Let's Get This Party Started: Top Stories for Monday 06/12/06

6/12/2006 10:00 AM PDT

Let's Get This Party Started: Top Stories for Monday 06/12/06

Attempting to stem the tide of rumor and speculation about both her mothering abilities and the state of her marriage, Britney Spears tells NBC's Matt Lauer that she's "a good mom" and that the incessant media scrutiny has made her "an emotional wreck."

Plus, Nick and Vanessa and other top stories.

Britney's Marriage Is "Awesome"
Defends her parenting skills to Matt Lauer: "We're Country"

Attempting to stem the tide of rumor and speculation about both her mothering abilities and the state of her marriage, Britney Spears tells NBC's Matt Lauer that she's "a good mom" and that the incessant media scrutiny has made her "an emotional wreck." In an interview to be broadcast Thursday on both the 'Today' show and 'Dateline,' Spears denies that she has banished her husband Kevin Federline to the basement and insists that she loves him. "He helps me. He has to," she declares, with utter conviction. She goes on to describe her marriage to the ever-aspiring rapper/actor/fashion icon as "awesome." What's more, Spears cites her rural roots as a defense against those who would criticize her for driving with her infant son on her lap. "I did it with my dad. I'd sit on his lap and I drive. We're country," says the singer. Britney might not want to trumpet her family's driving history, as TMZ reported on Friday that she and her mother were sued by a paparazzo claiming that the two were responsible for serious injuries he suffered after being struck by mom's SUV. Meanwhile, it appears that there is no limit to Mr. Spears' entertainment ambitions. Federline is reportedly looking for financing for a movie in which he would star as an aspiring rapper a la Eminem in '8 Mile.' "[Britney] is really upset," a source tells the London 'Sun.' "Britney fears Kevin just wants to promote himself at her expense to further his career.

Nick LacheyNick and Vanessa: An Item Again?
Previously linked pair leave club together at 4AM

Nick Lachey was spotted with MTV veejay Vanessa Minillo at the Mixx nightclub in Atlantic City, according to People magazine's website this morning. The pair were seen leaving the club after a long night of partying at 4 am Sunday. Lachey has been romancing stylist Kim Kardashian in recent days but was, according to People, clearly enjoying Minillo's company in prayerful terms, dancing to such club staples as 'Livin' on a Prayer' and 'Like a Prayer.' Lachey and Minillo were previously linked in the days following Lachey's separation from estranged wife Jessica Simpson.

Julia Roberts'Boys' Night Out at the Tonys
Julia calls Broadway people "Insanely Talented"

Two productions about tight-knit groups of young men took home the top prizes at the 60th Tony Awards last night, but Hollywood's visiting stars went home mostly empty-handed at Broadway's evening of self-congratulation. 'Jersey Boys' won best musical for its portrayal of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, while Alan Bennett's 'The History Boys,' which chronicles the schooldays of a group of friends in a British boarding school, was named best play. While the latter result was widely expected, the former was something of a surprise, with strong competition from 'The Drowsy Chaperone.' Oprah Winfrey's production of 'The Color Purple' snagged just one Tony, for best actress in a musical, and Julia Roberts, who was not nominated for her role in "Three Days of Rain," told the audience before her turn presenting that they were "insanely talented people."

Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston 'Cars' Scores Big, But Not Too Big
Pixar pic has $62.8 million debut

'Cars,' the latest addition to the Pixar animated-film juggernaut, opened this weekend with a strong $62.8 million gross, though the total fell below the bar set by its predecessors 'The Incredibles' and 'Finding Nemo,' both of which hit $70 million. Attempting to mitigate what must be considerable angst over a $62 million opening and verbally rubbing his hands together with glee, Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said, "$60 million is a threshold that's unbelievable no matter what. Sixty-one percent of kids are out of school this week, and 81% next week, so it gets easier and easier for us to do the numbers." The Vaughniston relationship comedy 'The Break-Up' showed only moderately strong legs, posting a $20.5 million second weekend, and 'The Omen' took advantage of its early-week opening to end th week with a take of $35.7 million.

Christina Milian Not 'So Amazin''
R&B divette gets boot from Island Def Jam

In this morning's Lowdown column, Lloyd Grove reports that R&B artist Christina Milian is being dropped by Island Def Jam records after her third album, 'So Amazin,'' did less than amazin' in the sales department. With only 50,000 units sold in its first week, Milian sold fewer than half her label mate Rihanna's album, 'Girl Like Me,' which sold 115 copies in its first week. What's more, Milian apparently passed on recording 'S.O.S. (Rescue Me),' which has become a huge and ubiquitous hit for Rihanna, against the better judgment of Island Def Jam Antonio 'L.A.' Reid, one of R&B's most renowned hit-makers. And it just keeps getting worse for Milian. Grove also reports that 'Vibe' magazine has taken her off its August cover, replacing her with Keyshia Cole.

J.Lo and Hubby Create Gigantic Commotion
Pair leads Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony took to the streets of New York with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to lead the city's 48th annual Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday. Eyewitnesses tell TMZ that the crowd of paparazzi and fans surrounding the trio was "massive and insane" but that the police had the teeming masses "well under control." "The Puerto Rican parade has been a long-standing tradition in my life. It was always an event that I looked forward to every single year," said Anthony. The parade capped a busy week of joint appearances for the couple.