Little white lies: Victoria Gotti, mob daughter/reality TV show star, has been fibbing about having breast cancer. After coming out with the news that she had secretly been battling the disease for months, she's now downgraded what she had to "a scare." She told Page Six, "I could leave it alone and watch it, or get surgery. I chose to be aggressive and get the surgery." Her publicist has apparently quit in disgust, and Joanna Molloy, gossip columnist at the N.Y. Daily News, said: "Don't tell me Victoria is shape-shifting the truth again. She told us in January she had breast cancer, and that's the reason she took a leave of absence from Star magazine. She told us again last week, and we recorded it." (Page Six)
A modern-day Robin Hood, sort of: The maid who was caught stealing clothes and jewelry from Candice Bergen and Robert De Niro's wife now says there was a method to her madness -- she was doing it to get back at them for being so "mean." "I didn't steal from Isabella Rossellini," said Lucyna Turyk-Wawrynowicz in a police statement released yesterday, "because she treated me well." Robert De Niro's wife, Grace Hightower, wasn't so lucky. Turyk-Wawrynowicz allegedly made off with a $95,000 pair of Hightower's earrings, and also has bad things to say about her qualities as a mother: "She is mean. If Mr. De Niro knew how badly she treats her kids, he would leave her." (N.Y. Post)
Cable catfight: In a story in Wednesday's New York Times, CNN president Jonathan Klein steps up to defend Bob Costas for declining to get involved with the media circus that is the Natalee Holloway case -- and takes time out to fire some shots at Fox News while he's at it. Cable channels like Fox are focusing on the story because "it's easy and it's brainless," Klein says. "They're looking for an ongoing drama" -- along the lines of NBC's "Law & Order" -- "except 'Law & Order' doesn't do the same plot every night." On the same day earlier this month when 14 Marines were killed in a roadside bombing in Iraq, Greta Van Susteren's "On the Record" -- a Fox News show -- was focused on Aruba. "Fourteen Americans dead, and they have Natalee Holloway on," Klein says. "And they're supposedly America's news channel." His critique, not surprisingly, has created sparks. "If Jon performed as well as he talks he wouldn't have to explain his network's dismal ratings," shot back Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti. "We have trounced him on every breaking news story from the London bombings and last week's events in Gaza." (N.Y. Times via Drudge)
One for the money: Janet Arvizo, mother of the 15-year-old boy who was at the center of the Michael Jackson trial, has been charged with faking her Social Security claims. The Los Angeles district attorney has accused Arvizo of collecting nearly $19,000 in fraudulent benefits, claiming to be poor despite a $150,000 payout from a lawsuit against a department store. "These charges are the result of a very careful investigation of allegations that she basically lied to receive aid," D.A. spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons says. (BBC)
Barbra Streisand's new single "Guilty Pleasures" debuted on Tuesday, and the video for the song features a montage of American troops overseas, with Babs -- decked out in a black evening gown -- singing, "You may be someone else's sweetheart/ Fighting someone else's war,/ And if you suffer for the millions/ Then it's what you're fighting for." ... Olivia Newton-John's boyfriend Patrick McDermott is still missing, having disappeared sometime during a fishing trip on June 30 off the coast of California. Media attention has generated leads but the police are still baffled. ... Justin Timberlake has accepted an apology (and an undisclosed sum) from a British tabloid that made up a story about him having a fling with model Lucy Clarkson. "Yet again, a tabloid has been caught lying," said his publicist in a statement. "Thankfully the judicial process worked, but how many cases like this will it take before these tabloids feel obligated to print the truth?" ... Weekly celebrity magazines may be doing good business right now, but what we're seeing is a bubble, writes Business 2.0, and as anyone who lived through the late 1990s remembers, bubbles have a way of bursting eventually. ... Martha Stewart, never one to fear the word nepotism, has appointed her daughter, Alexis, to serve as one of her advisors for the hiring/firing process of "The Apprentice." ... Sharon Osbourne has incurred the wrath of Iron Maiden fans everywhere for her part in upstaging the band during the current Ozzfest tour. Sharon recently took the stage after an audience began chanting "Ozzy!" during Iron Maiden's set, and called the band's lead singer, Bruce Dickinson, a nasty name.
Out with the old, in with the new: ABC airs the season finale of "Brat Camp" at 9 p.m. EDT, and then kicks off its new reality show, "Kicked Out," at 10 p.m. EDT.
-- Scott Lamb