R. Kelly's Ex-Tour Manager Yes, I'm Going To Testify ... But I Don't Want Him To Go To Prison

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R. Kelly's former tour manager, Demetrius Smith, will testify on the singer's marriage to Aaliyah in one of his federal trials ... but he doesn't want to see Kelly thrown in prison.

"HE NEEDS HELP"
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Demetrius claims he purchased a fake ID for Aaliyah back in 1994, when she was only 15, so she would be able to marry Kelly ... but he tells us he doesn't want that to be the reason Kelly gets convicted.

As we first reported ... prosecutors say the fake ID purchase constitutes bribery, and they've added the allegation to the racketeering charge against Kelly in the Eastern District of New York.

The way Demetrius sees it, Aaliyah's parents have known about the allegation for over a decade -- Smith wrote about it in his book and spoke out about it in "Surviving R. Kelly" -- and they made their peace with it and moved on ... so he wants others to do the same.

Demetrius also says he hates to see Aaliyah's name getting dragged into Kelly's case all these years after her tragic death ... and he thinks prosecutors are just trying to lock Kelly up without looking at the bigger picture.

Instead of a prison sentence, Demetrius thinks Kelly needs to get mental help.

Mohamed Hadid Splits from GF Over Kids ... I Have Enough!!!

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Gigi and Bella Hadid won't be getting any little siblings ... their dad and his fiancee called it quits in part because they couldn't agree on starting a family together.

Sources close to Mohamed Hadid tell TMZ ... he and Shiva Safai parted ways about a year ago -- even though she didn't confirm it publicly until this week. We're told the 39-year-old absolutely wanted to be a mom, but Mohamed wasn't looking to go down that road again.

As you know ... Mohamed is already a father to 5 beautiful children -- daughters Bella, Gigi, Alana and Marielle, and son Anwar.

Another reason for the breakup, sources close to Shiva tell us, was her reaction to a woman who publicly claimed she had a relationship with Mohamed. We're told it made Shiva reevaluate things, before having a heart-to-heart with him about their future.

It's still unclear who broke up with who, but we're told Mohamed and Shiva both agreed they were on different pages.

The now-exes got engaged way back in 2014, but we're told he came to the realization he didn't want to be married again -- he's already got 2 under his belt.

Our sources say he hopes Shiva can find Mr. Right, get married and have kids.

One last bit of accounting ... the ring. We're told Shiva's engagement rock is a Hadid family heirloom, and she gave it back to Mohamed, and he's passed it on his eldest sister.

For what it's worth, Shiva's now dating a new guy -- Niels Houweling -- but she and Mohamed are on good terms.

Guess Who This Flower Girl Turned Into!

Before this flower girl was a highly successful singer and actress, she won a ton of singing and talent competitions as a teenager before vaulting to national prominence as the youngest winner of "American Idol" at the time, when she was only 17 years old.

After winning 'Idol,' her career took off and she started touring and releasing studio albums. She's also acted on TV, in film and on Broadway.

Her father played in the National Football League for 9 seasons, including 8 years with the New York Giants, and she dated Jason Derulo for 3 years.

Can you guess who she is?

Kanye West 1st Opera Missed Me Now, a Silver Lining

Mega

Kanye West might've been somewhat absent from his first opera in L.A. -- but he seems ready to make up for that tenfold with a silver bullet solution ... oh, mother of God.

We mean that literally!!! Ye's down at Art Basel in Miami right now, ready to premiere his new opera, dubbed "Mary." You might've heard of her -- she was Jesus's virgin mom ... a big deal in Christianity and elsewhere. Looks like Kanye dedicated a whole production to her.

It also appears he and others involved in the opera are actually going to be on stage and involved in the goings-on of the story ... completely covered in silver, head to toe.

Mega

Based on a quote Ye included in his description of the opera, it's a safe bet this is basically gonna portray the Nativity story ... in which Mary miraculously became pregnant and gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem, welcoming royal visitors from distant lands for the occasion.

As for what the silver outfits might mean ... it's anyone's guess. Kanye and co. may be playing angels of some sort, or maybe Christmas stars guiding the way? Time will tell ...

OPERA KING
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You'll recall ... Kanye's 1st opera, Nebuchadnezzar, got mixed reviews when it debuted at the Hollywood Bowl last month. It took forever for the show to actually start, and it ended pretty quickly too. Ye didn't perform either -- he just narrated from behind the curtain.

Here's hoping this one goes over a little better. Silver Surfer Ye's gotta count for something, right?

Steve Harvey Miss Universe Costume Mess Up Announces Wrong Winner

Steve Harvey had flashbacks of 2015 all over again -- announcing the wrong winner of Miss Universe's costume contest -- but he's blaming the screw-up on the teleprompter.

Prior to Sunday's winner being crowned ... Harvey revealed the winner of 2019's costume contest. Reading from a prompter, Steve announced Philippines as the winner, the audience cheered, but the woman wearing the costume seemed very confused.

The woman then grabbed the mic from Steve, and corrected him, saying she was actually representing Malaysia.

Steve was clearly pissed, and pointed out the prompter he was reading from clearly stated Philippines as the winner, he followed it up with a, "Y'all gonna quit doing this to me."

It was back in 2015 when Steve announced Miss Colombia as Miss Universe when Philippines was the actual champion. He made note of the flub at the beginning of Sunday's show, which was his fifth time hosting the event.

For what it's worth ... there were no mess-ups in announcing South Africa as the overall winner of Miss Universe at the end of the night.

Director Rian Johnson Nope, Haven't Seen 'Skywalker' Yet ... And About That Baby Yoda

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first-time viewer
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Rian Johnson is just like the rest of us when it comes to the new 'Star Wars' movie ... he hasn't seen it yet, despite him directing its predecessor in the series.

The filmmaker opened up to us this weekend in NYC about whether he'd gotten any sort of sneak peak ahead of 'The Rise of Skywalker' hitting theaters later this month. As it turns out ... he hasn't! No special treatment for the guy who manned 'The Last Jedi,' it seems.

It's NBD to Rian though -- he tells us he's looking forward to watching it in theaters for the first time like everyone else. Interestingly, he also says he hopes it's the best one ever.

Now, on to a much more serious topic we absolutely needed Rian to weigh in on ... is Baby Yoda actually cuter than those damn puppy-eyed Porgs??? John Boyega sure thought so.

Check out RJ's answer ... he's noncommittal at first on which one is truly more adorable -- almost like a parent who doesn't wanna compare their kids -- but he finally caves and chooses sides. His choice might not surprise you, or anyone who's watched 'Mandalorian.'

Guess everyone's over those Ewoks at this point then, huh?

Juice Wrld Dead at 21 ... Final Moments Captured

4:03 PM PT -- Footage of what appears to be Juice Wrld's final moments in the air and finally on the ground is starting to surface, and the rapper seemed to be in good spirits before his death.

DJ Akademiks shared some video captured by guys who were on a private jet with Juice as he was airborne from L.A. to Chicago late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.

In the first video, you see Juice clowning around with his buddies ... one of whom he throws water on as the guy's fast asleep. He wasn't mad about it though -- all in good fun.

A second video appears to show the crew landing at Chicago's Midway airport, which would mark Juice's actual last moments on this Earth. In the clip, you see him hanging out with one of his buds in the back -- apparently fully conscious and alert as they look at something together -- possibly a phone. Soon afterward, he would suffer a seizure and later die at the hospital.

9:55 AM PT -- One of the songs on Juice's "Too Soon" EP was called "Legends" and it has a pretty prophetic lyric. As we said, the track was about Lil Peep and XXXTentacion's deaths. In the song, he raps, "What's the 27 club? We ain't making it past 21."

The song and EP were released on June 19, 2018 ... the day after XXX was murdered in South Florida. Juice Wrld and XXXTentacion recorded a track called, "where did u go?" ... which was released in July 2018.

9:42 AM PT -- Juice's fellow artists are waking up to the shocking news. Lil Nas X posted about losing yet another "young talented rising" artist.

And, Camila Cabello had a single emoji reaction to Juice's death.

Juice Wrld, the talented young rapper and singer whose career was just taking off, is dead after suffering a seizure in Chicago's Midway airport ... TMZ has learned.

Juice's flight from California landed early Sunday morning and, after deplaning ... witnesses tell us he suffered the seizure while walking through the airport. Law enforcement sources say he was bleeding from the mouth when paramedics got on scene.

We're told Juice -- real name Jarad Anthony Higgins -- was still conscious when he was transported by Chicago Fire. However, he was pronounced dead a short time later at the hospital. The cause of death is unclear at this time.

Juice Wrld's major-label career was just starting after he almost climbed to the top of the charts in 2018. His first huge hit came in summer 2018 with "Lucid Dreams" ... which made it to #2.

His song, "All Girls Are the Same," also became a hit when Lil Yachty was featured on the remix.

In fact, it was that song's success that drew the attention of Interscope Records ... which signed him to a multi-million dollar contract. One month after releasing his first studio album, "Goodbye & Good Riddance" ... Juice released the 2-track EP, "Too Soon," as a tribute to Lil Peep and XXXTentacion.

Juice also had a feature on Travis Scott's enormous "AstroWorld" album, singing the hook on the track, "No Bystanders."

Higgins' stage name was reportedly inspired by Tupac Shakur's performance in the 1992 film, "Juice."

Juice Wrld just turned 21 last Monday.

RIP

Originally Published -- 6:38 AM PT

Brother Nature Confronts Attackers Pre-Beatdown ... In New Surveillance Vid

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OH, BROTHER...
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Brother Nature sure seemed ready to fight -- at least that's how the moments leading up to his dual-threat beatdown appear to have unfolded on surveillance footage.

TMZ got a hold of surveillance video taken at the Miami-based sandwich shop where BN was later pummeled twice over ... once in the parking lot, and again inside the restaurant. In this new footage, you can see Brother Nature initially confronting his two attackers.

As we reported ... Brother Nature was allegedly upset that he couldn't be served at his table, and tried griping about it to the shop's staff. We're told he then got in the face of one of his attackers -- who was supposedly filming him -- and you can see that interaction here.

Brother Nature is asked to leave by someone who works there, but not before some words are exchanged between him and these 2 guys who were also more than willing to brawl.

THE BRUTAL ATTACK
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Fast-forward to the parking lot stomp-out ... which then spilled back into the eatery, where we're told BN stormed back in and allegedly socked somebody. It appears you can see that here in the surveillance video as well ... Brother Nature comes in and rushes the slimmer dude, seemingly trying to hit him, before his buddy scurries over and they team up.

The rest is pretty much history -- Brother Nature got walloped by the two dudes ... and by the time cops showed up, everybody had gone their separate ways.

We've reached out to BN to get his side of the story ... so far, no word back.

'Benson' & 'Star Trek' Actor Rene Auberjonois Dead at 79 ... Son Cites Lung Cancer

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Rene Auberjonois -- who starred in "Benson," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and several other hit shows over the decades -- has died.

The veteran TV, movie and voice actor passed away Sunday at his L.A.-based home after a battle with metastatic lung cancer, according to his son, Remy, who spoke to the Associated Press.

Auberjonois is perhaps best known as Clayton Endicott III on "Benson" -- the snobbish chief of staff to Governor Eugene X Gatling in the hit '80s sitcom -- which itself was a spinoff of "Soap." He played the role for 6 seasons, acting in 135 episodes through 1986.

In the '90s, he went on to play Odo on 'Deep Space Nine' opposite Avery Brooks -- starring in all 173 episodes. His TV career was even more prolific beyond that though -- Auberjonois had supporting roles in hits like "NET Playhouse," "Rhoda," "Charlie's Angels," "Frasier," "Starsky and Hutch" "The Jeffersons," "L.A. Law," "Matlock," "Boston Legal," "Madam Secretary" and many, many more.

As far as movies are concerned, he might be best remembered as Father John Mulcahy in "M.A.S.H." ... and for voicing Chef Louis in "The Little Mermaid." He acted in plenty of others too -- 'Police Academy 5," "King Kong," "The Patriot," "Eyes of Laura Mars," "Batman Forever," etc.

The guy might've been an even busier voice actor, having lent his talents to animated series like "Jonny Quest," "Pound Puppies," "The Looney Tunes Show," "Scooby-Doo," "Archer," "Justice League" and a bunch of others. In short, he worked a lot ... and had an extensive resume.

Auberjonois is survived by his wife, Judith, his 2 children and three grandchildren. He was 79.

RIP

Texas Teen Arrested for Carving Name Into His GF's Head

BEXAR COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

A teenager in Texas got busted for carving his name into his girlfriend's head -- this after he allegedly beat her to a pulp.

The alleged scumbag is 19-year-old Jackub Hildreth, who was arrested and booked in San Antonio this weekend for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon ... having allegedly attacked his 22-year-old girlfriend on Thursday at an apartment complex in the area.

The alleged victim spoke with KSAT about the incident ... telling the outlet she thought she was going to die in the moment. According to the arrest affidavit, she reportedly told cops Hildreth held her by the neck and punched her 10 times after an argument escalated.

After that, she claims he used a knife to etch his name across her forehead ... and then fled the scene. We won't ID the woman, but it appears Hildreth has her name tattooed across his own face ... plus other scribblings. Kinda David McCall-esque, if you've seen "Fear."

BTW, the guy has a lengthy rap sheet in Bexar County too -- with warrants for past domestic violence charges and at least one other weapons charge. He's in jail on $75,000 bond.

His next court date is in January.

Megan Thee Stallion Fellas, I'm Single ... Here's Who Should Shoot!!!

READY TO MINGLE
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Megan Thee Stallion is keeping her "Hot Girl Summer" going strong into the winter -- 'cause she says she's unattached ... and ready for a certain type of guy to step up to the plate.

We ran into the MC Saturday in Bev Hills, where she was ready to splurge at Louis Vuitton with a small entourage in tow. Before she went in though, our camera guy asked point-blank ... is it true? Are ya single, Meg??? She doesn't play coy ... confirming with a firm yes.

She'd previously been linked to rapper Moneybagg Yo, but clearly ... they're dunzo.

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Then comes a natural follow-up ... what kind of guy can get her under a mistletoe this year. Check it out -- Megan's not too picky, it seems ... she'll take a good heart and a good laugh.

Another pap on the scene tried shooting his shot right then and there, but it doesn't seem like she was too receptive. Hey, at least he tried ... that's all ya can do sometimes.

Anyway, we got Meg on her way out as well and it looks like she went to town on new gear. She got into a waiting sprinter van, and someone of note hopped in right behind her.

New couple alert??? Maybe ... or he might just be another member on the team 🤷🏽‍♂️.

Big Bird Puppeteer Caroll Spinney Dead at 85 ... 'Sesame' Resident Since '69

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Caroll Spinney -- the guy who manned Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on "Sesame Street" for nearly half a century -- has died.

Spinney passed away Sunday at his Connecticut home after living with Dystonia for a while, according to Sesame Workshop ... the nonprofit org behind the hit children's television show. Dystonia is a movement disorder in which a person's muscles contract uncontrollably.

Incredibly, the longtime puppeteer worked on the show for 49 years ... and retired from 'Sesame' just last year. He had been on the show since its early days in 1969. Besides being the man behind Big Bird, Spinney also handled and voiced Oscar the Grouch.

The legendary Jim Henson brought Spinney on-board, and by most accounts ... he struggled bringing Big Bird to life at first and having him resonate with the audience. Eventually, Spinney said he turned BB into a "big kid" character -- and the rest was history.

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He starred in thousands of "Sesame Street" episodes -- more than any other cast member -- and it was certainly no walk in the park controlling the 8-foot bird costume. Spinney said he would have to hold the 5-pound head up with his right hand and work the mouth and eyebrows on that end ... while controlling both arms with just his own left one.

There was a fishing wire that connected both extremities inside the suit, and Spinney would operate both by using just his left side. Oscar, no doubt, was much easier to work.

He's survived by his wife, Debra, and his three children. Spinney was 85.

RIP

Jeff Ross Welcome to the Jewish Tribe, Tiff ... Come One, Come All!!!

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SHOUTOUT TO MY HE-BROS
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Jeff Ross is welcoming Tiffany Haddish to the Jewish faith with open arms -- and he's also inviting anyone else of color to get on-board and enjoy the perks of Tribe membership.

The comic gave us his two cents Saturday outside of his Roastmaster's pop-up coffee shop on Ventura Blvd. in L.A. -- telling us what he made of Tiff recently embracing her Jewish heritage and celebrating it with a Black Mitzvah in conjunction with a new comedy special.

Watch ... Jeff seems ecstatic over the news and gives her a couple tips on how live like a Jew. He also has a message for other black celebs who are thinking of converting ... which sounds like great material he might use in a roast setting. That's sorta his thing.

Our photog pivots to Hanukkah, asking if Jeff thinks TH might enjoy that over a traditional Christmas. He's got a hilarious take on that too ... comparing Tiffany to a menorah.

'Tis the season ... to let the edgy jokes fly. Happy holidays!!!

Elon Musk Cybertruck Tough Enough for Malibu ... No Shattered Windows!!!

Elon Musk is taking his super cool looking Cybertruck out for real-world spins now -- and it made its debut in ... Malibu, of course.

The Tesla honcho rolled into Nobu Saturday night with the Cybertruck and some friends ... and his ride was instantly the biggest celeb in the always celeb-packed joint. Not shockingly, the valets left Cybertruck upfront, and patrons circled around it taking photos all night.

We know what you're thinking ... and no heavy objects were hurled at the whip's Armor Glass.

CYBER MUSK
BACKGRID

Elon eventually came out with actor Ed Norton in tow, who clearly wanted to catch a glimpse of the electric truck.

As you know, the innovative vehicle made its debut last month with a splashy live streamed event from SpaceX HQ -- but it didn't go as scripted when a demo ended with metal balls shattering the supposedly shatterproof glass.

SHATTERING EXPECTATIONS
Tesla

Like many Hollywood celebs needing an image makeover -- Cybertruck put on its best dress and headed out for a photo op in the 'Bu.

Well played.

Peloton 'Husband' 'SNL' Mockery Sucks ... While I'm Getting REAL Hatred!!!

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THEY MISSED THE MARK
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The Peloton controversy might be big laughs for 'SNL' -- but the guy who plays the husband in that ad is pissed, because while everyone else is laughing ... he's flooded with hate mail.

Sean Hunter was out in Hermosa Beach, CA Saturday night .. after he'd seen 'SNL' take not one, but two shots at the Peloton spot that seemed to urge men to buy the exercise bike for their wives for Christmas. You can tell in the video ... Sean's still in his feelings over all the backlash.

If ya missed it, Colin Jost took a direct shot during the Weekend Update segment, calling the ad sexist ... but added a really funny punchline. Sean says the joke was "frustrating" to him.

He added 'SNL' was "reinforcing that that's what people are thinking about it. I don't feel that way. That's not the truth about the commercial at all."

Sean says he's in no mood to laugh about the commercial yet, because of what keeps popping up on his social media.

BIKE NOT INCLUDED

Interestingly, he said he WAS entertained by the Aviation Gin ad his costar, Monica Ruiz, did ... which clearly poked fun at the theory Sean was playing an emotionally abusive husband in the spot.

As for getting his own Peloton? Sean, whose day job is being an elementary school teacher, sure seemed to be in the market earlier on Saturday. He was checking out a ride in an L.A. Peloton store.

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Apparently, he was just window shopping -- or looking for some publicity -- because he explained why there won't be one under his tree this year.

But, as the Temptations put it ... Sean ain't too proud to beg.