Monitor

Monitor

BIRTHS On Jan. 31, ABC News correspondent Elizabeth Vargas, 40, and her Grammy-winning singer-songwriter husband, Marc Cohn (''Walking in Memphis''), 43, welcomed their first child, 7-pound 13-ounce Zachary Raphael Cohn.... On Feb. 3, talk-show host Wayne Brady, 30, and his wife, stage and commercial actress Mandie, 26, greeted a 6-pound 1-ounce girl, Maile Masako Brady. She's their first child.... On Feb. 4, supermodel/actress Elle Macpherson, 39, and financier boyfriend Arpad Busson, 40, became parents for the second time with the birth of 7-pound 11-ounce son Aurelius Cy Andrea Busson. Son Flynn is 5.

EXPECTING Newlywed Beautiful Mind costars Jennifer Connelly, 32, and Paul Bettany, 31, are expecting their first child. Reps wouldn't reveal the due date. Connelly has a 5-year-old son, Kai, from a previous relationship with photographer David Dugan.

SPLITS Reality sets in: ABC's Bachelor No. 2, Aaron Buerge, 28, and New Jersey school psychologist Helene Eksterowicz, 27, reportedly broke off their engagement before New Year's. The Missouri banker proposed on the hit show's Nov. 20 season finale; the network will, of course, air the details of their apparent split in a one-hour special Feb. 20.

RECOVERING On Feb. 6, film critic Roger Ebert, 60, underwent follow-up surgery for papillary cancer, a curable type of thyroid cancer. Doctors gave him the thumbs-up to leave the hospital the next day. He was back at work in time to cover the Oscar nominations.

DEALS Eight months after ending his longtime joint venture with Arista Records, hip-hop mogul Sean ''P. Diddy'' Combs, 33, signed a three-year distribution deal Feb. 6 with Vivendi's Universal Records. The agreement allows Combs to retain ownership of his company Bad Boy Records, while Universal assumes the promotion and marketing costs for Bad Boy's musical acts, including New Edition and Dream.

ARRESTS Dude, you're getting a doobie! Actor and former Dell spokesdude Benjamin Curtis, 22, was arrested Feb. 9 in New York City after allegedly buying a small bag of marijuana. The following day, a Manhattan judge dismissed the charge as long as Curtis remains arrest-free for the next year. His rep could not be reached for comment.

COURTS On Feb. 4, a Manhattan family court ordered rapper-actor Ice-T (ne Tracy Marrow), 45, to pay $4,000 a month to support the 1-year-old son of government clerk Linda Marie Sanchez. The rapper (who has two children from two previous relationships, a 26-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son) met Sanchez at a New York City restaurant in November 2000; he initially denied the two had been intimate, according to Sanchez's lawyer. Ice-T waived his right to a trial when DNA tests showed he'd fathered the child. A May hearing will determine and finalize the support amount. The performer's publicist declined to comment.... On Jan. 23, The Recruit star Al Pacino, 62, filed papers in New York City seeking more visitation or joint custody of his 2-year-old twins with actress ex-girlfriend Beverly D'Angelo, 48. A rep for D'Angelo declined to comment.... Following the lead of Courtney Love and others who have sought court action to limit long-term music contracts, Incubus sued Sony Corp. Feb. 6, seeking to get out of a pact that requires the band to produce four more albums for the label. Sony execs insist that the rockers signed an ''exclusive'' deal and note that the company has worked for several years ''to build a worldwide audience for them.''... Former Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee, 40, may be headed to court once again: On Feb. 10, the rocker was sued by the L.A. law firm Proskauer Rose LLP for $315,681 in unpaid service fees. Lee's rep had no comment.... Marlon Brando's former personal assistant of 25 years, Caroline Barrett, sued the reclusive actor Feb. 6, alleging that he is forcing her to repay a $185,000 loan she claims was a gift to help buy her London home in 1985. According to court papers, Brando, 78, who adopted Barrett's daughter, now 32, documented the transaction as a loan for tax purposes but repeatedly said he ''would never seek repayment.'' Brando's rep had no comment.

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