Daily celeb tidbits

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Nick Lachey and “TRL” host Vanessa Minnillo passionately smooched in the new year, People.com reports.

Just before midnight, the two hotties – who have been dating for eight months – took their spot in the window for MTV’s live New Year’s Eve party coverage.

But off camera, things really heated up. Lachey whispered into Minnillo’s ear and kissed her neck. At midnight, they locked lips, and, between sips of champagne, whispered and kissed some more. Afterward, they partied at the Marquee club into the wee hours, People reports.

Meanwhile, Lachey’s ex, Jessica Simpson, was ringing in the new year with singer-songwriter John Mayer. According to People, the duo arrived in the Hudson Hotel’s VIP room just after 2 a.m. and cozied up in a sofa nook across the room from Christina Aguilera’s entourage.

Simpson and Mayer were spotted having dinner at the Mercer Kitchen on Friday, walking around Barneys on Saturday, and hanging out at the Comedy Cellar that night.

!Viva Mexico!

“Babel” actor Gael Garcia Bernal embraces his Mexican identity, saying it has a liberating effect on his expanding career.

“I feel completely free to be whatever,” Garcia Bernal, 28, told the Los Angeles Times. “Actually, if I was an actor from the United States, it would be incredibly hard, because I would be pigeonholed immediately.”

The actor will appear next year in Hector Babenco’s “El Pasado” “(The Past)”, which chronicles a married couple’s difficult breakup.

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