The Reliable Source

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Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 3, 2007; 12:00 PM

Welcome to "The Reliable Source" with Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts. Appearing in the Style section on Tuesdays through Fridays and Sundays, The Reliable Source brings you gossip from across the region and around the world -- candid looks at the lives and loves and hijinks of all your favorite bold-faced names, be they congressmen or millionaires, ballplayers or newsbabes, nightlife divas or master thespians, DJs or gadflies, has-beens or will-bes.

Argetsinger and Roberts are online each Wednesday at Noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, what you thought about their recent columns or who you want to see them writing about in future ones.

Vote in The Reliable Source Poll: What Do You Think Was the Story of 2006?

Reliable Source Columns

Argetsinger is a veteran of all leafy-green, protein-rich sections like Metro and National while Roberts brought you the champagne and bon-bons of Style's society beat.

A transcript follows.

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Amy Argetsinger: Good morning everyone! So glad to see that you haven't forgotten us over the past two weeks and that you remembered to show up here today..... Just before we left you, we brought you news of "Capitol Hill Girls," the reality show we're *still* hoping will find a home on some worthy network, and... well, what else was going on then? I guess some big cat fight between Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell that surely we've all moved past by now... This morning, we brought you the news of Keith Ellison's quiet yet ever so artful retort to Virgil Goode -- he'll be using Thomas Jefferson's Koran at his swearing in tomorrow...

Meanwhile, it's not too late to vote for your favorite gossip story of 2006 -- there's probably a direct link to the poll somewhere in here; otherwise you can find it at washingtonpost.com/reliablesource....

Or have you moved past that? Ready to talk about your celebrity-inspired resolutions, or your resolutions for VIPs? Bring it on.

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washingtonpost.com: Vote in The Reliable Source Poll: What Do You Think Was the Story of 2006?

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Diplomatic dining: The last two times that you've reported on Israeli dignitaries dining in Washington (Shimon Peres and Mrs. Olmert), they've both had the shrimp. While not all Jews keep kosher, these are politicians. So I'm wondering, do they keep kosher at home and go on a shellfish binge when away? Maybe you need to go on an investigative trip to find out.

Amy Argetsinger: I'm so glad you brought this up! Last night, one of our editors ruled that we should just deal with this issue in the chat rather than give you the blah-blah-blah in the column....

Yes, indeed, Mrs. Olmert ordered shrimp when she dropped by Ten Penh last fall, and Shimon Peres enjoyed the shrimp at Teatro yesterday. The explanation we got from some of our helpful Jewish colleagues is that, yeah, not only do not all Jews keep kosher but in fact more high-profile Jewish Israeli politicians than you might assume are not particularly observant.

But yes, you're right -- am planning investigative trips to both Jerusalem and Old Ebbitt Grill....

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Washington: Did you watch that new FX show, "Dirt"? Is that a pretty accurate window into your lives of looking for gossip?

Amy Argetsinger: Depends -- did the gossip reporter on the show have basic cable? 'Cause I don't.

Tom Shales gave it a good review. Will post a link.

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Leesburg, Va.: I saw last week that Victoria Principal and her husband of lots of years divorced, and Michael Jordan is also divorcing. What's the deal?

Roxanne Roberts: Not unusual at this time of year. Divorce lawyers get a LOT of calls in January from people determined not to spend another year with their soon-to-be ex.

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Washington, D.C.: Happy New Year, ladies! I hope you survived the holidays.

Was Chelsea Clinton at President Ford's service yesterday? A friend said she saw her at National Airport yesterday morning. My friend didn't notice any Secret Service or other security.

Amy Argetsinger: Yes, we glimpsed Chelsea on TV at the funeral with her parents. So, hey, maybe it was her.... Good question about the Secret Service. The guys detailed to the Twins keep such a low-profile that most people don't even notice they're around. Meanwhile, Chelsea may be at the point where she can refuse protection.

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washingtonpost.com: FX's 'Dirt': A Wickedly Good Wallow In Hollywood (Post, Jan. 2)

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Washington, D.C.: What do you predict for Britney in 2007? Will she make a comeback or just become a sad cautionary tale for young women?

Amy Argetsinger: Knowing Britney? She'll do both.

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Was it her or not?: Was that Nancy Reagan at Ford's memorial service at the National Cathedral? If that was her, she must be visiting Joan River's plastic surgeon. At first glance, I thought it was Joan Rivers!

Roxanne Roberts: It was Nancy, and we've resolved not to make make plastic surgery jokes.

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Arlington, Va.: What looks better in divorce court -- passing out at a bar on New Year's or getting smacked down at a WWE event?

Amy Argetsinger: Aw, come on -- you really think our Britney passed out? As far as I'm concerned, no one has had a more exhausting 2006 than Britney, and if she wanted to take a little impromptu nap at the end of it, who could blame her?

Roxanne Roberts: K-Fed (oops, we're not supposed to call him that) was just trying to earn a livin', man. She was partying. At least, that's what his lawyer will say.

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Dolly Parton's Guy?: Who was the handsome gentleman seated behind Dolly Parton at the KenCen honors? Her camera-shy hubby?

Amy Argetsinger: This is an excellent question -- we both wondered the same thing, and we're now kicking ourselves for not following up immediately on it. (So many distractions that night, between Jessica Simpson's stage fright and Laura Bush's couture coincidence -- both of which, incidentally, made our year-end poll if you haven't voted yet...)

Basically, we don't *think* it was Dolly's mystery husband of 40 years, Carl Dean, but we're not exactly sure. The knowledgeable folks we talked to that night didn't think it was him but didn't know who it was. Meanwhile, it's very hard to find a picture of ol' Carl. She's a fascinating woman, Dolly is...

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W.P. Gossip Columnists: I have a question -- who is Hank who writes the Question Celebrity in the W.P. magazine? Do you guys work with him? Does he do any other articles in the newspaper?

Amy Argetsinger: Hank Stuever is a staff writer for the Style section and, well, just about the greatest thing since sliced bread. One of the most entertaining writers in the universe. Hank also writes the "Question Celebrity" column, and for the past several years he's been doing the annual In/Out list, and when he's here he sits just yards away from us -- but he's been on book leave since the summer, alas, so you'll just have to check out his eponymous Web site (link to follow) if you want to remember who exactly he is.

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Winchester, Va.: How cute that the Boise State player proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend at the end of the game Monday night! Any scoop?

Roxanne Roberts: Night owl that I am, I stayed up until after 1 a.m. to watch the end of the game, which was awesome, and was about to nod off when I watched him pop the question on national TV. Good thing she said yes!

A full report from today Idaho Statesman:

"The only one who can catch Boise State running back Ian Johnson is BSU cheerleader Chrissy Popadics. Today, they are the sweethearts of America after Johnson's televised marriage proposal moments after scoring the winning two-point conversion at the Fiesta Bowl late Monday night.

This morning the couple will be shuffled between the New York City studios of ABC's "Good Morning America," NBC's "Today" show and CNN's "American Morning" for a series of interviews. At one point, the proposal was the most-watched video on CNN Online.

From the moment she uttered a tearful, "Yes," the couple has been inundated with interview requests from news media. Popadics was so emotional in the aftermath that she could do little more than spell her name to reporters.

It was a moment anticipated by friends and family and engineered, in part, by Johnson's teammates.

Some of the players intercepted Popadics, pulling off one more surprise play for Johnson. She "had no idea" Johnson wanted to propose to her on national television after the game, "but some of the football players were trying to find her," said Jenna Lineberger, a Broncos cheerleader and a friend of Popadics. "They put her on their shoulders to go find Ian."

After a short interview with a sportscaster, the Broncos star turned to Popadics, got down on one knee and proposed. Television cameras captured the moment and broadcast it to the crowd in University of Phoenix Stadium and a national television audience.

"We were all crying on the sidelines and all of a sudden she's on the JumboTron and she's engaged," Lineberger said. "We all saw it on the JumboTron and started freaking out."

There's more on the Web site for all you romantics out there.

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Dirt follow-up: You mean to say we are getting our gossip from someone without basic cable? Where do you get your news from then?

Amy Argetsinger: Uh, mostly from reporting it out ourselves. I'm afraid that if I had constant access to "E! True Hollywood Stories" that I would be shamed by its brilliance and develop horrible writer's block.

Oh, and Rox has cable. So we're not all freaks here.

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washingtonpost.com: Hank Stuever

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washingtonpost.com: The List ( Post, Dec. 31)

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Virginia: Read about the holiday fire where Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal had to leave their posh Calif., lodgings. Not many details, though. Where was Maggie's baby? Did Jake have to exit in his skivvies?

Amy Argetsinger: As Gawker (or Defamer?) proclaimed the other day: Calm down, everyone, Jake's okay!... I haven't really seen enough reporting on this Gyllenhaal fire near-disaster... What we know is that both Jake and Maggie had to flee a blaze at Manka's Inverness Lodge in the Bay Area where they were staying for some family gathering. I haven't seen any mention of where Peter Saarsgaard or the baby were, so if anyone else has let us know....

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Anna Nicole Smith: Is there someplace to get into a betting pool on the results of the baby's DNA test?

Amy Argetsinger: TMZ.com has a link to some betting sites.... looks like the odds favor Howard K. Stern....

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Nicole and Keith: Are they really on the rocks? Rehab issues aside??

Please say it isn't so. Anyone who survived ten years with Control Freak Cruise deserves a good, long-lasting love.

Roxanne Roberts: My guess is no. Nicole appears to be more mature than your average Hollywood star, and as you note, seems to be very patient. My guess is she had a pretty good idea what she was getting into when she married Keith, and may have spurred him to get professional help. I think they were more likey to be on the rocks if he DIDN'T go to rehab. So I predict they'll still be married by this time next year.

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Washington, D.C.: Speaking of divorce, why was BET's Johnson never announced the day they divorced years ago? I searched through several electronic database services. Thanks

Roxanne Roberts: Because he's very smart. He and Sheila kept their divorce and all the details very quiet,which is (take notes here, VIPs and multi-millionaires) the classy way to handle a split. Thank god for the gossip world that so few people take that road!

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Alexandria, Va.: Perhaps I could have used your guidance last week as I was trying to figure out what cool New Year's party to try to crash, but then I realized I had no idea where the cool parties were. Did I miss anything good, or were Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts at Posh about as good as it got?

Amy Argetsinger: New Vegas Lounge was where it was at.

Well, not if you were looking for celebrities. None there that I saw! But who really wants to deal with a velvet rope scene on New Year's Eve?

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Washington, D.C.: Who do you like in the Notre Dame - LSU game tonight?

Amy Argetsinger: We've just taken an informal poll here in the Reliable Source cubicle pod and determined that we don't know.

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Kensington, Md.: Wow. Hilary Swank and Harry Connick, Jr. filmed a love scene at Yankee Stadium. To fit all those teeth, they must have been filming in IMAX.

(Harry, it's me you love, not that silly super model!)

Amy Argetsinger: Apparently they needed Yankee Stadium to fit all those teeth...

Sorry, Kensington, Connick's been married to the same supermodel for about 12 years now... and hey, did anyone notice that Stallone's still married to his supermodel for almost a decade now? Never thought that one would last.

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Chicago, Ill.: Welcome Back Ladies ... my life has been miserable without you. I have two comments:

1. I enjoyed the premiere of "Dirt" so much I fell asleep on it.

2. I was not surprised by the Jordan divorce announcement. There have been rumors floating around Chicagoland for some time about the demise of their marriage however, I will give them both credit for handling this with class. I guess that Michael's fiasco with the blond was too bitter of a pill for Juanita to swallow.

Roxanne Roberts: We missed you, too. Really.

Re: Jordan. Kinda doubt the former girlfriend was the ultimate cause of the split, given that the issue has been around for a long time. Last month, Sports Illustrated reported that a Chicago judge ruled Jordan's onetime girlfriend was guilty of "extortionate" demands when she asked him for $5 million to keep their affair quiet.

"Karla Knafel, a former nightclub singer who is now 42 and the mother of three, has appealed a recent ruling that barred her from cashing in on a promise that she says Jordan first made to her in 1991, the year he led the Bulls to the first of six championships. (She contends that Jordan repeated the offer in 1998.)

NBA referee Eddie Rush introduced Knafel to Jordan in Indianapolis in 1989 (the same year Jordan married his wife, Juanita), and the romance continued for more than a year in various cities, both sides acknowledge in court documents. After the pair spent two days together in a Ritz Carlton hotel in Phoenix in November 1990, Knafel discovered that she was pregnant. Her physician, according to court documents, concluded that the pregnancy had begun during the days in Phoenix, and she told Jordan the baby was his. Paternity tests later indicated Jordan was not the father, but Knafel now questions the tests. She asserts that the $5 million Jordan allegedly promised her was to pay for her silence, not for paternity support. She kept her end of the bargain for 11 years, she says, until Jordan sued her in October 2002 and demanded a finding that she was extorting him."

Looks like Knafel will appeal again.

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K.C. Honors and a suggestion: I am so glad someone else asked that question about the man with Dolly. My husband and I wasted hours on the Web looking for a photo of Carl Dean after we watched the broadcast of honors shows. Someone must know who that was.

More importantly, what was wrong with Andrew Lloyd Weber?

Can we take a poll on what "celebrities" we would like to stop talking about? I am so sick of Anna Nicole, Paris and Britney, none of whom contribute anything that I can see.

Amy Argetsinger: Andrew Lloyd Weber was moving his lips to all the songs -- he never stops directing.

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Arlington, VA: Do you think Demi and Ashton will be the next to adopt from another country?

Amy Argetsinger: Hmmmm, no. I don't know why I say that, I just suspect it will be someone else. I suspect that Demi and Ashton are more likely to put science to work to have their own genetic blue-ribbon winner. But I don't really know.

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2006 Poll: Wait -- wait! Can we please have a poll for celebs we'd most like to see go away -- forever?

The list would be endless ... K-fed, Paris, TomKat etc

Amy Argetsinger: Oh, but we'll always have Paris.

No offense, really, 'cause I'm glad you brought it up, but aren't those selections a little obvious? I, for one, don't *want* K-Fed to go away any time soon -- I think we can still get months of entertainment out of him.

My nominee is... Jennifer Aniston. It's not that she hasn't served us well as a gossip topic. And lord knows she's done more than anyone else to draw attention to the plight of single affluent white women in their late 30s. (I mean, sometimes we go WEEKS at a time without having a rich, hot boyfriend! And our hair doesn't just look like this when we get out of bed in the morning! And yoga -- so time-consuming...) But I think she's getting a little played out.

Anyone else?

Roxanne Roberts: I'm pretty sick of Jessica Simper.

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Re: New Vegas Lounge: Geez, I haven't been kicked out of there in twenty years. Do your shoes still stick to the floor? Rats? Great music? Cheap beer? People in black turtlenecks?

Amy Argetsinger: Great music, yes, but the NVL underwent a renovation about three years ago (along with the rest of the neighborhood) -- pulled up the nasty old carpet and took down the cheap paneling -- looks nice if still a little raffish.

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Washington: As we enter a new year, you guys have a predictions on which celeb marriages are most likely to be done by the end of the year? And Kate Moss and Pete Doherty don't count, since they are denying they got married in the first place.

Amy Argetsinger: J-Lo and Marc Anthony. That's my guess.

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Virginia: Questions from the Ford funeral -- what were the pins worn by Susan and Betty? It it true that a member of the family was in the Rotunda with the casket the entire time it was open to the public? (If so, that's impressive.)

Amy Argetsinger: Sorry, not finding an immediate answer on the pin question (if someone else knows, holler)... I know a lot of folks were impressed when the Ford children greeted every mourner who came through for several hours...

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washingtonpost.com: Vote in The Reliable Source Poll: What Do You Think Was the Story of 2006?

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Chicago, Ill.: If you can't trust the silence of your former nightclub singer mistress who was introduced to you by an NBA referee, wrongfully claimed she was pregnant with your child, and demanded $5 million -- really, what can you trust? Any chance the Wizards will bring him back?

Roxanne Roberts: Heartbreaking, isn't it? And no, I don't think Jordan will be back in Washington any time soon---his choice, I'm guessing.

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Tiger Woods: So, Tiger's going to be a daddy ... and last night's SportsCenter asked whether it would hurt his golf game! How crazy is that! And why are people so obsessed with this guy's personal life?

Amy Argetsinger: He's just... fascinating, I guess. He's got the "it" factor that makes him a star, above and beyond his athletic talent. You're right, though, it's not like people sit around wondering what's going on in Roger Federer's personal life, you know?

Roxanne Roberts: Crazy? You ever spent all night trying to get a screaming baby to go to sleep? That, my friend, can hurt your golf and every other game. Yeah, yeah---they'll be nannies, but when the wee one is yours, sometimes only mom or dad can soothe the baby.

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Virginia: Secret Service protection stopped when the former first kids reached 16 years old. And now former presidents after Bush will not have protection after 10 years from the days they leave office.

Roxanne Roberts: Good to know. Thanks.

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Ford pins: Probably some leftover Whip Inflation Now pins they found in their dad's desk drawer.

Amy Argetsinger: Ah, ha ha! Probably not.

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Dulles, Va.: Speaking of Jessica Simper, looks like Nick got the last laugh. His record is crushing hers, his babe Vanessa is smoking, and Jess is left in the dust bumbling at the Kennedy Center. Go Nick! Happy New Year!

Roxanne Roberts: Revenge is sweet.

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Re Jordan: It's long been known by anyone who was in contact that Jordan's circle and Jordan himself acted in a manner that was not consistent with a monogomist's view of marriage. There were plenty of rumors of his philandering, including at least one article in the City Paper of how his circle was easily able to pick up women, just like any rockstar-type celeb. His wife undoubtedly knew this going in, so it's unlikely that any extramarital stuff ended their marriage. More likely they just both wanted to uh, reduce the clutter a bit.

Roxanne Roberts: There's lots of long-standing rumors (including this) but we'll probably never know what caused this or any other marriage to fail. I would say that marriage to a superstar presents a whole set of challenges that most people never have to deal with, and the fact they lasted so long as a couple says a lot.

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Washington, D.C.: Lionel from The Jeffersons, James Brown, Gerald Ford, Saddam Hussen -- been a tough holiday season. Who shall be next?

Amy Argetsinger: Lionel from The Jeffersons? I missed that one! Will try to process the delayed grief.

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The PR Machine: It seems of a lot of these d-listers we read about all the time (I am talking about you Ashlee Simpson) must have incredible PR people. Anyway you guys as reporters can spot the planted stuff versus an actual news story?

E.g., I get the feeling Brangelina didn't send out a press release that they were going to that Frank Lloyd Wright house in Pa. -

Amy Argetsinger: oh, yeah, it's pretty easy to spot the planted things.... there are a number of starlets who seem to have fantastic publicists, since they're represented in the pages of Vanity Fair or US at a much greater pace than they turn out movies. You know who else is like that? Selma Blair.

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Rockville, Md.: Happy New Year. Any resolutions for the column for the new year?

Roxanne Roberts: We resolve to.....ah, heck. Resolutions are so hard to keep. How about if we just promise to bring you the best darn gossip in Washington? Course, we need you to keep those bright, shiny tips coming at reliablesouce@washpost.com.

Dems running Congress, presidential race gearing up....2007 is going to be fun, people.

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