Researching the old family tree: Angelina Jolie's newly adopted orphan baby girl might not be an orphan after all. The British tabloid the Sun claims to have tracked down Zahara's birth mother, an 18-year-old Ethiopian woman named Mentewab Dawit. Dawit says she had no idea who adopted her baby, but that she's just glad her daughter has found someone who will give her a good life. "I want to ask just one thing of Angelina -- which is that she gives my child the education I would love for her. In the future I would like to know about her condition, but I will never try to interfere with their lives." (FemaleFirst, The Sun)
And your little Toto, too!: Embarrassing childhood photos are never more embarrassing than when you're an international star with a growing image problem. On Thursday, the Sun ran pictures of a very young Tom Cruise, even before his earliest acting days in high school, playing dress-up in women's clothing. Sporting both a '20s flapper costume and an outfit that appears to be Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz," the smile is still recognizably all Cruise. (Defamer, The Sun)
Phone bill settled: Russell Crowe has finally come to a settlement with Nestor Estrada, the Mercer Hotel employee he bashed with a malfunctioning phone in June. The actual terms of the deal made on Thursday haven't been disclosed, but everyone seems happy, according to the brief statement from the actor's publicist: "Both sides expressed satisfaction at the resolution." Crowe made a huge public apology on the "Late Show With David Letterman" not long after he hurled the phone at Estrada out of frustration for not being able to place a call to his family in Australia, calling it "possibly the most shameful situation that I've ever gotten myself in in my life, and I've done some pretty dumb things in my life." (Access Hollywood)
Jennifer Aniston received a surprise guest yesterday at her Malibu house when a man simply walked in and started poking around, saying he was just "looking for Jennifer." The man fled after being confronted by two of Aniston's employees, and was picked up on the beach nearby. Aniston wasn't at home, as she's still filming "The Break Up" in Chicago. ... Speaking of stalkers, Aniston is also the celebrity most people would like to run into online. In a poll taken by Date.com after Halle Berry said she likes to chat with strangers under a false name on online dating sites, Aniston was the favored female celebrity, and Orlando Bloom led the men's category. The pollsters question was direct and slightly creepy: "If you suddenly discovered that the prospect you've spent the past two months meeting in the chat room was really a celeb-in-disguise, who would you want it to be?" ... Jack White would like to teach the world to sing. He's apparently in talks with Coca-Cola to write the next big jingle for Coke. ... The huge raindrop featured in the ads for the MTV Video Music Awards could turn out to be more a prophecy than a brilliant design idea. After Hurricane Katrina made landfall north of Miami on Thursday night, heavy rain and winds have forced organizers to cancel the outdoor segments of the show, including many of the big parties planned for the show. The weather may clear enough by Sunday to allow some outdoor events to happen, but either way MTV says the show will go on. ... Another annual awards show is having difficulties: After 84 years, the Miss America Pageant is saying buh-bye to Atlantic City in a bid to revive ratings that have long been in decline -- the show was dropped by ABC last year -- as well as to save some serious cash by going somewhere cheaper.
Coldplay singer Chris Martin, whose wife Gwyneth Paltrow once dated Brad Pitt, on trying to be cool: "Being voted the world's sexiest vegetarian is about as cool as it gets. It's not quite as cool as Brad Pitt, but it'll do. Those have been the two biggest challenges of my life: trying to follow Radiohead, and trying to follow Brad Pitt." (Rolling Stone via Detroit Free Press)
It's season finale time for both "Monk" (USA, 10 p.m. EDT) and "Degrassi: The Next Generation" (Noggin, 8 p.m. EDT). Also, Tom Brokaw hosts "Deep Throat, the Inside Story," featuring interviews with Woodward and Bernstein. (Sundance, 10 p.m. EDT).
-- Scott Lamb