Brangelina rumors swirl
Recent legal meeting has Hollywood tongues wagging
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.
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?