Reese, Ryan on the Rocks: Let's Roll the Credits
You can never really know what's going on inside someone else's relationship, you know? So while the separation of Hollywood golden couple Reese Witherspoon , 30, and Ryan Phillippe , 32, confirmed by their publicists yesterday, will spawn all kinds of rumor and speculation to keep the glossy-mag industry going for months, we'll stick to the facts:
1997: They meet at her 21st birthday, two pretty young things of near-proximate career standing. Her biggest flick, "Fear," had grossed only $20 million. Months later, he hits it big with "I Know What You Did Last Summer" (box office: $72 million), is signed to lead role in star-studded "54."
1998: "54" tanks ($16 million).
1999: They co-star in "Cruel Intentions," Phillippe sharing top billing with Sarah Michelle Gellar , Witherspoon billed third. (gross: $38 million). They wed in June, welcome daughter Ava in September.
2001: Phillippe is paid $2.5 million to star in "Antitrust" (gross: $11 million). Witherspoon's "Legally Blonde" opens at No. 1 in July, grosses $96 million, earns her a $15 million paycheck for the sequel.
2002: Phillippe gets good notices for quirky supporting roles in "Gosford Park" ($41 million) and "Igby Goes Down" ($4 million). Witherspoon stars in "Sweet Home Alabama" ($127 million).
2003: "Legally Blonde 2" ($90 million). Couple welcomes son Deacon in October.
2005: Phillippe gets good notices for quirky supporting role (salary: $350,000) in "Crash" ($54 million); Witherspoon stars in "Walk the Line" ($119 million), wins Best Actress Oscar. But, hey -- "Crash" wins Best Pic!
2006: Phillippe gets good notices for role in "Flags of Our Fathers"; movie grosses a disappointing $19 million in its first two weeks.
Yesterday: Publicists for the couple issue a joint statement -- "They remain committed to their family and we ask that you please respect their privacy and the safety of their children at this time."
The Strategist Next Door
A profile in the December Vanity Fair portrays Karl Rove as a polarizing yet brilliant strategist facing his biggest challenge ever in next week's midterm elections -- but you knew that . Here's the dirt author Todd Purdum got because he and Rove are neighbors in the Palisades:
· When Purdum went on vacation, Rove walked his newspapers up 34 steps to the front porch every day; he later berated Purdum for not stopping delivery.
· Rove found out that another neighbor's kid named his soap-box derby car after him ("K-ROVE-R") -- though it was hidden under a heavy plastic tarp!
· During a party, Rove covertly took a copy of "Bush's Brain" from Purdum's bookshelf, scribbled "Don't believe a single word in this piece of trash" inside it, then replaced it.
· Rove served Purdum French-press coffee ("the sort of thing Rove might have mocked John Kerry for"), as well as venison sausage from a deer bagged by his teenage son.
Demand a Recount!
Laura Bush is celebrating -- okay, maybe not celebrating -- her 60th birthday on Saturday. "Don't mention it," the first lady laughingly told C-SPAN's Steve Scully . No big party planned: FLOTUS will spend the day with the president and a few of her best friends at their Crawford ranch, and the first couple will celebrate their 29th wedding anniversary the next day. The other birthday girl at the White House -- executive pooch Miss Beazley -- was a present from the president two years ago; no word on what he has planned for his wife's big 6-0.
Steve Wynn's Next Canvas: The Kennedy Center
One month ago, casino mogul Steve Wynn accidentally put his elbow through a Picasso masterpiece ("La Reve"), days before he was to close a deal to sell it for $138 million.
But he's getting another chance to prove himself as a supporter of the arts! President Bush yesterday appointed Wynn to the Kennedy Center's board of trustees (along with Norm Mineta , AOL co-founder Jim Kimsey , Gloria Estefan 's husband, Emilio , and two others). Congratulations, Steve! We know you'll be more careful this time. We're just gonna cordon off the JFK bust, though, if you don't mind . . .