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Fergie says she and Josh Duhamel still 'great friends'

Fergie says even though she and husband Josh Duhamel are splitting up, they're still "great friends" who love one another and their young son.

The singer talked about her marriage at a screening Wednesday for her new visual album, "Double Dutchess," at iPic Theaters Fulton Market in New York. She told The Associated Press "the important thing is we're a family" with 4-year-old Axl and "there's so much love" that they share.

She says her new songs are about "a lot of different relationships," adding "feelings are feelings" and "they have to come out somewhere."

The Black Eyed Peas singer and actor confirmed last week that they had decided to break up earlier this year, but decided to keep the news quiet. They have been married for eight years.

Boston kicks off a year of US tributes to Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein (BURN'-stine) would have turned 100 next year — a remembrance that's being celebrated in the composer-conductor's Massachusetts birthplace.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra kicks off its new season Friday with a concert devoted entirely to America's most famous maestro.

Boston Symphony music director Andris Nelsons says Bernstein influenced him as a child along with generations of other musicians worldwide.

Bernstein was born in 1918 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and became the youngest music director ever to lead the New York Philharmonic. He's best known for his musical score for "West Side Story," the acclaimed Broadway musical which became a film in 1961.

Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra also plan tributes in October.

Bernie Casey, pro football player turned actor, dies

Bernie Casey, a professional football player turned poet, painter and actor known for parts in films such as "Revenge of the Nerds" and "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," has died. He was 78.

Casey died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a brief illness, his talent agent Erin Connor said.

Born in West Virginia in 1939 and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Casey excelled in track and field and football and attended Bowling Green State University on an athletic scholarship.

He went on to play wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams before going back to his alma mater to get a master's degree in fine arts.

For Casey, the arts always came first. He painted and published books of poetry, but the football association that he viewed as a stepping stone followed him.

"It was just a gig," he told the Washington Post in 1977 about football. "But it limits the way people perceive you. That can be frustrating. People have tremendous combinations of talents. A man can be a deep-sea diver and also make china."

His art in particular captivated many famous minds, including Maya Angelou.

"His art makes my road less rocky, and my path less crooked," Angelou said of a 2003 exhibit of his works.

"I was a big, agile, fast and a dedicated athlete," Casey said in 1999. "But I always wanted to be a painter."

Casey's professional acting career began with "Guns of the Magnificent Seven," a sequel to "The Magnificent Seven," in 1969.

He appeared in some 35 films, including "Boxcar Bertha," ''The Man Who Fell to Earth," ''Brian's Song" and "Never Say Never Again."

Casey also starred opposite fellow NFL veteran Jim Brown in "...tick...tick...tick" and "Black Gunn."

He played Lambda Lambda Lambda head U.N. Jefferson in "Revenge of the Nerds" and John Slade in Keenan Ivory Wayans' Blaxploitation parody "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" from 1988.

He also had a number of television credits including "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," ''Murder She Wrote" and "L.A. Law."

'Breakfast Club' actor Hall pleads no contest to assault

"Breakfast Club" actor Anthony Michael Hall has pleaded no contest to shoving a neighbor who fell and broke his wrist.

The 49-year-old Hall entered the plea in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday to one misdemeanor count of assault likely to produce injury.

He was immediately sentenced to 40 hours of community service and three years of informal probation.

Prosecutors say Hall and a next-door neighbor in Playa Del Rey got into an argument in September 2016 that ended with Hall pushing the man to the ground.

Hall was a staple of early 1980s teen movies including "The Breakfast Club" and "Sixteen Candles." He more recently appeared in "The Dark Knight" and the TV series "The Dead Zone."

Britney Spears posts photo with Mariah Carey, exciting fans of both

At a recent dinner party, the two pop icons posed for a photo together at a party, leaving their fan bases begging for a musical collaboration.

According to a Wednesday tweet, Britney Spears and Mariah Carey ran into each other at a dinner party.

>> Read more trending news

“You never know who you’re going to meet at dinner parties!!” Spears captioned the photo. “Great night! So much fun, thank you Cade!”

Billboard reported that Spears is likely referring to Cade Hudson, who has been a long time friend of Spears and works as a publicist. 

Dressed in a black dress with lace details, Spears leans into Carey, who is turned slightly to the side in a low-cut black outfit.

Fans flooded the post with tweets asking if Carey and Spears would be working on new music together and otherwise expressing excitement that two of their favorite artists were in a photo together.

Jay-Z reportedly turned down Super Bowl Halftime slot

Don’t expect to be throwing up the Roc sign at the halftime show during the Super Bowl in 2018.

According to The Source, Jay-Z has turned down the NFL’s offer to have the rapper perform at the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show in Minneapolis.

>> Read more trending news

When NBC’s Pro Football Talk reached out to the NFL, the report wasn’t directly shut down.

“No decisions have been made on the performer(s) and we are not going to speculate on particular artists,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a Wednesday email to Pro Football Talk. “Along with Pepsi, we know that we will put on a spectacular show. When it is time to announce her name we will do it. Or his name. Or their names.”

For Jay, the rest of this year will be busy. He is set to tour North America in support of his latest album, “4:44,” Oct. 27. Billboard reported that Vic Mensa will be the opening act for the tour.

Jada Pinkett Smith responds to Leah Remini’s claim that she’s a Scientologist

Jada Pinkett Smith is denying she is a Scientologist after former member Leah Remini claimed she was one.

Remini, whose reality show, “Scientology and the Aftermath” examines the experiences of former members leaving the controversial church, made the claim about Pinkett Smith in a Saturday interview with The Daily Beast.

“I know Jada’s in. I know Jada’s in. She’s been in Scientology a long time,” Remini said. “I never saw Will (Smith) there, but I saw Jada at the Celebrity Centre. They opened up a Scientology school, and have since closed it. But Jada, I had seen her at the Scientology Celebrity Centre all the time.” 

>> Read more trending news

According to The Daily Beast, Pinkett Smith did not return multiple comment requests.

By Tuesday, however, The Huffington Post reported that the actress responded to Remini’s claims on Twitter.

Although she acknowledged she has studied Dianetics, Scientology’s main text, and Study Technology, a teaching method developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, she also said she’s studied and participated in aspects of other religions as well.

Remini has not responded to Pinkett Smith’s rebuttal. Pinkett Smith ended her Twitter thread with what some may interpret as a direct response to Remini’s claim.

“I practice human kindness, and I believe that we each have the right to determine what we are and what we are not,” she tweeted, “NO ONE ELSE can hold that power.”

Fergie said it was ‘weird’ pretending she was still with Josh Duhamel

While promoting her upcoming album, “Double Dutchess,” singer Fergie is addressing her split from husband Josh Duhamel.

The couple, who were married for eight years before separating, announced the separation long after they were actually apart. The timing meant Fergie, 42, and Duhamel, 44, had to respond to questions about each other when in public as though they were still together.

>> Read more trending news

“Honestly, it was just getting a little weird for us with all the romantic questions,” Fergie told People Tuesday while making the rounds promoting her album.

“We’re great friends, we love each other so much, and it just got to the point where it was getting a little weird,” she said. “There’s no perfect time, so we just decided to do it. We just wanted to get adjusted in private.”

The parents to son Axl Jack, 4, announced the separation Sept. 14 in a joint statement.

“With absolute love and respect we decided to separate as a couple earlier this year,” the statement said. “To give our family the best opportunity to adjust, we wanted to keep this a private matter before sharing it with the public. We are and will always be united in our support of each other and our family.”

Related: Singer Fergie, actor Josh Duhamel announce separation

Fergie went on to say co-parenting with the actor is going well, and their son’s school has helped with the process.

“We have a co-op so Josh and I would walk there several times before the school season. I get to learn from the teachers and see how he reacts in a group of friends that he knows. And I get to help out and serve them snacks and clean the dishes. We have fun, we get down and dirty and read the stories with our costumes. You get down in the sand and get dirty -- I love it. I love that part of it all.”

“Double Dutchess,” the followup to Fergie’s 2006 debut album, “The Dutchess,” is set for release Sept. 22.

The Latest: Lawyer says woman and Kevin Hart are victims

The Latest on the Kevin Hart scandal (all times local):

11:18 a.m.

A lawyer for a woman involved in the Kevin Hart scandal says someone secretly placed cameras in his Las Vegas hotel suite and made bedroom images of the two.

Lawyer Lisa Bloom told a Los Angeles press conference Wednesday that her client, Montia Sabbag (mahn-tee-uh suh-bahg), is a victim and Hart appears to be a victim as well.

Bloom says Sabbag is neither suing Hart nor demanding any money from the box-office star.

The attorney says there's no evidence that law enforcement is looking into the matter so she will immediately report the situation to authorities and seek a full investigation.

Sabbag says she's not an extortionist and has nothing to do with the recordings.

Hart publicly brought up the matter last weekend in an Instagram video in which he apologized to his family and said someone was trying to seek financial gain from a mistake he made.

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10:30 a.m.

A woman has come forward to say she was involved with Kevin Hart a month ago but she is not an extortionist.

Montia Sabbag (mahn-tee-uh suh-bahg) spoke to reporters at her lawyer's Los Angeles office Wednesday following Hart's weekend apology to his pregnant wife and children via an Instagram video for what he called an error in judgment.

He also said someone was trying to seek financial gain from his mistake and he'd rather confess than let that happen.

Sabbag says that since her involvement with Hart, her name and pictures have become public and lies have been written about her.

She says she's a recording artist and actress, and hasn't broken any laws.

Sabbag also mentioned unspecified recordings but says she had nothing to do with them.

Milan Fashion Week: Gucci extends news cycle with Rocket Man

Green has been declared the color of Milan Fashion Week, with the fashion chamber promoting sustainability in the trend-driven world of ready-to-wear.

Eleven awards will be handed out Sunday evening to honor Italian designers, fashion houses and suppliers that "champion community and social justice, traditional craftsmanship, responsible supply chain management and innovation and technological transformation."

Milan Fashion Week previews for womenswear looks for next spring and summer, the highlight of the annual fashion calendar, feature 159 collections. The weeklong fashion celebration kicked off with Gucci, No. 21 and Fausto Puglisi and Angel Chen.

Some highlights from Wednesday's first day of shows:

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GREEN FASHION AWARDS

Livia Firth, the wife of actor Colin Firth, is presiding over the first Green Fashion Awards, fittingly dubbed the Fashion Oscars, later in the week at the La Scala opera house. Asked what consumers can do to promote sustainability in fashion, she candidly said: "Buy less," short for eschew fast-fashion for quality.

Italian Fashion Chamber president Carlo Capasa has been promoting sustainability, urging fashion houses to adopt a code that addresses such issues as water use and green investments.

He acknowledged that the industry in general is "not at all" sustainable at the moment. "That is why we are promoting this," he said.

The uphill image battle was evident at a protest outside the city's main Duomo Cathedral, where animal rights activists demonstrated against the use of animal fur in Milan collections.

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GUCCI'S ROCKET MAN

In a news cycle dominated by U.S. President Donald Trump's threats against North Korea and references to its leader as "Rocket Man," it was certainly prescient that Alessandro Michele not only included a suit fitting of a rocket man for his latest Gucci collection, but dedicated a capsule collection to Elton John, whose hits include the pop song of the same name.

For the rocket man, there were oversized teardrop-shaped shoulders on a pink jumpsuit with yellow stars.

Since his Gucci solo debut in 2015, Michele has maintained a profile as the Milan fashion world's darling and innovator. Marco Bizzarri, the brand's towering CEO, said backstage that "Alessandro has the capacity to evolve while always maintaining a very clear line."

"There is a lot of joy. A lot of energy. That is the best part," he said.

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MICHELE'S 'DISSENTING SPIRIT'

Michele's collections have had in common a growing element of self-consciousness. The designer inserts alienating elements in the same way that the German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht sought to remind audiences that they were witnessing a stage production and not be swept away by fantasy.

Judging by the crowd in attendance, the philosophy is winning not just fans but adherents. One male fashionista wore a golden mask echoing a previous season's masked alien.

The collection, combining both men's and women's looks, was shown under strobe lights and amid copies of classic statuary including from ancient Egypt, the Mayans and the Greeks. Michele says he wanted to underline that his view of the contemporary derives from myriad stories of the past.

The strobe lights helped narrowed the focus to shapes and sparkles: A disco-inspired handkerchief skirt with a golden and silvery sequin top, and red-white-and-blue satiny jumpsuit that could help power an Evel Knievel-wannabe

It's a collection, as the notes assert, for "the dissenting spirit."

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AUSPICIOUS 21 AT No. 21

Alessandro Dell'Acqua celebrated his 21 years in the fashion business with 21 sheer opening looks for his No. 21 fashion brand.

Dell'Acqua gorgeously combined sheers, feather elements and athletically accented knitwear to project a feminine strength, underlining the mood by closing to the sound of Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield."

The designer characteristically included masculine elements such as the checked patterns on skirts, jackets and slim knee-length trousers. The accessory of choice: An unattached hood for all occasions.

A range of neatly gathered, draped and tiered dresses and skirts accented with sheer sequins or feathery wisps — and done up in a color palette of sheer pinks, nudes and yellows — underlined the prettiness of the collection.

Cropped sweaters lent an edge, as did stronger color combos of light blue, red and black with some leopard accents on sleeker silhouettes, including pencil skirts and bra tops.

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TWO BY TWO FOR ANGEL CHEN

Shanghai-based designer Angel Chen combines Asian storytelling with technical prowess and materials in her latest collection.

It was the 25-year-old designer's second collection for her unisex brand to preview during Milan Fashion Week. This time, it was part of the main lineup with the support of the Italian fashion chamber.

"We want to break boundaries," the designer said backstage.

Inspired by a futuristic Noah's Ark tale, Chen's masterful two-by-two pairings included a women's suit with flared cropped trousers alongside a man's trench — both made out of bespoke Korean technical fabric that gave the impression of a shiny baby pink but on closer inspection was a combination of tones.

The designer referenced a host of animals destined for the ark, including tigers, cranes and insects that appeared in the shape of large backpacks. Many of the looks were sporty — black and red body suits — or technical, as in the diaphanous floor-length anoraks. Prints that featured tigers and crocodiles among other animals represented Asian allegories, Chen said.

"I would say the shape is contemporary, but the meaning is more cultural," she said.

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FEMININITY REFUGE AT PUGLISI

Fausto Puglisi took a nostalgic view of femininity for his latest collection, showing black and white lace and linen combinations that harkened back to another era.

Puglisi's focus was less on seduction and more on an intimate fragility.

"She doesn't need to show off her strength with her look," the designer said. "Because she thinks true strength is to take refuge in a book."

The collection was strong on white with black and floral accents, including long linen dresses with lace inserts, or shorter slip dresses with long, ruffle cuffs. Silky robe dresses finished in trailing fringe, while pale tulle skirts created a feminine silhouette.

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