Former ‘Today’ co-host Natalie Morales ‘shocked’ over Matt Lauer's firing 

Published: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 @ 7:21 PM

‘Today’ show hosts pictured from (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, Matt Lauer, Natalie Morales and Keir Simmons covering the Rio Olympics in August of  2016. 
NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
‘Today’ show hosts pictured from (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, Matt Lauer, Natalie Morales and Keir Simmons covering the Rio Olympics in August of  2016. (NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Former “Today” show co-host Natalie Morales was among many of Matt Lauer’s former colleagues who woke up to the news Wednesday that NBC News had fired him.

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Morales addressed Lauer’s firing on “Access Hollywood” Wednesday with co-host Kit Hoover.  She read part of NBC News chairman Andy Lack’s statement before sharing her own feelings about the termination.

Morales said she was “shocked by Lauer’s dismissal.

“The ‘Today’ show has been my family for 16 years now and it is difficult to process the news,” she said.

“I have personally dealt with rumors in the past that were hurtful to me, to my family. They diminished my hard work. I have addressed those rumors head on in the past. That is not the story today,” she explained.

“The story today is about the courage of the colleague that did come forward and when and if she wants to tell her story publicly, I am sure she will. It did take a lot of courage for her to come forward. It was no doubt a very painful decision,” Morales said.

>>Related: Matt Lauer’s colleagues shocked over his firing

Morales and Hoover promised to continue to report any developments in the story in the days ahead.

“We are in a climate and a culture where women are finally not afraid as they once were about being able to speak up and being able to come forward and speak out about what is not appropriate,” Morales said.

Hoover then introduced the moment Savannah Guthrie held back tears as she and Hoda Kotb also promised “Today” viewers that they were going to report the news, but were “still trying to process” Lauer’s termination.

Like many others, Hoover wondered who might replace Lauer on the show and suggested that two female anchors might takeover.

>> Related: Here’s what to do if you are sexually harassed at work

“Could be!” Morales said. “We will have to wait and see on that. I think it’s jumping ahead of everything right now. I think right now the stories are still coming out.” Morales was the victim of rumors in 2012 in a story by the National Enquirer that alleged she and Lauer had a behind-the-scenes affair and that Lauer might have fathered one of her children. In 2016,

Morales, who moved to Los Angeles in 2016 after accepting a job to co-host “Access Hollywood,” denied the rumors and so did Lauer.

>> Related: Terry Crews explains why sexual assault victims don't come forward sooner

“There is absolutely no truth to this completely absurd story. It is damaging, hurtful and extremely sexist. I have proven myself in all aspects of my job as a news professional and journalist, and am adding to my role, taking on three jobs with ‘Access Hollywood Live’ and ‘Access Hollywood,’ in addition to ‘Today.’ This move was dictated by me and my desire to grow in my career,” Morales said at the time. “Any insinuations beyond that are uninformed.”

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Macaulay Culkin doesn’t watch ‘Home Alone’ much, won’t make iconic face

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 4:10 PM

Actor Macaulay Culkin did a rare TV interview on
Actor Macaulay Culkin did a rare TV interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" April 23. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Adult Swim)(Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Adult Swim)

If fans run into Macaulay Culkin and ask the star to make his signature “Home Alone” face, they’re going to be disappointed.

People reported that the actor, 37, who is best known as a child star who played Kevin McCallister in the 1990 holiday comedy says his notoriety makes him keep his head low around Christmas time.

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“I definitely don’t (go out). It’s my season,” Culkin said on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Monday. “It’s Macaulay season. I try to go out less and less around that time of year.”

Culkin said he doesn’t watch the film much at all, and when he does, he’s remembering how it was on set.

“I don’t really watch them all that often. I did, like, a 15-year anniversary DVD commentary and I realize I hadn’t seen it in, like, 15 years. ... It’s kind of background radiation at Christmas time,” he said.

“I can’t watch it the same way other people do.”

When fans ask him to recreate the “Home Alone” movie poster, he says no.

“I’ve already been there and done that,” he said. “I’m 37 now.”

Culkin also discussed his childhood stardom, growing up, his “Bunny Ears” podcast and his break away from the spotlight with DeGeneres.

Watch Culkin’s appearance on “Ellen” in the videos below.

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Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, girlfriend Lauren Hashian welcome second child

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 2:55 PM

What You Need to Know: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and his girlfriend Lauren Hashian have welcomed a second daughter to their family.

Us Weekly reported that the action star announced the news in the form of an Instagram post. The image shows Johnson cradling his daughter, named Tiana Gia Johnson, as she rests on his bare chest.

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“Blessed and proud to bring another strong girl into this world. Tiana Gia Johnson came into this world like a force of nature and Mama @laurenhashianofficial labored and delivered like a true rockstar,” Johnson captioned the Monday post. “I was raised and surrounded by strong, loving women all my life, but after participating in baby Tia’s delivery, it’s hard to express the new level of love, respect and admiration I have for @laurenhashianofficial and all mamas and women out there.”

Skin to skin. Our mana. Blessed and proud to bring another strong girl into this world. Tiana Gia Johnson came into this world like a force of nature and Mama @laurenhashianofficial labored and delivered like a true rockstar. I was raised and surrounded by strong, loving women all my life, but after participating in baby Tia’s delivery, it’s hard to express the new level of love, respect and admiration I have for @laurenhashianofficial and all mamas and women out there. Word to the wise gentlemen, it’s critical to be by your lady’s head when she’s delivering, being as supportive as you can.. holding hands, holding legs, whatever you can do. But, if you really want to understand the single most powerful and primal moment life will ever offer - watch your child being born. Its a life changer and the respect and admiration you have for a woman, will forever be boundless. And to my third and youngest daughter, Tiana Gia - like I did when your two older sisters Simone Alexandra and Jasmine Lia were born, you have my word, I’ll love, protect, guide and make ya laugh for the rest of my life. Your crazy dad has many responsibilities and wears many hats in this big ol’ world, but being your dad will always be the one I’m most proud to wear. Oh and one more thing.. you’re gonna love rollin’ in daddy’s pick up truck. #TianaGiaJohnson🌺 #3rdDaughter #BlessesAndGratefulMan #ImInTROUBLE

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Tiana is the second daughter for Hashian, 33, and Johnson, 45. The couple, who have been together since 2007, have a 2-year-old daughter together named Jasmine Lia Johnson.

Johnson is also a father to 16-year-old Simone Alexandra Johnson from his marriage to Dany Garcia.

Johnson and Hashian announced they were expecting another child in December.

“Your crazy dad has many responsibilities and wears many hats in this big ol’ world, but being your dad will always be the one I’m most proud to wear,” Johnson wrote.

Beyoncé donates $100,000 to historically black colleges in four states

Published: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 6:25 PM

Beyonce Five Fast Facts

After headlining Coachella music festival over the weekend, Beyoncé announced a major donation to four historically black colleges in four states.

The internationally-recognized superstar is giving $25,000 each to Tuskegee University in Alabama, Bethune-Cookman University in Florida, Xavier University of Louisiana and Wilberforce University in Ohio.

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“The Homecoming Scholars Award Program for 2018-2019 will expand to all qualifying students at the four universities, regardless of gender,” a news release on the program said. “The disciplines will include literature, creative arts, African- American studies, science, education, business, communications, social sciences, computer science and engineering. All applicants must maintain a 3.5 GPA or above.” 

Related: Destiny’s Child reunites during Beyonce’s Coachella performance

Beyoncé made the donations to the Homecoming Scholars Award program at the schools for the 2018-2019 academic year through her BeyGOOD initiative.

“We salute the rich legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” Ivy McGregor, Director of Philanthropy and Corporate Relations at Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment said in a statement. “We honor all institutions of higher learning for maintaining culture and creating environments for optimal learning which expands dreams and the seas of possibilities for students.”

The scholarship follows last year’s Formation Scholars Awards Program, which was established to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Beyonce’s 2016 album “Lemonade.”

Each university will select the winners, which will be announced this summer.

Swedish musician Avicii dead at 28

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 1:40 PM

Avicii Dead at 28

Swedish DJ Avicii was found dead Friday in Oman, his publicist confirmed. He was 28.

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