President Trump Attends Daytona 500 ... Lemme Get In One of These Things!!!

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WHEN'S MY TURN?
FOX

President Trump is pretty stoked to be at the Daytona 500 --  so much so, in fact, he might even get behind the wheel himself and zoom off into the night. Settle down, Donnie.

45's down in Florida right now taking in the annual NASCAR race with the First Lady, Melania, and while talking to a FOX Sports reporter, he made it clear he wants to drive again. It's funny and actually kinda interesting ... DT can't really do that anymore, huh?

In a somewhat rambling response, Trump calls Daytona "the great American race," going on to say he stopped by because he sees it as "almost a patriotism kind of thing." Well said!

Trump also gave a shout-out to the drivers, saying it takes great courage to drive in such a beast of a vehicle. Sounds like he wants to take one for a spin, actually -- joking he might hop in one himself and "get in this race." He won't, obviously, but imagine if he did 😅.

Another humorous moment during POTUS's Daytona day out -- he made sure to point out where exactly God is to the people listening to his opening remarks to kick off the event.

He's up in the sky, apparently. Thanks for the reminder, Mr. President.

'Love Island' Host Caroline Flack Dies by Suicide at Age 40 ... Weeks Before Assault Trial

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1:10 PM PT -- 2/16 -- Caroline's boyfriend, Lewis Burton, has spoken out in the wake of her death ... and he sounds heartbroken over the loss.

The tennis player took to IG, writing ... "My heart is broken we had something so special," going on to say he knows she always felt safe with him and seemingly showing regret for not being able to be there for her.

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He finishes by saying, "I will be your voice baby I promise I will ask all the questions you wanted and I will get all the answers nothing will bring you back but I will try make you proud everyday."

Lewis is the one Caroline was accused of attacking.

Former 'Love Island' host and well-known UK personality Caroline Flack died in her home this weekend after taking her own life -- this just weeks before she was set to go to trial.

The longtime reality TV presenter was found dead Saturday in her London apartment -- which her family confirmed in a statement to the British press. A family spokesman says, "We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today on the 15th of February. We would ask that the press both respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time."

Sky News reports Flack had killed herself, citing an attorney for the TV star.

Caroline was set to face a judge on March 4, pertaining to an assault case she was fighting there across the pond. Her tennis star boyfriend, Lewis Burton, had accused her of attacking him with a lamp at their home -- for which she was charged and pled not guilty.

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In December, she had stepped down from her 'Love Island' hosting role and was keeping a low profile, out of the public eye. On Instagram, however, she doubled down on her proclaimed innocence, and vowed not to be silenced and to keep living her life.

Several famous British TV presenters and hosts expressed shock over news of her death. Several people say the British press treated her harshly and unfairly -- criticizing the sympathetic tone several outlets and papers are taking today upon her death.

Besides 'LI,' Caroline had an extensive on-camera resume ... having appeared as a guest, panelist, judge and presenter on shows like 'Big Brother,' 'X Factor,' "Celebrity Juice," "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!," "Britain's Got More Talent," 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,' "Viral Tap," "Loose Women," "Sunday Brunch," "Strictly Come Dancing" and more.

She was 40.

RIP

Originally Published -- 2/15 11:05 AM PT

Ugandan Disney Actress Nikita Pearl Waligwa Dead at 15 Had Brain Tumor in 2016

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Nikita Pearl Waligwa -- a young actress who starred in a Ugandan Disney movie about a chess prodigy -- has reportedly died ... this after battling health issues a few years earlier.

According to the Ugandan news outlet, The Daily Monitor, Nikita recently passed away. While they don't say exactly how, the paper seems to link her death to a 2016 diagnosis ... which found she had a tumor in her brain. Unclear if she was fighting full-blown cancer.

Even more tragic ... the Monitor says a funding campaign was started for Nikita to get treatment in India, because local doctors were quoted as not having the proper equipment.

As for her acting career, it appears she only starred in the one Disney flick, "Queen of Katwe," playing a friend of the actual chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi. It also featured Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo -- the film's got a great Rotten Tomatoes score, critics loved it.

Nikita was only 15 years old.

RIP

Pete Buttigieg on Rush Limbaugh I Love My Husband, So Deal With It ... Steve Bannon Backs Him

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HE'S ONE TO TALK
CNN

Pete Buttigieg is firing back at Rush Limbaugh's homophobic remarks with poise and class -- and interestingly enough ... he's got Steve Bannon supporting him here.

Mayor Pete went on CNN Sunday to talk about the campaign, Nevada, polls and attracting voters of color -- but he was also given the opportunity to respond to the conservative radio host's recent controversial POV ... that Trump would easily defeat a gay opponent.

MR. MAN'S WATCHING
The Rush Limbaugh Show

PB was pretty measured, but also firm. He says he loves his husband, Chasten, and doesn't care who knows it. More importantly, he won't take family advice from someone like Rush -- who says Pete seems to enjoy making a show out of kissing a man on stage.

Pete corrects the record there as well -- telling Dana Bash he usually just hugs Chasten.

A STAND-UP GUY
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As we've reported ... DT himself has actually taken the opposite stance, saying he doesn't think Pete being gay would affect voters all that much -- and certainly shouldn't hurt his electability.

Welp, as it turns out ... Trump's old campaign pal, Steve Bannon, feels the exact same way. We got him out in NYC as he was leaving the FOX News studio and asked him about it. You gotta watch this for yourself because Steve is incredibly strong in his statement to us.

Long story short, Bannon doesn't think Pete's "sexual preference" (cringe) is a talking point whatsoever ... so move on, America.

Elton John Saturday Night's Not Alright ... 'Cause I Have Pneumonia

STILL STANDING, BUT BARELY

Elton John struggled to power through his performance Saturday night, but eventually, he was forced to throw in the towel due to a bad case of walking pneumonia.

Sir Elton performed in Auckland and made it clear to the crowd ... he was hurting. Nevertheless, he performed until he couldn't. He had already performed for about 1.5 hours.

Check out the video ... Elton sounds really good as he performs "Rocketman," but eventually he just couldn't continue. The crowd was with him all the way, giving him a standing O as he left the stage ... clearly upset.

Elton later apologized, "I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia earlier today, but I was determined to give you the best show humanly possible. I played and sang my heart out, until my voice could sing no more. I'm disappointed, deeply upset and sorry. I gave it all I had."

Something tells us ... apology unnecessary. It's unclear if Sir Elton will be canceling any additional gigs.

Jussie Smollett Osundairo Bros. Praying for Him ... To 'Finally Tell the Truth'

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WE CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH
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Jussie Smollett's alleged accomplices in staging a hate crime are speaking on camera for the first time since Jussie was hit with felony charges again ... and they're practically pleading for him to come clean.

The Osundairo brothers -- Abel and Ola -- were leaving Fina Estampa restaurant in Chicago Friday afternoon when they opened up about Jussie ... and how they feel about the whole debacle.

Ola starts by telling us they are praying for Jussie to "build up the courage to finally tell the truth" ... clearly implying they're sticking to their story -- that it was all a hoax perpetrated by Smollett.

TOOLS FOR THE CRIME
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Abel, who's walking with his brother and their lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, goes on to say the brothers feel remorseful for being involved in the incident and causing people pain ... especially real victims of hate crimes who may have been marginalized because of what they did.

As we reported ... Jussie's facing a new 6-count indictment for allegedly lying to law enforcement about his "attack" back in January 2019. He also still has to deal with the City of Chicago's lawsuit against him for around $500k in investigative costs.

The Osudairos have said they remain "fully committed to the public knowing the truth" and will cooperate with the renewed investigation, and tell us if that means testifying ... they'll do what needs to be done.

Stars and Scars You Be the Judge

TMZ/Getty Composite

Jussie Smollett is facing a new round of criminal charges in Chicago, and AA seat-gate has polarized the flying public. So we gotta ask ...

Jussie Smollett ...

American Airlines Seat-Gate ...

Harriet Tubman Debit Card ...

Jessica Simpson Fur Protest ...

Stripper Who Fell Off Pole ...

Whose Side You On?

Whose Side You On?

Jenelle And David Living Together Again

Trump Says He's Cool With LGBTQ Candidates

NBA All-Star Weekend 3,000 Strippers Descend On Chicago ... Offset, Kid Capri Hosting

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The strip club cavalry has arrived in Chicago with THOUSANDS of dancers, literally, making sure NBA superstars and fans are well entertained during All-Star Weekend!!!

The good folks at Ocean Gentleman's Club, Factory and Club O tell TMZ Sports ... they've hired Last Coast Entertainment to promote events at all the clubs this weekend. We're told that means 3,000 strippers will be swarming around poles all over Chi-town.

STRIPPER STACKS
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The forecast calls for some serious rain, because we're told each club will have $450,000 in single dollar bills on deck each day for customers -- NBA and otherwise -- to spend on the dancers. The clubs are ready to bring in the Brinks trucks too, if they need even more Washingtons.

As for who's leading all this fun ... Offset will be front and center hosting an epic after-party Sunday at Ocean Gentleman's Club, following the All-Star Game. Also, Kid Capri's hosed that club's Saturday night bash.

The clubs also tell us they already have 10 tables reserved each night, exclusively for NBA ballers -- and their kitchens will be working OT to serve up lamb chops, burgers, wings and shrimp. BIG dudes have BIG appetites!

BTW, NBA All-Star Weekend is like an annual Super Bowl for the strippers ... so there's high-demand to get work in the host cities each year. We're told the dancers have to fork over $300 to $350 per night to a club just to get their high heels in the door.

Other gentlemen's clubs around Chicago -- like Scores and Rick's Cabaret -- are adopting NBA themes. Dancers will wear basketball uniforms, to start anyway, and of course, there will be VIP sections just for NBA studs.

And, get this ... one club tells us they're flying in girls from New York, Los Angeles and Miami to diversify their lineup. Now that's thoughtful!!

Rick Fox Gets Emotional Talking About Kobe

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I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE IT
TMZSports.com

Rick Fox, like so many others, is having a hard time processing the loss of Kobe Bryant.

We got Rick at the NBA Crossover event in Chicago Saturday during NBA All-Star Weekend, and he's clearly still hurting. You'll recall his emotional words on TNT a week ago.

Rick makes it clear ... Kobe's death is a blow to so many in a very personal way, but there's also a global factor -- Kobe was a worldwide celebrity and on the precipice of starting a second chapter that could have been as awesome as his first.

Rick shared some memories of Kobe ... riding on the team bus with him as Kobe talked about his "otherworldly plans."

When our photog asks Rick what Kobe would have done over the next 20 or 30 years, you see him get visibly emotional.

Rick played for the Lakers between 1997 and 2004 and won 3 championships with the team. Kobe played from 1996 to 2016. The 2 were teammates for 8 years.

Rick's now big into e-sports and owned the Echo Fox franchise until last October.

Rick Moranis Huuuuge Get for 'Shrunk' Reboot ... Says OG 'Shrunk' Kid

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A reboot of "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" without Rick Moranis would be like cereal without milk, it wouldn't be right ... according to the woman who played his daughter in the original movies.

Amy O'Neill played Amy Szalinski in the theatrical releases and tells TMZ ... the reboot would have been incomplete without Rick agreeing to return. Amy says without him ... the new production just couldn't work.

BIG SHOES TO FILL
TMZ.com

Josh Gad is reportedly the star attached to the film -- with original director Joe Johnston also returning -- but Amy told us why Rick's flair was the critical ingredient.

Something else she's fired up about is seeing the new special effects. Remember, when "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" was first released in 1989, its special FX were considered cutting-edge. She says the green screen the film used back in the day was the largest of its kind at the time. More than 30 years later ... she can't even imagine what kinda technology will be used to pull it off this time. She's champing at the bit to see it, though.

Everett Collection

And yes, she addressed the obvious question too -- is she returning ... as Rick's daughter, or a cameo role? Let's just say she's totally down for a reunion.

Becky Lynch Warns Khabib ... Conor Will Dominate Rematch!!

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GIVE HIM A SHOT
TMZSports.com

Conor McGregor WILL get a victory in a rematch with Khabib ... so says Becky Lynch, who tells TMZ Sports she believes Conor's got a whole new strategy for The Eagle!!

"I think he's been working," the WWE superstar says. "You saw it in the last fight. He's got a new game plan, his head is firmly in it and I think he wins it."

Becky admits she is biased -- she's from Ireland, after all -- and tells us, "Of course I'm going to say me countryman!"

But, The Man clearly believes Conor's got a real shot regardless.

"I think he's got that dedication," Becky says. "He backs it up, man. He backs it up."

The last time Conor and Khabib squared off in the Octagon ... things didn't go so well for the Notorious, who lost after he tapped out in the 4th round.

And, it remains to be seen if Khabib will even get in the cage a second time with Conor ... he just said earlier this month he wouldn't fight McGregor again for $100 MILLION!!!

But, let's be real ... that's a lot of cash, and now that Becky tells us Conor's got a chance -- LET'S MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

Celebrity Scramble Guess Who!

Hidden within this warped photo is an actor and filmmaker that is not as quiet off-screen. This talented star won the Critics' Choice Award for Best Sci-Fi/Horror movie last year for a film he directed and co-wrote, he also starred in this film alongside his wife.

This celeb is also known for an iconic character he played in a certain television show he starred in on NBC. The award-winning comedy housed big names such as Steve Carell, Jenna Fisher, and Angela Kinsey!

Take a really good look around this photo and use your best judgment to see if you can uncover the mystery as to which famous face has been hiding within this super crazy pic!

Liziane Gutierrez Ball So Hard ... For All-Star Weekend!!!

Bikini model Liziane Gutierrez is getting out of her bubble -- ditching the glamorous life for the bump-and-grind of basketball, and she has King James on the brain ... and her cheeks.

The Brazilian poser and a gal pal had no problem choosing sides for the NBA All-Star Game, which is going down this weekend in Chicago. Liziane took on her friend in a game of hoops -- in MUCH-shorter shorts than the pros -- and just to keep it real, they made their allegiances known.

Liziane took an L on her butt for team LeBron James, while her friend's a straight G ... for Team Giannis Antetokounmpo. Those are the actual teams competing in Chi-town.

Anyway, check out the pics of their game -- it was truly a thong o' beauty. No word on who won. Luckily, we know you don't really care.

Jessica Alba Good Genes or Good Docs?!

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Jessica Alba's good looks are hard not to love!

Here is a 16-year-old version of the "Valentine's Day" star rockin' this pixie cut at a movie premiere in Los Angeles, CA back in 1998 (left).

And 22 years later ... The now 38-year-old actress was last spotted looking better than ever at the Vanity Fair party in Beverly Hills, CA just last week (right).

Alba's actively working on new products for her brand, The Honest Company, and has also been busy working on a new show, "L.A.'s Finest", where she stars alongside Gabrielle Union.

L.A.'s finest indeed!

The question is ...

Jessica Alba ...

NBA Commish Adam Silver All-Star MVP Award ... Is Now Named After Late Kobe Bryant

Breaking News
TMZ.com

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is making sure Kobe Bryant goes down in history with the league right away -- renaming the All-Star MVP award after the late Laker legend.

The commish made the announcement Saturday at a press conference in front of the press, first discussing how Kobe and ex-commissioner David Stern -- who himself passed away this year -- were so much alike in their attitudes, goals and approaches to the game.

Adam says both Kobe and Stern prioritized winning -- and, often, neither of them had time for the niceties that come with fostering relationships because they were so hyper-focused.

He went on to list some of Kobe's personal achievements in the NBA -- including setting the record for 18 consecutive All-Star appearances, 4 All-Star MVP Awards and his famous Slam Dunk Contest appearance in 1997 ... for which he took home the 1st place prize.

Then came the big news ... the NBA is changing the name of All-Star MVP Award, now calling it the Kobe Bryant MVP Award. Adam says he's sure whoever wins it on Sunday after the All-Star game will be thrilled. He also noted it was just one of the ways the league would be honoring Kobe going forward -- David will also be honored in the future.

Besides the big name change, AS also said one small way the league wanted to remember Kobe and David was putting their photos on the back of media credentials this year.

Of course, Kobe's passing is still fresh and raw for so many around the league. He died last month in a helicopter crash with his daughter, Gianna, and other families as well.

Justin Bieber I Want to Protect Billie Eilish ... Cries in New Interview

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Justin Bieber seems to see himself in Billie Eilish -- whom he says he wants to protect at all costs from going through the same sort of hell he did as a rising child star.

Biebs sat down with Beats 1's Zane Lowe for a new interview to plug his new album, "Changes," and during the convo ... Billie was brought up. Justin says he wants to let her do her thing, but also notes ... if she ever needs him, he's just a phone call away.

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JB even tears up talking about her, adding that he wants to protect her and shelter her from the sorts of experiences he went through growing up. It's incredibly touching.

As you know ... Justin's been through a lot over the years, including arrests, lawsuits, self-admitted substance abuse, depression, relationship woes ... and on and on.

The honest moment certainly caught Billie's eye -- she captured a snippet of the interview and posted it to her own Instagram ... adding photos of her when she was younger, which show she was a huge Bieber fan. Clearly, the love here goes both ways.

As for Billie -- who's got an older brother, Finneas, navigating the music industry with her -- she's a rock star right now, and at the young age of 18 to boot. BE has racked up several Grammys already for her debut album, and is heading up the new Bond theme song.

In any case, it would appear she appreciates Justin looking out for her. She captioned her post, "stream changes." Both the interview and the new album are on Apple Music, and streaming platforms everywhere.