Names & Faces: Levi Johnston, Bristol Palin, Karl Rove, Lil Wayne, Van Morrison

We're watching: Johnston and Palin's custody case will be public.
We're watching: Johnston and Palin's custody case will be public. (Paul Sancya/associated Press)
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Johnston-Palin baby battle

Just when ya thought it couldn't get any . . . an Alaska judge has ruled that court proceedings in the impending Levi Johnston-Bristol Palin custody fight over 1-year-old son Tripp will be public, the Anchorage Daily News reports. In a Dec. 23 decision, Alaska Superior Court Judge Kari Kristiansen ruled that Palin failed to provide evidence that her son would be harmed by publicity.

Palin, 19, touched off the custody battle Nov. 4 when she filed for full custody. Johnston quickly announced his intention to fight. From there, the baby mama requested that the case be kept private and asked for a gag order.

Johnston (the second set of January Playgirl photos is now live in the members' area) fired back in an affidavit, arguing, "I know that public scrutiny will simplify this matter and act as a check against anyone's need to be overly vindictive, aggressive or malicious, not that Bristol would ever be that way, nor that I would. But her mother is powerful, politically ambitious and has a reputation for being extremely vindictive. . . . So, I think a public case might go a long way in reducing Sarah Palin's instinct to attack."

Bristol Palin argued that her mother was not involved and that Levi would use the trial to promote himself.

Conservative split

After 24 years of marriage, Karl Rove, former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, has been granted a divorce in Texas from wife Darby, Politico reports. The two met in the 1980s when then-Darby Hickson worked as a graphic designer for Rove's direct-mail business; they married in 1986. Hickson was Rove's second wife. His first, Valerie Wainright, divorced him in 1979 after two years.

"The couple came to the decision mutually and amicably," said family spokeswoman Dana Perino. The couple spent Christmas together with their son, Andrew, according to a family friend, and plan to maintain a friendship. Rove's 608-page memoir, "Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight," is due out March 9.

Up the river from Big Easy

The Lil goodbye: Lil Wayne, facing a year in jail and a slew of new drug and weapon possession charges, hit the stage Monday in his home town of New Orleans as part of what he's billed as a farewell tour.

"I'm nothing without you," he told a screaming crowd at the New Orleans Arena after opening with "A Milli." The Grammy-winning rapper, whose "Tha Carter III" topped all album sales in 2008, faces sentencing Feb. 9 on a weapons possession charge. His October plea deal on the charge, which stems from a 2007 New York traffic stop, calls for a year in jail. Authorities said they smelled marijuana and Wayne tossed aside a bag with a loaded .40-caliber handgun.

The 27-year-old Wayne, born Dwayne Carter, also faces trial in March on felony drug possession and weapons charges in Yuma County, Ariz. And he recently had to postpone a show after authorities stopped two of his buses in Texas and found marijuana.

Astral birth

Wayupta, wayupta, wayupta fatherhood yet again for Van Morrison, 64!? Morrison and his partner and manager, Gigi Lee, announced the birth of a son Monday.

George Ivan Morrison III, who shares the name of his father and grandfather, "is the spitting image of his dad and is a dual citizen of both the United Kingdom and the United States of America," according to a statement from the couple. The parents declined to name the time and location of the birth "out of respect for the child's privacy."

The Belfast-born singer has three other children, including 39-year-old singer-songwriter Shana Morrison, from his first marriage to Janet Minto, and two children by former Miss Ireland Michelle Rocca.

-- Christian Hettinger, from wire and Web reports

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