Paula: Simon Saved My Butt

1/10/2007 10:46 AM PST

Paula: Simon Saved My Butt

Paula Abdul says that she might have been fired from "American Idol" if Simon Cowell hadn't come to her rescue.

In today's New York Post, Paula says that when allegations surfaced that she'd had an inappropriate affair with Corey Clark during "Idol's" second season, it was Cowell who ultimately stepped up for her. "He was extremely distraught and protective and supportive of me when that happened," says Abdul. "There's the times when he's like a big brother – or a lover."

Of course, as "Idol" watchers know well, Paula also tells the Post that it's not all wine and roses with Cowell: "When he's just annoyed, I get the brunt of it."

Marilyn Manson Takes Up With Barely-Legal Actress

Fright-rocker Marilyn Manson has moved on from his estranged wife Dita Von Teese with 19-year-old starlet Evan Rachel Wood, according to several sources, and has been partying recently with Lindsay Lohan and Angelina Jolie, among others. People reports that the 38-year-old Manson, who just separated from Von Teese late last year, is "romantically involved" with Wood, whom he recruited to star in his upcoming horror film "Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll."
As for Angie, Page Six says the "good friends" caught up about five months ago, and have "known each other for a long time."

Piven and Cusack: BFFs No More?

Jeremy Piven and John Cusack have been best friends for as long as either can remember -- but now, says Piven, Cusack doesn't like that Piven's become at least as famous (if not more so) than he has, and there might be a rift in their longtime relationship. Piven told Best Life magazine, "You start getting into trouble in life when you start comparing and contrasting your life to anyone else's," and gave a sharp "no comment" when asked about how Cusack has handled Piven's success on "Entourage" and elsewhere. Today, Cusack responded, a bit icily we might add, "I am very happy for Jeremy. I wish him the best and I always have."

Party Favors: Madonna Makes Surprise US Appearance ... Paris & Britney Worst-Dressed ... James Brown's Body Not Yet Buried

Madonna is making a rather unexpected jaunt Stateside to host a special screening of her family film "Arthur and the Invisibles," directed by Luc Besson, at Tribeca Cinemas. Robert De Niro, Jimmy Fallon, and Snoop Dogg are a few of the co-stars of the CGI/live-action kidflick ... Paris Hilton and Britney Spears are joint holders this year of that dubious fashion distinction, Mr. Blackwell's Worst-Dressed. Blackwell called the briefly BFF pair "two peas in an overexposed pod." ... James Brown's body has yet to be buried as lawyers and children try to settle issues surrounding his estate, including his final resting place. For now, the Godfather of Soul's body is on Beech Island, SC.