Putting the Ex in Xmas?
Film stars Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones may be headed for Splitsville. British newspapers reported yesterday that Zeta-Jones flew to her home in Wales, leaving Douglas to spend Christmas by himself in New York. The Daily Star newspaper also reported that the 29-year-old actress was not wearing a diamond ring that Douglas had given her earlier this year.
Zeta Jones, the "Entrapment" star's grandmother and namesake, was quoted in the Daily Star as saying that her granddaughter had been on the phone almost continuously in recent days with her mother. "They are doing a lot of talking," said the elder Jones. "I don't know what has gone wrong."
Douglas was divorced from his wife of 18 years in 1995. He has been dating Zeta-Jones, 26 years his junior, for several months.
Eunice Shriver Hospitalized
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics and sister of Sen. Edward Kennedy, was being treated for pneumonia yesterday at UCLA Medical Center, a hospital spokesman said. Shriver, the mother of television personality Maria Shriver, fell ill while on vacation in Sun Valley, Idaho, with her family. She is in her late seventies, the spokesman said.
Stopping and Shopping
President Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, got in some last-minute holiday shopping downtown yesterday. The president kept the goodies he purchased a secret, but books and jewelry appeared to top his shopping list.
Their first stop: the Discovery Channel Store, where the president examined some African pottery and children's atlases and books. The two then went to Union Station, where Clinton stopped at the U.S. Mint, a gift booth at the entrance to the station's East Hall, and then stopped in a shop called President Cigars.
He spent some time at Aurea, a jewelry store, lingered at nearby kiosks and stopped to shake hands with several gawking shoppers. After Chelsea returned to the White House, the president went to Borders Books and Music a half dozen blocks away.
Sleep-deprived and "coughing my brains out" after returning during yesterday's wee hours from Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen's holiday tour of the Balkans, singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter told The Post she's still glad she went along. "I'm bummed because now I have a cold, and I just got over some laryngitis I caught during a six-week tour of the U.K.," she said from her Northwest Washington home. "But it's not surprising when you're breathing recycled air in an airplane and shaking thousands of hands and hugging thousands and thousands of people."
Yet the 41-year-old singer, who has toured for the last three years entertaining far-flung U.S. troops, said she'll be back. "The reason I want to keep going back is it's Christmastime, and we usually get so caught up in the commerciality of the venture and I hadn't really felt very Christmassy for a long time," she said. "But when you find yourself on Christmas Eve in a Quonset hut at Eagle Base in Tuzla, that's really the most humbling thing. It's not political. You're just sharing the message of the season with others who are far from home. On the selfish level, you get back so much more than you give."
Ronaldo's Married Christmas
Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo, 23, got married yesterday in a civil ceremony at his mother's house in Rio de Janeiro. His bride is 20-year-old Milene Domingues, who is several months pregnant with the couple's first child. About 50 friends and relatives attended the ceremony, which was closed to the media.
Ronaldo, who recently underwent knee surgery and is still limping, did take a few minutes to address reporters gathered outside. "We'd like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a great New Year," he said, "and we hope you'll all be as happy as we are."
Reports had stated that his mother wanted a larger celebration, but that the forward for Inter Milan of the Italian league insisted on a smaller ceremony out of respect for the poverty in which many Brazilians live.
Country music legend Hank Snow was bid a fond farewell Thursday night at the Grand Ole Opry. Friends and fellow musicians sang "Amazing Grace" as Snow's casket was carried to a waiting hearse for a private burial. Snow died Monday at his home in Nashville. He was 85 . . . Actress Halle Berry has become engaged to R&B singer Eric Benet . . . Prince Rainier of Monaco was released from a hospital yesterday after undergoing heart surgery to correct an aneurysm in his abdominal aorta . . . Singer Ricky Martin turned 28 yesterday and was planning on celebrating with friends in Tibet . . . Charles Schulz, the recently retired "Peanuts" cartoonist, will be nominated for a Congressional Gold Medal by Rep. Mike Thompson of California when Congress reconvenes in January . . .