'Bridgerton' and 'Sex Education' star Simone Ashley watched snails mate to prep for sex scenes
We all know birds and bees do it. But thanks to intimacy workshops, the stars of Netflix's "Bridgerton" and "Sex Education" know how snails do it, too. Simone Ashley, who appeared in steamy scenes in both shows, recently shared how she and her co-stars prepared for their skin-to-skin moments on camera during an appearance on the Los Angeles Times podcast "The Envelope." "In 'Sex Education,' we had like a sex intimacy workshop where we completely broke the ice, and you know, anything that was said, it was the most embarrassing or the most vulnerable, but it was a safe, intimate space. And we explored the movement of different animals to kind of portray different paces or different sexualities or how sensual something could be," she recalled on the Tuesday, June 21 episode (via Entertainment Weekly). "For example, we look to how snails mate, and when snails mate, they actually produce a plasma that intertwines. So if it was a really sensual, slow kind of scene, we'd be like, 'Oh, it's like the snail.' And it's super like the plasma, like falling like honey," she continued. "So we would make it about that. Or how dogs mate or chimpanzees mate, it's very fast-paced and a different kind of style. So this kind of scene, we're going to make it very funny and quirky and just silly, and let's think of like, this animal." In the end, she said, sex scenes are just "like a dance," albeit a dance led by intimacy coordinators.
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Natalie Portman reflects on being 'seen as big' after bulking up, 'growing' 9 inches taller for 'Thor'
At just 5-foot-3-inches tall, Natalie Portman is technically one full foot shorter than her "Thor" co-star, Chris Hemsworth, who towered over her petite frame in the franchise's first two movies. There's significantly less towering — and, frankly, more Natalie — in Taika Waititi's upcoming "Thor: Love and Thunder," which sees her Jane Foster character transformed into the Mighty Thor, a chiseled, 6-foot-tall female superhero. "On 'Black Swan,' I was asked to get as small as possible," Natalie tells Variety in a new interview published this week. "Here, I was asked to get as big as possible. That's an amazing challenge — and also state of mind as a woman." While she worked with a trainer for more than 10 months to get her muscles Mighty Thor-ready, she had to rely on some movie magic to elevate her stature by nine inches. "We'd rehearse the scene, they'd see the path, and then they'd build a path that was like one foot off the ground or whatever, and I would just walk on that," she explains. In real-life, meanwhile, photos of her newly ripped physique leaked online at one point during filming and quickly went viral. The response only underscored the fact that she was suddenly taking up more space than she ever had before. "To have this reaction and be seen as big, you realize, 'Oh, this must be so different, to walk through the world like this,'" she says. "When you're small — and also, I think, because I started [acting] as a kid — a lot of times I feel young or little or, like, a pat-on-the-head kind of person. And I present myself that way, too, because of that." "Thor: Love and Thunder" hits theaters July 8.
Nick Cannon and Alyssa Scott remember late son Zen on what would have been his 1st birthday
On Thursday, June 23, Nick Cannon and Alyssa Scott both shared messages honoring what would have been their late son, Zen's 1st birthday, had he not died in infancy late last year. "Happy heavenly birthday Zen. At the root of all the emotions I have today there is insurmountable love," Alyssa shared on Instagram. "I always try my best to remain optimistic but right now I can't help but cry out 'it's not suppose [sic] to be like this.' In my mind I can see him smashing his cake and crawling around, tugging at my legs. But the reality is I will blow out his first candle. I will wish he was still here with us. GO REST HIGH," she concluded, quoting a song by Vince Gill. Nick reposted the model's loving, grief-stricken message on his own social media. "The loving, nurturing, irrefrangible, and strength-filled Amazing Mother [Alyssa] said it way better than I could ever," he captioned the repost. Nick, who's expecting his eighth child later this year, announced Zen's death in December on his talk show, explaining that the 5-month-old had been diagnosed with brain cancer.
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Billie Eilish admits she used a body double onstage at Coachella
Don't believe everything you see at music festivals, folks, or you could miss Billie Eilish standing next to you in the crowd — while you're watching "her" onstage. Turns out the singer pulled a fast one on her Coachella audience during the intro to her set in April. "[At] the beginning of Coachella, I had a body double, one of my dancers from the show," Billie told Apple Music 1's Matt Wilkinson in a new interview this week ahead of her Glastonbury Festival performance. "I dressed her up in a show look that I had worn before. We got a black wig and we put buns in it and we gave her a mask and sunglasses and she wore my shoes and my socks. I put her up at the back of the stage and she stood there while the lights went on and everybody thought it was me. Nobody ever knew it wasn't me — literally nobody knew," the mischievous star continued. "And while she's up there, I put on a big black coat and like a traffic vest and a hood and just glasses. And I walked through the crowd, all the way out to the end of the [stage's] thrust. Got under the thrust, took it all off, and got on and started the show. It worked!" Billie's set to headline Glastonbury's Friday, June 24 lineup, followed by headliners Paul McCartney on Saturday and Kendrick Lamar on Sunday, with Diana Ross covering this year's "Teatime Legends" slot.
Britney Spears shares update on new home after wedding: 'Change is so great'
Newlyweds Britney Spears and Sam Asghari are still settling into their newly minted married life and their new home, Brit recently shared with her Instagram followers. "Haven't been on my honeymoon yet … got married and moved into a new house around the same time … not the smartest thing to do," she wrote beneath a poolside selfie on Wednesday, June 22. The post, her first in a week, also featured video of Sam diving into the pool and swimming past a large waterslide. While she said things are "coming together" with the new house, she also admitted it's "weird" to "wake up and everything is new … new pool … new kitchen … new bed … I think I'm in shock !!!" The pop star went on to gush, "Change is so great," and said she plans to "keep sharing," explaining that the social media updates keep her "on track." After tossing in one minor jab at her family for apparently making her feel "uncool," she ended on a positive note: "I cut all my hair short and my husband just made me a steak … life is good." Britney and Sam tied the knot at their home earlier this month, following the end of her long-running conservatorship.
Bill Cosby's team claims trial 'victory' after star was found liable in sexual battery case
Earlier this week, a California jury in a civil case found Bill Cosby sexually assaulted a woman when she was 16 and ordered him to pay her $500,000 in compensatory damages for emotional distress. Now, his team is calling the ruling a "victory" for the former comedian. In a statement (via Variety), Bill's rep Andrew Wyatt said the star "was awarded an astonishing victory by jurors in a civil trial brought by Judy Huth," who accused Bill of having lured her to the Playboy Mansion in 1975, where she said he pulled down his pants, grabbed her hand and forced her to pleasure him with it after getting her alone in a bedroom. She was a minor at the time. "The jurors decided to grant Judy Huth with a $500,000 verdict but voted 9-3 in favor of not rewarding Ms. Huth any punitive damages," the statement continued. Bill's rep also said the star's attorney will appeal, claiming "… Ms. Huth will never receive a payday from Mr. Cosby and her estimated mounting legal bills ($3 million plus dollars) with Allred, Maroko & Goldberg will be outstanding for many years to come." Gloria Allred, who represented Judy in the case, told Variety after the verdict on Tuesday, June 21, that the outcome represents "real change" for women, as Bill "was held accountable for what he did to" her client. "Ms. Huth has no legal bills for fees with my law firm," she added. "The $3 million legal bill that Mr. Wyatt cited appears to be a figment of his imagination. In the alternative, it may be that that the $3 million amount is what Mr. Cosby had to spend to hire countless lawyers over the years in his unsuccessful effort to defend himself from Ms. Huth's lawsuit." The outlet reported jurors couldn't agree on whether Bill "acted with 'malic, oppression or fraud,'" which prevented them from awarding punitive damages in the case.
Duchess Meghan sends care package, gratitude to mom-centric gun safety nonprofit
As the Senate inched closer to passing the first bipartisan gun safety law in 25 years this week, Duchess Meghan sent a batch of coffee, treats and a personal thank-you note to the anti-gun violence nonprofit, Moms Demand Action. "@MomsDemand volunteers and staff have been working around the clock for weeks, so it was moving to receive such a supportive note – and snacks! – from the Duchess of Sussex today," Moms Demand Action founder and mother of five, Shannon Watts, tweeted on Wednesday, June 22. Shannon also shared a photo of Megan's note. "Good afternoon ladies! To each of you and your fearless leader, Shannon, a huge thank you for the work you are doing to keep our kids, families, and communities safe," wrote the duchess, who shares two children with Prince Harry. "Please know that while you may feel exhausted by your endless hours of dedication to this cause, I hope you feel energized in knowing that the work you're doing is vital and so deeply appreciated. As a mom, as a friend, thank you so much!" Meghan's care package included donuts, coffee, cookies and "bagels w/the works," according to Shannon.