Keeping Tabs

Can Brad Be a Dad?

Plus, living in Michael Jackson’s personal zoo.

Will Brad Pitt’s past keep him from becoming a dad?
Star and the Enquirer both look into Brad Pitt’s attempt to legally adopt Angelina Jolie’s two children. Star says that a social worker was scheduled to visit the Pitt-Jolie abode on Dec. 28 “to make sure that Brad’s modern mansion will be a healthy and safe environment to raise kids.” The Enquirer dredges up Pitt’s indecent-exposure arrest from 1988 (he apparently mooned motorists along the Pacific Coast Highway), quoting an expert who says, “Past behavior will certainly be something they will take into account when considering a person’s fitness as a parent.” In its attempt to make a mountain out of this molehill, the tab adds, “Even if the offense does not prove to be a setback in his application for a second-parent adoption, Brad will be subject to months of paperwork, interviews and a fee of $2,950.”

The Neverland Ranch isn’t safe for animals either.
A sad scene at Michael Jackson’s zoo at his Neverland Ranch is photographed in an Enquirer “world exclusive.” “In the photos, a giraffe is standing near what appears to be a pool of blood, elephants wander among what looks like piles of feces and a crocodile swims in what appears to be an oppressively small pool.” “One worker” tells the tab the animals’ situation will soon get worse: “There is only enough food for another 10 days. I don’t know what is going to happen after that.” It seems the whole property has fallen into disrepair: Another source says, “It’s a dire mess up there. Neverland is falling apart.”

Nobody wants to pay for Ben Affleck’s autograph.
The new father ran into an L.A. convenience store to buy baby wipes, InTouch reports, but had no money or credit cards on him. ” ‘I’ve got to come back with these or my wife will kill me,’ Ben told the clerk. He tried to sell his autograph to shoppers for a dollar, but there were no takers.” After turning down a $20 offer for his Red Sox cap, Affleck eventually was bought the wipes by another shopper, who “was rewarded with a grateful kiss.”

Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston aren’t secret phone buddies after all.
In an intra-company smackdown, InTouch basically says that its sister publication, Life & Style, made up a story. More than a month ago, L & S published a piece claiming that Jessica Simpson has been talking on the phone with Jennifer Aniston about her marital problems. InTouch refrains from naming Life & Style, referring only to “one magazine” that printed the report, and writing, “Jennifer herself recently shot down the rumors, saying that she doesn’t even know Jessica.”

Was John Spencer gay?
The Enquirer, obviously cognizant of the impossibility of libeling the dead, writes that Spencer, the beloved West Wing star who died suddenly on Dec. 16, was in the closet. According to “a close pal,” “John didn’t want anyone to know he was gay and he kept his secret to his death,” even from fellow West Wing cast members and other close friends. One nice note from the “pal”: “John had met the love of his life a long time ago and quietly moved the guy in with him. He died happy.”

Britney wants more Federspawn.
Even though her first child is all of 3 months old, Star and InTouch say that Britney Spears is “determined to have another child,” in InTouch’s words. Star quotes “a source close to Britney” who says, “Sean is what’s held this marriage together, so the thinking is that one more baby can only help strengthen the union. … Britney and Kevin have been discussing getting pregnant again. He gets off on the idea of having a tribe of Federlines.” The tab continues, “But the very idea of Brit, 24, bringing one more Federline into the world gives chills to her family and friends.”

Jennifer Aniston, still heartbroken.
Star reports that both Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston want to end their relationship. Per a “source,” Vaughn said, “all she seems to talk about is herself … she’s becoming a real prima donna”; “a friend of Aniston,” meanwhile, says, “Jen told me it doesn’t feel like the white-hot love she had with Brad.” And InTouch files yet another dispatch from its bureau in Jennifer Aniston’s medulla oblongata, writing that at a Christmas dinner, “Jen’s mind was far away—a year in the past, to be precise,” and calling in “renowned psychologist” Dr. Joyce Brothers to proclaim, “Another split would be very difficult emotionally for Jen.”

No, really: Is Teri Hatcher too thin?
Life & Style is playing with lawsuit-happy fire, referring to the Desperate Housewives star as “alarmingly slender” and “super-skinny” mere weeks after the Enquirer published an embarrassing “apology” that stated, in part, “We now know that during the past seven years, her weight has fluctuated by only three pounds—a result of healthy diet, moderate exercise and a good metabolism. Ms. Hatcher is fit and looks great.”

Wow! Whatta Scoop!
You know it’s a slow week in tabloid land when Star runs a large paparazzi photo with a caption that begins thusly: “Former Falcon Crest hottie Lorenzo Lamas, 47, stopped to listen to Christmas carols …”