The “Ally McBeal” diet

Courtney Thorne-Smith: "I haven't had a piece of chicken in five days"; Senator-elect Clinton says she'll tell her side of Lewinsky story. Plus: Cindy Crawford claims Revlon's firing her "because I'm too old."

Topics: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bill Clinton, Celebrity,

Looks like Robert Downey Jr.’s not the only “Ally McBeal” star to fall victim to the pressures of the show. Courtney Thorne-Smith says three seasons appearing next to super-slender Calista Flockhart, Lucy Liu and Co. took a heavy toll on her, too.

“I started undereating, overexercising, pushing myself too hard and brutalizing my immune system,” the Barbie-esque actress tells Us Weekly. “The amount of time I spent thinking about food and being upset about my body was insane.”

Things really got crazy in 1999, when David E. Kelley’s script called for her to appear nude in one episode. “I ate fruit all week just to try to be really lean by Friday,” says Thorne-Smith. “I remember Gil [Bellows, who played Billy] said ‘You look good,’ and I was like, ‘I’d better. I haven’t had a piece of chicken in five days.’ There was something terribly wrong with that.”

And heck, while she’s at it, Thorne-Smith would like to point a skinnified finger at Heather Locklear, too, with whom she appeared on “Melrose Place.”

The actresses on that show, she says, “were extraordinarily beautiful people, and that messes with your reality. Heather can eat junk food all day long. One day she was eating this big frosted doughnut and I was eating an apple. I was totally full of resentment.”

Good thing she wasn’t eating chicken.

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It’s a big world after all

“The world is a lot bigger than I thought it was … The world I live in most of the time is very, very small. Hollywood is very ugly. They’re all worrying about the wrong things, about being beautiful.”

Angelina Jolie, reflecting on what she’s learned while filming “Tomb Raider” at locations around the globe.

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First lady on “that woman”?

True: Bill and Hillary Clinton will stay hitched after he leaves office. “Absolutely, absolutely,” New York’s senator-elect assured NPR’s Diane Rehm on Wednesday.



False: The rumor that President Clinton is planning a run for mayor of New York. “That’s not going to happen,” the first lady told radio listeners. “You know, my husband is looking forward to a change of pace and a different kind of life.”

Probable: The world may yet find out what Hillary was thinking throughout the Lewinsky and impeachment madness. “Many others have imputed thoughts and feelings to me. I’d like to have the chance to sort my own out and to share those and to talk about what it’s been like, the highs and the lows of being part of history as I have been,” she said. “I’m going to reflect on that. I probably am going to write about it.”

Possible: A tell-all book like that could net her big bucks, mega-big bucks, perhaps the biggest book bucks of all time. “This is a tremendous revenue possibility for her and her family,” a Random House spokesman told the Times of London. “Some would likely say it might command the highest nonfiction price ever.” More even than exiting GE honcho Jack Welch’s autobiography, for which he scored $7 million.

Undeniable: That’s a much better deal than Whitewater.

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She’s no addict; she’s my wife

“I don’t even want to discuss that, because it’s garbage. If you saw her tonight, then you know ain’t nothing wrong with her.”

Bobby Brown on wife Whitney Houston’s alleged drug problem, after she sang and he performed in a leather skirt at a televised tribute to Paul Robeson.

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Seeing Revlon Red

Elizabeth Hurley has apparently put the kibosh on rumors that she would be replaced by Gwyneth Paltrow as Estie Lauder’s spokesface by signing on for another stint with the cosmetic company. (No, I don’t know if that means the air has gone out of that potential gel-bra deal.)

But now it’s Cindy Crawford’s turn to cry ageism after Revlon dropped her $3 million-a-year contract because, at 34, she’s too long in the tooth.

“They don’t want the story out there that they’re firing me because I’m too old. That will alienate a lot of customers,” Crawford told USA Today.

“It would have been easy for Revlon to capitalize on my evolution,” she lamented. “I’m a mom, I’m married now, my image is a businessperson. They might have used me in a more modern way.”

Well, maybe if Liz does pass on the gel bra …

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Don’t pinch the Sundance Kid

“It seems everyone in Hollywood is getting pinched, lifted and pulled. I’m looking weird because I’m not, but it just doesn’t feel right for me to get surgery. I feel this obsession with plastic surgery is like it’s chipping away at oneself … Everyone wants to preserve their time in history. I guess I’ll just have to look for other ways.”

Robert Redford on aging gracefully, in the Calgary Sun.

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Miss something? Read yesterday’s Nothing Personal.

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