Madonna: Secret A-Rod Crash Pad Couldn't Have Helped | Mark Wahlberg: Dr. Do-a-lot | Leo Invests In New Rock Band | Best Actress Group Getting Tighter | Did Success Spoil Madonna? ... Carly Takes A Gamble … Batman’s Composer … Real Life Soap

Madonna: Secret A-Rod Crash Pad Couldn't Have Helped

Madonna's contentious divorce from director Guy Ritchie is getting worse and worse.

The pop star has an estimated $500 million fortune. It's not clear if the $120 million deal she made with Live Nation this year is part of it. But since the deal was signed in 2008, Ritchie could easily claim half of it. After all, most of the time she spent preparing for her current tour, Ritchie was watching their kids.

Ironically, only one of those kids is his - son Rocco. Madonna's daughter Lourdes, insiders say, is of little interest to him. Now that she's a teenager, Lourdes wants to spend more time with her real dad, Carlos Leon, an affable, hard working fellow who lives in New York.

At the same time, Ritchie is also said to be not so interested in Madonna's adopted son from Malawi, David Banda. Malawi officials may take notice that possible fraud occurred when Madonna pomised she was bringing David home to a happy family.

But Ritchie more than likely also heard from this column back on July 7th that New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez had sublet a "secret love shack" in the Time Warner Center. I confirmed that Madonna was a frequent guest to the building, which was a very different address from the apartment A-Rod shared with his now ex-wife.

The A-Rod apartment is also just a couple of blocks away from Madonna's digs on Central Park West.

The apartment, owned by a young New York lawyer, is said to still be occupado by Rodriguez. It may be where he and Madonna are still meeting to discuss Kabbalah, the religion started by former insurance salesman Philip Berg.

Rodriguez is said to have attended the group's version of "Yom Kippur" services at New York's Kabbalah Center with Madonna last week. Easily impressed, Rodriguez could next start pitching for Kabbalah's Raising Malawi charity. After all, he - and not Ritchie - attended the Kabbalah-Malawi fundraiser sponsored by Gucci and UNICEF last February.

Rodriguez makes so much money from the Yankees - $350 million over the next ten years - that he may not even notice as Kabbalah takes a big bite out of him. Last year Jerry Hall, ex wife of Mick Jagger, renounced Kabbalah because it was costing her too much. Hall reportedly said: "They always talked about giving in order to receive, but I didn’t really realise that in order to go through a door of miracles you had to give ten per cent of your income."

Mark Wahlberg: Dr. Do-a-lot

It was supposed to be serious stuff last night at GQ Magazine’s Gentleman Fund dinner at the Supper Club on West 47th St. "Marky" Mark Wahlberg was being honored with his brother Joe and their friend Mike Joyce for their work in Boston on the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation. They raise money that funds Boys and Girls Clubs and other similar organizations in the area that they grew up in.

My colleague, Jada Yuan, of New York Magazine and I got to talking to Mark’s older brother Jim, the executive director of the Foundation, about all the good things they do. Jada asked him if he’d heard about the "Saturday Night Live" sketch that Mark objects to — Andy Samberg’s hilarious skit called "Mark Walhberg Talks to Animals."

"He does talk to animals!" Jim told us. "He does it all the time."

He does? This was news. "Nah. I’m just jokin with ya," Jim said in his best, most melodious Dorchester (Daw-chesta) accent.

Jim also told us he recently auditioned for a pilot for a TV series about the real characters from "The Departed."

"The casting director told me with that accent, you’ll get the part hands down," Jim said.

Mark didn’t stay very long after the presentation to his brother. We didn’t get to ask him to repeat Samberg’s genius line, "Be sure and say hello to your mother." It was just as well.

So I guess you could call Mark Doctor Do-A-Lot, instead of Doolittle.

The other ‘gentlemen’ of the night included Usher, who didn’t perform but did introduce the night with a nice soliloquy about gentleman. Before the show started he and I chatted about his impending second child — due in December, his mother returning to manage him, and having turned a titanic 30 years just yesterday. Did he get any good gifts? "A lot of Tom Ford clothes," he said, before designer John Varvatos was introduced to him. Usher wears his boots.

We did talk about the lackluster sales of Usher’s most recent album, "Here I Stand." It was Usher’s transition album, from teen to adult, much like Stevie Wonder’s 1971 album, "Music of My Mind, or Marvin Gaye’s work just before "What’s Going On." Usher launched it with that great show at the Apollo Theater in May. But after a big first week, "Here I Stand" wobbled.

"It’s all the way it’s presented," he said, philosophically. "I do think years from now, people are going to talk about it, catch up to it." He’s right: he couldn’t have done "U Remind Me" or "Yeah!" for the rest of his life and expect to have a long career. Usher’s going to be around for a good long while.

And by the way: he and wife Tameka are still tickled about the column I wrote about them from last February. I asked Tameka if it was true she was a Scientologist, as reported elsewhere. "Honey," Tameka cried, "I can’t even spell Scientology!" It’s still one of the best answers ever.

Also spotted at the GQ Gentleman Awards: Joshua Jackson, wearing Ralph Lauren clothes supplied for the night, with Diane Kruger, award honoree Steve Nash, Earl Best (toasted by Oscar winner Forest Whitaker), Joseph Mouzon, Kevin Wall of "Live Earth" fame, and charity shoe distributor Blake Mycoskie of Tom’s Shoes, and Tim "Timbaland" Mosley, who rocked the house with a hip hop show after presenting kids from his Virginia high school, where he sponsors a music program himself.

Leo Invests In New Rock Band

Leonardo DiCaprio just can’t stop wanting to be a rock and roll entrepreneur.

Remember, for a while there was backing a band called Leroi featuring his good friend, Stuart Zender from Jamiroquai. For a minute the band was signed to Geffen Records but nothing happened. Leroi frittered away.

Now Leo is at it again. Perhaps he’ll have more luck with Blackcowboy. He’s presenting them on Friday night at the House of Blues in West Hollywood on a bill with some other unknown acts. You can hear Blackcowboy on their MySpace page, where DiCaprio is listed as their first "friend." It helps that they’re not bad at all. In fact, Blackcowboy’s acoustic rock-based dreamy sound is reminiscent of… Leroi.

As usual, the Leo posse involvement is total. DiCaprio’s ex girlfriend Gisele Bundchen stars in the group’s first video, a U2-ish song called "Come On," directed by Leo’s best pal Kevin Connolly. Leo’s close buddy Lukas Haas, the former child star (from the movie "Witness"), who also has a band, often either performs with Blackcowboy or they with him in different clubs. The group also has a song called "Lukas." It’s not exactly like the good old days of The Eagles and Jackson Browne, but what can you do in 2008?

Best Actress Group Getting Tighter

It’s only October, and we have so many more films to see. But the list for Best Actress is getting pretty wild.

First and foremost: Anne Hathaway from "Rachel Getting Married," followed by Kristin Scott Thomas in "I’ve Loved You So Long" are the main contenders of films that have been screened.

But then: Meryl Streep in "Doubt," Kate Winslet in two different films, "The Reader" and "Revolutionary Road," Nicole Kidman in "Australia," and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Add to that list Sally Hawkins, of Mike Leigh’s "Happy Go Lucky." The movie just received the Seal of Distinction from the Critics’ Choice Awards group, the Broadcast Critics Association. (The group gives the first real awards of the season on January 8 in Hollywood.)

It’s pointed out that director Leigh has a proven track record for actresses from his films getting nominated. Brenda Blethyn made the cut from "Secrets and Lies" and more recently, Imelda Staunton, from "Vera Drake."

Sally has been trying to promote this wonderful film for a couple of months now, but there are obstacles. She broke her collarbone last summer and had a hard time at the Toronto Film Festival. Last week, during the New York Film Festival, a pin in the almost healed collar bone fell out of place. Ouch! This was right in the middle of the premiere party for "Happy Go Lucky." She was rushed to Lenox Hill Hospital for emergency surgery.

Hawkins is healing at home now in London before doing any more promotion. Let her get some rest, for god’s sake. One look at "Happy Go Lucky" by Academy voters and she needn’t worry about breaking Leigh’s streak.

Did Success Spoil Madonna? ... Carly Takes A Gamble … Batman’s Composer …real Life Soap

Did success spoil Madonna? Jill Brooke writes at www.firstwivesworld.com that the pop star is just following the footsteps of Reese Witherspoon, Pink, and Hillary Swank. "Unlike women who are trapped in their marriages because of personal finances and the bad economy, high-income women are free to go their own way," Brooke says. "Some women just don’t feel a man is a man, if she is the major bread earner."…

…The great pop singer and writer Carly Simon rarely performs live, as her fans know. But she’s making an exception this Saturday night at the Borgata in Atlantic City. She’ll be joined by her son Ben and a nine piece band. This is a rare occasion, and not to be missed… After the show, you may hear many fans at the blackjack table humming, "Haven’t got time for the pain"…

…Famed jazz composer and arranger, Neal Hefti, has died at age 85. He has a ton of credits and a long list of admirers for important work, but he will always be best known for writing the theme music to the TV shows "The Odd Couple," and, of course, "Batman."


James E. Reilly, the famed soap opera writer, died unexpectedly yesterday at age 60, complications after cardiac surgery. I always thought John Candy was meant to be spoofing him in the 1991 comedy "Delirious" about a soap writer who wakes up in his own soap. Reilly wrote for many shows but was most famous for reviving "Days of Our Lives" in the early 90s and the creating the preposterous "Passions" for NBC. That show featured a talking doll-slash-midget and a witch was just completely nuts. Unlike the characters he killed off and often resurrected, Reilly will not be returning from the dead. Too bad. He was total original in a business full of hacks. He will be missed…