WEDDINGS He found a love. On Jan. 1, blues rocker Eric Clapton, 56, married graphic artist Melia McEnery, 26, in Ripley, England. This is his second marriage. The newlyweds have a daughter, Julie Rose, born last June; Clapton has a daughter from a previous relationship.
ENGAGED Longtime lothario Charlie Sheen (Spin City), 36, and Denise Richards (Valentine), 30, announced their engagement Jan. 8. The couple, who recently appeared together on City, haven’t set a date. This will be his second marriage, her first.
EXPECTING Think of the dirty-diaper jokes. Chris Rock, 35, and styleWorks-charity-exec wife Malaak Compton-Rock, 31, will welcome their first child this summer.
AILING During a Dec. 19 operation in Phoenix to treat an infection, doctors amputated the left foot of country outlaw Waylon Jennings, 64. Jennings, a diabetic, will resume touring in the spring with a prosthetic foot, says his spokeswoman.
CONTROVERSY The title of Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Kandahar isn’t the only thing ripped from the headlines. Authorities say Hassan Tantai, who plays a compassionate doctor in the film, is David Belfield (a.k.a. Daoud Salahuddin), 51, a fugitive accused of murder. Maryland state attorney Douglas F. Gansler says Belfield, an African American who converted to Islam in college, is wanted for the 1980 assassination of a former Iranian official in Bethesda. After the shooting, Belfield allegedly moved to Iran, which has no extradition agreement with the U.S. Said Makhmalbaf in a statement, ”I never ask those who act in my films what they have done before.”…On Jan. 5, historian and best-selling author Stephen Ambrose (Band of Brothers), 66, admitted that his new book – The Wild Blue, about WWII bomber pilots – includes passages lifted from 1995’s Wings of Morning by Thomas Childers, 55. In a statement, Ambrose said, ”I made a mistake for which I am sorry.” Future editions will credit Childers…. Al Gore would be proud: On Jan. 7, the Screen Actors Guild election committee, chaired by actor Fred Savage, 25, threw out the November presidential victory of Melissa Gilbert, 37, over three opponents, including Valerie Harper, 61. It cited procedural errors by the polling firm and three union execs. Gilbert will remain prez until revoting ends in April.
COURTS Backstreet’s back, all right…in trouble. On Jan. 2 in Tampa, Backstreet Boys’ youngest member, Nick Carter, 21, was charged with resisting an officer without violence, a misdemeanor. Carter, arguing with a woman at Pop City nightclub, ignored an officer’s many orders to leave, say police. The singer, who could face a year in jail, will have a court hearing March 4. In a statement, Carter said, ”I truly believe my celebrity motivated the officer to arrest me.”
DEPARTURES On Jan. 7, ABC cochairman Stu Bloomberg, 52, stepped down from his post of 2 1/2 years. A 22-year ABC vet responsible for such hits as The Wonder Years and Roseanne, Bloomberg will be replaced by ABC’s executive VP of movies and miniseries, Susan Lyne, 51. Lyne is the former Village Voice editor who created Premiere magazine. ABC’s viewership has tumbled nearly 25 percent this season, as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire loses steam…. The runway weeps: On Jan. 7, designer Yves Saint Laurent, 65, announced his retirement. His French haute couture house – where he created the landmark women’s tuxedo in 1966 and introduced the first see-through blouse – will close its doors. The ready-to-wear YSL line – in Gucci’s hands since 1999 – will continue production. In a statement, Gucci chief designer Tom Ford called Saint Laurent ”a great inspiration.”