The Fix

Zellweger gets hitched. Chappelle melts down. Plus: Prince Harry, royal cheat?

By Salon Staff
Published May 10, 2005 2:47PM (EDT)

Morning Briefing:
Royal cheat? A former art teacher of Prince Harry at Eton College has issued a statement alleging that Harry passed off work completed by a teacher as his own in order to pass his exams and compensate for the fact that he was a "weak" student. The former teacher, Sarah Forsyth, said she had been ordered by a school administrator to make sure Harry passed his art exam, and that she herself wrote most of the text for an art project submitted by the prince for review by outside judges. "I was concerned that this was unethical and probably constituted cheating," she said. "I assumed I had been asked to do this because Prince Harry was a weak student  However, I did not think I could tell anyone else about the incident without fear of victimization and was not aware that statutory protection against such victimization existed  I have recently seen for the first time extracts of the written material which was submitted on Prince Harry's behalf and can confirm that it was nearly all written by me." Meanwhile, in an ill-conceived effort to bolster Harry's image in the midst of the controversy, royal P.R. types have released photos of Harry helping children with AIDS in South Africa. Unfortunately, the photos have touched off a new scandal: In one, Prince Harry is pictured holding a half-smoked cigarette. (Agence France Presse, Sky News)

Just married: Renée Zellweger apparently had country music star Kenny Chesney at hello. The couple has confirmed that they got married before 45 close friends and relatives in a private ceremony on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Monday. The bride, 36, and the groom, 37, met just four months ago at a tsunami relief concert in which Chesney performed and Zellweger answered phones. According to a source, the bride wore Carolina Herrera and the groom, who once wrote a song inspired by Zellweger's character in "Jerry Maguire," wore no shoes. (N.Y. Post, Rush and Molloy)

A not-so-funny turn of events: Reports are swirling as to why Comedy Central felt compelled to shut down production indefinitely on its very popular "Chappelle's Show." According to Newsweek, creator Dave Chappelle was crumpling under the pressure -- and was also partying a little too hard and making trouble with the cable network bigwigs. "I saw him start trippin' when the buzz started to get real loud," a friend of the comedian told the magazine. "I think he was in shock after the first season. Then during the second season, it hit him that he was the Man. That freaked him  And then came the pressure of living up to expectations for the third season. He's never been there -- where something's so good and you got to come even stronger the next time. It was too much." Chappelle is also said to have been driven to throw "diva-esque tantrums." (Newsweek via E! Online, Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

Jackson trial update: Michael Jackson's defense team called several current and former Neverland employees to testify that they had never seen Jackson do anything untoward with the children who frequently visited him. What's more, several employees also cast doubt on allegations that Jackson's young accuser and his family were held hostage at Neverland. Jackson himself is said to be "very physically tired" these days. "His back is not doing well," a spokeswoman told the press. "He was uncomfortable in court." It is not yet known whether the pop star will take the stand to testify in his own defense -- or whether his old friend Macaulay Culkin will show up to testify on his behalf. (Associated Press, N.Y. Post)

Horsing around at the Kentucky Derby: Tori Spelling reportedly licked Usher's fingers upon meeting him at a post-race party before her husband dragged her away. (Spelling insists the report was "embellished.") The well-born actress also reportedly lost a five-carat diamond earring that was later found nestled in her "ample cleavage." Meanwhile, Tara Reid was reported to have gotten wild and dirty after crashing that very same party, and Kid Rock was spotted looking "sort of dressed up." (Rush and Molloy, Page Six, The Scoop)

Also: It's not quite the stuff of Stephen Glass, but Wired News has determined after an investigation by Adam Penenberg -- the reporter who once sniffed out Glass' "New Republic" fabrications -- that 24 stories by frequent contributor Michelle Delio contain quotes from people whose identity cannot be confirmed. The site has posted a list of the stories. here. (Wired News) ... Jimmy Buffett has signed on with Sirius Satellite Radio to produce a 24-hour channel similar to his current online project Radio Margaritaville. "Margaritaville is more than just great music -- it's a lifestyle," said Sirius' Scott Greenstein. (N.Y. Daily News) ... Heidi Klum, five months pregnant, and Seal are set to wed today in Mexico at a beach ceremony before 40 close friends and relatives. (Rush and Molloy) ... Word is that Paula Abdul was supposed to play herself in the send-up of her recent alleged sex scandal on "Saturday Night Live," but scaled her appearance way back to a cameo because, according to a source, "I guess she had some second thoughts about how far she wanted to go making fun of her situation." In fact, according to one report, the parody had her in tears. (Rush and Molloy, Page Six)... KC of KC and the Sunshine Band is recovering from a sprained knee and a cut over his right eye after falling off the stage during a concert on Saturday night in Phoenix. Quipped the vintage pop star, "I left my shoes at the hotel and had to perform in a new pair. I picked the wrong pair of Boogie Shoes!" (Associated Press) ... "Good Morning America" news reader Robin Roberts has been promoted to co-host, presumably to ease the burden on Charles Gibson, who has been frequently subbing for Peter Jennings on ABC's "World News Tonight." (N.Y. Times)

Money Quote:
L.A. Weekly's Nikki Finke on Arianna Huffington's new celeb-blog, the Huffington Post: "Forgive them, these bleating blowhards on Arianna's blog, because they know not what they do  They're all lambs to the slaughter -- baa, baa, baa, suddenly standing for baad, baad, baad -- led by a shameless shepherdess whose only interest in the Hollywood flock in the first place is their ability to secure yet another headline for Huffington." (L.A. Weekly)

Turn On:
Tuesday night marks the season finales of UPN's "Veronica Mars" (9 p.m. EDT), in which Veronica discovers the identity of Lilly Kane's murderer, and CBS' "The Amazing Race" (9 p.m. EDT). And PBS offers a "Frontline" special on mentally ill prisoners, "The New Asylums" (check local listings).

-- Amy Reiter

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