Twist & Shout & Punch

John Lennon's first wife, Cynthia Lennon, has written a tell-all book about her life with the late Beatle, claiming his violent temper once led him to strike her in a jealous fit. Excerpts from "John" were published in the Sunday Times of London.

The couple met while studying art in Liverpool in the late 1950s. They married in 1962, had a son, Julian, and divorced in 1968.

In yesterday's excerpt, Cynthia claims that John hit her after seeing her dance with his close friend Stuart Sutcliffe, one of the Beatles' original members.

"The next day at college he followed me to the girls' loos [toilets] in the basement. When I came out he was waiting with a dark look on his face. Before I could speak he raised his arm and hit me across the face, knocking my head into the pipes that ran down the wall behind me," she wrote.

She said he took three months to apologize for the incident, noting, "Although he was still verbally cutting and unkind, he was never again physically violent to me."

The Sunday Times will serialize the book before it hits shelves in Britain on Sept. 27.

Hispanic Celebs Help Out

Grammy-winning singer Gloria Estefan, actors Jimmy Smits and Andy Garcia and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval are part of an entourage of Hispanic entertainers headed today to areas of Louisiana and Mississippi battered by Hurricane Katrina.

The group will visit with victims of the disaster while delivering supplies and toys to shelters in the Mississippi towns of Long Beach and Biloxi, as well Baton Rouge, La.

The trip was organized by Estefan and her producer husband, Emilio. Other celebs scheduled to participate include singer Jon Secada and television personalities Daisy Fuentes and Don Francisco, host of "Sabado Gigante," Univision's popular Spanish-language variety show.

"The separation of families to me is very close to my heart because we lived that as immigrants," said Gloria Estefan, who, like Sandoval and Garcia, is Cuban American. "I am privileged to help in some way and I will always take that opportunity."

Martha Stewart, Hemmed In

Sure, she had plenty of time to finish up those hand-stitched tea cozies she'd been working on, but Martha Stewart still claims that home confinement was tougher than her stint in federal prison.

"You have to watch the clock constantly because you're only allowed out of your home for a limited period, and for a busy person, watching the clock and knowing other people are watching the clock is extremely difficult," Stewart says in the latest issue of Time magazine, which hits newsstands today.

Stewart, 64, spent nearly six months in home detention after serving five months in jail for lying to authorities about a stock deal. Her electronic ankle bracelet monitor was removed on Sept. 1, just in time for this week's launch of "Martha," her syndicated daily television show, as well as "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," which premieres Sept. 21 on NBC.

End Note

Pop singer Kelly Clarkson, stricken with a bad case of bronchitis, has been forced to cancel three more concerts in Nevada and Washington state. The former "American Idol" winner bowed out of two California performances last week.

-- Compiled by Chris Richards

from staff and wire reports

Among the celebrities scheduled to visit the Gulf area today are, clockwise from above left, Gloria Estefan, Jimmy Smits, Andy Garcia and Arturo Sandoval.