First stage of divorce for Madonna, Guy Ritchie expected today in London

A court schedule says Madonna and Guy Ritchie will be granted the first stage of their divorce today.


London's High Court lists "Ciccone M L v Ritchie G S" as one of 16 cases for "matrimonial and civil partnership causes for pronouncement of decree."

A judge will grant the couple a preliminary divorce decree. After six weeks and a day, they likely will be granted a decree and the divorce will become final. They are not expected to appear in court.


The couple announced last month that they were divorcing after almost eight years of marriage.

Another breakup

Celebutante Paris Hilton and Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden's romance is over, People magazine reports on its Web site.

The pair split a few days ago after more than nine months of dating, a source close to Hilton reveals.

"She is saddened by the breakup, but they're just too different and they wanted different things in life," says the source. "He was loyal and sweet, but it was time to take a break."

Representatives for Hilton, 27, and Madden, 29, could not be reached for comment.

Firing back

While she never mentioned Rosie O'Donnell by name, it was clear to whom Barbara Walters was referring when she opened The View yesterday by complaining about "some people who have done this show" who criticize the daytime gabfest after leaving.


Walters said some former hosts feel the need "to dump on it, maybe for their own publicity." She added: "That not only hurts me, but I resent it."

Her comments came one day after O'Donnell told reporters that Walters wanted the hosts to pretend that they were getting along. O'Donnell says she has experienced something like "post-traumatic stress disorder" since leaving.

Garner wins court order

Jennifer Garner has won a restraining order against a man she says has been stalking her for years.

An attorney for Garner appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom yesterday morning and won three years of protection for Garner, husband Ben Affleck and their daughter, Violet.

As first reported by TMZ, Garner petitioned for protection earlier this month from 36-year-old Steven R. Burky, who she says has been harassing her since 2002.


The former star of the television series Alias wrote in a sworn statement that she believed Burky's "obsessive, threatening and stalking behavior" posed a threat to her and her family.

A very merry Colbert

Forget the sugarplums. Let visions of Stephen Colbert in furry boots dance in your head.

Colbert will host a holiday special, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All, at 10 p.m. Sunday on Comedy Central.

The special was originally planned for last Christmas but was delayed a year when Colbert became swamped during his brief run for president in the South Carolina primary. Instead, the special was taped mostly over a three-week period in August.

The 44-year-old comedian sings a duet with Willie Nelson, who appears as a tiny Wise Man in a miniature Nativity scene. Other guests include Toby Keith, Jon Stewart and John Legend.


The show concludes with Colbert and Elvis Costello singing that "there are much worse things" than believing in Christmas.

Costumes from the special are being auctioned to benefit Feeding America, and a percentage of the DVD proceeds will go to the charity.

today's birthdays

Baseball Hall-of-Famer Stan Musial, 88.

Actress Marlo Thomas, 71.

Singer Dr. John, 68.


Actress Goldie Hawn, 63.

Actress Nicollette Sheridan, 45.

Singer Bjork, 43.