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Celebrity splits are none of our business, but we still care

“As soon as I finish my work, I’ve got some things planned,” she said last month. “Probably in, like, a year or two.” How quickly things change. Whatever the future holds for these two successful artists, we lay people have a talent for projecting ourselves and our own relationships onto celebrity couples. If Cardi and…

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Celebrity splits are none of our business, but we still care

“As soon as I finish my work, I’ve got some things planned,” she said last month. “Probably in, like, a year or two.” How quickly things change. Whatever the future holds for these two successful artists, we lay people have a talent for projecting ourselves and our own relationships onto celebrity couples. If Cardi and Offset — with their adorable daughter and the means to travel privately or order unlimited Postmates meals or sleep in one of several spare bedrooms — can’t make it through a pandemic together, how can the rest of us?Here’s why it matters to some folks more than it probably should:We fell in love with their love: Count me among those CRUSHED to discover Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock were divorcing.I have followed her career since Clarkson burst on the scene as the winner of the first season of “American Idol” in 2002.I dissected every single love song she wrote and performed, and listened to her sing about her difficult relationship with her dad and her inability to find true love.Plenty of Clarkson’s followers thought that had changed when in 2012 she started dating Blackstock, a talent manager, and married him a year later.She embraced his two kids from a previous marriage, and the pair had two of their own.They seemed so happy, so in love. We were smitten listening to the lyrics to her 2015 hit single, “Piece by Piece,” which revealed how Blackstock’s love for her and their young daughter helped Clarkson reevaluate her estranged relationship with her own father.”A lot of the reason why I wrote ‘Piece by Piece’ was, I guess, I didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until I had a child of my own, and until I experienced love like I do with Brandon on the daily,” she told the Huffington Post in 2015. “I guess you don’t realize something is missing until you feel it. I can’t imagine walking away from my little girl. I can’t imagine not having that love anymore. I didn’t know it was missing because I never had it. It was a revelation and that’s why I wrote that song. I think a lot of people go through that.”Clarkson filed for divorce in June and recently said her life “has been a little bit of a dumpster” since then.Our hearts broke for her a little bit this week when she spoke of protecting the hearts of their children while they go through the divorce process.”What I’m dealing with is hard because it involves more than just my heart, it involves a lot of little hearts,” Clarkson said Monday during the premiere of her daytime talk show’s second season. “We have four kids, and divorce is never easy.”They just seemed like they worked: Back when Christina Anstead was Christina El Moussa, I remember telling my own husband she and her first husband, Tarek El Moussa, seemed like an unlikely pair.We were watching an episode of their hit HGTV series “Flip or Flop” and to me, their energy just seemed … off.”But what do I know?” I said to my hubs. “Some people wonder how we work!”Apparently, I wasn’t too far off the mark because the couple announced in 2016 that they were splitting after seven years of marriage and two kids.Then she met Ant Anstead, host of the car series “Wheeler Dealers,” and found a new match.The now-erstwhile couple had a secret three-month engagement — he told her they were going on a bike ride and then grabbing dinner and proposed at sunset on the beach — and held a surprise wedding in December 2018. They seemed ideally suited for one another.They both had children from previous marriages and welcomed a son together after they married.On her solo show, “Christina on the Coast,” the Ansteads appeared to have fun together and seemingly succeeded at blending their families.Alas, she announced over the past weekend that she and Ant have separated.I did not see that split coming either.We can’t move on, even when they have: Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt divorced way back in 2005. Yet, to this day, the public can’t let them be within 100 miles of each other without turning it into a cause for speculation.There was genuine love there, people!Pitt and Aniston recently participated in a virtual table read of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” and the world only had eyes for them.What makes people continue to be drawn to a couple 15 years after they have broken up?Ask those who still miss Justin Timberlake with Britney Spears, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, or Nick Lachey being a newlywed with Jessica Simpson.No disrespect to their current partners, but we had history and investment in the old ones. I interviewed Ben Affleck back in February and had to stop myself from asking, “What happened with you and Jen (Garner, not Lopez)?!? You guys were my faves!”That’s pretty much what it boils down to. Celebrity couples are our real-life romance novels. We seemingly want them, scratch that, need them to have a happily ever after — for us.Randall Kessler is a divorce attorney, author and CNN/HLN contributor who has represented clients including “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star NeNe Leakes, rapper Juvenile and Usher Raymond’s first ex-wife, Tameka Foster, in their respective high-profile divorces and family court cases.Relationship drama is one of the great equalizers, Kessler told me.”It makes (celebs) human,” said Kessler, who is also an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law. “We see these superstars who have it all, they have money and fame, and guess what? They have the same failings and the same issues we all do.” When you think about it, that’s simultaneously sad and comforting.For your weekendThree things to watch:’Schitt’s Creek’Dying to see what all the fuss is about? This comedy series swept the Emmys and makes for perfect binge watching.Created by father-son duo Eugene and Daniel Levy, who also star in the series, it follows the wealthy Rose family as they find themselves down on their luck and forced to move to Schitt’s Creek, a town they purchased as a joke.Those who love it, really love it.The first fives seasons of the series are currently streaming on Netflix.’Goodfellas’In honor of the 30th anniversary of the mob movie to end all mob movies (how has it been that long?), you need to slice some garlic cloves for your marinara with a razor blade and hang out this weekend with Henry Hill and the boys.Anyone who knows me knows that I am kind of obsessed with “Goodfellas.” (I rewatch it weekly, seriously.)I shared an essay about my devotion to the Martin Scorsese film for the CNN podcast “Lisa, Sandra and Kristin Go to the Movies.” “Goodfellas” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and YouTube.’Filthy Rich’I’m a fan of trashy TV. CNN’s Brian Lowry described the Fox series as a bit of “a Franken-soap” about a mega-wealthy televangelist (played by Gerald McRaney) whose secrets come out after his death.I love a good Southern Gothic drama filled with hypocrisy and illegitimate children, especially when it stars Kim Cattrall, one of the main reasons I was a devoted fan of “Sex and the City.” The series airs on Sunday nights, and the first episode is currently streaming on Fox Now. Two things to listen to:It has been 22 years since its last studio album, but Public Enemy is making up for lost time by releasing a new album on Def Jam. “What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?” is jam-packed with collaborations with other hip-hop royalty like the Beastie Boys, Nas, Ice-T, Run-DMC and Cypress Hill.This latest album is worth it just for the single “Fight the Power: Remix 2020,” the visual of which debuted this year as the opener for the BET Awards.And don’t you worry about that little feud between Chuck D and Flavor Flav as it was all a stunt, according to Chuck D.The new album drops Friday.Carrie Underwood may have had to share the Entertainer of the Year award at the recent Academy of Country Music Awards, but this week her music won’t have to share the spotlight. Her new album, “My Gift,” is out Friday, and it’s her first-ever collection of holiday music.She’s got some special guests joining her, including John Legend and her 5-year-old son, Isaiah Fisher, as she croons some Christmas classics.Yes, Halloween isn’t even here yet, but I’m not mad about any attempts to hurry up and get to the end of 2020. One thing to talk about:Much love to my colleague, Sandra Gonzalez, who was the mastermind behind one of my favorite things about this year’s Emmy Awards — the Room Rater critiques.I’ll admit to being disappointed that Claude Taylor and Jessie Bahrey, who run the Twitter account @ratemyskyperoom, didn’t notice me enough to rip apart my bookcase backdrop featuring a stuffed teddy bear during my last CNN appearance. But I absolutely loved their observations on the rooms during this year’s virtual Emmy Awards.I need whoever designed the room for the “Schitt’s Creek” cast to come light up my life. Please and thank you. Something to sip onDear Hilary Duff, your husband really loves you.Matthew Koma recently revealed on Instagram that he had his wife’s name tattooed on his behind.Yes, you read that correctly. His left butt cheek now reads “Hilary.”Now, I don’t know if “tattoo shaming” is a thing or not. However, allow me to say that while I understand being in love, I have to interject a but here (applaud me for being so clever with my phrasing, please) and add that this feels very late 1990s/early 2000s.I thought we had tossed out inking our bodies with the names of our partners along with sex tapes and Nerds candy.Perhaps it was a gag meant to entertain Duff and us, but it sure looks real. To me it was a great reminder that our decisions can be long-lasting and everything is not for everybody. Yes, I am now culling life lessons from derriere tattoos. So, thanks, 2020. Mr. Koma, if you felt it was your duty to proclaim your devotion on your booty then God bless. Duff can’t ever say you weren’t willing to publicly go there. Pop back here next Thursday for all the latest happenings that matter in Hollywood.

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Celebrity News

Broadway comes to TV with ‘American Utopia’ and ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’

Both shows are worth the time, although seeing them at home, frankly, reinforces what’s lost in translation given the tingle that live theater, at its best, can send up your spine — a sensation that doesn’t quite emerge on either front. Together, they underscore what “Hamilton” so impressively accomplished by conjuring that elusive magic. Notably,…

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Broadway comes to TV with ‘American Utopia’ and ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’

Both shows are worth the time, although seeing them at home, frankly, reinforces what’s lost in translation given the tingle that live theater, at its best, can send up your spine — a sensation that doesn’t quite emerge on either front. Together, they underscore what “Hamilton” so impressively accomplished by conjuring that elusive magic. Notably, HBO Max’s “The West Wing” special also captures some of that by bringing a TV show to the stage for the purposes of watching at home. (Like CNN, HBO is a unit of WarnerMedia.)Byrne, the Talking Heads front man, has always possessed a theatrical and cinematic flair, including his 1986 directorial effort “True Stories.” Those qualities inform “American Utopia,” a collection of songs — imaginatively choreographed and lit — that conveys the joyous and playful aspects of his music.On the plus side, that sense of fun is entertaining enough. The main drawback is that while Byrne addresses pressing issues during his chatting with the audience — including the importance of voting, and introducing his performance of Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout,” name-checking Black people killed by police — there’s scant thematic adhesive to the presentation, unlike some other productions wedding rock to Broadway (Bruce Springsteen’s “Springsteen on Broadway,” filmed for Netflix, comes to mind).Lee does an admirable job of shooting the performance from every conceivable angle, although while the overhead shots are quite cool, one could probably do without closeups on Byrne’s feet, which along with the rest of the performers, are bare.Byrne’s playlist includes the hit “Burning Down the House,” and a boisterous rendition of “Road to Nowhere,” which includes a march through the appreciative audience.”American Utopia” doesn’t set the screen ablaze, but Byrne and his collaborators certainly know how to put on a show, even when it feels like they’re going nowhere.”What the Constitution Means to Me,” by contrast, is an audacious idea, one that starts slowly — at least in this format — before sinking in its hooks about halfway through.Playwright-star Schreck (a Tony nominee on both scores) earned college tuition money by competing in Constitutional debates, and revives her 15-year-old self to explore — humorously at first, pointedly later — its troubling and inequitable aspects, including mistreatment of women.Schreck’s reminiscing about “Dirty Dancing” and visiting legion halls to wax eloquently about the Constitution to mostly older men come into sharper focus when she exits the time capsule, and pivots to speaking in her 40-something voice.At that moment her memories and observations become sharper, from the patriarchal values of the court to violence against women to her own experience with abortion.”When abortion became illegal, it didn’t become rare,” she says, referencing the days before Roe v. Wade. “It only became deadly.”Schreck closes by engaging in a debate with a teen orator, Rosdely Ciprian, about whether the Constitution is indeed the living, breathing document that we’ve been taught to admire in school — adaptable to the modern age — or a hopelessly dated construct that needs to be discarded, starting over from scratch. It’s an interesting device, while lacking the impact of the material that precedes it.Directed by Marielle Heller (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), “What the Constitution Means to Me” serves as a reminder that those pining for the past tend to ignore historic inequalities. There’s even quotation from the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — who caused a stir when she saw the show last year — which makes the special feel extra timely and poignant.Minor drawbacks aside, both shows have plenty to recommend them. And if live theater means anything to you, they provide at least a taste of what you’re missing.”What the Constitution Means to Me” premieres Oct. 16 on Amazon.”American Utopia” premieres Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. ET on HBO, which like CNN, is a unit of WarnerMedia.

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Taraji P. Henson confirms split from fiancé Kelvin Hayden

The “What Men Want” actress confirmed during an appearance Monday on “The Breakfast Club” that she and the former NFL player have ended their engagement.”I just turned 50 and I mean, I hadn’t said it yet, but it didn’t work out,” she told the hosts of the popular New York City radio show. “I tried.…

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Taraji P. Henson confirms split from fiancé Kelvin Hayden

The “What Men Want” actress confirmed during an appearance Monday on “The Breakfast Club” that she and the former NFL player have ended their engagement.”I just turned 50 and I mean, I hadn’t said it yet, but it didn’t work out,” she told the hosts of the popular New York City radio show. “I tried. I was, like ‘Therapy, let’s do the therapy thing,’ but if you’re both not on the same page with that then you feel like, you’re taking it on yourself. And that’s not a fair position for anybody to play in a relationship.”The couple got engaged in 2018 and were scheduled to be married in June this year.In March Henson told “Extra” they were postponing the wedding due to the coronavirus pandemic.”It’s probably going to be more like July,” she said at the time. “We have to see what this will be like at the other end.”The “Empire” star was part of a panel discussion on “The Breakfast Club” about trauma and relationships.She said she loves Black men and Black love and is a fan of mental health support for her community. “It hurts when relationships don’t last,” she said. “I love to see Black love and I want to see more of it. I want to see our relationships last and make it.”

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‘Supermaket Sweep’ hopes to get you swept into the fun

The phrase “global pandemic” had just been thrown around in the news the day before and even though I’d been prepping supplies and canned goods since the month prior, I decided that morning that our household could use a fresh round of the basics so we could hunker down for a couple of weeks. Everyone…

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‘Supermaket Sweep’ hopes to get you swept into the fun

The phrase “global pandemic” had just been thrown around in the news the day before and even though I’d been prepping supplies and canned goods since the month prior, I decided that morning that our household could use a fresh round of the basics so we could hunker down for a couple of weeks. Everyone in West Los Angeles apparently had the same idea. I’ll remember that morning for the rest of my life because walking into a crowded grocery store with mostly bare shelves was something I had been privileged enough to not have experienced before. Though, there had been a time when I wanted nothing more than to run through a grocery store, clearing shelves as I went along. I loved “Supermarket Sweep” as a child and was convinced I could achieve financial independence if only given the chance to run the big sweep one day. (My plan was always to start by grabbing an inflatable bonus, running it back and then heading straight for the expensive meats.) This store looked like it had fallen victim to lots of sweepers but not in a fun way. Carts were piled high but faces were masked and not smiling. The eyes that poked above face coverings were filled with worry. By the time my turkey, ribs and I got to the checkout counter, and I heard that familiar beep, I didn’t think about “Supermarket Sweep.” I thought, “Get me the hell out of here.” ABC will premiere its reboot of “Supermarket Sweep” on Sunday, hoping to feed viewers’ appetite for escapist programming with their new take on the game show once hosted by David Ruprecht. In the process, it will confront the question of whether it’s escapist at all to be reminded of our complicated relationship with grocery shopping and food this year, whether you couldn’t find toilet paper or are one of the millions struggling with food insecurity in wake of the economic downfall. “We want it to be received with fun and laughter and joy and a little escape from the mask of it all,” executive producer Alycia Rossier told reporters on a recent conference call. “The grocery workers in the States have kept us alive for the last six months. They went to the store every day. And we see our store as a place of celebration.” The show honors a grocery store worker in every episode and awards them $2,000, Rossiter said. The groceries featured in the show’s store were also all donated to the Los Angeles Food Bank or, in the case of perishables, donated to animal charities that could use them as feed.”We were thinking about it every step of the way,” she said. That includes host and executive producer Leslie Jones, who noted that while people aren’t wearing masks inside their fictional grocery store, they are essential items. (Contestants and those on set were tested for coronavirus prior to filming, which occurred in late July, and safety protocols were instituted on set.) “I’m going to say right here, yeah, you’re supposed to have on your damn mask,” she said. If you appreciate Jones and her brand of humor for being as inherently joyful as intended, you’ll enjoy her in the role of host. Other than the prices of groceries, which will inspire sticker shock and the maximum amount of prize money ($100,000), no notable changes have been made to the game itself. And that’s great news because the game was perfect as it was. Jones sees the hour-long show as a chance for people “to bond together and know that there’s still some good stuff going on and that there’s hope.” Ultimately, viewers will decide if they’re ready to buy that.

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