Adoption story

Why Elton John was stopped from attempting to adopt HIV-positive Ukrainian child

Before he and husband David Furnish had children, Sir Elton John was trying desperately to adopt a young Ukrainian baby. Multiple factors, including his sexuality, kept him and David from doing so. 

While on Dua Lipa's At Your Service podcast, the singing legend spoke of meeting a 14-month-old, HIV-positive baby named Lev in 2009. Elton completely fell in love with the child. 

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"I was carrying this little boy around for hours. We had a press conference at the end and they said, 'You seem very fond of this little boy. Would you think of adopting him?' and I went, 'I'd actually love to!'" Elton recalled saying at the time.

There was a problem: The "Rocket Man" icon is gay and married to a man, which automatically made him ineligible to adopt in the European country. 

"Because I was gay, I wasn't allowed to anyway," he told Dua. 

That little boy, though, would still alter the course of Elton's life in a big way.

"After that happened, David said, 'Well, what do you think about having kids?' I always said no but this little boy was telling me something. He was saying 'C'mon you can be a dad,' and that's when we decided to have children, because of this little boy in Ukraine," Elton said. 

Elton and David now share two children, Zachary, 11, and Elijah, 9.

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Aside from the sexuality issue, Elton's age also prohibited him from adopting back then. News Hub reported that Ukrainian law requires an adoptive parent to be no older than 45. At the time, Elton was 62 years old. The law also requires parents to be married, but Ukraine does not recognize gay union as marriage, the report said.

"Elton John will not be able to adopt a Ukrainian child and if he files that request we will unfortunately deny it," Ukraine's Family, Youth and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko said at the time. "The law is the same for everybody: for a president, for a minister, for Elton John."

Going dark

Jennifer Lopez scrubs Instagram, fans think 'major announcement' is coming

Jennifer Lopez is having a black out. The "Jenny From The Block" singer scrubbed her Instagram on Wednesday, Nov. 23, and left nothing but a black circle as her profile picture.

Her Twitter and TikTok accounts also feature a black circle as her profile picture. 

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Although she gave no explanation for the move, it's likely that J.Lo is preparing to make a major announcement, as many celebrities delete their social media pasts to reveal something grandiose, such as a tour, movie, music video or new product. Everything on her website was removed, as well.

Amidst at this, fans got in on the fun, as "J Lo is Coming" was trending on Twitter. Many Twitter users referred to a "major announcement" being in the works.

J. Lo is an avid social media user. The superstar even thrilled her followers on social media recently in posting a video with new husband, Ben Affleck

A narrator in the video said, "Guys I did it. I found the person that makes me the happiest I have ever been."

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Ben and Jen tied the knot at a Las Vegas wedding chapel in July 2022. They later had a more formal ceremony at his Georgia estate.

"Obviously we weren't trying to go out in public. But I never shied away from the fact that for me, I always felt like there was a real love there, a true love there," Jennifer told Vogue in a November 2022 cover story. "People in my life know that he was a very, very special person in my life. When we reconnected, those feelings for me were still very real."

Closet cost

Christina Ricci sold personal handbag collection to pay for divorce

Christina Ricci paid for her divorce with her closet. 

The "Yellowjackets" star opened up about her split from James Heerdegen in 2020 and detailed how she put her fashion sense to "good use."

"There are certain things that I have collected, certain bags. I had quite a Chanel-handbag collection for a while, but I sold a lot of things," Christina, 42, told the Sunday Times Style magazine.

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When asked why she sold her bags, she said, "Well, certain traumas in life go along with financial traumas, extended court situations, custody situations, fighting restraining orders. Having said that, I'm absolutely doing fine, there's no issue. But I learnt to use these investment pieces in different ways. I also had a Chanel Fine Jewelry collection that I put to good use."

The actress and James, who share an 8-year-old son, were married for seven years before a nasty split. She has since remarried, tying the knot with hairstylist Mark Hampton. The two share 11-month-old daughter, Cleo. 

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During the Sunday Times chat, the "Adams Family" alum admitted that a "chaotic" childhood has led her to make poor choices in her personal life. 

"I think with those things . . . Well, I can't speak for everyone, but it took me a long time to admit to myself what was going on, what it should be called," Christina said, noting she hasn't seen her father in more than 20 years. "Denial is very strong. Of course you don't want to accept that the worst possible thing is happening and that you put yourself in that situation. So it took me a really long time to realize that."

Car crash

'Chrisley Knows Best' son, 16, hospitalized after severe car accident

"Chrisley Knows Best" star Grayson Chrisley was rushed to the hospital after being badly injured in a car accident in Nashville, Tennessee.

Grayson, the 16-year-old son of Todd and Julie Chrisley, was driving on the freeway when he accidentally plowed into the back of a Dodge truck stuck in standstill traffic. 

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TMZ said the teen suffered a "potential head injury" and told officers he didn't recall what happened. Photos of the aftermath appear to show Grayson's truck completely totaled, as the hood is cracked, windshield smashed and front end mangled. The back of the truck that Grayson allegedly rear-ended also showed significant damage. 

Grayson was rushed to the hospital via ambulance. The driver of the other truck refused medial attention, but TMZ said he also suffered injuries. 

No arrests or citations were handed out. 

Fans of the family's reality show know that Todd was worried about Grayson's driving, particularly due to a crash Savannah Chrisley got into as a young driver. 

The crash is just another setback for the family. On June 7, 2022, Todd and Julie were found guilty of criminal bank fraud and tax evasion charges in federal court. They're awaiting sentencing.

Then, on Sept. 23, 2022, another legal situation came to the forefront after a former Georgia Department of Revenue investigator sued Todd for defamation. 

Amy Doherty-Heinze, who investigated the Chrisley parents for tax evasion, alleged that Todd was lying about her on his "Chrisley Knows Best" podcast and falsely accusing her of criminal conduct. In the lawsuit, which was obtained by TMZ, Amy said Todd named her twice and "maliciously" accused her of breaking laws during the investigation, even calling for her to be prosecuted. 

This is actually the second time she's filed a defamation lawsuit against the Chrisley family patriarch, having first done so in 2021. She filed the second lawsuit after he refused to retract his initial statements. Todd has actually been doubling down on his critiques of Amy, naming her in another podcast and claiming she "illegally" accessed the Georgia Crime Information Center. The first lawsuit is still pending. 

Twitter tweaks

Elon Musk changed Twitter rules, reinstates Kathy Griffin

Elon Musk is changing the bird.

On Friday, Nov. 18, the Twitter owner announced that "negative/hate tweets" would no longer be welcome on the site, but they won't be deleted either. 

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"New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach. Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter," he tweeted. "You won't find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet."

In continuing, he added, "Note, this applies just to the individual tweet, not the whole account."

Elon then decided it was time to let a few people out of Twitter jail, including Kathy Griffin, who banned from the social media site in early November for making fun of the Tesla founder. Author Jordan Peterson and conservative parody outlet The Babylon Bee were also reinstated.

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Naturally, many people wondered what constituted a negative tweet, but few questions were answered. While letting Kathy and other free, the SpaceX CEO said a decision as to whether to let former President Donald Trump back on Twitter "has not yet been made."

Trump was permanently banned on the site following the deadly January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, as then-Twitter executives cited "the risk of further incitement of violence." At the time, Elon, who didn't own the company yet, stated that Trump should not have been banned, calling it a "mistake." 

"Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated," he said upon purchasing the platform earlier this year. "I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans."

However, while Elon decides on Trump's Twitter future, he has made up his mind on another prominent republican figurehead. After a user implored the Chief Twit to reinstate conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Elon simply wrote, "No."

Linked

Pete Davidson linked to another famous beauty who's newly single — and friendly with his ex Kim Kardashian

Pete Davidson, Hollywood's modern-day Lothario, might have snagged another stunning A-lister. 

An anonymous sighting sent to social media gossip site Deux Moi on Nov. 13 claimed that the "Saturday Night Live" alum was spotted on a date in New York City over the weekend with actress and model Emily Ratajkowski, and the two appeared to be getting physical. 

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"His hands were allll over her and they're clearly clearly hooking up," the anonymous tipster told Deux Moi. 

While the report isn't confirmed, it's not hard to imagine. Pete has long been linked to a bevy of Hollywood beauties including Kate Beckinsale, Kaia Gerber, Phoebe Dynevor, Cazzie David, Margaret Qualley, Ariana Grande — to whom he was engaged — and, most recently, Kim Kardashian. 

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Just last year, Emily praised Pete after they worked together on a modeling shoot for a Canadian clothing brand. 

"Pete — he's got the height. Obviously women find him very attractive," she said during an appearance on "Late Night With Seth Meyers." "Guys are like, 'Wow. What's that guy got?' And I'm like, I mean, he seems super charming. He's vulnerable. He's lovely. His fingernail polish is awesome. He looks good!"

Pete became single in August following a nine-month romance with Kim. Emily, who is friends with Kim, filed to divorce film producer Sebastian Bear-McClard in September after four years of marriage. 

In July, whispers emerged that Emily's marriage to Sebastian was in trouble amid allegations he cheated

"He's a serial cheater. It's gross. He's a dog," a source told Page Six of Sebastian, who shares a toddler son with Emily. 

Following her divorce, Emily was linked to Brad Pitt and DJ Orazio Rispo.

Final days

Tired, flirtatious and resisting rehab: Inside Aaron Carter's final days

Aaron Carter was looking frail and "extremely tired" just two days before his untimely death, his manager said.

"He looked thin," Taylor Helgeson told Page Six. "He just looked like he needed to be doing anything but working. He looked like he needed to be taking care of him."

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Although nothing has been confirmed, it seems that the "I Want Candy" singer's addictions caught up with him, as a report claims he was surrounded by pill bottles and compressed air cans. Prior to the death, there had been suspicions that Aaron was huffing compressed air to get high. 

Despite his "tired" guise, Aaron was in good spirits and working on new music in the studio the week of his passing. Still, Aaron's manager — who'd been woking with him for eight months — was perplexed by the difference in the singer's attitude and appearance.  

"He didn't seem okay," Taylor said before explaining, "Now, when I say that, I think it's really important to kind of context that. He didn't seem okay physically … [but] mentally, he was the most excited I've seen him in months. He was very intelligent and he was very conscious of what people wanted to see from him."

The "House of Carter" alum was also flirtatious in his dwindling hours, as he was apparently begging model Sonya Cruz to come to his house. "You should see me soon… ASAP… like tomorrow… my place," he wrote in a series of messages according to screengrabs published by the Daily Mail. He even offered to pay for an Uber to get Sonya to his Lancaster, Calif., home that evening. Sonya relented, writing, "talk tomorrow after you get up." Aaron, who had an on-and-off relationship with fiancé Melanie Martin, would not wake up again. 

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Since Aaron's body was found in the bathtub by a housekeeper, rumors pertaining to the cause of death have swirled, but Taylor is convinced that it accidental. 

"He was a guy with a lot of plans," the manager said. "We had so much stuff going on and, you know, Aaron was a really prideful guy in his own right, too."

Of course, that's not to say Aaron didn't have issues. Far from it. In fact, Taylor told Page Six that he and Aaron were at odds over the singer's resistance to go to an inpatient rehab program in Utah. 

"We were proposing [what] would have been … three months in Utah just on detoxing and kind of formulating new physical habits within your body," the manager said. "Aaron was saying, 'I'm going to get my kid back and then I'm going to do this,' and I was saying, 'If you do this, I'm definitely going to get you your kid back,' and that was the disagreement."

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In September, Aaron and Melanie lost custody of their son, due to domestic violence and drug-use concerns, the Los Angeles Times reported. However, in trying to regain custody, Aaron did opt for treatment, but it was an out-patient program near his home, which is less-stringent than the Utah program. Further, his attendance record wasn't admirable, as he reportedly skipped several dates. Aaron, TMZ said, stopped going to treatment sessions briefly, but was reinstated just before his last breath.

Ironically, in September, Aaron had told a paparazzo that he'd been sober for five years, something that few people believed, particularly due to his appearance. Before the 34-year-old's death, Aaron's longtime friend Gary Madatyan told ET, "He looked terrible. He lost so much weight. He was not acting normal. His mind was not there. I heard he's taking a lot of medication, not specifically illegal drugs, but he was on a lot of medication."

In his final days, Aaron was often thinking about his son, Prince, and was determined to make a good life for him, Taylor said. 

"I was like, 'You need a will,' so I reached out to my publicist at that time, and I had asked her to help with getting the paperwork," the manager says. "And so we started getting that together and we got the paperwork out and it never got signed. It never got filled out."

Commando queen

Jenna Bush Hager has a hilarious underwear confession 

Jenna Bush Hager is letting it all hang out. 

On a recent "Today with Hoda and Jenna" segment, Hoda Kotb stunningly revealed that the former First Daughter "never wears underwear."

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After Hoda blurted out the secret on the air, Jenna confirmed her affinity for going commando, saying, "It makes a more pretty silhouette!"

While still stunned at her cohost for letting the world in on her underwear choice, Jenna said, "I also think you don't have to pack as much. There's a lot of pros to it!" While joking to Hoda, she added, "You promised me you wouldn't do this! There's a lot of people here! I'm sure my mom has never been more proud."

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The women then went on to address the benefits of eschewing underwear.

"[Hoda] said, 'Do you wash your clothes and I said 'Yes, I do.' But it's also not like I'm sharing your jeans with you," Jenna laughed. "Though I do steal Savannah [Guthrie]'s pants on occasion."

In doubled down on the topic, Jenna then hilariously asked if she could borrow Hoda's "red suit." She quipped, "I'll wear underwear."

Exiting

New NYC 'Housewives' star exits show over antisemitism

Bye, bye, Bravo. Just one month after it was announced that Lizzy Savetsky would star in the "Real Housewives of New York City" reboot, the fashion influencer is exiting the show. 

Page Six reported that Lizzy has quit the "Housewives" franchise after receiving a wave of antisemitic comments on her social media and in person, friends say. 

Lizzy Savetsky/Instagram

Lizzy, who is Jewish, was just announced as a cast member of the Bravo reboot last month at BravoCon 2022. 

"As soon as she was announced, she was getting insane threats and antisemitic on social media," a source said.

A second insider claims Lizzy is "scared" of the never-ending threats. 

"She experienced hate from cast and fans for being pro-Israel," a third person said. 

Lizzy, who calls herself a "proud Jew & Zionist," has never hid her affection for Israel. On Nov. 14, she posted a photo with her husband, Ira Savetsky, before heading to a performance by the Israel Philharmonic.

"Off to support two of my favorite causes: Israel and the arts!" she captioned the photo. 

In October, the reality TV star was one of many who took issue with Kanye West's antisemitic language.

"Instagram is a breeding ground for antisemitism," the 36-year-old said.

In an Instagram message in which she shared antisemitic posts sent directly to her, Lizzy added, "The amount of hate that exists towards us is rapidly growing thanks to irresponsible influence from huge voices like Kanye's! Thankfully Instagram has restricted Kanye's account. That doesn't change the fact that I continue to receive shockingly hateful, even threatening comments in support of his antisemitic message. My children's great grandmother didn't survive Auschwitz so we could sit idly by as people threaten our existence as a people. We have to speak up! I take these threats very seriously and you should too."

scary situation

Denise Richards' vehicle shot at in 'terrifying' road rage incident

Denise Richards was shaken but unharmed after a man shot at her vehicle in a Los Angeles road rage incident. 

A rep for the "Wild Things" star said Denise was in the passenger seat of a truck being driven by her husband, Aaron Phypers, on Monday, Nov. 14, when the incident happened. Denise and Aaron were headed to Popsicle Studio but were having trouble finding the place, which apparently irritated the driver behind them.

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TMZ said the driver was "shouting at them while trying to squeeze in front of them."

Aaron, reports claim, let the driver pass. However, after doing so, the impatient driver opened fire on Aaron's truck, hitting the back of it with a bullett. 

No one was injured in the gunfire. 

Following the incident, a troll mocked Denise on Twitter.

"I would never wish any harm on anyone. What I experienced yesterday with my husband, not that you care," she tweeted back. "Was the most terrifying situation I have ever been in."

Denise was reportedly sobbing as she arrived at the studio, which is where she's filming her latest project, "Angels Fallen: Warriors of Peace."