Wendy Williams: Family Still Number 1
Wendy Williams tells us she'll be spending her 45th birthday "at home, as in the house, with my makeup off and my hair in the drawer, with my husband and son, enjoying the life I begged for." As Wendy watchers know, the popular and often controversial radio host's life now includes her new "The Wendy Williams Show" that launched in syndication this week to mixed reviews.
She has a schedule that would frighten many a brave man, as she not only has her daily daytime TV demands but continues her four-hour radio show in New York each day as well. And yet, she insists, with her, it's "Family first, career second."
Her 8-year-old son Kevin is "my biggest achievement in terms of what I've been able to overcome," adds the candid Williams, who went through "several miscarriages" before being able to deliver her child.
From the time Williams completed her test shows last August until this past week, she says, "I've been spending most of my time focusing in on 'How am I going to keep us a normal, healthy, reasonably happy family?' The whole third grade, I was taking him back and forth to school, knowing I wouldn't be able to do it by September, when he starts fourth grade. We live in Jersey. It's not like Malibu, where every other person is famous — where teachers are used to the people like Pamela Anderson and Angela Bassett having professional schedule demands. Here in Jersey, if you don't show up at school, you'll be perceived as crazy, whacked-out parents who are not focused on their child's future." Young Kevin is with her at the studio, laughing in the background as we speak.
"I begged for a child," she says. "I begged for someone who would accept me as I am, and met my husband. He just came in and gave me a hug and a kiss a few minutes ago," she notes of her manager mate, Kevin Hunter, with whom she works out every day at 4:30. He also co-executive produces her talk show with her.
JUST FOR LAUGHS: George Eads is a crime-fighting machine on "CSI," but during his off time, he likes a good laugh. We spotted the hot Texan taking in a show at the World Famous Comedy Store this week where comedians Pauly Shore and Jeffrey Ross stopped in for an impromptu performance. Better enjoy those shows while he can! Summer's almost over, and it's back to work on season 10!
A HELL OF A JOB: Being the beauty that all the men are trying to rescue in a movie (made in Romania) called "Hellhounds" can certainly be tough on a girl. Just ask gorgeous British-American actress Amanda Brooks, who stars with Scott Elrod in the movie debuting Sunday (7/19) on the newly renamed SyFy channel.
For one thing, days on the production went so long, "they sort of melded into one," recalls Amanda. "We had no sun, day or night. We were shooting inside caves as well. It was pretty intense. I think every girl has a fear somewhat of bats, and I get claustrophobic at times. And then, after getting back from a day in those caves, you'd cough or blow your nose, and it was just black. Sorry. It's gross." Brooks, who took on her part with a mere 48 hours' notice, plays a woman snatched from her beloved to become the bride of Hades in the period fantasy. Her love and his compatriots literally head into hell to save her. She's the only girl in the flick directed by Ricky Schroeder. "The boys really took care of me in that there were a lot of stunts, running through flame torches and such. There certainly was some method actoring in it, because you're quite terrified, genuinely," she says with a laugh.
The "Dragon Wars" actress also had to run in costumes "that were very, very elaborate and beautiful — running from these hellhounds with many extra pounds of cloaks, jewelry and wigs over massive rolling hills that were quite muddy and slippery."
CONGRATUALTIONS : To Robert Redford and his bride, German artist Sibylle Szaggars. Now that the two longtime companions have tied the knot at last, you get the sense that some celebrity watchers are just now realizing she is 20 years his junior, what with snarky remarks out there about "Sundance and the Kid," etc. But, of course, Redford isn't your average 71-year-old, what with the esteemed actor-filmmaker's larger-than-life list of lasting achievements and his zest for living. This is the man who sneaked off to Utah to ski while making "The Sting" back in the day, despite studio insistence that he refrain from skiing — and despite having sustained a ski injury that required complicated surgery and the insertion of a steel pin in his right hand. While recovering, he simply skied without poles, which, he told this column, "is kind of a challenge. Fun!" A man ahead of his time.
With reports by Emily Feimster.
To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2009 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM