Angelina Jolie scores victory in Brad Pitt custody case as judge is disqualified
In a widely unexpected move, a California appeals court has disqualified the private judge Angelina Jolie claims was biased in his handling of her years-long custody dispute with Brad Pitt. The decision, pegged to an "ethical breach," according to the AP, signals a big win for Angelina, who has pushed for sole custody of the five children she shares with Brad who are under 18. It also probably means the two are back to square one in their drawn-out fight for custody of the kids — and that the children will likely now be able to testify against their father in court. The appeal ruling comes after Angelina's request to replace the original judge, John W. Oudenkirk, because of his business relationships with Brad's attorneys, was denied. That judge went on to tentatively grant Brad and Angelina temporary joint custody of the children. It's not clear yet whether that arrangement — or the previous one, in which Angelina had primary custody — will go into effect. In a statement to ET, a rep said the "facts haven't changed" and Brad will continue to fight for "what is in the children's best interests." Angelina filed for divorce in 2016; their marriage ended with a bifurcation that allowed them to continue hashing out settlements regarding the kids and their previously shared finances.
Keep reading for the latest on Kevin Connelly's newborn getting COVD-19 and more …
'Entourage' star Kevin Connolly and his 6-week-old daughter both contracted COVID-19
"Entourage" alum Kevin Connolly's newborn daughter has contracted COVID-19. The actor revealed the scary news in a chat with his former co-star Kevin Dillon and "Entourage" creator Doug Ellin, explaining that 6-week-old Kennedy, who he shares with Zulay Henao, had to be hospitalized because of the virus. Recounting the experience on Kevin and Doug's "Victory The Podcast," Kevin said he tested positive for the coronavirus first, and had "manageable," if sometimes "brutal" symptoms, according to ET. He also clarified that he's fully vaccinated, which lessened the severity. "There is zero doubt in my mind this vaccine saved me a great deal," he said. "Without that vaccine, I would want no part in that Delta variant." Kennedy, meanwhile, is starting to feel better. "It's been hard. It's hard when your kid is sick, you know? Because there's really nothing you can do," Kevin said. "But she's doing great. It's just the congestion part, but the fever is down and we're all back on the road to recovery." Zulay has not tested positive, the star noted. Still, he said, "it's been a rough week."
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck make their Instagram debut via Leah Remini
The world was hardly lacking photographic evidence of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck's on-again love affair, but Bennifer Revisited feels a whole lot more official after J.Lo's best friend shared a pic of herself hugging the pair on Instagram this week. On July 22, Leah Remini posted a highlight reel from her recent birthday get-togethers. The video montage included photos of lots of friends — but it was the black-and-white pic of Ben, smiling with one arm around Leah and the other around Jen, that caught our eye. (Per ET, you can spot it around 0:33.) "Wanted to share a little video from my birthday with you all because I got so much love from you on my birthday but also everyday," Leah said in the caption. Ben and J.Lo, who were engaged from 2002 until 2004, reportedly rekindled their romance this year after Jen split from Alex Rodriguez.
Matt Damon wants to write with Ben Affleck 'a lot more' after 'The Last Duel'
Ben Affleck's rekindled romance with Jennifer Lopez isn't the only throwback partnership he's jumped into this year. "The Last Duel," a new period drama from Ridley Scott, sees Ben teaming up with his bestie, Matt Damon, more than two decades after they launched their careers by collaborating on "Good Will Hunting." The Boston-raised buddies, along with Nicole Holofcener, wrote the screenplay for the film, which they also star in and co-produced. And as Matt recently told ET, we could be seeing a lot more writing collabs from these two in the coming years, now that they know what it's like to work together as, well, grown-ups. "I think that writing process for 'Good Will Hunting' was so inefficient," Matt admitted. "You know, because we didn't really understand structure so we wrote thousands of pages … and then we kind of tried to jam them together into something that looked like a movie." With "The Last Duel," there was a writing plan from the start, he explained. "And I think we just found that having made … like, making movies for 30 years, we actually learned something about structure along the way and the process went along a lot faster. And so I think we'll write a lot more in the future just because it didn't turn out to be as time consuming as we thought. It was actually a lot of fun." Comparing the experience to "Good Will Hunting," Matt added: "Back in the day, we didn't have deadlines because nobody cared what we were doing, no one was waiting for the script, we were unemployed, so we literally had nothing else to do." Now that they both have kids and responsibilities, he said things have to be more structured, joking, "We actually have lives now which is nice … finally."
Kanye West warned Kim Kardashian about 'losing my family' lyric before she attended 'Donda' listening party
Kim Kardashian West let her outfit say it all when she showed up at her estranged husband Kanye West's "Donda" listening party at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 22 — and what her look said was "Team Kanye all the way." Flanked by Khloe Kardashian and the four kids she shares with 'Ye, Kim arrived at the event dressed in head-to-toe red, just like her soon-to-be ex-husband. Clad in red leather and red boots, Kim sat in a front row box seat with the former couple's kids to watch Kanye — wearing a red version of is new Yeezy Gap round jacket, red pants and a ski mask — play songs including the new track, "Love Unconditionally," which features the rapper repeating the line, "I'm losing my family," clearly inspired by his recent split from Kim. After bowing his head and crumpling to knees during the song, Kanye was rewarded with a standing ovation. Kim , meanwhile, seemed to take the whole thing in stride. "He was respectful and gave her the heads up [about the lyrics]," an insider told Page Six. "Donda" was slated to be released at midnight on July 23; it had yet to arrive as of late afternoon, East Coast time.
Morgan Wallen addresses racial slur incident on 'GMA'
Country star Morgan Wallen appeared on "Good Morning America" on July 23 in the first interview he's given since leaked video showed him drunkenly using a racial slur in February. Speaking to Michael Strahan, Morgan 28, rehashed the circumstances that led to his using the "n" word, saying he was on "hour 72 of a 72-hour bender," and that he was with friends who all see the word as "playful." Morgan add, "… that sounds ignorant, but it — that's really where it came from … and it's wrong" and said he "didn't mean it any, in any derogatory manner at all." The singer went on to recall that he heard from his manager about two hours after the video leaked and went to visit a friend who "has a house out in the middle of nowhere," where he tried "to figure out what it is I'm supposed to do." He released an apology soon after the video surfaced and followed it up with a second, longer apology shot on video. He told Michael he also checked into rehab for 30 days and met with reps from the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC), as well as industry veterans Kevin Liles, Eric Hutcherson and BeBe Winans. He said he and his team also attempted to "calculate" how much money his new album made because of the leaked video — Morgan's album sales spiked after the incident, despite his having been dropped from his label and blocked from multiple radio stations and country music awards events — and arrived at "around $500,000," the singer said. He said they're donating that money to organizations including BMAC. "I've heard some stories in the initial conversations that I had after that — just how some people are, you know, treated even still today, and I'm just, like, I haven't seen that with my eyes — that pain or that insignificant feeling or whatever it is that it makes you feel," Morgan said. "I'm not ever gonna make, you know, everyone happy," he later added. "I can only come tell my truth…" Asked if he thinks country music has a racism problem, he replied, "it would seem that way, yeah … I haven't really sat and thought about that."
Sean Penn refuses to return to 'Gaslit' set until all cast, crew are vaccinated
Amid rising COVID-19 case numbers, a surging Delta variant problem and dropping vaccination rates, Sean Penn has given NBCUniversal an ultimatum: he won't return to the set of "Gaslit" unless all cast and crew have been inoculated against the virus. According to Deadline, the studio currently requires only those working in "Zone A" on the set to be vaccinated. Zone A basically comprises the cast and the production staff that interacts with them. Sean — whose CORE nonprofit has spearheaded massive COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs across the country for the past year — reportedly wants anyone in the other productions "zones" to be required to get the jab, as well. He's also offered to cover the cost of the additional vaccinations through CORE. Sean has not completed filming his scenes for the forthcoming Starz Watergate-inspired drama, in which he plays Attorney General John Mitchell opposite Julia Roberts, who plays his wife Martha. News of Sean's studio challenge comes just one day after anti-vaccine advocate Eric Clapton announced he won't play venues where the audience is required to be inoculated.
'Cake Boss' star Buddy Valestro to undergo sixth hand surgery
Ten months after a gruesome accident at his home bowling alley nearly ended his career, "Cake Boss" star Buddy Valestro has yet to regain full movement in his hand. While co-hosting "Entertainment Tonight" on July 21, the TV chef said he's preparing to undergo a sixth surgery that he hopes will return his full range of motion to his middle finger. "I can't move it over to the left," he explained, per Fox. "I have a large gap right there, but I have the strength. I can't lift my middle finger all the way up." The injury occurred in September 2020, when the pinsetting machine in his home bowling alley malfunctioned, causing his hand to get caught and pierced multiple times with a metal rod. During his recovery, he managed to film the third season of his competition show, "Buddy v. Duff." "I knew I could do a lot more with my hand, but doing fine details or doing some crazy piping or different molding and shaping, you don't really know until you are in it," he said. "But I could tell you and you could see it on the show, we have done some of the best cakes we have ever did. So thank god that we did and thank god for my surgeons." Buddy added that his family's been super supportive as well. Season 3 of "Buddy vs. Duff" premiered on the Food Network July 18.