The End Of the Affair

Marlene Kent Cooke is going through a rough patch these days. Fresh from a weekend in the D.C. jail (she's returning next weekend to complete a seven-day sentence on her September 1999 drunk-driving conviction), the 47-year-old Bolivian bombshell told us yesterday that she and her 28-year-old fiance, hunky Swede Anders Ulle, are finished. Kaput. Over. Done. Stick a fork in 'em.

"I am mad," Jack Kent Cooke's widow said, urging us to disregard rampant rumors that Ulle dumped her because of her time behind bars. She insisted that she ended their six-month engagement after learning that five days before her sentencing last week, Ulle whiled away the wee hours in Washington's Zei Club, which Cooke described as a strip joint--never mind that it's widely known as a trendy dance club. Cooke said friends of her sons, Rodrigo and Alexander, spotted him there and ratted him out. "I don't think he should be hanging out with strippers," Cooke told us. "He embarrassed me in front of my children. It's not that I'm jealous. It's the principle of the thing. . . . I told him, 'I don't need to be with somebody with judgment like that.' " Ulle didn't respond to the message we left requesting his side of the story.

Cooke added that since the breakup, she has been consoling herself with old flame Christopher van Roijen, a handsome Dutchman, though she says they're "just friends." A spokesman for van Roijen said he's out of town and unreachable.

Cooke, meanwhile, had this to say about her jail experience so far: "It wasn't bad, but it was still a scary experience. . . . Seven days is kind of bad, but I'm strong. I guess they want to use me as a kind of disciplinary example." She said she's praying a lot in jail. "Most definitely God is in your thoughts. You never know, everything seems nice, but there could be a fight or somebody may not like you." But her rare contacts with other inmates have been uneventful. "They didn't know who I was. One of them said, 'Are you Marlene?' I said, 'Yes, my name is Marlene.' They were nice but not really too talkative."

Cooke has spent most of her time in her own 8-by-12-foot cell, clad in blue sweat pants and a long T-shirt. She said the corrections officers "were very nice, which is amazing considering that the D.C. police are so mean to me. One of them invited me to go to her church and another one told me I was very pretty." And when she complained about the cold, they fetched her a blanket. As for the cuisine, it doesn't come close to the fare at her favorite restaurant, Cafe Milano, where Ulle dropped to one knee to propose last June. "Of course, you can't compare to that. I just got the salad, with a little dressing and bread." Still, there's a silver lining. "I read all my books that I didn't have time to read the whole time that I was running around," she said, mentioning Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho's best-seller "The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream." Her review: "It's just a beautiful book."


* The Post's Linton Weeks reports that around 6 p.m. Monday, mischief- makers describing themselves as "four hackers from a little country in Europe" vandalized the home page of the Library of Congress's THOMAS Web site, a legislative information database. The "Lamers Team," as these miscreants called themselves, replaced the familiar THOMAS logo with their silly moniker, according to Herb Becker, head of the library's information technology services. A message on the hacked home page read: "U.S. Congress Web site--defeated!" Not for long. Becker and his staff repaired the page in less than two hours. The scoundrels left a trail of bogus clues, fake Internet addresses and such, but Becker said: "Nobody knows for sure where they really come from."

* Viagra pitchman Bob Dole, who was the Republican nominee the last time around, has signed with Comedy Central's "Daily Show" to provide commentary on the current presidential campaign. "It's sort of a strange story: I won him in a poker game," Jon Stewart told us yesterday. "It was me, Denny Hastert, Colin Powell, Dole--we were all so drunk I can't even remember the details--in Jerry Nadler's rec room. I just remember the senator saying, 'If you've got a straight flush, I'll be on your show.' " Stewart added that he hopes Dole will participate in "The Daily Show's" New Hampshire primary coverage.

* Yesterday afternoon, former House speaker Newt Gingrich gave a talk titled "Reflections of a Private Citizen" at the American Enterprise Institute. But he wasn't in the mood to reflect on the many criticisms of his private behavior, including his six-year affair with House staffer Callista Bisek--who was in the audience. "I'm a private citizen. I don't answer them at all," Gingrich told us with a smile.