The Fix

Jessica Simpson caught cheating? Michael Jackson rescued from financial ruin. Plus: Kid Rock and Scott Stapp's icky, icky sex tape.

Published February 17, 2006 2:30PM (EST)

Morning Briefing:
Jessica Simpson's cheating heart? This week's Us Weekly cover features a picture of Jessica Simpson looking back over her shoulder with a come-hither look and a headline that reads, "Scandal! She Was With Another Man While Married." Though rumors about Simpson hooking up with various big names have been circulating for a while, the Us story is the first with several on-the-record witnesses testifying to the fact: "As the not-yet-divorced Jessica Simpson carries on a sexy relationship with Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine, sources tell Us the pair first hooked up in 2004, while Simpson was still wed to Nick Lachey," says Us. Simpson's rep, Rob Shuter, is of course denying the story, calling it "Not true, not true." Someone at the magazine, though, talking to the Lowdown, shot back: "This is a woman who lied to the public and probably her husband about her marriage until the bitter end. Enough said." (Us Weekly, Lowdown)

Citibank to Jackson's rescue: Facing the possibility of foreclosure on his assets on Feb. 20, Michael Jackson appears to have found a savior in Citibank for his complicated financial woes. The erstwhile pop star owes $270 million in loan debt to a group called Fortress Investments, but Sony -- interceding on Jackson's behalf -- has negotiated a deal with Citibank to buy the loans and stave off foreclosure. As Fox 411 points out, the deal won't get Jackson totally out of the woods: "Jackson will still owe the bank $270 million, and won't be able to borrow any more money. Interest will keep mounting, as well, which Jackson will have to pay." Either way, Jackson needs to find a way to make some money, quick; a Bahrain insider tells Ted Casablanca that the country's royal family -- who've been looking after him for months -- are just about fed up: "They're getting tired of his freeloading ways." (Fox 411, The Awful Truth)

The world's most frightening sex tape: Like Video Dog, we're hesitant to say too much about the Scott Stapp/Kid Rock sex tape, maybe because it's too tawdry and sad. (Note: they don't have sex with each other but with a number of strippers.) Rush & Molloy have some background on the tape: It was made six years ago in Miami, while the rockers were on tour in there, and recently fell into the hands of Red Light District Video, which also brought the world "One Night in Paris." If you must watch, there's an excerpt here. (N.Y. Daily News, You Tube)

After failed marriages to Nicolas Cage, Michael Jackson and Danny Keough, Lisa Marie Presley has decided to tie the knot a fourth time; her publicist announced yesterday that she and guitarist Michael Lockwood were married in Kyoto, Japan, in late January. (Associated Press) ... After dropping out of the Olympics and turning down a job helping with NBC's coverage of the Winter Games, ice-skating champ Michelle Kwan has been hired as a spokeswoman for Disney. (Reuters) ... Despite what you may have read, Coldplay are not breaking up. A spokesman for the band said: "Coldplay are on the road until July, when their 16-month X&Y World Tour ends in Japan. They will then continue working on new material." (BBC) ... Undeterred by the fact that his "Brokeback Mountain" costar, Jake Gyllenhaal, is also up for an award, Heath Ledger, speaking at a press conference at the Berlin Film Festival, said he thinks George Clooney deserves the Oscar for best supporting actor. (ContactMusic) ... Nicole Richie and her ex-fiancé Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein, may be getting back together; the two were seen having a "romantic dinner" at a Los Angeles restaurant. (The Daily Dish)

Money Quotes:
George Clooney has been talking about the Cheney shooting incident a lot. A smattering of quotes:

On the consequences: "Everybody's taking responsibility and nobody's getting fired."

On who was really affected: "I love that Cheney said, 'It was the worst day of my life.' I think it was the worst day of his friend's life. And what happened to the bird?" (Both from Rush & Molloy)

On whom he's taking as an Oscar date: "Actually, I'm bringing Dick Cheney as my date. He called me and asked me to go quail hunting, and I said, 'Well, why don't you just come to the Oscars with me instead?'" (Jeanne Wolf's Hollywood)

Turn On:
It's the season premiere of "Real Time With Bill Maher" (HBO, 11 p.m. EST), with guests Dan Senor (former advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority), White House correspondent Helen Thomas, Gloria Steinem and others, while "Biography" (A&E, 10 p.m. EST) presents the life of William Shatner, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is on "Charlie Rose" (PBS, check local listings). The evening's "Winter Olympics" (NBC, 8 p.m.) competitions: couples ice dancing, women's snowboard cross, women's combined alpine skiing and men's skeleton. Also, Fox is rebroadcasting the eerie episode of "Trading Spouses" (8 p.m. EST) featuring Mrs. Marguerite Perrin (she of the infamous "dark-sided!" rampage).

-- Scott Lamb

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