Pop princess Britney Spears, whose marriage and parenting skills are under a media microscope, tearfully admitted being "an emotional wreck" in an interview aired on US television last week.
Intermittently weeping and chewing gum, Spears denied she is estranged from her husband, Kevin Federline, saying on NBC's Today show that Federline is helping her weather the hormonal ups and downs of her second pregnancy.
"He helps me. He has to. I'm an emotional wreck right now," Spears said. "Not in a bad way. Just, just, you know, I'll start laughing hysterically and then I'll just start crying, like just because .... It's my hormones."
She called paparazzi images of her driving with her infant son, Sean Preston, on her lap "cheap shots" and said that as a small child, she sat in her father's lap as he drove.
Spears said she has wept on occasion over allegations that she is a bad mother, and wished only that paparazzi would leave her alone.
"You have to realize that we're people and that we need, we just need privacy and we need our respect," she said. "And those are things that you have to have as a human being."
Marrying a national icon can be a risky business. Divorcing one can turn the world against you -- as Heather Mills McCartney has discovered.
Within a month of separating from former Beatle Paul McCartney, Mills has been the target of lurid allegations in Britain's tabloids, prompting her to launch legal action against a paper that printed allegations she was once a prostitute.
She dismissed the allegations as "untrue and highly defamatory."
Facing weight loss, anxiety and sleeplessness after the very public bust-up of her high profile marriage, the charity campaigner against land mines and seal hunting said her detractors were trying to "make money out of her misery."
Paul McCartney, who could lose up to a quarter of his US$1.52 billion fortune in a divorce settlement, appears as baffled as she does.
"One of the worst aspects of going through what Heather and I are currently going through is the malicious spreading of rumors and made-up facts that is happening in some areas of the media," the 63-year-old complained on his Web site.
On her site, Heather's sister Fiona refutes what she called 32 "fictions," ranging from "Heather is a publicity seeker" to "Heather uses men and has had a string of failed engagements."
Spokeswoman Anya Noakes says the former model faces an uphill battle winning round public opinion. "Marrying everyone's favorite Beatle was always going to be
difficult," she said. "The last month has been absolutely hideous."
A clearly annoyed Manhattan judge issued an arrest warrant for Boy George after the former Culture Club singer failed to appear in court to explain why he wants to change his sentence for falsely reporting a burglary.
Judge Anthony Ferrara on Friday also ridiculed the singer's suggestions for serving community service, which included a proposal to hold a fashion-and-makeup workshop. But he said he would not order an arrest until a June 26 hearing on whether Boy George violated the terms of his sentence.
The singer, whose real name is George O'Dowd, pleaded guilty in March to false reporting of a burglary at his Manhattan apartment, where police found cocaine.
Under his plea deal, O'Dowd was to enter a drug-treatment program in England and do five days of community service in Manhattan. He was also fined US$1,000.
But the judge angrily complained that O'Dowd had not paid the fine and had never reported to the office that assigns community service work. "I put people in jail who don't pay fines," the judge told O'Dowd's lawyer, Louis Freeman. "Why shouldn't I do that?"
Freeman said he had told O'Dowd, who was in England, that he did not have to appear Friday.
The judge also ridiculed Freeman's community service proposals, which included helping teenagers make a public-service announcement, holding a fashion-and-makeup workshop, and serving as DJ at an HIV/AIDS benefit.
O'Dowd's drug woes reportedly led to the collapse of Culture Club, which scored the hit 1980s singles Karma Chameleon and Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?