HEALTH WATCH Pamela Anderson must really wish she’d never tattooed ex-husband Tommy Lee’s first name onto her skin. Not only did she change the ”T” to an ”M” after the couple split, but she now says that she’s infected with hepatitis C as the result of sharing a tattoo needle with Lee. ”Tommy has the disease and never disclosed it to me during our marriage,” she said in a statement yesterday. She also accused Lee of leaking word of her infection in order to smear her as part of the custody battle over their two sons. However, Lee told TV’s ”Access Hollywood” yesterday that he’s tested negative for the disease and accused Anderson of a custody-related smear.
Like HIV, the hepatitis C virus is frequently spread through unprotected sex and the sharing of intravenous needles. Nearly 4 million Americans are believed to be infected, but many may not know they have the disease because it can take years to manifest itself by causing liver cancer, cirrhosis, or liver failure. It kills 8,000 to 10,000 Americans a year, and outpatient treatments to boost the immune system, like those Anderson says she’s undergoing, are successful in staving off liver troubles in less than 50 percent of patients.
SOUND BITES ”They love each other very much and haven’t broken up.” So says a spokesperson for restaurateur Britney Spears and singer Justin Timberlake, giving USA Today the strongest denial yet that the bubblegum twosome have split. ”To set it straight, both of them are very busy and focusing on their careers,” the spokeswoman elaborated. ”The demands on their time have naturally created a significant time apart, which could be misconstrued as a more permanent situation. As for spottings in clubs [dancing with others], they are both young and like to dance.” All righty, then….
There was little interest among record buyers in new music this week, with R&B boy band B2K’s self-titled debut the only new release in the top 10 of the Billboard chart. The four 16-year-olds saw their album open at No. 2, selling 108,875 copies, according to SoundScan. The rest of the top 10 was old, old as the hills, in the case of the ”O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack, the roots-music sampler that, after 15 months on the chart, finally hit No. 1 last week. It stayed there this week, moving 148,850 units, for a sales total of more than 4.5 million to date. In third place was Alan Jackson’s ”Drive” (95,925 copies.) Slipping one spot to No. 4 was Alanis Morissette’s ”Under Rug Swept” (95,825 sold), while Brandy’s ”Full Moon” fell three places to No. 5 (87,075 discs).
Other top 10 holdovers included Linkin Park’s ”Hybrid Theory” (No. 6), Ludacris’ ”Word of Mouf” (No. 7), Pink’s ”M!ssundazstood” (No. 8), Kylie Minogue’s ”Fever” (No. 9), and Jennifer Lopez’ ”J to tha L-O!” disc of remixes at No. 10.