Madonna, Guy Ritchie | Sarah Jessica Parker | Ben Affleck  Rockers Reunite     

Madonna and Hubby Have Parenting Issues

Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie seem to be having issues over how to parent their children.

Last week The Star, which is usually not so reliable, reported that the couple entered the very posh Claridge's Hotel in London about two weeks ago — right before Madonna came to New York to start her American tour — squabbling like crazy. I guess someone saw them come from their car into the hotel and witnessed the scene.

Well, it's true. I say this because I happened to run into someone who witnessed the whole deal inside Claridge's when the couple met friends of Ritchie in the bar. And the fight was over how Ritchie, according to my witness, felt Madonna was treating their son, Rocco.

"Guy feels that Madonna has not bonded with Rocco," says the friend. "He feels that she dotes on her own daughter, Lola, but has not taken to the baby."

Now, of course, we might say: "rubbish." But no blended family is an easy project, and Ritchie's feelings are certainly valid for him. (Someone call Dr. Phil over at the Oprah show. This family needs help!)

I am told that Guy gets on just great with Lola but feels he's spending most of the time doing the parenting with Rocco. Madonna has been busy designing and now performing her current show which, though some may not like it, is quite an involved piece of theatre. Madonna is known to be a control freak and perfectionist, so it's not like she's going to cede decisions about kabuki, lighting, etc., to assistants. She's going to be hands on. That doesn't leave much time for motherhood and family.

Can Madonna have it all, as Helen Gurley Brown once wrote? Can she manage to juggle family and career? I suspect she can do anything she puts her mind to. But listen. My source says the fight this couple had inside Claridge's was just scorching, with no sides listening but both sides shouting and pouting. "I don't give them long odds," says the friend. And if you think about it, this must be a new world for Madonna. Carlos Leon was not a daily presence when Lola was a tot. How can you say compromise to the woman who sang, "Express Yourself"?

Sarah Jessica Loves Her Co-Workers

Ran into Sarah Jessica Parker on Saturday night in the Hamptons. She was having dinner on the terrace at the area's No. 1 boîte, Nick and Toni's, with Sex and the City producer Amy Harris and the show's head writer Michael Patrick King.

SJP looked great but she ain't happy with the New York Daily News' Rush & Molloy gossip column. They wrote that Parker is not getting along with her co-stars on Sex and the City, that she's become a diva and won't hang with Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis.

I know Sarah since, like, a long time. And let me tell you, she's a doll. And she's had enough ups and downs — all of these actresses have — that they are too smart to sabotage their success now.

"I was so upset," SJP told me. "I mean, I work 80 hours a week, and I have a husband at home with a demanding schedule." She's referring of course to Matthew Broderick, who's doing 8 shows a week on Broadway in the hottest show of all time, The Producers. Broderick is on stage six out of seven nights plus two afternoons. That doesn't leave the couple much time to see each other since SJP is working long hours trying to finish the Sex and the City season.

"Do those people" — meaning Rush & Molloy, who are also very nice people — "work all week with their co-workers, then go hang out with them the rest of the time? I don't think so. They have lives. Kim has a husband. Cynthia has a child. It's terrible, because we really are friends but we can't be together all the time!"

Ben Affleck Gambles on Good Advice

What a relief to hear that Ben Affleck has entered rehab in California for alcohol. I suspect, based on reports from this year, that Affleck has developed a fondness for the gaming tables as well.

You may recall that a few weeks ago I reported that Affleck was once again stationed at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where he was gambling all night, for hours on end, and rewarding waitresses with huge tips. It was cute the first time he did that last year. It sounded scary that he'd continued to do this over and over again on breaks from filming Bounce, Changing Lanes and Sum of All Fears.

Most of the time when you hear about a young star going into rehab you snicker because these people have such ridiculously hedonistic lives — while we're all scraping together pennies to pay for a tank of gas. But I will tell you that in the five or six years since Affleck and Matt Damon burst on the scene with Good Will Hunting they have been nothing less than stellar to work with and to know. Affleck in particular is a nice guy, well grounded with a good sense of family.

But imagine being 29, single with no responsibilities, and producers keep handing you $10 million at a clip to be in their movies. It's like winning the lottery over and over, or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire times 20. Affleck's crash was inevitable. I've met his family, and I can only say if they were responsible for pulling the plug on Ben's long, wild night, god bless 'em. They nipped it in the bud. We wish him only the best.

Rockers Reunite Tomorrow Night 

Bebe Buell's big bash for her book, Rebel Heart, is tomorrow night at Don Hill's in Soho. If you haven't ordered Rebel Heart yet from Amazon.com or your bookseller, do so immediately. You can open this book to almost any page and get the most amazing stories about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. You can't put it down. Bebe is being featured next week by Newsweek, the New York Times Magazine and ABC's 20/20 — among others. This is the August hot read of all time!

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