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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Real Housewives of New York City Speak Out on Beverly Hills Tragedy

Real Housewives of New York City Speak Out on Beverly Hills Tragedy The season-4 cast of The Real Housewives of New York City

Joe Pugliese/Bravo

Just ahead of the season 2 premiere of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Monday, the stars of The Real Housewives of New York City are opening up about the suicide of Taylor Armstrong's estranged husband, Russell.

"That made me cry," Ramona Singer told PEOPLE before heading off to spend the Labor Day weekend aboard a 150-ft. yacht in Newport, R.I., and Nantucket, Mass. "[Taylor is] lovely and it's hitting her hard. The night before the memorial service, I had dinner with [Taylor's costars] Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards and we talked about it. And they've been so supportive."

While some wonder if The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills may have pushed Armstrong to his breaking point, the ladies of New York City say the show isn't at fault.

"I think it is very tragic. But I don't think that the reality show is to blame for his unfortunate death," Singer said. "I think he had problems. And it's sad when someone has so many problems, they feel the only way they can eliminate their pain is by taking their life."

Kelly Bensimon, who called Taylor and Russell a "lovely couple," agrees with her costar.

"I would never blame it on the show," Bensimon said. "You don't know what happens behind closed doors. And no one can judge. It's no one's job to do that. A lot of people speculate."

While the reality show will premiere as planned and the suicide will be addressed, some of the Housewives see the tragedy as a private matter.

"My heart goes out to her and I'm here for her. But I never intrude," Sonja Morgan told PEOPLE. "She knows I'm here, but sometimes being helpful is just staying out of someone's business."

"I don't even feel comfortable talking about that publicly," Alex McCord said of the suicide. "We did what we did privately. And that's that."

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Kate's Wedding Dress Attracts 350,000 Visitors - So Far

 The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, with the Duchess (inset)

PA/Landov (2)

It's standing room only at the Palace.

Six weeks after it went on display – and with only one month left for the public to get a glimpse – more than 350,000 have filed into Buckingham Palace to see the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding gown by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.

At this rate, by the time the exhibit and tour close down on Oct. 3 some 500,000 visitors are expected to have filed by the gown. Among the first to have checked it out in July: Kate and her grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth.

A Royal Collection spokesman says, "We're thrilled that so many people have visited Buckingham Palace this summer in what looks to be a record year. The Royal Wedding attracted worldwide interest, so it's only natural that many people want to come to see the State Rooms, some of which were used for the wedding reception, and take a closer look at The Duchess of Cambridge's dress – which celebrates great British design."

Adult admission is $28.50, and remaining tickets are available at the Royal Collection website. A part of the proceeds goes to the Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund, benefiting charities chosen by Prince William and Kate.

In related news, on Monday it was announced on Twitter, "The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge donate a vehicle given to them as a wedding present by Land Rover to Mountain Rescue."

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Selma Blair: Gorgeous in Green Six Weeks After Baby!

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Lauren Bush and David Lauren Tie the Knot

 Lauren Bush and David Lauren

Jemal Countess/Getty

David Lauren, son of fashion mogul Ralph Lauren, and Lauren Bush, niece of former President George W. Bush, were married Sunday in a lavish ceremony in Colorado, PEOPLE has confirmed.

After meeting in 2004 and getting engaged last year, Bush, 27, and Lauren, 39, exchanged vows at the designer's 17,000-acre Double RL Ranch (named for Ralph and wife Ricky Lauren) in the Rocky Mountains.

Though the actual ceremony took place on Sunday, the entire holiday weekend was built around wedding festivities, including a picnic and softball game Saturday, rehearsal dinner Saturday night and a post-wedding rodeo scheduled for Monday.

Merging the two families' fashion sensibilities, the dress code for the wedding was "black tie with a Western twist," say reports.

Among the 200 attendees were the bride's aunt and uncle, former President George W. and First Lady Laura Bush, cousins Jenna and Barbara Bush, and another uncle, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Lauren's grandparents, George H.W. and Barbara Bush, were unable to attend but sent a video message, reports the New York Post.

The groom's sister, Dylan's Candy Bar owner Dylan Lauren, attended, and Ivanka Trump Tweeted she was there.

The bride's dress was designed by her father-in-law, who also fashioned a bridal gown for his own daughter, Dylan Lauren, earlier this year.

Lauren Bush, who will go by the name Lauren Bush-Lauren, is the daughter of the 43rd president's brother, Neil, who reportedly walked her down the aisle along with the bride's mother, Sharon.

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Serena Williams: Venus's Health Is More Important Than Tennis

Serena Williams: Venus's Health Is More Important Than Tennis | Serena Williams, Venus Williams Serena (left) and Venus Williams

Larry Marano/Getty

After Venus Williams withdrew from the U.S. Open on Wednesday and revealed she was suffering from the autoimmune disorder Sjögren's syndrome, younger sister Serena Williams says Venus's condition is improving and she's staying positive.

"She's doing better," Serena, 29, told PEOPLE Saturday night after defeating Belarus star Victoria Azarenka at the U.S. Open in New York. "It's a day at a time kind of a thing. Her spirits are good, however."

Some 4 million Americans suffer Sjögren's syndrome, which causes fatigue and joint pain and would affect the 31-year-old Venus's tennis future.

"Tennis is great, but [Venus's illness] puts everything in perspective," says Serena, who herself suffered from a pulmonary embolism and underwent an emergency treatment for a blood clot in one of her lungs last spring. "I love playing tennis and I love the battle, but I realize that life is so precious and it isn't all about tennis."

In addition to praying and thinking constantly about her sister, what else is the 13-time Grand Slam champion doing to help her older sibling?

"I'm not the best with that," Serena says, "I'm a spoiled littler sister. She always takes care of me."

Having been inactive the past 12 months due to her own health condition, Serena is currently ranked 28th at the Open and has her next match Monday. But winning her fourth U.S. Open Women's singles title would mean a lot to her sister.

"She would definitely be happy," says Serena. "It would be really exciting for her and make her feel better."

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Carla Bruni-Sarkozy: No Baby Pictures in the Press!

 Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

Franck Prevel/Getty

Just weeks before giving birth, Carla Bruni Sarkozy doesn't know whether the new arrival will be a boy or a girl – but she does know one thing.

She will not allow any photographs of the child to be published in the press, France's First Lady, 43, said in her first interview about the baby, which aired Sunday on the TF1 program Sept A Huit.

"You don't have a child for the [photo] gallery," said Bruni, insisting that her "position as the wife of the head of state has made me even more defensive. I understand the media interest, and I don't see any inconvenience in it for myself or my husband, but when it concerns the children, it's not impossible."

She added, "I will do everything to protect this infant, and I'll be absolutely rigorous. I will never show photos of this child. I will never expose this child."

She called this decision "an adult choice."

Defending herself as "a little mother hen," the former top model said she took the same position with her first child, Aurelian, now 11, and regrets having once made an exception by taking him on a very public date to the archeological site at Petra in Jordan while she was first dating her then-husband-to-be Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008.

"My eldest son was exposed once, not in a public situation but in a private one, and it was a great error. I should never have taken my son to visit this magnificent site," she said. "I should have foreseen there would be photographers."

With Sunday's interview, in effect, her first public discussion of her pregnancy, Bruni-Sarkozy said with a laugh, "It's difficult, difficult to hide."

And with tabloid speculation that the baby would be male, she waved a finger and said, "A boy? I don't know myself, so the press knows better than I do."

Asked whether she had already arranged for nursery facilities in the Elysée-Palace, she responded that she "won't install a nursery" – but "a cradle, maybe."

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Beyoncé Celebrates 30th Birthday in Italy with Jay-Z

 Beyoncé and Jay-Z in Venice

Lawrence/La Pira/Splash News Online

It's been a week of momentous occasions for Beyoncé Knowles.

Just several days after showing off her baby bump and announcing she and hubby Jay-Z, 41, are expecting their first child, the "Love on Top" singer celebrated her big 3-0.

Rocking a full head of au naturel curls, the mom-to-be and her man jet-setted off to Venice, Italy, where they were spotted leaving a hotel on Saturday. Then, on Sunday (her actual birthday!) the couple had dinner at "one of the city's most celebrated restaurants," according to foreign press reports.

The pop star, who has been especially giddy since her pregnancy, recently said to viewers at the MTV Video Music Awards, "I want you to stand up on your feet. I want you to feel the love that's growing inside me."

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Jake Gyllenhaal, Rashida Jones Have Lunch in Los Angeles

 Rashida Jones and Jake Gyllenhaal

Splash News Online

He keeps some classy female company – dating a country crooner and an Oscar winner – and Jake Gyllenhaal's latest lunch involved another showbiz sweetheart.

The actor was spotted lunching – and laughing – with longtime friend Rashida Jones, veteran funny girl and current star on NBC's Parks and Recreation, Sunday in Los Angeles.

Gyllenhaal, 30, and Jones, 35, were joined by three other friends at Café Gratitude.

But Gyllenhaal wasn't the only one getting attention from Jones. When they exited the restaurant, the actress headed straight toward Gyllenhaal's dog Atticus, who was waiting outside.  

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Bachelor Pad's Michelle Money and Graham Bunn Going Strong

Months after teaming up on season 2 of Bachelor Pad, Michelle Money and Graham Bunn are closer than ever.

"Graham and I talk multiple times a day," Money told PEOPLE over the phone recently. "When I left the show, we both knew that he was going back to New York and I'm going back to Utah, and we live very different lives. We don't live close to each other by any stretch of the imagination, so we knew that it was kind of like, 'We'll see what happens.' And since then, we have definitely grown closer."

Money, who acknowledges that her official relationship status with her Bachelor Pad costar is "not definable," was attracted to the former The Bachelorette contestant immediately.

"Right when he walked in the door ... I was like, 'Okay, this is going to be a really fun experience,' " she says. "He's got these eyes that just kill you right when you see him. It's like, 'Okay, I'm done!' "

But for the single mom, who met Bunn for the first time when shooting began, the attraction extends beyond Bunn's physical assets.

"The unique thing about Graham is that he is not just hot, he is an incredible human being," says Money. "He's so much more than just beautiful on the outside. His heart is beautiful. His soul is beautiful. He's just a really incredible guy all around."

When Money signed on for the competition, she had no expectations of finding love with her partner. "My intention in going on the show was to win the money – end of story," she says. "I never in a million years thought that I would meet someone that I would want to continue seeing after the show was over. It was a really pleasant surprise."

This new Michelle Money, who shyly admitted to Bunn she had a crush on him during the third episode of Bachelor Pad, may seem like a far cry from the woman who aggressively pursued Brad Womack on the last season of The Bachelor.

"I went on The Bachelor to find love, and in order to find love in eight weeks, you have to really utilize your time with someone," she says of her more aggressive approach to flirting with Womack. "I took the approach of just taking advantage of every second I had with [Brad], whereas on Bachelor Pad, there was no goal at the end of the show to have a relationship."

Money also stands by her claim that she's been a victim of editing. "I'm not any different than I was in The Bachelor; they're just choosing to show different sides of me [now]," she says. "There was a sweeter side of me on The Bachelor; they just never showed it."

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Medical Examiner Reveals Mansion Suicide Message

By Stephen M. Silverman

Monday September 05, 2011 12:00 PM EDT

Medical Examiner Reveals Mansion Suicide Message Jonah Shacknai and Rebecca Zaha

Courtesy Shacknai Family

While San Diego police said on Friday that the two deaths tied to a millionaire's mansion were determined to be a suicide and an accident, what was only referenced and not fully revealed was a mysterious message left in the home by Rebecca Zahau.

Medical Examiner Investigator Dana Gary has since told San Diego's CBS News 8 the message that was painted in black on a bedroom door. The paint was found on Zahau's hands and the rope around her neck.

"I noted black painted writings on the bedroom door that led into the room with the balcony," said Gary, according to "The writing 'She Saved Him Can You Save Her' in black paint was on the hallway side of the bedroom door."

On July 13, Zahau, 32, was found naked, with her hands and feet bound, hanging by a makeshift noose in the courtyard of her boyfriend Jonah Shacknai's home, the Spreckels Mansion in Coronado, Calif.

Her body was discovered just hours after she accessed her voicemail on which was a message about the grave condition of Shacknai's 6-year-old son Max, who was in the hospital after falling down a staircase in the home. The child later died from his injuries.

"These deaths were not the result of any criminal acts," San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said at a press conference Friday.

Zahau's autopsy showed a "tape residue" on both of her legs and a long-sleeved, blue T-shirt wrapped three times "around her neck outside of the … reddish-orange rope" around her neck, said the report, which was obtained by CBS News 8.

Shacknai, a pharmaceutical tycoon, was not home at the time of her death. His brother, Adam Shacknai, was staying in the guest house when he found Zahau, cut the rope and attempted to administer CPR. He then called 911.

Medical Examiner Reveals Mansion Suicide Message| Crime & Courts, Jonah Shacknai, Rebecca Zahau Spreckels Mansion

Jerod Harris / Polaris

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