PAULA DEEN ON TODAY
Paula Deen finally made it to Today yesterday, where she broke down and insisted she is not a racist. Matt Lauer grilled the former Food Network star on whether she was on the show purely to save her financial empire. “The main reason I am here today, Matt, is it's important to me that I tell you, and everyone out there, what I believe and how I live my life,” she said. “I believe that every creature on this earth — every one of God's creatures — was created equal, no matter who you choose to go to bed at night with, no matter what church you go to pray. I believe that everyone should be treated equal and that's the way I was raised, and that's the way I live my life." Regarding being dropped from the Food Network, Matt asked, “Would you have fired you?,” which seemed to leave her stunned. She answered, “Knowing me? No.” She then pleaded, "If there's anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back — if you're out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. Please. I want to meet you. I want to meet you. I is what I is and I'm not changing. There's someone evil out there that saw what I had worked for, and they wanted it."
TODAY’S PAULA DEEN ROUNDUP
The recent scandal hasn’t affected Paula Deen’s book sales. Advance orders of Deen’s new cookbook, Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up, have skyrocketed in the past few days, up nearly 1,300% on Amazon. The book comes out in October.
Another Deen product that isn’t suffering is her annual cruise. A representative for Royal Caribbean, which runs the Paula Deen Cruise, said it remains in high demand, with an additional journey planned for 2014 because they’ve had “so many requests from Paula’s fans in the past.”
A report claims the Food Network was contemplating ending their contract with Deen even before the N-word controversy began. Insiders say Deen’s agents had been in negotiations for several weeks about extending her contract, but the network was hesitating because her ratings had decreased substantially in the last year.
Deen lost another two more endorsement deals yesterday. Caesars Entertainment Group, which runs Paula Deen-themed restaurants in four of their properties, announced they are cutting ties with the Southern chef. The company plans to rebrand the restaurants in the coming months. And in another huge blow, Deen was dropped by Walmart yesterday. The company said in a statement, “We are ending our relationship with Paula Deen Enterprises and we will not place new orders beyond those already committed."
Finally, Deen recently hired a crisis PR agent, and it’s none other than Judy Smith, the woman who was the inspiration for Scandal’s fictional DC fixer Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington. Smith has previously worked with the likes of Monica Lewinsky and Michael Vick.
OPRAH BACK ON TOP FORBES’ CELEBRITY 100
Oprah Winfrey has returned to the top of Forbes’ annual Celebrity 100 ranking of the most powerful famous faces. For the past two years Oprah has landed at number two, with Jennifer Lopez topping the list last year. Forbes’ Celebrity 100 is not only based on earnings and net worth, but also on fame and marketability. Coming in at number two this year is Lady Gaga, followed by Steven Spielberg, Beyonce and Madonna.
Celebrity 100 Top Ten
1. Oprah Winfrey
2. Lady Gaga
3. Steven Spielberg
6. Taylor Swift
7. Jon Bon Jovi
8. Roger Federer
9. Justin Bieber
10. Ellen DeGeneres
BELL & SHEPARD TO FINALLY MARRY
The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act yesterday has prompted a celebrity couple to finally make their relationship legal. Veronica Mars’ Kristen Bell and fiancé Dax Shepard, who welcomed a daughter Lincoln earlier this year, always said they wouldn’t tie the knot until same sex marriage was legal, and they weren’t lying. Moments after the Supreme Court’s decision was announced she tweeted, "@daxshepard will you marry me? Xo #marriageequality #loveislove." Shepard responded, “F**k Yes!,” adding “DOMA is dead. Prop 8 is dead. Now let’s bring my big, gay marriage to @IMKristenBell to Life!!!!”
DETAILS ON BROWN’S HIT AND RUN CHARGES
The woman who has accused Chris Brown of hit and run told cops he threw a fit after the accident, and almost attacked her. Olga Gure-Kovalenko told officers after Chris rear-ended her Mercedes, he refused to give her his drivers’ license, and instead the passenger in the vehicle, Chris’ on-again/off-again girlfriend Karrueche Tran, handed Olga her license because she was the owner of the car. Olga says she insisted on getting Chris’ info since he was driving, but he refused to cooperate. Olga then tried to take a picture of Chris and Karrueche for evidence, and he went nuts. “The guy [Chris] tried to grab the camera or me. I jumped back, the girl [Karrueche] screamed, 'Don't touch her, don't touch her!,’” Olga told cops, adding Chris then started to scream, “You are a bitch! Who do you think you are, b*tch? Do you think if you driving Mercedes you got money, b*tch?" After some more expletives, Chris slammed his car door and drove away. Olga insists she didn’t realize the driver was anyone famous. But Chris’ lawyer claims the entire hit-and-run case is “B.S.” He says Chris gave Olga his Virginia driver’s license, and also gave her an insurance card.
BIEBER DATING MARRIED WOMAN
Justin Bieber’s alleged new girlfriend isn’t a free woman. Earlier this month, Justin was linked to a waitress named Jordan Ozuna, after they were spotted kissing in the waiting room of an indoor skydiving facility in Las Vegas. But now Celebuzz.com reports Jordan is still a married woman. Jordan’s estranged mother-in-law Kim Ozuna says the 22-year-old married her son Daniel “right out of high school” and while the marriage only lasted a couple of years, they have yet to get divorced. “They’ve been separated a good year,” she said, adding that her son is currently serving in the Coast Guard and probably doesn’t even know his ex has been linked to Bieber.
JACKSON’S SON TAKES THE STAND
Michael Jackson’s son Prince Michael took the stand yesterday in Katherine Jackson’s wrongful death suit against concert promoters AEG Live. The 16-year-old told jurors his dad had many tense conversations with the promoter of his London This Is It shows, and after one call he heard his dad remark, “they’re going to kill me.” Katherine claims AEG is responsible for Michael’s death because they hired Dr. Conrad Murray, who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Prince testified he saw AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips have a heated conversation with Murray days before his father’s death, stating that Phillips “looked aggressive to me.” AEG’s attorney denies that ever happened, and said Prince would be re-called during their portion of the trial. "I think as the testimony will show when he is called in our defense that's not what happened," the lawyer said. "He was a 12-year-old boy who has had to endure this great tragedy." As for the day his father died, Prince said Murray simply told them, “Sorry kids. Dad’s dead.” He said his sister Paris, who recently attempted suicide, was hit the hardest by their father’s death. "She was my dad's princess,” he said. “She definitely is dealing with [his death] in her own way."
FACEBOOK CAUSED PARIS’ DEPRESSION
TMZ reports that Paris Jackson’s depression was caused by cyber bullying on Facebook. Sources say the 15-year-old can’t handle the negative things people write on her page about her father Michael Jackson and his lifestyle, including allegations he molested young boys. “They destroyed her,” said a source. Now that Paris is at UCLA Medical Center she doesn’t have access to the social networking site, but sources say her family is very concerned she’ll have a relapse once she gets out. They are trying to get the page shut down, but Facebook’s policy is that only a user can shut down his or her Facebook page.
GLANVILLE TRADING INSULTS WITH TALK SHOW HOST
Brandi Glanville is fighting back after a talk show host blasted her for not revealing she had an STD before they went on a date. John Kerwin went out with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star after she appeared on his show last April, and recently recounted details of the date to Radaronline. He was reportedly upset to find out from her book that she had HPV, and joked that her next release should be called “My Life As An Open Sore.” Brandi responded to his comments by saying, “It's unfortunate John Kerwin’s parents never taught him how to act like a gentleman. Perhaps when he learns how to show respect toward other people he will be more successful, both personally and professionally.” But Kerwin wasn’t about to let Brandi get the last word. He responded, telling E!, “Brandi has HPV and didn’t tell me, Luckily, I stopped after she performed oral sex. If you study Brandi’s history, it becomes clear that she’s far from a lady.”
BETHENNY’S EX PREVENTS HER FROM FILMING
Doesn’t sound like the animosity between Bethenny Frankel and her ex Jason Hoppy will end anytime soon. According to Radaronline, the pair is now at odds over filming at their Manhattan pad, which they are both still living in despite their split. According to Radaronline, Bethenny wanted to film scenes for her upcoming talk show in the $5 million condo, but Jason shut her down. Jason is also refusing to let their daughter Bryn appear on the show.
CHAZ LOOKING GOOD
Chaz Bono stepped out in L.A. Tuesday with a decidedly slimmer look. The former Dancing with the Stars contestant has clearly been getting into shape, and looked trim in a pair of white chinos and a blue T-shirt. Last month, Chaz announced he had lost 65 pounds with the help of a trainer and a nutritionist.