You may have wondered how Brooke Shields and her producer husband Chris Henchy became so friendly with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
After all, Cruise went on TV in the spring of 2005 and denounced Shields for taking pharmacological drugs to help her through postpartum depression. Then Brooke retaliated by denouncing Cruise’s opinions.
Cruise, of course, was espousing the philosophy of Scientology, his religion, which doesn’t believe in psychiatry or any of the drugs that come along with it.
It wasn’t a pretty scene. But then, all of a sudden, things changed. Somehow, all was forgiven. Brooke and Chris and Tom and Katie were presented as best buds.
So what happened? Brooke told me at the Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge this weekend that Tom "apologized to me. It was really heartfelt."
Did she change his mind? "Oh, no, you can’t ask people to change their minds," she said.
In fact, Brooke testified in front of Congress back on May 13 about the terrors of postpartum depression and what should be done about it. She wants Congress to put some money into treatment programs which would, by the nature of the thing, include simple anti-depression drugs.
How Brooke is able to not only forgive Tom Cruise but to suddenly, after all these years, become one of his and Katie’s best friends remains a mystery.
Yet here’s a new piece of the puzzle: Last week, Brooke fired her longtime publicists at PMK HBH, Alan Eichhorn and Heidi Schaeffer. She replaced them with the very nice yet perhaps not as powerful Ina Treciokas and Cari Ross at IDPR.
Not that the IDPR folks aren’t up to this challenge; I’ve always liked them and often used their parking spots behind Hugo’s restaurant in West Hollywood. They’re a nice gang, and certainly not responsible for Brooke leaving PMK.
But still … one wonders about all this cliquishness and where it’s going to lead.
Nevertheless, Brooke looked great. She was effusive about her new sitcom, "Lipstick Jungle," which will debut in January as a mid-season replacement.
It’s sort of a "Sex and the City" for the next generation and not to be confused with the similar "Cashmere Mafia." That show, produced by Darren Star for ABC, is already in a bind. Because one actor didn’t work out, the show has let him go and replaced him. Now they’re re-filming all his scenes and editing them into the pilot and episodes already shot.
And Tom? While he makes "Valkyrie," a movie no one wants to see, in Berlin, he and Katie make regular visits to the Scientology center there, according to reports.
Scientology is considered a cult by the Germans, and it’s because of Cruise’s affiliation that the government has forbidden him to shoot the movie in certain locales. You’d think he’d get the message, but he doesn’t.
Lest anyone worry that Billy Joel’s show in East Hampton on Saturday night wasn’t a total hit, I can reassure you: It was.
The show was part of the now infamous $3,000-a-ticket Social at the Ross School series, which began with Prince, then Dave Matthews and next week brings in Tom Petty followed by James Taylor.
Show insiders tell me that offering the whole thing up front as a $30,000-a-couple series was too much even for the Hamptons. Sales were slow. But now, individual shows are being sold, and Joel’s was so hot that 200 more seats than the 1,000 allotted for where actually sold.
"We had 1,200 people," said a source. Another source says that Joel was paid $2 million for the night.
It was worth it.
In front of a crowd that included ex-wife Christie Brinkley with their singer-daughter Alexa Ray; plus Jon Bon Jovi, Alec Baldwin, Lorne Michaels, Edie Falco and a skinny but smiley Renee Zellweger, Joel turned out a rockin' two-hour show that was flawless in every way.
Indeed, he had to battle high humidity and intense heat to pull it off.
But Billy didn’t miss a beat, knocking out hit after hit from "My Life" to "Summer Highland Falls," "She’s Always a Woman," "The Entertainer," "Zanzibar," "Big Shot," "Piano Man," "Allentown," "Downeaster 'Alexa,'" "Don’t Ask Me Why," "Keeping the Faith," "It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me," "We Didn’t Start the Fire" and his popular tour de force, "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant," among others.
He threw in a rare oldie from his first album, "Everyone Loves You Now," and the still very moving, "New York State of Mind."
Of course, it’s kind of easy for Joel to have success in the Hamptons. He’s the hometown boy made good to the people on the east end of Long Island. He is to them what James Taylor and Carly Simon are to Martha’s Vineyard and Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi are to Asbury Park. Billy Joel is a hero.
That’s why Sunday’s story in the New York Post seemed so gratuitously mean and unearned.
The writer of the piece made a snide comment about Joel being so unhappy about the Social ticket sales it would drive him to drink. Ouch! Talk about misreading your audience. Not nice.
However many times Joel has battled substance abuse, his audience is always there to defend him. And with good reason. Joel has been a mensch to Long Island fishermen, and has stood up for countless underdogs.
Billy’s songs indicate that. They are nearly all fully realized vignettes, featuring characters and emotions to which his audience can relate. They are all based in melodic hooks, and easily sung along to — certainly more so than 95 percent of the drivel that passes for pop music today.
Billy did make some jokes from the stage, mostly about his age — 58.
"This isn’t Billy Joel," he said. "I’m his dad."
He gave a shout out to wife Katie Lee Joel, who chose the menu for the delicious buffet supper that was served and used a lot of her own and Billy’s recipes, including a steak marinade that was out of this world.
Her cookbook comes out next year from Simon & Schuster. Trust me, you will like her fried chicken!
As for Christie, I am told that her divorce from "architect" Peter Cook remains itchy and scratchy with no calamine lotion around.
Brinkley — the Hamptons equivalent of a siren or reigning princess — didn’t bring her two younger children to the show, even though Billy is son Jack’s godfather.
Sources say that Cook refused to let stepson Jack (whose biological father is Rick Taubman but who is in shared custody with Christie and Cook) or daughter Sailor (Cook’s biological child with Brinkley) attend the show despite many pleadings from both children.
"It was his weekend, and he wouldn’t give in," an insider who knows the former couple told me.
You may recall that last year, Cook was revealed to be having an affair with a 19-year-old behind Christie’s back. Brinkley only found out when the girl’s father confronted her in public.
The Police wrapped up the first leg of their world tour last night to a very sold-out 55,000 fans at Giants Stadium. Now they take a break before starting up again in Europe.
And to dispel two stories from the local papers this past weekend: Sting did not order a hot tub to be helicoptered to him New Hampshire last week. The hot tub was being installed at the house of his host, who’d been waiting for it for weeks.
The house is on an island, an insider explained. "There’s no other way to get it there."
But Sting says he likes the idea of people thinking that’s the way he lives. …
Sting’s wife, Trudie Styler, affectionate though she is, did not "make out" with gay Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner the other night at The Box following The Police show at Madison Square Garden. I guess it makes for good copy.
But Styler and Wenner were on opposite sides of the room, for one thing. She was only touchy feely with her hubby.
He was with his longtime lover and co-parent of their child, Matt Nye. The twain did not smooch, snog nor otherwise trade spit. …