‘Empire’ actress Rumer Willis sets the record straight about her sobriety

Published: Monday, October 02, 2017 @ 6:17 PM

Actress Rumer Willis arrives at the 2016 InStyle And Warner Bros. 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards Post-Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. 
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage
Actress Rumer Willis arrives at the 2016 InStyle And Warner Bros. 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards Post-Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

Rumer Willis wants to make it clear she does not have a substance abuse issue.

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The 29-year-old actress and daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore posted on Instagram in July that she had been sober for six months. In the post, she wrote, “I wanted to share this because I am really proud of myself. Yesterday I celebrated 6 Months of Sobriety. It’s not something I planned on but after the long journey of getting here I can honestly say I have never been more proud of myself in my entire life.”

Willis is now telling People that becoming sober “wasn’t out of a need necessarily,” but that “[she] did ‘sober January’ and I just decided to keep going.”

“I wouldn’t consider saying I had a substance abuse problem by any means … I didn’t say I was sober from anything, I could have been sober from a food addiction or buying too many clothes or from relationships or whatever, but I think we’re in this culture where we naturally presume and assume.”

3 years ago I was a malnourished string bean with aches that echoed throughout my soul. However the internal cries to tend my most blistered and deep wounds repeatedly fell on deaf ears. I did not value myself, my life or my body and as such I was constantly punishing for not being enough. Self annihilation fueled with medicating left me a shell, and the world on mute. I was hoisted from my hole, (one so deep I was certain we were nearing the Earths magma core) on the backs of powerful human beings that I will forever be indebted too, and on that day my life was gifted back to me. I love the girl in this picture, I cry for her and I mourn her lost years. She is inside of me always and I must never let her slip too far. I don't push any agenda, I can only speak for my path and staying sober has been far and beyond the most important thing I've done in my wee 23 years. 🎉🎂🎈

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Willis is currently starring on FOX’s “Empire” as a musician who is “trying to figure out what sober life means for her.”

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler opens Janie’s House for abused girls 

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 11:21 PM

Steven Tyler talked about his desire to open Janie’s House before the official ‘scarf cutting.’
Melissa Ruggieri/AJC
Steven Tyler talked about his desire to open Janie’s House before the official ‘scarf cutting.’(Melissa Ruggieri/AJC)

The first thing you see when you walk into Janie’s House is a quote painted in script on the wall: “They say the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

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Those words from Mark Twain would resonate with anyone.

But Steven Tyler turned them into a mission.

On Nov. 1, the first-ever Janie’s House opened off a secluded road in Douglasville as part of the campus for Youth Villages, the nonprofit organization that helps emotionally and behaviorally troubled children.

The residential facility serves girls aged 12-18 who are survivors of abuse and neglect and gives them the opportunity to engage in group and individual counseling, along with other therapies, such as drumming and animal. It currently houses nine girls and has a capacity of 16.

When Tyler sashayed into Janie’s House for the first time in early December to participate in the official “scarf cutting,” he was greeted by the energetic rhythm provided by two rows of staff and kids from Youth Villages, who exhibited talents gleaned from the therapeutic drumming program.

After removing some of the jewelry weighing on his fingers, Tyler sat next to drummer girl Tatiana Rolles and seamlessly picked up the cadence on his own drum.

Steven Tyler plays drums with Tatiana Rolles (next to Tyler) and Judah Davis at  Janie’s House on Dec. 6, 2017.   (Melissa Ruggieri/AJC)

Tyler was motivated to begin his Janie’s Fund after a 2014 Aerosmith concert at Philips Arena, when he spent an afternoon with some of the abused girls at Youth Villages.

A year later, on the 26th anniversary of Aerosmith’s hit song about abuse, “Janie’s Got a Gun,” Tyler launched Janie’s Fund, which is housed within the Youth Villages Foundation. From it, Janie’s House emerged.

>> Related: Steven Tyler says it wasn't heart attack that cut tour short

“You adopted me and my philosophy. To be a part of this has been…it’s nothing more than a beautiful thing,” he told the Youth Villages team gathered at the opening.

Tyler grew up in the Bronx, where he said he was beaten up regularly by the neighborhood kids and floundered without purpose until he discovered music. He talked about his stints in rehab and how he discovered there that there were, “a lot more girls who are abused.”

According to Youth Villages, more than 68,000 children are raped or sexually abused each year in the United States.

“I always thought that I could have a Janie’s House,” he said, visibly moved by the surroundings.

Even with his busy schedule of recording, touring and being one of the most recognizable rock stars in the world, Tyler was deeply involved in the creation of the house, a refurbished existing Youth Villages building.

“Steven designed everything, from the logos to the quotes in the rooms to the color scheme,” said Youth Villages CEO Patrick Lawler, gesturing at the navy blue butterflies squiggled on the walls around more quotes, some from Aerosmith’s classic “Dream On,” and other inspirational phrases.

A room at Janie’s House featuring an inspirational lyric from “Dream On” on the wall.(Youth Villages)

The goal of the house, Lawler said, is to provide these traumatized girls a place to stay. The goal is to help them through difficult situations and eventually reunite them with their families, but some may go to foster care.

During the Janie’s House presentation, 15-year-old Skylar, a transgender male who had moved into the house three weeks prior, addressed the gathered throng with heart and courage.

>> Related: Steven Tyler announces illness, Aerosmith cancels tour dates

Being at Janie’s House was, “the greatest experience of my life,” he said, after detailing a life spent hopping through eight previous mental facilities and struggles with PTSD and manic depression.

“I have learned that not everything in the past is my fault,” he said through tears.

When finished, he walked a few feet over to Tyler, who wrapped the teenager in a hug, his eyes scrunched closed as he pulled Skylar closer.

No doubt, Tyler found an answer as to why he was born.

Actress Halle Berry ‘done with love’ after latest break-up

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 8:47 PM

Actress Halle Berry arrives at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Matt Sayles/AP
Actress Halle Berry arrives at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif.(Matt Sayles/AP)

Halle Berry doesn’t need a man and she has the Instagram story to prove it.

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On Wednesday, the actress reportedly shared a photo on her Instagram story of a rope shaped like a heart and the words “done with love” along with three flexing muscle emojis. The post comes just hours after US Weeklyreported that she had split from her music producer boyfriend, Alex Da Kid.

Ahead of the split, Berry took a rather cryptic tone on Instagram. Sharing a photo of the back of her head, Berry wrote, “Grow out got me feelin’ some kinda way every day ain’t perfect…”

Grow out got me feelin' some kinda way 🙃 every day ain't perfect...

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The actress has two children from previous relationships, Maceo, 3 and Nahla, 9. She was previously married to David Justice from 1992 to 1997, then wed Eric Benét in 2001 but the two split in 2005. She married Olivier Martinez in 2013 and the two finalized their divorce in 2016.

Salma Hayek calls Harvey Weinstein ‘a monster’ in New York Times piece

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 3:27 PM

Who Is Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

In a first-person story written for The New York Times, the actress describes Weinstein as “a passionate cinephile, a risk taker, a patron of talent in film, a loving father and a monster.”

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Hayek, who previously said she was bullied by Weinstein in the wake of initial public sexual misconduct and rape allegations against the producer, is sharing details of sexual harassment on the set of the 2002 movie “Frida,” about the life of famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

Hayek said that she knew little of Weinstein and what she did know was from her relationship with director Robert Rodriguez and his then-wife, producer Elizabeth Avellan.

Related: 3 women accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape, report says

“All I knew of Harvey at the time was that he had a remarkable intellect, he was a loyal friend and a family man,” she wrote.

“Knowing what I know now, I wonder if it wasn’t my friendship with them — and Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney — that saved me from being raped.”

Hayek was initially set to work on the movie about the artist with a different company, but said she fought to get the movie back and work with Weinstein on it.

Harvey Weinstein Accused of Sexual Harassment

Eventually, she said she turned down multiple advances from Weinstein. Hayek said he showed up unexpectedly at numerous locations and different hotels, asked her to take a shower with him, let him watch her shower, give her a massage and get naked with another woman, among other advances.

“And with every refusal came Harvey’s Machiavellian rage,” Hayek said.

“The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, ‘I will kill you, don’t think I can’t,’” Hayek said. 

According to the actress, those refusals led Weinstein to offer the role and the script Hayek worked on for years to someone else.

“At that point, I had to resort to using lawyers, not by pursuing a sexual harassment case, but by claiming “bad faith,” as I had worked so hard on a movie that he was not intending to make or sell back to me,” she said. “I tried to get it out of his company.”

Related: Ashley Judd accuses Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment

Hayek said once she was able to retain involvement in the film, she was told the only way people would be interested in it with her as the star is with an element of sex. 

“The only thing he noticed was that I was not sexy in the movie. He made me doubt if I was any good as an actress, but he never succeeded in making me think that the film was not worth making,” she said.

“He offered me one option to continue. He would let me finish the film if I agreed to do a sex scene with another woman. And he demanded full-frontal nudity.”

USA Today reported that Weinstein responded to Hayek with a statement through his spokeswoman Holly Baird.

“Mr. Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them ‘Once Upon a Time in Mexico,’ ‘Dogma,’ and ‘Studio 54.’ He was very proud of her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for ‘Frida’ and continues to support her work.

“While Jennifer Lopez was interested in playing Frida and at the time was a bigger star, Mr. Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead. Miramax put up half of the money and all of the P&A; the budget was over 12 million. As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on ‘Frida,’ but it served to drive the project to perfection. The movie opened in multiple theaters and was supported by a huge advertising campaign and an enormous Academy Awards budget.

“Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming. However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush. The original uni-brow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances. All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired.

“Ed Norton, who was Ms. Hayek’s boyfriend at the time, (worked with Mr. Weinstein on the rewrite of the script in Mexico) did a brilliant job of rewriting the script and Mr. Weinstein battled the WGA to get him a credit on the film. His effort was unsuccessful to everyone’s disappointment.

“By Mr. Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behavior following a screening of ‘Frida’ was prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie—and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor.”

Tavis Smiley accuses PBS of ‘biased and sloppy’ investigation, denies any misconduct

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 8:06 PM

Talk show host Tavis Smiley speaks during the 'Tavis Smiley' panel at the PBS portion of the 2011 Winter TCA press tour held at the Langham Hotel on January 9, 2011 in Pasadena, California. 
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Talk show host Tavis Smiley speaks during the 'Tavis Smiley' panel at the PBS portion of the 2011 Winter TCA press tour held at the Langham Hotel on January 9, 2011 in Pasadena, California. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Former PBS host Tavis Smiley is fighting back against sexual misconduct allegations, accusing PBS of a conducting a “biased and sloppy” investigation.

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The network suspended the “Tavis Smiley” show on Wednesday after former staffers accused the interviewer of inappropriate behavior.

According to Variety, the longtime PBS host had sexual relationships with many employees and was accused of “creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment” in the workplace. Some of the employees who accused the “Dancing with the Stars” alum were reportedly afraid to come forward sooner over fear of losing their job.

“PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,’ produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” the network announced in a statement.

“PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.”

>> Related: PBS suspends ‘Tavis Smiley’ show amid sexual misconduct investigation

Not only did Smiley deny the allegations, he said PBS didn’t even tell what the accusations were or who made them. 

“I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth. To be clear, I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering 6 networks over 30 years,” his statement said, in part. “Never. Ever. Never.”

Smiley said that after he threatened to file a lawsuit, the network agreed to hear his side of the story.

“If having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us. The PBS investigators refused to review any of my personal documentation, refused to provide me the names of any accusers, refused to speak to my current staff, and refused to provide me any semblance of due process to defend myself against allegations from unknown sources. Their mind was made up. Almost immediately following the meeting, this story broke in Varietyas an ‘exclusive.’ Indeed, I learned more about these allegations reading the Variety story than the PBS investigator shared with me, the accused, in our 3 hour face to face meeting,” the statement continued.

>> Related: Lindsey Vonn opens up about backlash after her Trump-Olympics comments

Smiley stated that “PBS overreacted and conducted a biased and sloppy investigation, which led to a rush to judgement.”

Read his entire statement here.