Aretha Franklin blasts Dionne Warwick: 'She blatantly lied'

Apr 26, 2017 16

Aretha Franklin is finally ready to open up about that big blowout with fellow singer Dionne Warwick.

Seemingly out of the blue, Franklin contacted the Associated Press to discuss the incident five years ago, which went down at Whitney Houston’s funeral and apparently left the singer fuming mad at Warwick.

Franklin sent a fax to the AP this week detailing the drama.

“She blatantly lied on me … fully well knowing what she was doing,” Aretha Franklin told the AP in a phone interview.

In the fax, she claimed Warwick made a “libelous” statement against her made five years ago. At the time, Warwick told funeral-goers that Franklin was there and introduced her, but then realized she wasn’t in attendance.

“‘Ree’s not here, but she is here,” Warwick said, referring to Franklin by a nickname. “She loves Whitney as if she were born to her. She is her godmother.”

The moment caused some buzz, and Franklin said she was suffering from swollen feet and had to skip the funeral so she could perform later that night at Radio City Music Hall in New York, which she said she was contractually obligated to do.

Though Cissy Houston, Whitney Houston’s mother, said in the days afterward that Franklin wasn’t Houston’s godmother (it was Darlene Love), Franklin felt the comment was damaging to her and planned to address it at a later date.

Five years later, Franklin feels that time is now.

While the story that Houston was Franklin’s goddaughter has been part of her story for decades, Franklin said she first met Houston when Houston was a child — and she was far too busy to be anyone’s godmother.

Franklin saw Warwick last week at the Tribeca Film Festival’s premiere of mentor Clive Davis’ documentary, “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” and she also performed. Franklin said Warwick tried to talk to her backstage.

“She said, ‘Give me a hug.’ I said, ‘Oh hell no. You couldn’t be serious,'” Franklin said.

When asked if she wanted an apology from Warwick, she said: “I don’t care about her apology, at this point it isn’t about an apology, it’s about libel.”

She added: “We’ve never been friends and I don’t think that Dionne has ever liked me.”

Franklin once covered Warwick’s hit “Walk on By,” and, more famously, “I Say A Little Prayer.”

When asked for comment, Warwick’s representative Angelo Ellerbee said: “She will not dignify a response to the statement made by Aretha Franklin.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Madonna slams planned biopic about her pre-fame life

Apr 26, 2017 17

Madonna has made it clear that she isn’t a fan of a planned biopic that will focus on her pre-fame life.

Universal recently acquired the rights to “Blond Ambition,” a script about the singer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Brett Ratner is expected to produce the film, which centers on her struggles in New York while making her first album.

On Tuesday, Madonna took to Instagram to express her displeasure. She said that only she was qualified to tell her story and “anyone else who tries is a charlatan and a fool.”

She likened it to “instant gratification” without doing the work and called it a disease of our society.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

10 shocking HGTV scandals

Apr 26, 2017 19

Nicole Curtis, the star of “Rehab Addict,” was pregnant with her second child while filming the show, but she opted to hide her burgeoning baby belly from the cameras. Curtis has stated she covered her stomach with objects and didn’t want the public to find out she was expecting because she wanted her second child to have a more private life than her older son, who is featured on her show. “Having my newborn child’s face plastered all over social media on a Facebook post where someone could cut and paste it and make it a meme, that wasn’t for me,” she told People.

Country newcomer Bailey Bryan's message to young girls: 'Own It'

Apr 26, 2017 19

Up and coming 19-year-old Bailey Bryan is taking over the country music scene. Bryan recently released her first EP, and she told Fox News she enjoys her new identity as a role model for young girls.

Fox News: You’ve been taking over the country scene. You just released an EP. Tell us about that.
Bailey Bryan: This EP is my very first ever, and it’s been four years in the making for me because I started traveling to Nashville when I was 15 to write songs from my hometown of Washington State. I moved almost two years ago, and that’s when I got to start the actual recording process of this EP. I decided to title it “So Far” because every single song on this EP directly represent an experience or a lesson I have learned that has made me who I am as an artist and person so far.

Fox News: A lot of people who become famous at such a young age go off the rails a bit. Is that something that worries you?
Bryan: I feel like I’ve been really fortunate in the process I have had creatively up to this point…I feel like I have been fortunate enough to have a lot of time to grow as an artist and figure out and establish who I am and the message I want to send to people. I was fortunate to have four years of writing before moving to Nashville; no one wanted to write with the 15-year-old girl who was not from Nashville and record labels were not looking at me, and I didn’t have management. It was just me… I’m confident in what is important to me as a person and artist. I wouldn’t say that worries me.

Fox News: You’ve become a great role model for young girls— posting photos without makeup. Why is that so important to you?
Bryan: It’s the message of owning — my first single is called “Own It” — and this is something that I said a lot before I wrote the song: It’s really important to own the things that make you who you are. And those things are not often the prettiest and most perfect things about us as people. I think the hardest things we go through in life and the little imperfections are what make us unique.

Fox News: Is there anyone fans have compared you to in the biz?
Bryan: I think if you are a younger girl who is a country singer and songwriter in Nashville you are definitely going to get the comparison of Taylor Swift which is something that I would never shy away from because she was one of my very first influences when I started writing and I think that is never a bad thing. The comparisons are always to any other young female country artist that is coming up now.

Fox News: What do you think about the changing roles and evolving sounds of females in country music?
Bryan: What I think is really cool about this wave of female country singers happening at this time, the market is opening up so much more for people like me is that there are so many different varied unique sounds. It’s not like “If you sound like this then you will make it as a female singer right now,” there are a whole lot of different styles so I am happy to be a part of that.

Fox News: You’re from a small town, so what was that like growing up there and transitioning into the industry?
Bryan: I grew up in a pretty little town in Washington, and I feel like the place I grew up is such a huge part of the music I do and all of the different influences I have sonically. Growing up in a little town, country music is super easy to relate to just because there was that real influence — I was getting stuck behind tractors on the way to school, but when you think Washington you don’t necessarily think country, but I could drive two hours and be in Seattle where there is an awesome underground hip hop scene and alternative music. I think country was my first love when it came to song writing… As I’ve gotten older I have become really passionate about a lot of different types of music and it was cool I had access to all of that growing up. I think having that country foundation but influence of all of these other types of music helps me shape my own sound.

You can follow Blanche Johnson on Twitter @blancheFOXLA.

Lena Dunham hopes to connect with women 'in the middle of the country'

Apr 26, 2017 11

Lena Dunham wants to connect with women in Middle America.

The outspoken actress plans to turn her website,, into a variety show that she will take on the road along with co-founder Jenni Konner.

“We really wanted to try to be a part of, in our own small way, healing the very big divide that exists in our country right now,” Dunham said in an interview Monday. “We’re trying to look beyond the coastal states and really think about connecting to women, to people, in the middle of the country.”

The star said she wanted to create the tour as a way that women could connect and share their thoughts following the presidential election.

The co-founders of the digital newsletter announced Tuesday that they’ll take the “Lenny: America IRL” tour to six cities, beginning May 31 in St. Louis.

While the event will have liberal-skewing political overtones, Dunham and Konner say everyone is welcome.

“It’s political, but we’re also trying to bring up issues that you can’t really argue with,” Dunham said. “For example, a portion of our proceeds are going toward arts education organizations for girls in every city. People have a lot of really split opinions on social politics, but you basically have to be a mustache-twirling villain to have a problem with girls receiving arts education.”

Konner said the show’s content will be more general than the specific feminist tone of the biweekly Lenny Letter.

The tour, which will feature music, comedy and spoken word performances, includes stops in Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, Minnesota; Des Moines, Iowa; and Lexington, Kentucky. Tickets go on sale Friday.

Performers will include “Saturday Night Live” star Sasheer Zamata, poet Jenny Zhang and comics Charla Lauriston and Morgan Murphy.

Beyond the “America IRL” tour, Konner and Dunham are also broadening Lenny into a documentary series for HBO and a Lenny book imprint launching in August with the first of six slated titles.

“It’s all about trying to expand the way that women can have access to information that cracks their brains open,” Dunham said. “Jenni’s and my entire ethos is really built around relationships between women.”

The Lenny expansions are giving the “Girls” alums a new place to put their energies after wrapping the often groundbreaking and controversial series last week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

'Little House on the Prairie' star Charlotte Stewart recalls days with Jim Morrison, Elvis and Bill Murray

Apr 26, 2017 55

Charlotte Stewart has a theory of what could have caused the sudden death of her drinking buddy and friend with benefits, Doors frontman Jim Morrison.

“He had extremely high blood pressure,” the now 76-year-old actress told Fox News.

Stewart is best known for portraying Miss Beadle on “Little House on the Prairie.” 

“He had rheumatic fever as a child and he had an enlarged heart,” she added. “And his face was always beet red. You know, blood pressure red. And I think that’s what probably killed him. He was in the bathtub, probably in hot water. He’d probably been drinking as he always did. And his heart gave out.”


Before Stewart found fame with the western drama, which ran from 1974 to 1983, she owned a clothing store called The Liquid Butterfly, which was located across from Elektra Records in California, the label that the rock band was signed under. In her recently published memoir, titled “Little House in the Hollywood Hills,” she recalled how Morrison frequently spent time at her store where they became fast friends.

“We’d go sit at a bar [after work] and quite often I had to take him home because he overdid it a lot,” she explained.

When Morrison was arrested in 1969 for indecent exposure at a Florida concert, he turned to Stewart for support. They drove up the Pacific Coast Highway and found themselves exploring Hearst Castle.

Stewart chronicled their trip on video, and they’d frequently unwind with alcohol. He would drop her off in Los Angeles before he escaped to Paris. It would be the last time the duo would see each other. Just six month after their initial encounter, Morrison was found dead in 1971 at age 27.


“I don’t know what the official report was on how he died,” she said. “But I do know, I never saw him with a drug. Ever. I never even saw him smoke marijuana. Ever. He drank. He drank heavily. It’s my theory that they wouldn’t have found drugs in his system.”

In 1968, Stewart would also become a confidant to another music icon: The King. She briefly appeared in the film “Speedway” opposite Elvis Presley, which sparked a brief friendship.

“As soon as we were done with the first shot, he said, ‘You wanna talk?’ I was shocked. He pulled up two chairs together, we sat down, he took my hand and then he began to tell me about his mother,” revealed Stewart. “He talked about Gladys, how much he missed her, how when he was in the army, they wouldn’t let him go see her when she was dying… It wasn’t like he was flirting. He was just being very sweet. He could not have been nicer.”

One person who didn’t impress Stewart was Bill Murray.

“Quite frankly, that was a one night stand,” she said.


The actor, who was appearing in a new sketch comedy show titled “Saturday Night Live” in 1975, used his popularity to help Stewart and her friend get in a local club.

“Of course they let Bill Murray in,” she said “We were drinking, dancing and then he came home with me. What can I tell you? And I never saw him again! I wasn’t interested in being anything more than fun. But I thought it was kind of rude of him to just stay the night with me and then never speak to me again.”

But Stewart had other troubles to worry about. After her time as a schoolteacher came to an end on “Little House,” she found herself addicted to drugs and alcohol, as well as facing homelessness.

“Everybody was doing drugs,” she said. “You’ll just go to a party and somebody will go, ‘Hey, you want a sniff?’ I thought at the time it was just what everybody else did… My business manager had been doing drugs… The next thing I knew, my money was gone. He put it all up his nose. My mortgage had not been paid. I lost my house… I had money and then I didn’t. I’m just really lucky to be alive.

Stewart said it was her niece who prompted that journey to sobriety.

“She told me what a mess I was in a letter,” she explained. “It broke my heart and woke me up at the same time… I entered a recovery program that really turned my head around. I’m still going to meetings and I’m very grateful.”

By 1984, she sought help and slowly began rebuilding her life again, including accepting a role on the 1990s series “Twin Peaks.”

These days, Stewart is happily keeping busy. She still tours with her “Little House” cast across the country where she meets devoted fans. She’s also set to appear in the reboot of “Twin Peaks,” which debuts on May 21st. 

Not only has she gotten married nearly two years ago to “a dear old friend,” she also credited former “Little House” cast-mate Alison Arngrim for encouraging her to publish a tell-all.

“Let’s face it, I have to stay busy,” she added. “I love to read, but I can’t spend my days reading or shopping. I work every day and prefer it that way.”

Shania Twain opens up about making music on her own without ex 'Mutt' Lange

Apr 26, 2017 18

When Shania Twain’s marriage to producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange came to an end after he allegedly had an affair with her best friend, she didn’t just lose her husband — she also lost her longtime collaborator and songwriting partner.

At that time in 2010, she told Billboard that she didn’t know whether she’d ever be able to perform again, especially with Lange previously being so closely involved with her career. It also didn’t help that she developed dysphonia, which left her virtually unable to sing, prompting physical therapy for her voice.


But fast forward to 2017, the now 51-year-old Canadian country crooner is doing just fine. She told Los Angeles Times that her experience doing the “Still the One” residency in Las Vegas gave her the confidence to be on her own musically.

“I learned a lot about myself, and my voice, both because I’d been having a lot of problems with my voice prior and because this was a real plunge into the unknown,” she explained.

Twain also added that after she remarried in 2011 to Frederic Thiebaud, the ex-husband of her former best friend, she gave herself another challenge: write all the songs for her follow-up album on her own.


“Right from the beginning, I was not going to collaborate with anybody for this one,” said Twain. “This needed to be an independent experience. I hadn’t written by myself for a long time. I was married for 14 years to my collaborator, and I really just needed to do that again. I needed to go back and do that by myself and have an uninterrupted flow of creativity that was insular, to see what I was made of, to see what I have there.”

Twain also teamed up with a team of different co-producers for her new music. The upcoming album is scheduled to be released sometime in the fall, and it still doesn’t have a title. Nevertheless, Twain is happily enjoying the process of making music on her own.

'Deadliest Catch': Jake Anderson feuds with Sig Hansen after engine fire

Apr 26, 2017 18

Captain Jake Anderson battled with his mentor Sig Hansen after the younger fisherman suffered a devastating engine fire and his crab haul was a dud.

That’s what viewers saw on Tuesday night’s episode of “Deadliest Catch.”  

On the Discovery channel show, Jake shouted at his crew men as toxic smoke and the blare of an alarm filled his boat The Saga.

Jake discovered the ship’s clutch had burned out.

“My heart just dropped,” Jake told the cameras. “We caught it just in time.”

The fire could have affected the hydraulics system and erupted into an explosion and killed them all.

With the boat’s owner breathing down his neck for a great crab haul, Jake had to halt fishing until a new clutch was installed—which took eight hours.

Finally able to fish, Jake and his crew pulled up almost empty pots and the captain dropped the F bomb.

“I really don’t know where to go,” Jake said.

He called Sig and told him about the fire in the engine room and how he wasn’t catching crab.

Sig said he’d allow Jake to fish with some of his gear—and in exchange, Jake would have to haul Hansen’s pots back to town at the end.

After taking over Sig’s pots, however, Jake and his men experienced a disappointing crab catch.

The devastated young fisherman groaned, “Oh, my God, nothing,” and said “it was not worth it” to make the deal with Sig.

“It feels like Sig was just looking out for himself right now, having me do his dirty work…make me his errand boy.”

Sig told him on the phone they were averaging 70 crab in that area, but Jake had only found ten per pot.

Sig said he felt really bad about the situation, but Jake blurted, “I really thought you did that on purpose.”

“If you’re questioning the pots that we gave you, then that’s f***ing stupid, Jake, thanks for throwing me under the bus!” Sig replied.

“We left you good fishing or we thought we did” he fumed.

Jake said, “Now I’m the bad guy who accused Sig of treason. I feel like such a failure.”

Meanwhile, on the Brenna A, Captain Sean Dwyer agreed to take over Sig’s cod fishing license after a subpar crab expedition.

Sean thought he would keep his business afloat through fishing cod, but his crew men turned up their noses at the idea. Sean was considering eliminating their jobs after the dispute.

And on Wild Bill Wichrowski’s boat the Summer Bay, things went from bad to worse when his deck boss Nick McGlashan was ill and working at half speed.  

Nick confided to another crew man that he’d been in the hospital in April and his white blood cell count was bad — but he was afraid to find out more.

Suddenly, Wild Bill’s team got a great crab haul that had the captain shouting, “Ch-chng!”—but Nick forgot to clamp one of the pots into the launcher and it nearly struck a co-worker when it came crashing down.

“I can barely do my job right now I’m in so much pain,” deck boss Nick admitted.

Later, Wild Bill confronted Nick about his recent trip to the hospital.

Nick admitted to his father figure that he was worried he might have cancer.

Bill urged him to figure out his health problems.

“I love you,” Nick said, hugging his boss. 

'Cooper's Treasure': NASA smackdown! Former Apollo 13 flight director tells ship wreck hunter Darell Miklos to get lost

Apr 26, 2017 19

Darrell Miklos was reaching a dead end on his hunt for riches on Tuesday’s second episode of “Cooper’s Treasure” on the Discovery Channel.

On the new show, Miklos, who knew the late Gordon “Gordo” Cooper, one of NASA’s seven original Gemini astronauts, said that Cooper had located various shipwrecks from low Earth orbit.

Cooper left Miklos maps and other information about possible sites and the adventurer was determined to use it to find long-lost treasure.

On Tuesday, viewers saw Miklos visiting Cooper’s widow Susan, who let him look through Cooper’s old files, where Darrell found a copy of a flight map and voice data recordings from the astronaut’s 1963 space capsule orbit around the earth.

“This is huge!” Darrell exulted.

After listening to the audio, Darrell was convinced that when Cooper went silent on his flight, it could have been when he was looking at shipwrecks and writing down their coordinates from space.

Miklos set up a meeting with Gene Kranz, former flight of director at NASA, who famously directed the Mission Control team to save the crew of Apollo 13.

The fortune hunter hoped Kranz could tell him what Cooper might have been doing during radio silence in his Mercury 9 Faith 7 flight.

Kranz, 83, explained Cooper’s main mission had been to test how long a human could go into orbit.

Miklos told Kranz that his friend Cooper had observed shipwrecks from space—and also quizzed the NASA legend on if the astronaut had been on a mission to pinpoint nuclear threats.

“I know nothing about that,” Kranz snapped. “That’s not what I came here to do. I think it’s time to move on.”

Miklos left the meeting in misery, telling cameras, “I think he thought I was there for a different reason and when I tried to steer it in the direction in which I wanted it to go,  there was no way of getting any information out of him, even if he knew. He wasn’t going to risk his reputation.

“I definitely hit a nerve. Seeing him shut down like that tells me that I’m probably getting into dangerous territory. After getting shut down by Gene Kranz, I’m kind of at a dead end here and time is of the essence.”

Miklos realized he had to beg his dad Roger, who mentored him in treasure hunting, for the master chart Cooper had given him.

Despite their strained relationship, Roger finally agreed to give him the chart which he claimed was worth millions.

Later, Miklos set out off the coast of Florida on his boat to search for a supposed wreck Gordon identified on the chart.

When he dived down, Miklos was thrilled to find a shipwreck based on Cooper’s information—even if it was a modern one instead of a Spanish galleon.

There was no treasure to be found, but Miklos promised, “This is just the beginning.” 

Daphne Oz dishes on her co-hosts on 'The Chew'

Apr 25, 2017 21

Daphne Oz, co-host of “The Chew,” works with some of the top names in food including Mario Batali, Carla Hall and Michael Symon. But somehow, they all get along.

“We are all as friendly off-set as you see on-set,” she revealed to Fox News. “I don’t know how the producers put us together but we have so much respect and so much love for each other; I genuinely think it’s because no one is done learning. Everyone wants to have fun and talk and have great conversations and learn something.”

Former “What Not to Wear” host Clinton Kelly is also on “The Chew.” The hosts all dish about food during the ABC food show.

“Food is one of these wonderful level playing fields where this is always someone who can teach you something you’ve never learned before,” she explained. “We, for whatever reason, are this motley crew and random family that just gets along.”

But despite Oz’s pleasant work environment, she admitted she struggles at times to find a work-life balance.

“I think all moms are constantly juggling and are always running out of hours in the day, and our to-do lists are never checked off, and our inboxes are always overflowing, and it can feel really exhausting and self-defeating to see your to-do lists are never checked off,” she said. “The reality is if you are being graded, which you are not… it’s OK if your grade fluctuates day to day. It’s OK if you’re an A mother today and a B employee and C wife and tomorrow all of those things change. I think it’s important for us to be a little bit more forgiving with ourselves and a little more forgiving with each other.”

Oz, who has recently partnered with Chicco to encourage parents to educate one another about child safety, said she bonds with her family in the kitchen.

“The kitchen is the place to be. It’s the heart of the home. It’s where all the gossip happens. My kids totally know that,” she said. “My kids love to make kale chips and cookies and all kinds of things. I don’t mind when they make a mess. I think that is actually probably pretty healthy for them to have fun and just relax in the kitchen with me.”

“The Chew” airs everyday on ABC.

You can follow Blanche Johnson on Twitter @blancheFOXLA.