No wedding bells ring

When news broke that the superest uber-model in creation was pregnant by one of the most distinctive-looking pop stars under the sun, crazed speculation began to run rampant.

If she’s expecting, the logic went, this must mean, of course, that Heidi Klum has already married Seal in a top-secret wedding perhaps in some supersecret bunker hundreds of feet beneath the Mojave Desert. But, alas, the rumors are untrue.

At least, that’s what Klum says. According to People.com, she even went on a German TV program to say so. “We did not marry,” the stunning spoilsport said in some annoyingly unequivocal words on “Wetten Das?” (It sort of means “Wanna Bet?”) Don’t despair: She confirmed that she is with child and is engaged to Seal.

– Knight Ridder Newspaper

Celine’s hubby in the clear

LAS VEGAS (AP) – A minister from California has been convicted of trying to extort millions of dollars with his wife’s rape allegation against singer Celine Dion’s husband.

Ae Ho Kwon, 52, could face probation or up to 12 years in prison and deportation to South Korea following his conviction Monday on felony charges of extortion, conspiracy and soliciting a bribe.

Kwon’s wife, Yun Kyeong Kwon Sung, 49, was convicted last year. In January, she was sentenced to 28 months to five years in prison in the plot to extort as much as $20 million from Rene Angelil. Sung had accused Angelil of raping her at a Las Vegas Strip hotel in 2000.

Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass ordered Kwon, a Presbyterian minister from Pasadena, taken into custody pending sentencing on May 12.

Kwon’s lawyer, Lisa Rasmussen, said he would appeal.

Through his lawyers, Angelil has denied any wrongdoing. His lawyer, David Chesnoff, praised the verdict.

Angelil paid Sung and Kwon $2 million in 2000 as part of a confidential settlement, but authorities said Kwon and Sung demanded more money two years later.

Chesnoff has said the payment wasn’t an admission of guilt, but rather was made out of Angelil’s concern for his and Dion’s health and public images.

Sung and Kwon were arrested in January 2003 at a Las Vegas meeting among lawyers that involved an undercover detective and was secretly taped by police.

Phelps, Sugar Ray to judge

Joining Phelps and Leonard in Baltimore on April 11 will be Molly Sims, Raj Bhakta from “The Apprentice” and Brody Hutzler from “Days of Our Lives.” Pamela Dennis, model Nicola Breytenbach and Frederic Fekkai make up the rest of the panel.

This year, the public is invited to weigh in on the contest’s preliminary round through a virtual judging component. From April 1 to April 6, fans can log onto http://www.CoverGirl.com to view photographs and interviews of the 51 contestants and vote for their favorites. The public’s vote counts for less than 10 percent of the preliminary vote.

A group of beauty industry experts will select the top 15 entrants before the competition. On the night of the pageant, to air live on NBC, the judges will assess those 15 finalists in the categories of swimsuit, evening gown and interview.

The winner will represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant, to be held this year in Bangkok, Thailand.

– Knight Ridder Newspaper

Coco Lee takes her time

HONG KONG (AP) – Coco Lee’s first U.S. album failed to make her a household name, but the Chinese-American singer is optimistic that she’ll eventually break into the lucrative American market.

“It always takes time, and with the right songs, the right single and the right marketing, I think hopefully we’ll be able to do it,” Lee said.

Her second English-language album, “Exposed,” is set for release in the United States on March 28. Lee’s first U.S. release, 2000’s “Just No Other Way,” didn’t sell as well as her record company, Sony, had hoped.

Lee performed “A Love Before Time,” the English theme song to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” at the 2001 Oscar ceremony.

She described “Exposed” as a “rhythmic” album infused with Chinese and hip-hop sounds. Korean and Indian rappers worked on the release, she said.

– Knight Ridder Newspaper


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