Melanie Griffith's addiction blues

Actress checks into clinic to "step down" from her meds; Paltrow feeling "sisterly" toward Affleck; NRA's Heston fears a gunless London. Plus: Dave Eggers hits the "writer-friendly" jackpot!

By Amy Reiter

Published November 17, 2000 12:02AM (EST)

Looks like Antonio Banderas and the kids will be fending for themselves for the next month.

Melanie Griffith has checked into a Los Angeles clinic to be treated for an addiction to painkillers. It all started with a pain in the neck.

"My doctor has referred me to the Daniel Freeman Hospital in California. I'm in a step down program from the prescribed medication that I have been taking for a neck injury," Griffith said in a message addressed "to all my friends" and posted Tuesday on her (unbelievably cheesy) Web site. "I want to thank you for being so supportive ... and for the love and respect you are showing my family and me. With love and appreciation, Melanie."

Griffith has been through rehab before, for drug and alcohol problems back in the '80s.

Now if only there were a 12-step program for overly breathy voices ...

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Blowing the blooming budget

"Yes, I like flowers."

-- Elton John, confirming to a British court that he may well have spent about $421,000 on flowers between January 1996 and September 1997.

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Lose a lover, gain a sibling?

Now that she's got a new man to squeeze like a bottle o' ketchup, Gwyneth Paltrow is apparently ready to fill us all in on the true nature of her feelings toward her ex, Ben Affleck.

"I have a sort of sisterly feeling toward him," Paltrow tells the U.K. Sun. "I want him to do well and grow up and be a happy person and a fully realized man and feel good about himself."

Yet another actress who seems to be taking courses from the Liz Hurley school of PR.

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Juicy bits

A heartbreaking work of cinematic genius? Dave Eggers has snagged what Variety is calling one of the most "writer-friendly" film deals ever. For the rights to his book "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius," New Line has agreed to pay Eggers $2 million up front plus another $1 million, much of which Eggers says he'll donate to cancer research. The company also granted Eggers the right to co-write the screenplay, approve of any part of the screenplay written without him and veto any screenwriters, directors or producers working on the project. "Magnolia" director Paul Thomas Anderson and "The Cider House Rules" director Lasse Halstrom are already reportedly battling over the helm. Now that's what I call might.

Kathie Lee Gifford's sad song: Her album "Heart of a Woman," the one she left her cushy morning-chat-show seat to promote, isn't selling too well. According to SoundScan, the CD has sold only 15,000 copies since it hit stores on Oct. 24. (Her last album sold 205,000 copies.) After entering the Billboard 200 at No. 170, the album, which boasts such fabulous toe-tappers as "One Hot Menopausal Mama" and "We Don't Make Love Anymore," immediately tumbled off the chart. Gifford blames the radio stations that are loath to play her songs. "There is a stigma," she says.

Charlton Heston strikes again. Mr. NRA has taken his gotta-getta-gun message to the U.K., telling students at Oxford University that their country's anti-handgun laws constitute "cultural cowardice and a subtle form of surrender to the criminals" and contends they "cheapen lives." Heston says he's "safer stepping off the plane in Los Angeles ... than walking the streets of London." Well, with an attitude like that ...

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Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

Amy Reiter

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