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December 5th, 2013
05:42 AM ET

Celebrity Chef Nigella Lawson Admits Using Cocaine in Court

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson used cocaine during two periods of her life, she admitted Wednesday as she testified in the fraud trial of two former personal assistants in a London court, reports CNN's Erin MgLaughlin.

She told the court she had used the drug about six times with her late husband, John Diamond, when he learned that his cancer was terminal, in order to give him "some escape from his treatment."

She also used cocaine once in July 2010 when she felt subject to "terrorism" by her then-husband Charles Saatchi, she said.

At that point she felt trapped, isolated and unhappy, she said, and a friend offered her the drug.

But, Lawson said, "I've never been a drug addict, I've never been an habitual user. ... I did not have a drug problem, I had a life problem."

Saatchi had claimed in an e-mail that Lawson had used drugs regularly, but in testimony Friday he backed off that claim.

Lawson's admission of cocaine use came after she earlier testified that Saatchi had threatened to "destroy" her if she did not "clear his name."

She had been asked about her reluctance to attend court as a witness in the assistants' trial - a case that has gripped the media as claims emerge about the couple's troubled personal life.

"I have been put on trial here where I am called to answer, and glad to answer the allegations, and the world's press, and it comes after a long summer of bullying and abuse," Lawson said. "I find it's another chapter in that."

Referring to Saatchi's request for her to attend the trial, made in a letter sent by his lawyers, Lawson said: "He had said to me if I didn't get back to him and clear his name he would destroy me."

Lawson said she felt she had to do her civic duty. "It's difficult for me, it's very difficult for my children, but I want to do the right thing," she added.

The former aides, Italian sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, deny embezzling hundreds of thousands of pounds on company credit cards while employed by Lawson and Saatchi.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Entertainment • Legal
July 5th, 2013
07:18 AM ET

More celebs branding their own wines – Nischelle Turner reports

Celebrities have long branded scents, clothing lines, even BBQ sauces. But here's a trend that might leave you thirsty for more.

There's big money to be made in the wine business these days, and Nischelle Turner says some big names are getting in on the action.

“From Brad and Angelina to Sting and Drew Barrymore, more and more celebs are pouring their star power into wines,” Turner says.

"Let's face it, some of them are in it for the money,” says Wine Spectator Magazine Executive Editor Tom Matthews. “But I think the serious ones really love the product."

Wine Spectator Magazine's expert taster James Molesworth shared his critique, starting with Brangelina's Rose.

“We thought the quality was there, the flavors are beautiful, it's fresh, it's delicious,” Molesworth says. “It's an excellent wine.”

But another taster was not so fond.

"It didn't have much of a nose for me and just was not real flavorful," one says about Rose.

For most, celebrities star power isn't necessarily a recipe for good wine.

A taster puts it this way: “Maybe the celebrities should taste the wine before they put their name on the label."

Filed under: Celebrity • Entertainment • Fun • Style
June 10th, 2013
09:04 AM ET

Performer eggs Simon Cowell on "Britain's Got Talent" finale

Some stars on stage may be used to hecklers in the audience expressing their displeasure. But on live TV this weekend, the heckler, was actually on the stage. And she directed her thoughts at none other than Simon Cowell. John Berman has the story.

A woman hurls eggs at judge Cowell in a shocking moment during "Britain's Got Talent" finale. “Even with egg on his face, Cowell managed to get the last word," Berman says. Cowell tweeted: "I don't think eggs should be allowed on talent shows. Discuss?”

Filed under: Celebrity • Entertainment
April 25th, 2013
06:56 AM ET

Actor Zach Braff uses Kickstarter to raise over $1 million for new film


Courteney Cox, Jessica Simpson and Aaron Paul are just a few of the famous who have joined fans in supporting Zach Braff.

The 38-year-old actor/filmmaker is following in the footsteps of Rob Thomas, who set a record when he Kickstarted a "Veronica Mars" movie in March, with his own Kickstarter concept: a follow-up to his 2004 feature directorial debut, "Garden State."

Called "Wish I Was Here," the movie's co-written by Braff and his brother, Adam, and centers on a struggling actor, husband and father named Aidan Bloom.

Braff's hoping to raise $2 million for the follow-up by 3 p.m. ET on May 24, and he's well on his way to reaching half of his goal within a day. He said he was initially going to go with a "typical financing deal" for the project, but doing so "would have involved making a lot of sacrifices I think would have ultimately hurt the film."

READ MORE: Zach Braff gets Kickstarter support for 'Garden State' follow up

Filed under: Entertainment • Kickstarter
March 28th, 2013
06:59 AM ET

CNNTrends: "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston's 911 call released & new Miami Dolphins logo confirmed

Trending on the web this morning is an update on displeasing news for fans of one of television’s hottest shows, and the new Miami Dolphins logo splashing in South Florida.

"Breaking Bad" returns this summer for the series' final eight episodes, but it was recently reported that star Bryan Cranston had a top-secret script from one of the upcoming final episodes stolen when a thief broke into his car near where the series is shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Although a suspect has been arrested,  it appears the script is still missing. Now—we're hearing Cranston's 9-1-1 call to police.

And the new Miami Dolphins team logo is getting lots of buzz. The team officially confirmed the new logo  after it was leaked and appeared on NFL.com. It features a helmet-free dolphin and the team will official unveil it at the start of the NFL draft.

Filed under: Celebrities • Celebrity • Entertainment • NFL • Trending • TV
March 18th, 2013
06:33 AM ET

Zoraida Sambolin goes behind the big top for Cirque du Soleil's 'Totem'

For almost 30 years, Cirque Du Soleil has been entertaining audiences with its visual and acrobatic artistry. The latest production is called "Totem." Inspired by mankind’s origin myths, Totem show traces the evolutionary journey of the human species from an amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly.

Zoraida Sambolin visits the set and talks with the artists and performers at the Big Top in CitiField, its New York City location. She even goes head over heels with one of the show's entertainers.

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Filed under: Entertainment
January 28th, 2013
06:44 AM ET

'Argo,' 'Downton Abbey' big winners at the Screen Actors Guild Awards – Nischelle Turner reports


Los Angeles (CNN) - Although Daniel Day-Lewis appears on track to win the best actor Oscar next month, he suggests his win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday may actually hurt his chances.

His riveting portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" has been honored with the Golden Globe and SAG best actor awards. While those awards are often predictive of the Oscar best actor winner, Day-Lewis is downplaying his chances.

'Argo' glows

Other Oscar races grew murkier with Sunday's SAG awards, including for best picture. While "Lincoln" might have been a favorite at the start of Hollywood's awards season, its prospects of taking the top Academy honor were dimmed with Ben Affleck's "Argo" winning the SAG best film award, just two weeks after taking the Golden Globe.

This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Nichelle Turner recaps the big moments from the SAG Awards.

READ MORE: What's next? SAG winners talk Oscars, their future backstage

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Filed under: Award Shows • Awards • Entertainment • Hollywood
January 25th, 2013
07:26 AM ET

CNN Trends: J.J. Abrams to helm next 'Star Wars' movie

John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin tell you what's trending on the web this morning, including news of J. J. Abrams directing the next installment of the sci-fi phenomenon, "Star Wars: Episode VII".

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Filed under: Crime • Entertainment • Trending
January 10th, 2013
06:01 AM ET

Nischelle Turner previews the 'pro-bowl announcement of entertainment'; the Oscar nominations

Hollywood is abuzz this morning in anticipation for the big announcement Tinseltown has been waiting to hear for months. In just a few hours, Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone will name the nominees for the 85th Academy Awards. As CNN’s Nischelle Turner tells it, “the campaign for best picture is about to get real.” She has a preview for us live from Hollywood.

“As many as 10 movies could be nominated for best picture,” Turner says. She names Steven Spielberg's Civil War drama, “Lincoln,” as a top candidate sure to land a number of nominations. Its star studded cast includes the obvious nominee, Daniel Day-Lewis, in the lead role. Other titles sure to be named are "Les Mis", "Argo", "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Life of Pi", Deadline.com's Pete Hammond tells her.  "Silver Linings Playbook" should score nominations for best picture and for its stars—Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, who's been facing an Oscar dryspell,” Turner reports.

But there’s drama in naming the nominees as much as there is the nominees themselves. “Among the possible Oscar nominees, one movie stands out as a major question mark.” It’s a wonder what Oscar voters will make of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained"? Some critics have accused Tarantino of trivializing slavery in the film while others have lauded the picture greatly. “The controversy should make for a suspenseful Oscar nomination announcement.”

Filed under: Awards • Entertainment • Film • Hollywood • Movies
December 11th, 2012
06:50 AM ET

'Zero Dark Thirty' premiers amidst criticism that the film glorifies torture

The movie "Zero Dark Thirty," which chronicles the hunt, capture and death of Osama Bin Laden, premiered last night in Hollywood.

The film is already getting Oscar buzz, but some critics say that the movie supports waterboarding prisoners.

Zoraida discusses this criticism and explains how screenwriter Mark Boal is responding on Early Start this morning.

Filed under: Entertainment • Osama Bin Laden
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