Jay Leno won the battle for Lindsay Lohan because the actress feels "grateful" for the way he's treated her over the years ... sources connected with the actress tell TMZ.
Lohan pre-taped an episode of "The Tonight Show" yesterday ... set to air tonight ... and according to reports, she received a standing ovation when she walked on to the set.
Sources connected to Lohan tell us she has been receiving several offers to appear on talk shows since she was sentenced to jail last week ... but chose Leno because, "He has been nothing but good to her and her family over the years ... and has always been protective of her."
Of course, Lohan was furious with Letterman earlier this year -- when the comic ripped her on his show following a booking fiasco.
Lindsay Lohan kept it positive during her appearance on "The Tonight Show" -- telling Jay, "I'm in the clear now. I feel like as long as I stay focused, then I will be able to achieve what I want to achieve."
During the interview, Lohan talked about her sentence -- telling Jay she felt "kind of numb" after the judge threw the book at her.
Lohan also talked about the "Gotti" movie -- reconfirming that she WILL be playing the role of John Gotti Jr.'s wife.
Sources tell TMZ ... Lindsay will begin her 360 hours of community service at the Downtown Women's Center in Los Angeles this week.
Lindsay's lawyer, Shawn Holley, was there when Lindsay was on the stage. Interestingly, Holley's hubby, Dorian Holley, was also there -- he's the lead singer of the "The Tonight Show" band.
We're told the producer of "Gotti: Three Generations" was also in the audience to show his support.
Vegas Sightings -- Stars Hittin' the Pool!
The pools were packed this weekend in Las Vegas -- and the stars were all ready to show off their bikini bods!
"90210" star AnnaLynne McCord stepped out with her sister, Angel, for a bachelorette party for good friend Sara Oriolo at Wet Republic at the MGM. Fun fact: Oriolo is engaged to Kellan Lutz's brother, Brandon.
Rachel Bilson -- Black Bikini Babe
Former "O.C." star Rachel Bilson soaked her sexy pale flesh in Barbados over the weekend.
The 29-year-old was joined by her on-again, off-again boyfriend Hayden Christensen.
Celeb Card Sharks -- You Bet!
Don't let their good looks fool you -- these stars have some serious hustle when it comes to playin' poker!
Check out which stars know how to play their cards right!
Guess the Celebrity Brace Faces!
Can you guess whose pretty celebrity smiles are getting straightened out with a little help from some braces?
Steve Wynn -- All Shook Up Over Looming Nuptials
Steve Wynn mocked his own wedding last Thursday in a faux ceremony where he dressed like the other king of Las Vegas.
Steve -- dressed as Elvis: The Later Years -- and bride-to-be Andrea Hissom road-tested their nuptials at Cupid's Wedding Chapel in Vegas.
The ceremony wasn't legal -- that will happen in grand fashion this weekend.
Check back ... we've got the "wedding" video on the way too.
Meet Sweden's Sexy Prince and More Eligible Royals!
Prince William will be off the market when he marries Kate Middleton this Friday -- but there's still plenty of eligible royals out there for the taking!
Your dream of becoming a prince or princess can still be a reality -- check out this gallery of unmarried royals, including William's brother Prince Harry, gorgeous Princess Madeline of Sweden and sexy Prince Carl Philip of Sweden.
Can you which little ray of celebrity sunshine was given a fancy facial scramblin'?
Drummer Roger Taylor in Queen: 'Memba Him?!
Roger Taylor is best known for playing the drums and singing opposite Freddie Mercury in the British rock band Queen. Guess what he looks like now!
TMZ's Wacky Wedding Photo Contest!
With the much anticipated super-stuffy Royal Wedding right around the corner -- we thought a Wacky Wedding Photo Contest was a must!
So if you and your loved one had a silly ceremony -- or you tied the knot in a not-so old fashioned way -- email in a picture and you could score a $250 prize and some great gifts from TMZ!
**CLICK HERE for contest rules and regulations!**