Brangelina ru­mors swirl

Re­cent le­gal meet­ing has Hol­ly­wood tongues wag­ging

Chicago Sun-Times - - Glare Showcase -

Along with next week’s Os­car nom­i­na­tions an­nounce­ment, the al­leged Brangelina breakup is about the only thing Hol­ly­wood peo­ple are buzzing about this week.

But the sig­nals con­tinue to be mixed. Some re­li­able sources are con­vinced An­gelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s re­cent le­gal ma­neu­vers and ab­sences from awards shows point to an im­mi­nent split. Yet, one of Pitt’s clos­est busi­ness as­so­ci­ates in­sisted the widely dis­cussed at­tor­ney meet­ing — first re­ported by Bri­tain’s News of the World — in re­al­ity was all about up­dat­ing the cou­ple’s wills and trust agree­ments. Given they have six chil­dren and an es­ti­mated $200 mil­lion in as­sets, ‘‘that’s just a sen­si­ble thing for them to do,’’ said the source, ad­mit­ting it also could play into a pos­si­ble fu­ture breakup.

As for Pitt’s pur­chase of a house next to the cou­ple’s Hol­ly­wood Hills com­pound, that’s merely a con­tin­u­a­tion of a long­time prac­tice. ‘‘Brad has bought ev­ery­thing ad­ja­cent to that prop­erty for years. It’s all about in­creas­ing their pri­vacy,’’ said the source, deny­ing it was sim­ply to give him a new ‘‘bach­e­lor pad’’ to be near his chil­dren, fol­low­ing a split with Jolie.

That said, many Hol­ly­wood play­ers be­lieve Ian Halperin, au­thor of Brangelina: The Un­told Story of Brad Pitt and An­gelina Jolie, who says the cou­ple will soon an­nounce they are split­ting.

Dur­ing Denise Richards’ in­ter­view with Oprah Win­frey, which aired Tues­day, the ac­tress in­di­cated con­cerns her chat with the TV queen might irk her ex-hus­band. A source close to Char­lie Sheen’s ‘‘Two and a Half Men’’ show tells me her sus­pi­cions were right.

‘‘Both Char­lie and Brooke [Mueller, his wife] are un­happy about it. Char­lie be­lieves Denise did it think­ing this will jump­start her very stalled ca­reer . . . just by get­ting at­ten­tion for her­self. Denise just finds it im­pos­si­ble to be out of the lime­light,’’ the source sniped.

While it is ironic NBC has given a goa­head to a se­ries pi­lot from Co­nan O’Brien’s Conaco pro­duc­tion com­pany, there’s also a lo­cal con­nec­tion to the project. Chicago na­tive and big­time Hol­ly­wood writer and pro­ducer John Eisendrath (‘‘Alias,’’ ‘‘Bev­erly Hills 90210’’) is the writer and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of ‘‘Jus­tice,’’ a pro­posed show about a Supreme Court jus­tice who quits and re­turns to pri­vate prac­tice. Adm. Stans­field Turner, for­mer di­rec­tor of the CIA and a High­land Park na­tive, will be the ‘‘2010 Per­son of the Year’’ and in­ducted into the newly es­tab­lished High­land Park His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety’s Hall of Fame at the so­ci­ety’s March 13 gala at the Birch­wood Club in the North Shore sub­urb.

Other in­ductees with High­land Park ties will in­clude Michael Jor­dan, Os­car-winning screen­writer William Gold­man, Hub­ble as­tro­naut John Grunsfeld, TV and film di­rec­tor and pro­ducer Brian Lev­ant, ABC News chief in­ves­ti­ga­tor Brian Ross and film­maker Steve Zacharias, best known for ‘‘Re­venge of the Nerds,’’ who also will be on hand March 13.

Fox Chicago News an­chor Jeff Gold­blatt will em­cee the event, also fea­tur­ing for­mer Sun­Times colum­nist and WGN ra­dio host Judy Markey as a spe­cial guest.

Su­per­star dec­o­ra­tor Michael Smith, tapped by first lady Michelle Obama to up­date White House in­te­ri­ors, charmed a room­ful of Chicagoans — jok­ing the very proper Wed­nes­day lun­cheon was ‘‘a lot dif­fer­ent than an early Chicago visit here. . . . Jim Belushi’s wed­ding was a lot wilder!’’

While show­cas­ing his work for such star clients as Cindy Craw­ford, Richard Gere, pro­ducer Brian Grazer and di­rec­tor James Brooks, Smith snared a big laugh when he quipped, ‘‘Divorces are very good for de­sign­ers — as long as you never take sides!’’ He noted Craw­ford and Gere only lived in the L.A. house Smith dec­o­rated for six days.

Spied en­joy­ing Smith’s talk were Chicago’s first lady Mag­gie Da­ley, M.K. Pritzker, Tr­ish Rooney, Christina Gid­witz, Judy Nie­der­maier, Katherine Chez, Neal Zucker, Jamee Field, Caryn Har­ris, Julie Latsko, Lawrie Weed, Tom Gor­man, Jacky Ferro, Les­lie Hind­man and Robin Berger.

STE­FANIE KEENAN~GETTY IM­AGES

Brad Pitt and An­gelina Jolie at­tend a gala in Novem­ber. Did they meet with an at­tor­ney to draw up a will or to end their re­la­tion­ship?

Michael Smith

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