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Lance Bass Shaq Helped Launch 'NSYNC ... Seriously!

5/21/2018 4:02 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Who was one of the key people who helped get 'NSYNC off the ground??

IT'S GOTTA BE SHAQ!!

It's true ... according to Lance Bass who tells TMZ Sports the supergroup owes a lot of its early success to the NBA legend. 

"I mean ... a lot of people don't know Shaquille had a big hand in starting our career," Lance said at the Montage Hotel in Bev Hills. 

We only brought up Shaq because Google search is showing Shaq as the 5th member of the group -- replacing Joey Fatone

It's obviously a glitch ... but Lance says Shaq's connection to the band is 100% real. 

"We lived in Orlando and our first place that we recorded was his house ... so all of our first demos, our first songs were all from Shaq's house!" 

It's true ... Shaq has a recording studio in his massive Orlando estate -- which is now on the market for $28 MILLION -- and Lance says O'Neal let the group record because he knew someone at the label. 

One thing led to another ... and 'NSYNC became a global phenomenon. 

Now, Lance says he'd love for Shaq to join the group in real life ... as soon as they get rid of that one member "we probably need to replace."

Rose McGowan Hires Attorney Jose Baez ... In Cocaine Possession Case

5/21/2018 2:32 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Rose McGowan just lawyered up big-time in her cocaine possession case ... we've learned she's hired Jose Baez ... the attorney who won acquittals for Casey Anthony and Aaron Hernandez in his double murder case.

McGowan was charged with felony cocaine possession after cops say they found a few small bags of coke in a wallet she had left behind at Washington Dulles International Airport back in January.

McGowan and her previous lawyer had said she was framed, because 5 hours passed between the time she got off the plane and the cleaning crew found the wallet. What's more, McGowan's previous lawyer suggested Harvey Weinstein might be behind it all out of revenge.

Baez tells TMZ, "I think she's absolutely 100% innocent in this case and we're looking forward to showing that in a court of law." He added, "She's absolutely 100% determined to clear her name."

Marco Rubio Defends Colin Kaepernick ... Belongs In the NFL

5/21/2018 3:21 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Sen. Marco Rubio is once again breaking from Donald Trump ... defending Colin Kaepernick's right to protest and telling TMZ Sports why he absolutely SHOULD be on an NFL roster. 

"Look, I support his right to stand for what he does," the republican senator tells us ... "I don't agree with what he did but I support his right to do it." 

"But if we're just talking football ... there aren't 63 better quarterbacks in the world."

FYI, Rubio is assuming there are 64 quarterbacks currently on NFL rosters. 

Rubio said he's not sure if the NFL owners actually colluded against Colin, as Kaep is alleging in his case against the league ... but he certainly believes Colin has the talent to play with the best in the world. 

Obviously, Donald Trump feels MUCH differently ... repeatedly saying players who don't stand for the national anthem should be fired. 

'X Factor' Winner James Arthur Sued 'Say You Won't' Steal My Song!

5/21/2018 2:16 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

British musician James Arthur straight-up jacked another band's song and twisted it into his own hit ... according to a new lawsuit.

Arthur has been sued by musician Daniel O'Donoghue, who's got a song with his band, The Script, called "The Man Who Can't Be Moved," which he claims Arthur ripped off in making his own song, "Say You Won't Let Go." The former dropped in 2008, and the latter in 2016.

O'Donoghue says Arthur used a very similar melody and tempo in his song, and claims it's infringing on his original work. O'Donoghue says Arthur approached him and his band after Arthur was dropped by his label in 2014, trying to talk ideas for a comeback song. He says they denied the meeting, and somehow Arthur came out with "Say You Won't Let Go" 2 years later.

Interestingly enough, both men have ties to British talent shows -- O'Donoghue's a voice coach on the UK's 'The Voice,' and Arthur won the UK's 'X Factor' in 2012.

Take a listen for your self. 

Jeffrey Tambor Down for More 'Arrested Development' ... If They'll Have Him

5/21/2018 1:19 PM PDT

Jeffrey Tambor's unapologetic when it comes to lobbying for more work on "Arrested Development" ... sexual misconduct allegations be damned.

We got Jeffrey out Monday in NYC, and wanted to know if he's up for being on 'AD' for season 6? ICYMI ... Jeffrey showed up to the season 5 premiere last week alongside the 'Arrested' cast, which stands by him despite allegations he sexually harassed his assistant and a "Transparent" costar. Amazon fired him from "Transparent" in February, though he says he quit and denied the allegations.

'Arrested' creator Mitch Hurwitz reportedly said last week he stuck with Tambor for season 5 because the Netflix show had already been filmed when allegations first surfaced. That aside, Hurwitz said he wasn't gonna cut Tambor based purely on allegations.

For his part, Tambor told us the vibe on set is great ... so, if they're game, so is he.

Kendrick Lamar Stops Show for White Fan No Saying the N-Word Onstage!!!

5/21/2018 11:16 AM PDT
Breaking News

Kendrick Lamar shut down his concert after a white fan he invited onstage decided it was cool for her to repeatedly rap the n-word. It was not. 

K. Dot was performing Sunday night at Hangout Festival in Alabama when he pulled the young woman named Delaney from the crowd to rap "M.A.A.D City."

Delany promised she knew all the words, n-word included ... and after dropping it 3 times ... Kendrick had to stop everything. She was clueless at first, responding, "Am I not cool enough for you?"

The crowd started booing and Kendrick was shocked, and told her she needed to bleep one word. Delaney was apologetic, and the show continued. Kendrick was forgiving, but the crowd was not.

Prince Woman Thinks She's His Daughter ... Makes Claim to Estate

5/21/2018 11:51 AM PDT

Prince might've had a biological daughter who was never looped in on what would happen with the late singer's estate ... so claims a woman in new legal docs.

The woman in question, Snowe Melinda Saxman, filed paperwork in a Minnesota court -- obtained by TMZ -- in which she says she believes she's Prince's birth daughter ... but her evidence is pretty thin.

Saxman says she was adopted, and never knew her real parents -- but, based on her "substantial physical, temperamental and aspirational similarities to Prince" ... she has reason to believe she's his actual kid. She also claims she looks like Prince, and has musical prowess like her father. As she puts it ... she's "very artsy" and a "natural-born star."

There's more ... Saxman goes on to say she recently did a background check of herself through a company called Family Tree DNA, which she claims shows she's matched up genetics-wise with numerous people in Prince's family tree, including John Lewis Nelson, Mattie Della Baker, and others. She says she didn't match with Prince directly 'cause his DNA's not in the system.

She says she was never notified about any proceedings in Prince's probate case, which some of his heirs claim is burning cash like crazy managing the singer's posthumous affairs. Sounds like she wants to get in on the Estate ... and stake a claim to what's left behind.

Royal Wedding's Bishop Curry Love's Already Changed the World ... My Sermon's On Point!!!

5/21/2018 11:00 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Bishop Michael Curry's got proof his powerful words at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Royal Wedding were more than just trite sayings ... and, in fact, his "love is the way" sermon is kinda what Kanye West was talking about when he visited our offices. 

We spoke with Bishop Curry -- who delivered a rousing sermon at the Duke and Duchess' nuptials Saturday -- and he tells us he wasn't BSing with his repeated message of ... well, things are generally better "when love is the way." Far from it ... dude truly believes that.

The Bishop cites multiple examples of icons throughout history who led with love, and he says their approach has helped move the world forward. And for those who are cynical ... check out his Dr. Phil moment ... it's meant for folks just like them. 

Prince Harry & Meghan Come Up for Air, Grinning Like They ... (Wink, wink)

5/21/2018 9:51 AM PDT

If you wondered how Prince Harry and Meghan spent their first day married ... the looks on their faces Monday should answer any questions.

The royal newlyweds had a certain glow about 'em as they arrived back at their home at Kensington Palace in London -- the first sighting since Saturday's festivities. They've done away with all the pomp and circumstance ... no chauffeur, as Harry drove his bride.

No immediate honeymoon for Megs and Harry ... they've postponed it for Prince Charles' 70th birthday Patronage Celebration. There's a public celebration for the future King of England on Tuesday.

Just 'cause they didn't jet off somewhere doesn't mean the Duke and Duchess of Sussex didn't start the party. Sunday funday, indeed.

Mario Batali Cut from Restaurant Group ... Biz Partners Fed Up

5/21/2018 10:44 AM PDT
Breaking News

Mario Batali's being kicked to the curb by his business partners on the heels of new claims of sexual misconduct, including allegedly raping a customer.

B&B Hospitality Group released a statement calling the new allegations "chilling and deeply disturbing." TMZ broke the story ... NYPD's investigating Batali for allegedly raping a woman at his NYC restaurant, Babbo, back in January 2004.

His partners say they were also shocked by the "60 Minutes" report -- an employee at Batali's Spotted Pig restaurant claims Batali drugged her and sexually assaulted her in 2005.

B&B Hospitality says it's actively negotiating with Batali to buy him out, and expect to have a deal done by July 1. The group says it wants to "reinforce our core values for our employees and our guests."

Batali issued a bizarre apology after allegations first surfaced in December. He's denied the "60 Minutes" report.

Barack And Michelle Obama Lock Multi-Year Deal with Netflix

5/21/2018 9:33 AM PDT
Breaking News

President Barack and Michelle Obama could be walking the red carpet at the next Oscars and Golden Globes ... and not as guests, but nominees.

Netflix confirmed Monday in a tweet they're partnering up with the Obamas on a multi-year agreement where Barack and Michelle will produce films and series for the company. The announcement says the deal could potentially also include "scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries, and features." Basically, anything is game.

Rumors began to swirl in March that 44 and the former First Lady were in talks with Netflix, but the terms of the deal were still unclear.

The Obamas have always been champions of the film industry and at once had close ties with Harvey Weinstein before all his sexual assault allegations surfaced. Their daughter, Malia, even had an internship at the Weinstein Company.

In other news...

Prince Harry's Young, Single Cousin Turns Heads At The Royal Wedding

Prince Harry may be officially taken, but there is still hope for those wanting to become part of a distinguished British family

SEE MORE »

Jet Li Looks Shockingly Frail at 55 ... Battling Thyroid Disorder

5/21/2018 10:03 AM PDT

This is what Jet Li looked like just 12 years ago, at the peak of his action movie career ... but now he looks much older than his 55 years ... as he deals with medical issues.

The pic was posted by a fan who posed with the action star during a recent visit to Tibet. It shows Jet looking frail and nearly bald. He revealed back in 2013 he suffers from hyperthyroidism and a heart condition.

At the time, he said he could continue making action films or spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. But, more to the point ... Jet has also suffered serious leg and spine injuries over the course of his career, admitting he can't stand for a long period of time without hunching.

Just 4 years ago Li was starring alongside some of the biggest action stars in the world in "The Expendables 3" ... looking nowhere near what he looks like now.

Get well, Jet.

Kobe Bryant & Fam Shake It Off At Taylor Swift Concert!!

5/21/2018 10:36 AM PDT
Breaking News

Even Black Mamba enjoys a little white snake. 

Kobe Bryant brought his entire family to the Taylor Swift concert at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena over the weekend ... even busting out some dance moves to "Shake It Off."

Kobe and Taylor have been friends for a little while ... remember, it was Kobe who played M.C. when she got a banner at Staples Center back in 2015 for "Most Sold Out Performances."

This time, Bryant didn't have any official duties -- but he did get V.I.P. access for his daughters to hang with Taylor backstage ... where his wife, Vanessa, also kicked it with Julia Roberts

Retirement ain't so bad, is it, Kobe?

There were a TON of famous people at the show including Rebel Wilson, Miles Teller, Bill Nye, Sarah Michelle Gellar ... and get this -- Amber Rose and her ex, Wiz Khalifa, arrived together with their kid! 

Taylor Swift really is bringing people together! 

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