broadway productions in New York City and theaters in multiple countries. Earlier this week, "Bachelorette" co-host Tayshia Adams announced she'd be missing the season finale in Los Angeles after a recent COVID-19 exposure.