Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's exit from the royal family has been nothing if not fraught with intrigue. The latest batch of rumors and news has the royal family being forced to agree to Megxit out of fear of reprisal, subliminal messages on Instagram and Hugh Grant playing defense for the pair.
Queen Elizabeth II officially approved Harry and Meghan's intention to leave their royal perches after a summit with her son Prince Charles, Harry and Prince William, but some are saying the monarch gave the OK out of fear.
Writes journo Tom Brady: the Queen feared Meghan would conduct a "no-holds-barred interview" where she would possibly call out the royal family for being "racist and sexist."
He continues: "I don't think it would be pretty."
Conspiracy theorists are convinced that Harry's recent social media post contained a hidden message. The Instagram Story video posted on the account he shares with Meghan showed him entering a palace room to face cameras in what many believe may be his last formal engagement. The alleged hidden message comes in the form of the song he chose to accompany the vid: the Stone Roses' hit "This is the One," which has lyrics about leaving the U.K. for "a month of Sundays."
The song goes: "A girl consumed by fire, we all know her desire — from the plans that she has made, I had her on a promise. All the plans that I have made — this is the one," the song says, threatening to ‘burn the town where I was born.'"
Harry's fellow Brit Hugh Grant feels his pain. The 59-year-old defended the royals on Andy Cohen's Sirius XM show "Radio Andy," saying: "I'm rather on Harry's side, I have to say. The tabloid press effectively murdered his mother, now they're tearing his wife to pieces. I think, as a man, it's his job to protect his family. So, I'm with him."
Grant is referring to Harry's mother Princess Diana who died in a car crash while being chased through Paris by paparazzi.
The jury selection in Harvey Weinstein's rape trial is wrapping up. Here's the latest:
Judge James Burke says that one potential juror is facing time behind bars after posting about his summons on social media, in violation of Burke's direct order.
Asking the man to come in and appear before him he said: "There's one person who did clearly violate the court's (order). I am asking you to return to this courtroom… to show cause for why I should not hold you in contempt and facing 30 days in jail."
He was told to return March 10th. "If you cannot afford an attorney, then I can get one for you...OK, good luck."
"Thank you," responded the man.
Supermodel Gigi Hadid, 24, showed up with a bodyguard at court to find out if she'd been selected, but she was soon spotted leaving again. Court officials confirmed Thursday that she was cut from the list of potential jurors.
Of the more than 600 potential jurors screened, five were selected Thursday: three men and two women. Ultimately, 12 jurors and six standbys will be selected.
Opening statements are set to begin January 22nd. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty, but faces life in jail if convicted.
LEONARDO DICAPRIO, PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDGE TO PRESENT SAGs: The 2020 SAG Awards are happening Sunday, January 19th, and Hollywood is gearing up. Several A-list celebs have been named as presenters, including Fleabag star and two-time SAG Award nominee Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Millie Bobby Brown, America Ferrera, Leonardo DiCaprio and others. Watch the show live on TNT or TBS at 8 pm EST.
AMBER HEARD STEPS OUT WITH NEW LOVE: Amber Heard, 33, appears to happy in love with new girlfriend Bianca Butti. The pair were spotted in PDA mode walking around San Diego. Butti, 38, is a cinematographer who is open about her battle with cancer on social media. Heard was previously married to Johnny Depp and has dated Elon Musk, photographer Tasya van Ree and Vito Schnabel in the past.
AMBER TAMBLYN TALKS SISTERHOOD REUNIONS: Amber Tamblyn is dishing on the hijinks she and her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants co-stars—Alexis Bledel, Blake Lively and America Ferrera—get up to when they hang. She tells Watch What Happens Live that she tends to get the tipsiest: "It's always Blake with her tall, 6-foot self carrying me like a prince out of anywhere we're at."
WENDY WILLIAMS APOLOGIZES FOR MOCKING CLEFT PALATE: After being slammed for appearing to mock people with cleft palates, Wendy Williams is apologizing. The daytime talk show host offended fans after appearing to refer to Joaquin Phoenix's lip but asserting that she finds him "oddly attractive" despite what she said was his cleft palate. Canadian football player Adam Bighill was one of the many who called her out on social media. When he tweeted this about his son: "Today is Beau's big day. He is getting his lip repaired today in Winnipeg by the fantastic Dr. Ross. Thanks to everyone who has reached out, and in advance, thanks for any of your well wishes for Beau. He is so loved!" Williams responded, tweeting: "I want to apologize to the cleft community and in Beau's honor, our show is donating to @operationsmile and @AmerCleftPalate and encourage our Wendy Watchers to learn more and help support the cleft community." He then thanked her and championed her decision.
Elle Fanning covers Marie Claire's February issue, and inside, the Maleficent: Mistress of Evil star calls everyone's bluff on social media.
The 21-year-old Fanning, who has 3.7 million followers on Instagram, admits that she totally reads everyone's comments, and bets other celebs do too: "People can say they don't read any comments, but...Mmm, yeah, you do! I do! Of course you look. 'Oh, your ankles look huge.' What the heck?! It is bizarre, like, who is this person?"
She also says she vastly prefers the ‘Gram to Twitter: "Twitter scares me! Oh my God, Twitter is so intense. Instagram I do enjoy; I have a private account and a public account."
And yes, even celebrities get FOMO, she says: I do think there are dangers that I totally fall into, of looking down that rabbit hole, comparing yourself to everybody else and seeing, Oh, their life, that vacation. I try to keep it light and tell fans about movies that are coming out or about a photo shoot. That can get really intense too."
She also discussed how her relationship with Angelina Jolie, her Maleficent co-star, has evolved. Fanning said: "Angelina's and my relationship definitely changed. She didn't have to look at me as a kid; she didn't have to censor what she could talk about." She laughs. "That was exciting, to have that relationship."
The relationship between Jersey Shore stars Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Jen Harley continues to be fraught with violence. According to Ortiz-Magro's lawyers, the 34-year-old alleges that his estranged girlfriend entered his home Saturday night and "viciously" attacked him. He has been granted an emergency restraining order.
"Regrettably, on Saturday night, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro was, again, the victim of a domestic violence incident at the hands of Jennifer Harley. At that time, Ms. Harley entered his home while he was sleeping and started viciously assaulting him," Ortiz-Magro's lawyers said in a statement. "Ronnie immediately called the Las Vegas Police Department and filed a domestic violence complaint against Jennifer. Then, this morning, a Family Court Judge in the Clark County (Las Vegas, NV) District Court, Family Division granted Ronnie an Emergency Order for Protection Against Domestic Violence. This Emergency Order is in effect until February 25, 2020."
According to TMZ, Harley attacked him with eyeliner she found in the trash, using it to try to poke him in the eye. He reportedly had cuts and bruising on his face and swelling under his right eye after the incident.
The pair share Ariana, 1, and have been struggling to co-parent amid allegations on both sides of abuse. In October, Ortiz-Magro was arrested for domestic violence against Harley.
Chris Evans thinks politics can be confusing, so he decided to do something about it. As he explained to Wired, he is launchinga political site called A Starting Point to help citizens—including himself—understand civic life by sharing both sides' POV.
He explained: "I just wanted a basic understanding, a basic history, and a basic grasp on what the two parties think."
So Captain America recruited his his friend, actor and director Mark Kassen (they worked together in 2011's Puncture), and Masimo founder and CEO Joe Kiani and created A Starting Point.
The site will feature one-minute long videos of Democratic and Republican politicians answering questions. To prepare, he visited Washington to "film more than 1,000 videos from more than 100 members of Congress, along with about half of the 2020 Democratic hopefuls."
A Starting Point is currently in demo mode with a launch date TBD.
Reaction on social media was mixed. Wrote one fan: "I love the idea. I'm glad people are trying to get others more engaged in our politics. It can be extremely frustrating, but it is so important. Giving people access to unbiased answers in an understandable language could make it more appealing."
A critic opined: "What is broken in Washington is a corrupt GOP party. What Chris will do is both sides crap and ignore the boil blocking his view- GOP conspired against USA 4 $$$ allowed by corrupt Citizens United; they stacked courts so KOCH, Mercer, Addleson can destroy Democracy".
CHILLING ADVENTURES TRAILER DROPS: Season 3 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina forecasts hell to pay when the series returns January 24th. Here's the synopsis: "Though she defeated her father Lucifer, the Dark Lord remains trapped within the human prison of her beloved boyfriend, Nicholas Scratch. Sabrina can't live with herself, knowing that Nick made the ultimate sacrifice and is suffering, burning in Hell under Madam Satan's watchful eye. So with an assist from her mortal friends, ‘The Fright Club' (consisting of Harvey, Rosalind, and Theo), Sabrina makes it her mission to free him from eternal damnation and bring him back into her arms. However, the Dark Lord's unseating has sent shockwaves through the realms—and, with no one on the throne, Sabrina must assume the title of ‘Queen' to defend it against a challenger, the handsome Prince of Hell Caliban. Meanwhile, in Greendale, a mysterious carnival rolls into town, bringing with it a threat to the Spellmans and the coven: A tribe of pagans looking to resurrect an ancient evil." Kiernan Shipka leads as Sabrina, with Miranda Otto, Lucy Davis, Ross Lunch and Gavin Leatherwood among the other returning stars.
PUNKY BREWSTER SERIES ORDERED: NBC's newbie streamer Peacock is greenlighting a follow-up series to the classic sitcom Punky Brewster. The reboot will star the OG Punky Soleil Moon Frye and Cherie Johnson. The series will follow Punky as a single mother of three trying to get her life in order, when she meets Izzy (Quinn Copeland), a young girl in the foster system who reminds her or her younger self. Peacock is set to debut in April.
RYAN MURPHY TO BE HONORED: Ryan Murphy will take home the Vito Russ Award at the GLAAD Media Awards on March 19th. Named for the organization's founder, the award recognizes members of Hollywood who champion LGBTQ inclusion on-set. The Emmy, Golden Globe and Peabody Award-winning writer, producer and director has been honored by GLAAD many times for his work in the LGBTQ community.
NETFLIX TO SPEND MORE THAN $17B IN CONTENT THIS YEAR: Netflix is revving the engine on spending once again. This year, the mega-streamer is expected to spend $17.3 billion in content, according to a forecast from BMO Capital Markets. By 2028, BMO says Netflix will shell out $26 billion annually. "We continue to believe the ‘streaming wars' narrative is false and there will be multiple winners in global streaming," BMO's Dan Salmon wrote in the research note.