The Reliable Source

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Sunday, May 21, 2006

Love and Marriage Prove Not to Be Lovelier The Second Time Around

If you didn't get around to sending a wedding present to Betty Scripps and Jeremy Harvey -- don't bother. Their three-month remarriage is already over. So over. Again.

"The marriage did not work out for a variety of reasons," Scripps, a trustee of the Washington National Opera, told us. "I intend to file for divorce as soon as legally possible."

It was just 12 weeks ago that the newspaper heiress, 80, and her second husband, 62, remarried after yet another quick courtship. The two first married in 1998, divorced in 2004, reunited in January and retied the knot Feb. 16 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. They made their first post-honeymoon appearance in Washington at the opera's 50th anniversary gala in March, and returned last month for a dinner honoring diplomats participating in the June 9 Opera Ball, which Scripps will be chairing for the seventh year.

The couple split two weeks ago, around the time the Palm Beach Daily News reported double trouble in paradise. Scripps intends to file for divorce in Virginia-- she owns a home in Charlottesville, as well as one in Lyford Cay, Bahamas, and "Chateau Amorois" in East Hampton. The waiting period for a final decree is six months unless there are special circumstances.

Scripps declined to go into detail about what prompted the split. Harvey said, "I think we just admitted we made a rash decision to remarry; we find that our lives have gone in different directions, and we're are separating amicably." Because they signed a prenup, Scripps (worth about $300 million) and Harvey will each retain the assets they brought into the remarriage. In other words, no big payday for the ex-groom.

"I'm fine. I really am fine," said the once-again Betty Knight Scripps. "I'm just moving on with my life."

A Local Doc Dispenses Some Buy-the-Book Advice

Think you can write a best-selling book? Sure you do -- everyone in Washington writes one sooner or later! Last year, local psychiatrist Gordon Livingston hit the semi-big time, selling 150,000 hardback copies of "Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart : Thirty True Things You Need To Know Now." This weekend, he's one the hundreds of scribes in town at BookExpo America with his self-help sequel, "And Never Stop Dancing," and shares five true things would-be authors need to know:

· Keep modest expectations and a sense of humor. "It's like dropping a stone in a very deep well and hoping you hear a sound. You have to write the book because you want to say what you want to say, not to become rich and famous."

· Don't underestimate the power of word of mouth. "I didn't do a national book tour, and I didn't get on Oprah ." But fans of the book told friends.

· Never turn down a chance to talk about the book . Almost everyone who shows up at book signings buys at least one copy and recommends it to others.

· Drop into bookstores and offer to sign your book . "It turns out they're very impressed, even when they don't know who you are." Staffers slap a "signed by the author" sticker on the book, and sometimes even read it. Bingo!

· Don't get discouraged if it doesn't take off. Livingston's book climbed to No. 20 on Amazon, then slid down and stabilized at 2,000. "There's something about selling steadily and unspectacularly."


In the week since the series finale aired, "The West Wing" is still getting under your skin -- and apparently chafing pretty bad. Our item on the show's last-ever batch of bloopers and D.C. discrepencies (May 16) inspired dozens to share the other mistakes they spotted.

It's not the "Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court," it's the "Chief Justice of the United States"! Why didn't the Marine Band play "Ruffles and Flourishes" as the president arrived? Haverhill, Mass., is pronounced "hay-vrill," not "have-er-hill"! And why was the January sun shining into the Oval Office at 6 p.m.? The show "seemed to try so hard to get so many things right," mused one reader, "then slipped on silly little things like the time of sunset and the fact that you'd see your breath on a freezing day."

Another reader alerted us to the local shout-out, as the new first lady gloated about a childhood rival: "I hope Janet Spragens has her television on tonight!" It was an insider tribute to the real Janet Spragens, an American University law professor who died Feb. 19 of cancer at the age of 62 -- a gift from a show producer who is a family friend.

Spragens -- daughter of "It's Academic" creator Sophie Altman and sister of lawyer Robert Altman , who is married to Lynda Carter -- specialized in tax policy and used an episode of "The West Wing" dealing with those issues in class (though not before writing the show's producers, politely noting some details they got wrong). "It was one of Mom's favorite shows," said daughter Lee Spragens of Los Angeles. "The fact that it aired on Mother's Day meant a lot."

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