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Correction to This Article
This Reliable Source column from the Dec. 11 Style section, second item, incorrectly said that a menorah owned by Daniel Pearl's parents was taken to Israel in 1924. At the time, the area was known as the British Mandate for Palestine.
How Do You Say 'Love Triangle' in French?

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The latest twist at the French Embassy? The surprise appearance of Catherine Verret-Vimont, wife of Ambassador Pierre Vimont.

The diplomat arrived in Washington four months ago amid rumors that he planned to install his lady love, French banking official Colette Cova, as his official hostess. Vimont -- who has said that he's been separated for years -- began showing up at social events solo, although the Paris-based Cova came to D.C. in October to attend a reception honoring the local French film festival.

That, apparently, got his wife's attention. As former head of the French film office in New York, Verret-Vimont is credited with helping keep Gallic cinema vibrant in the United States. She wed Vimont more than 15 years ago, and the two maintained a long-distance marriage as the renowned workaholic pursued his political career in Paris. She left New York early last year and returned to France.

According to friends, Madame Vimont flew into town last month prepared to assume her duties at the embassy. She's been living at the residence in Kalorama and attending parties and luncheons in town, but has not appeared in any official capacity or with her husband at any events. The status of their marriage is unclear; she's telling girlfriends that they're taking things "one step at a time."

An embassy spokesman did not return calls seeking comment.

Daniel Pearl Remembered in the Glow of Candlelight

The menorah that President and Laura Bush lighted at last night's White House Hanukkah party had special significance: It's owned by the family of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in 2002. The menorah originally belonged to his great-grandparents, Chaim and Rosa Pearl, who took it with them from Poland to Israel in 1924. Pearl's parents, Judea and Ruth Pearl, were on hand for the ceremony.

Cameo Roles on the Campaign Trail: More Celebs Weigh In

Oprah's rock-star tour with Barack Obama left the other megawatt endorsements in the dust, but we forge on with another update of the 2008 Celebrity Primary:

Kevin Bacon: Joins John Edwards in Iowa with Tim Robbins, leading to the inevitable "Six Degrees of John Edwards" campaign gimmicks (six hours of volunteer work, six letters to an editor).

Sean Penn: Endorses Dennis Kucinich by proclaiming: "We, the people. It is for us to determine what is electable. And here's how simple it is: If we, those of us who truly believe in the Constitution of the United States of America, all of us, vote for Dennis Kucinich, he will be elected."

Martin Sheen: "West Wing" former president says, "Oh yes, yes, yes" for Bill Richardson.

Donny and Marie Osmond: Went on " Larry King " to sing the praises of Mitt Romney. His candidacy, said Donny, has been "absolutely wonderful for the Mormon Church."

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

* Mary J. Blige, exiting WKYS radio yesterday morning and jumping into a super-expensive-looking car after promoting her new album. Smaller than life but diva-fabulous in fur hat, fur boots and leather coat, with an entourage of three bodyguards with earpieces, two female assistant types and one younger-looking male companion.

* Lainie Kazan having a late snack at the Park Hyatt Sunday night. The singer (black pants, black shirt and orange scarf) was spotted in the lounge around 11:45 p.m. having bresaola, prosciutto and blue cheese with flatbread, zinfandel and jasmine tea.

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