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Talk Around Town

Originally Posted: August 02, 2007

Jennifer Tuesday

I never like to say it, but I told you so...Rachael Ray queen of the 30 minute meal is definitely not splitting with her husband John Cusimano. After a major story - untrue - in a New York tabloid stated their marriage had fallen faster then a soufflé, Rachel didn't take it quietly in the kitchen. The other day the feisty culinary whiz kid brought John onto her show to show just how "sickeningly sweet" their relationship is popping the nasty rumor bubble like that. A few days later word got out that the pair had gone to contract on a $3 million hideaway near Shinnecock Golf Club, all of which we knew as their new love nest is just doors away from my driveway. The only problem facing Rachel and John now is how to maneuver in their new home's tiny kitchen!

Sweet couple - Rachael Ray and hubby John Cusimano.
Photo by PatrickMcMullan.com

Not so maneuverable is the Usher - Tameka Foster almost-but-never-happened nuptials this weekend. The super glitzy affair was slated to take place at the East End estate of music producer L.A. Reid with a guest list of music royalty including Beyonce and Janet Jackson. Usher pulled the plug through his publicist just hours before the "I do's".

Back to Harlem went the down home dinner prepared by the famed Sylvia West and guests were told to turn around. Now, the pregnant Tameka is reported to be in an Atlanta hospital and Usher's mom Jonetta Patton, who successfully guided her chart topping son's career and was dumped as his manager at Tameka's behest, has her boy back by her side. Word of advice to you gals - NEVER - come between a boy and his mother, especially when the whole industry respects her. What a shame - and we heard the cake was fabulous.

I am delighted to say that at least one flare up in a much watched relationship, Anne Hathaway and Raffaello Follieri, was just a minor love spat. Local wags reported that she left Nick & Toni's in tears after a heated exchange with her Italian boyfriend. By the time they got to Judy Licht and Jerry Della Femina's post screening bash for Anne's new film, "Becoming Jane," all was right with the world as guests Howard Stern, Donna Karan, Tiki Barber, Kelly Klein, Heather Graham, Julia Stiles, and Patrick Demarchelier would attest.

Wise enough not to be at the center of a maelstrom, Kimora Lee Simmons (love her!) was a no show at the Art for Life benefit she and estranged husband Russell Simmons were slated to co-host. Paparazzi were just drooling over getting a reaction shot when she walked in and saw Russell's girlfriend Porschla Coleman by his side. But Kimora was not born yesterday and smartly opted to stay in L.A. for "business". Smart!

At the RVS Gallery opening this weekend, there was lots of buzz about Ivana Trump sporting a BIG pink diamond ring on the Riviera this week and word is that the former Mrs. The Donald is now engaged to her much younger beau Rossano Rubicondi. A friend confirmed that the Czech born Ivana was indeed ready to wed the handsome young Italian who's been her major arm candy for several years. Trumping - pardon the pun - former hubby Donald and his fancy for pretty young things, she found her own PYT and he's more then 20 years younger. You go girl!

The Gin Lane set is all atwitter over the romance between designer Mary McFadden and 90 year old Marquette de Bary. Mary whom we all know loves big chunky ethnic jewelry is flashing a big, chunky yellow diamond door knocker ring from the nonagenarian. If they wed, as pals say they will, it will be Mary's 12th time down the aisle. No one seems really surprised even though Mary has had a penchant for younger men over the last few decades shocking many of the Blue Book crowd.

Splitting are Kate and Andy Spade. Not from each other but from the parent company of their wildly successful fashion business, Liz Claiborne. The very happily married, and now very well set up financially designing duo are stepping down - Kate from her position as Head Designer and Andy as CEO. Andy said the move would give them "the opportunity to explore some of our other areas of interest, travel and spend time with our two and a half year old daughter."

The Spades founded the company in 1993 along with partners Pamela Bell and Elyce Arons, with a successful, product range of "affordable luxury" that has expanded beyond their popular signature handbags to small leather goods, luggage, baby products and licensing agreements for shoes, eyewear, tabletop and stationery products. There are currently nineteen Kate Spade retail stores throughout the country, four outlets and one Jack Spade specialty store.

Steve Schwarzman and his Blackstone Group partner Pete Peterson are working hard at becoming the biggest hotel and hospitality force in the world with now over 3,700 properties that include such durable brands as La Quinta, Wyndham, Boca Resorts and the Meristar Florida resorts. Now they've ponied up $26 billion for the Hilton Chain which includes the Doubletree and Embassy Suites properties. Does that make them Paris' landlords? They should have received a deep discount if so.

Speaking of big bucks, this is the weekend the candidates all sweep into the Hamptons for some serious fundraising. I've already told you about the raft of parties for Senator Hillary Clinton. I'm hoping to catch Alan and Susan Patricof's Pancake Breakfast with the Senator and former President Bill Clinton - especially when I heard that Turtle Crossing is catering the flapjacks! And I definitely will not miss Jaci and Morris Reid's "down home Southern barbecue" to quote the lovely Jaci.

Not to be outdone, Senator John Edwards will be the special guest of honor at a $2,300-a-head brunch for his presidential campaign at the Wainscott home of George magazine co-founder Michael Berman and his wife, interior-designer Victoria Hagan. Also hosting is Sony Music President Andy Lack and his Democratic activist wife, Betsy.

Even comedian/writer Al Franken is cashing in on the scene. He'll be toasted in Southampton to help raise bucks for his Senatorial run in Minnesota.

Barbara Walters finally dropped the other shoe and let the world know that the new moderator on The View would be - not to my surprise - Oscar, Golden Globe, and Tony Award winner Whoopi Goldberg! The Whoopster made her first appearance dressed in a man's shirt (shades of Rosie) and when asked if she had any wardrobe planned for her debut after Labor Day, she replied, "Not one iota". Whoopi will be a refreshing change with her droll wit and super ability for the quick comeback and certainly be less combative then either Star Jones or Rosie and more interesting I'm sure. We'll be tuning in every morning so don't call me between 11 and noon!

Speaking about Miss Jones, what do you make of her finally coming clean on her weight loss? She finally admitted she had gastric bypass surgery three years ago and just lied about it the whole time!

I don't know why my writer pal friends were so surprised to see ABC TV's The View co-host Joy Behar signing up for courses at the Stony Brook Southampton Writers Conference last week. She's already written a book, has penned weekly columns for a number of prestigious periodicals and is clearly not just a wise cracking dame from Brooklyn. Joy already has a M.A. in English Education from Stony Brook and was a teacher long before her stints at Caroline's and Catch A Rising Star launched her into the comedy stratosphere. I'm just hoping she's ready to write the real story behind all the headlines of life on The View.

So Christie Brinkley has finally found her a new home. The model mommy has just gone to contract to buy a waterfront estate in North Haven with views of Sag Harbor's long wharf and a shy $11 million price tag. It doesn't have a pool or a tennis court like her former home but it does have a private beach which thrills Christie and her kids, Jack and Sailor. But I'm a little creeped out to learn that it is next door to another property she and Peter Cook owned which he used as a little love nest. Yuck!

Dazzling designer Jackie Rogers had a lovely trunk show for her very special clients at the home of her friend Pat Patterson in Southampton, possibly because the Bathing Club crowd doesn't get over to East Hampton much where Jackie has her eponymously named boutique.

Jackie who began her career as a model for Coco Chanel, appeared in the Fellini film "8 ", was a big band singer before launching a menswear line, which was worn by such stellar names as Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, and Michael Douglas. Following her success in menswear, Jackie launched a women's line with Jackie Onassis as one of her first fans. Since then she has designed for celebrated women including Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, Diana Ross, and Julianne Moore.

The Simple Life was cancelled. No more Paris and Nicole on E! TV. 'Nuff said. Yeah!

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