TIME celebrities

Jay-Z and Beyonce Cleared Of Potential U.S. Sanction Violations

U.S. singer Beyonce and her husband rapper Jay-Z walk as they leave their hotel in Havana on April 4, 2013.
U.S. singer Beyonce and her husband rapper Jay-Z walk as they leave their hotel in Havana on April 4, 2013. Enrique De La Osa—Reuters/Corbis

Several Republicans criticized the famous couple for a trip they took to Cuba to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that there was “no indication” that Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and her husband Jay-Z (Sean Carter) violated U.S. sanctions in Cuba in 2013.

The announcement Wednesday comes a year and four months after the famous couple took to a trip to the country to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.

The department’s inspector general concluded that the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which issues licenses to organizations that sponsor educational exchange programs in Cuba, was “reasonable” for having passed on a formal investigation into the Carters’ visit, despite speculation in the media implying suspicious motives.

In April 2013, three Cuban-American Republicans—Sen. Marco Rubio and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart—raised concerns that the Administration wasn’t properly enforcing the travel regulations between the U.S. and Cuba. At the time, the Treasury Department countered that the Carters’ trip was legal under a cultural exchange program.

Brushing off Republican speculation about his Cuban getaway, Jay-Z released “Open Letter,” featuring the lyrics: “Obama said, ‘Chill, you gonna get me impeached,'” he rapped. “You don’t need this s— anyway, chill with me on the beach.’”

“Politicians never did s— for me except lie to me, distort history,” he rapped. “They wanna give me jail time and a fine. Fine, let me commit a real crime.”

TIME celebrities

Jackie Chan’s Son Has Been Detained in a Beijing Drug Bust

"Double Trouble" Beijing Premiere
Actor Jackie Chan and his actor-singer son Jaycee Chan attend "Double Trouble" premiere at Jackie Chan Yaolai International Cinema on June 5, 2012 in Beijing. ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Which is awkward, because Jackie is a China antidrug ambassador

Jackie Chan believes in tough love. The kung fu legend starting working at age 5 and never really stopped. In 2011 he announced he would be leaving his fortune to charity, rather than giving it to his son, “If he is capable, he can make his own money,” Chan said. “If he is not, then he will just be wasting my money.”

Now his approach to parenting will be put to the test again, because his son, actor and singer Jaycee Chan, 32, was snared in a Beijing drug bust last week alongside Taiwan actor Ko Chen-tung, also known as Kai Ko. The younger Chan was detained “on suspicion of accommodating suspected drug users,” according to state news wire Xinhua. Both men also admitted to using marijuana, reported Xinhua.

The arrests come amid a tougher-than-usual narcotics crackdown. State media report that 7,800 drug suspects have been detained since January, a 71.9% rise over the same period last year. The sweep also netted several well-known Chinese celebrities. Just days before Jaycee Chan was detained, 42 entertainment agencies promised to boycott entertainers caught using narcotics.

Jaycee Chan’s alleged drug offenses put his famous father in an awkward position. Jackie Chan is a high-profile figure in China and is cozy with the ruling Communist Party. In 2009, China named him an antidrug ambassador. How will he handle the fact that his son has run foul of the law?

Whether or not Chan comes to his son’s defense, many here simply assume that the offspring of the rich, connected and powerful will get preferential treatment, as is often the case. In a well-known 2010 incident, the son of an official struck and killed a college student with his car while driving drunk. As he was intercepted by police, he reportedly yelled, “Sue me if you dare, my father is Li Gang!” The phrase became one of China’s most popular Internet memes.

The consensus online seems to be that Jaycee Chan will probably get a slap on the wrist. “The world is so unfair,” wrote one frustrated netizen. “Celebrities will be forgiven and released after being held in custody in 15 days, while ordinary people may be held in custody for months or even years.”

— With reporting by Gu Yongqiang / Beijing

TIME celebrities

Watch Lady Gaga Take the Ice Bucket Challenge Without Saying a Word

She didn't even flinch

Lady Gaga accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and completed the task of dumping a bucket of freezing water on her head without saying a word. She didn’t even flinch.

In the video posted to her Instagram feed on Monday, Gaga nearly out Gaga’s herself, sitting cross-legged in a black leotard with matching black lipstick, slowly raising a silver bucket over her head. Her hashtags: #SharePainShowCompassion.

As a part of the challenge, which has raised over $5 million for research into ALS, (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), those nominated can either agree to dump a bucket of ice water on themselves within 24-hours or donate a $100 to research.

Your move, Adele, Michael Rapino, Vincent Herbert, and Arthur Fogel or, as Gaga said #RichPeople.

TIME celebrities

Christina Aguilera Gives Birth to Baby Girl

The baby girl, named Summer Rain, is the second child for the singer and her first with fiancé Matt Rutler

+ READ ARTICLE

Christina Aguilera gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles Los Angeles. The singer and The Voice star shared the news on Twitter Sunday night, revealing the baby’s name.

Aguilera announced she was pregnant with her first child with fiancé Matt Rutler back in February. (The singer also has a six-year-old son Max from her previous marriage to Jordan Bratman.)

The Voice star announced that she and Rutler were expecting a girl in March. “I’m really excited to meet our baby girl,” she told People earlier this summer. “This has been a very easy and enjoyable pregnancy.”

[People]

TIME celebrities

Chris Pratt’s Ice Bucket Challenge Video May Be the Best Yet

Ooga-chugga, ooga-chugga, ooga-ooga-ooga-chugga

+ READ ARTICLE

Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt added himself to a long line of celebrities–from Conan O’Brien to Bill Gates–who have participated in the trendy-though-highly-debated publicity stunt that raises money and awareness for ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease by getting people to dump buckets (or other containers) full of freezing water over their heads.

Accepting a double challenge from both Disney CEO Bob Iger and Actor Vincent D’Onofrio, Pratt explains on camera that he’s going to do things “slightly different.” Eyes a’twinkle, he produces a tiny bottle of Blue Ice Vodka, which he dispatches quickly. For the second challenge, he begins to gulp down a bottle of Smirnoff Ice.

Much to our comic delight, however, forces gather to thwart Pratt’s plans to avoid getting wet and chilled to the bone–as you’ll see in the video below.

TIME celebrities

Tavi Gevinson: A Power Teen’s New Direction

"This Is Our Youth" Cast Photo Call
Actress Tavi Gevinson attends the "This Is Our Youth" Cast Photo Call at Cort Theatre on August 14, 2014 in New York City. Cindy Ord—Getty Images

Tavi Gevinson became a hero to a generation of girls — then she graduated from high school

This article originally appeared on Rolling Stone.

Recently, Tavi Gevinson – editor-in-chief of Rookie magazine, budding Broadway star and possibly the most influential 18-year-old in America – went to her first and last high school rager. Earlier that day, she’d graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High in suburban Chicago, tromping around the football field in the blazing heat. In terms of doing the classic high school party thing, she thought, it was now or never. “It was at this guy’s house,” she says, “and I was like, ‘Oh, you know what makes social anxiety better is if you just keep drinking.'” Which she did until things got messy (“There was vomit”), though not too messy (“I didn’t try to seduce anyone”), after which Gevinson made her way home, where her mom helped her into bed: “In the morning she gave me a flower and explained why drinking is extremely dangerous and why not to mix stuff and to eat first and to not do it until I’m 21. Then my dad came in, and they both laughed at me.”

If Gevinson has failed to indulge in such iconic teenage pastimes to date, that’s thanks to her many pressing duties as our culture’s Teenager Par Excellence. Gevinson’s role as universal expert on all things teenage has, somewhat ironically, left her little time for iconic teenage experiences like this one. At 11, she started Style Rookie, a blog that garnered the attention of fashionistas the world over with its pictures of a tiny, unsmiling Gevinson, standing in a suburban backyard and wearing the most fantastical of garments. Soon she was flying to Paris for Fashion Week, meeting Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour. Sporting a dyed silver-blue bob, thick glasses and Iris Apfel-inspired outré-granny chic (“People talked about how when you’re a woman of a certain age you stop caring about certain things, and I was like, ‘If I can try that now I will be ahead of the curve'”), she became a sort of high-fashion mascot, half prodigy, half pet.

MORE: In Pics: 9 Shocking Teen Star Meltdowns

And then, just like that, Gevinson decided to leave these childish things behind. “I was like, ‘This is so goofy: We’re watching people wear clothes.'” Inspired by now-defunct alt-teen magazine Sassy, and with the guidance of Sassy‘s founding editor, Jane Pratt – who was listed on the masthead as “fairy godmother” – and This American Life‘s Ira Glass, Gevinson launched Rookie. It since has become the Web’s most famous one-stop compendium of what it is to be a teenage girl, ruminating on everything from Carl Sagan to how to wear a leotard “without giving a damn,” and casting all of its topics through a smart, feminist lens (instead of dating advice, it has a column called “Ask a Grown Man,” to which Jon Hamm and Thom Yorke have contributed).

Rookie‘s popularity is such that it has created a sort of clubhouse effect, spawning an annual yearbook and a nationwide tour – in which girls crammed into ice cream parlors and record stores from Brooklyn to L.A. in the hopes of meeting Gevinson – and turning its petite founder into both a media juggernaut and a generational spokeswoman with friends like Lena Dunham (who once stopped by for takeout when Gevinson was grounded) and Lorde, who tells me, “Had I not been fortunate enough to grow up with the never-ending wisdom and confusion of Tavi, I wouldn’t be the same. She is fearsome. Her writing, her aesthetic leanings, her need to have more, to know more, sparked that in me and infected everyone young today. I’m lucky to have her as my friend.”

MORE: 50 Things Millennials Know That Gen-Xers Don’t

Gevinson, the daughter of a Jewish high school English teacher and a Norwegian weaver, grew up the youngest of three sisters, watching Friends and That ’70s Show, hiding out in the bathroom at school when she felt overwhelmed (“A girl would come and be like, ‘Mrs. Carter sent me to see if you’re OK,’ and I’d be like, ‘I’m pooping'”) and, until recently, getting an allowance of $8 a week. Then there was the toggling between her middle-class Midwestern upbringing and her international fame; the endless recording of her youth for the masses, which, she says, “made it hard for me to live in a moment because I was always narrating it,” and the juxtaposition of standard adolescent milestones with very nonstandard ones. “I went on The Colbert Report. I came home. The next day I went to school, then I lost my virginity,” she declares matter-of-factly before cracking a wry smile. “Now someone’s going to be like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna go watch that video and see if I can sense that she’s about to be deflowered.'”

As Gevinson is saying all this, she’s sitting cross-legged on the sofa of a high-rise Chicago apartment that represents a decidedly more adult moment for her. After a memorable turn in the 2013 movie Enough Said, she’s starring opposite Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin in a Steppenwolf Theatre remounting of Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth, which moves to Broadway in September. The play skewers the rudderless angst of suspended adolescence. Gevinson’s performance has drawn raves. Last night, the cast had gathered in Culkin’s apartment to play Mario Kart and guitar until 4:30 a.m., at which point Gevinson retired to her place to take a bubble bath and eat chocolate before falling asleep to The Last Days of Disco. When she’d answered the door just past noon, her hair was still wet from the shower, and she was cheerfully dunking a bag of green tea into a cup of hot water. “This morning,” she’d said, “I was really pleased at my desire to meet the day.”

MORE: In Pics: Millennials’ Most Earth-Shaking Sexual Moments

The apartment is the only place she’s lived besides her childhood home, where her room was “the size of a van” and the hundreds of items sent to her over the years by Rookie readers are packed in the basement – an anthropological trove that she “prays doesn’t just deteriorate.” Only the most meaningful artifacts of her girlhood have accompanied her, among them a box made for her by a Rookie reader labeled FOR WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE SHIT and a book of haunting illustrations by German artist Sulamith Wülfing given to her by Stevie Nicks. “Tavi, study this,” reads the inscription. “It will change your life. She is one of us. The eldest angel. I love you, Stevie.”

Living alone is still so novel that Gevinson is excited by the mundane chores of housekeeping. “I really like grocery shopping, probably because I’m not a real adult, so it’s like a novelty to me,” she says. “Kieran and Michael were teasing me yesterday because I was like, ‘I can’t wait to go home and eat my groceries.’ And they were like, ‘That’s not a type of food. No one’s like, “I’m really in the mood for groceries.”‘”

Though Gevinson grew up acting in school plays and community theater, it’s a pursuit she’s only recently decided to revisit. And yet, she says, it taps into something that’s been an impulse for her all along: a way to try on different identities. “When you’re onstage, you can’t think, like, ‘Oh, how is the audience responding to me as a person?’ I mean, it just helped to kind of feel like more of a clean slate.”

Which, preparing for her life ahead, is what she feels she needs. This Is Our Youth runs on Broadway through January 4th, and next fall she’ll be attending NYU. While her role as top editor and curator of Rookie will remain unchanged, the magazine will not age with her – it will maintain its focus on teen girls.

And, at least for the minute, Gevinson’s own focus has returned to fashion: She has begun creating a wardrobe for New York, costuming the version of herself she thinks she’ll be then (“I bought a lot of sequined tops”). In the meantime, she’s still feeling out what it means to be who she is now. “I know I’m not the person I was in high school,” she muses. “But I’m not a new person yet either. It’s just that kind of in between.”

MORE: 50 Things Millennials Have Never Heard Of

TIME Television

Watch Jennifer Lawrence and Alison Brie in a Ridiculous, Failed TV Pilot

They've both come a really long way

+ READ ARTICLE

Remember that time when Comedy Central made a TV version of Not Another Teen Movie? No? You don’t? That’s because it was a total flop — but they did manage to shoot a pilot.

It stars Alison Brie as a character called Muffy the Vampire Slayer (prepare for lots of vagina jokes) and Jennifer Lawrence as a generic hot teenager who a creepy janitor (who just got stabbed) refers to as “Sweet Tits.”

It’s genuinely shocking that this masterpiece — actually titled Not Another High School Show — was never picked up. Watch a few minutes up top.

[via Vulture]

TIME celebrities

Alexander Skarsgård Jammed With Taylor Swift on the Set of The Giver

Alexander Skarsgård
Alexander Skarsgård Richard Shotwell—Invision

The actor also explains why he "couldn’t stop laughing" during True Blood's recent gay sex scene

When he’s not sucking blood and casting smoldering glares as vampire Eric Northman on HBO’s True Blood, now wrapping up its final season, Alexander Skarsgård is happily enjoying utopia in The Giver, in theaters Friday.

Or maybe it just seems that way: the film, based on Lois Lowry’s young-adult classic, is set in a community seemingly free of suffering, but full of painful secrets. Skarsgård plays the father of Jonas (Brenton Thwaites); when Jonas learns what his dad is really up to at work, he tries to save the community from its own rules with the help of Jeff Bridges’ titular wise elder.

Here, the Swedish actor talks with TIME about the young-adult classic, hanging out with Taylor Swift (who has a small but vital role in the film) and what True Blood has in store for Eric Northman.

TIME: Is The Giver big in Sweden? I feel like everyone I know in America read it as a kid.

Alexander Skarsgård: Not really — it’s not part of the canon like it is in the States. I heard about it when I came to the States, but I only read it a year and a half ago.

What drew you to the project, then?

I’ve always been interested in those Orwellian dystopian novels, like Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World and obviously Orwell’s 1984. I thought, this — even though this caters to a younger audience — was really interesting and scary. It was a character I was fascinated by, someone who could do these horrible, horrible things but still be innocent in a weird way. What is morality? If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t understand the concept of death, is what he’s doing wrong or not?

How do you play a character that, by nature, has no highs and lows without being flat?

To me, it was about potential. I wanted the audience to feel that there’s more potential. So when he’s interacting with other members of the family, you want to feel that he could have been a fantastic dad, a fantastic husband. Because of the circumstances, there’s no opportunity for that. That made it really sad. I found that interesting because if he’s just a robot, then there’s no life, there’s nothing interesting there. I wanted to feel that this was a human being, a real man who was obviously shaped by this society and the drugs he takes with his morning injections. He’s numb.

The Giver, like much of the YA fiction that eventually followed it — The Hunger Games, Divergent — is about making choices and deciding, as a reader, what kind of person you’d be in these situations. Would your 12-year-old self have been a Jonas or someone who follows the rules?

I think we’d all like to say we would have been like Jonas because we’re more comfortable saying that, but I’m afraid almost all of us wouldn’t be like Jonas. We’re all the heroes of our own lives, and when we put ourselves in those situations, we always think we’re going to be extremely heroic, but obviously most of us wouldn’t. How would that even be possible to do when you don’t understand what pain, suffering and love are?

The story is timeless — was there anything that needed to change as it came to the big screen decades later?

Not really. It was more about small things, like using holograms instead of screens. A lot has changed in the past 20 years when you envision the future. I know that Lois Lowry spent a lot of time growing up on military bases, so it was that idea in her head. I like that in the beginning of the film it looks inviting — that makes it more interesting when you’re drawn in. “This looks nice, I could live here!” But once you get inside, then you start to see what it’s really like to live in a society like that.

Jeff Bridges has been wanting to make this movie for nearly two decades. Did he share his vision with you?

Jeff was absolutely incredible. He wanted to direct it at first, but finally he was old enough to play the Giver, so Phillip Noyce came aboard instead. Jeff and I only had one or two scenes together, but he was always on set with the most amazing energy, and that spread to everyone. It was really inspiring to see an actor with his body of work — he’s a legend — so curious. Watching him take direction from Phillip was unbelievable. To see Jeff Bridges, working on a project that he knows so well, still in that creative space of wanting to collaborate, wanting to learn, wanting to grow and wanting to surprise himself, was really fantastic to see.

Many of the characters don’t cross paths in the film. Was it isolating to shoot?

Jeff created at an atmosphere where we really bonded and we hung out. We were on location in Cape Town, very far from our loved ones back home, so we all hung out on weekends. Jeff is a very social guy. We would throw these big dinner parties and he would always bring his guitar. The only thing was I had to wrap early, because I was going on an expedition to the South Pole right after The Giver. I only had one scene with Meryl, but I was dying to work with her. It’s a scene where she shows up in our home in a hologram, and I had to be done with the film before she could get there, so unfortunately we were never on set [together].

Wait, if Jeff is bringing his guitar, did you have jam sessions with Taylor Swift when she was shooting her scenes?

Yeah, absolutely. We had a piano in the hotel lobby. People would take turns and play the piano and sing. I was better on the couch with my beer, howling along. It was really lovely, actually.

Let’s talk about True Blood. That dream sequence between Eric and Jason got people very excited. Can you tease anything about their romantic-sexual futures as the final episodes approach? The people need to know.

I can’t say much about the plot, but that was a very memorable scene. Ryan [Kwanten] is so funny. It was a very tough night for me — I couldn’t stop laughing. He’s a hilarious guy. But we knew that scene was coming. We shot that scene where he drinks my blood in season six. There wasn’t a real plan to follow through, but then when we shot it, it was strangely sensual, and Ryan and I just looked at each other after shooting that scene last year like, “We’re definitely going to see that dream sequence.” Sure enough, a couple months later we got the script, and there it was.

What was your reaction when you saw how the series ends?

I’ve been really happy with this whole season. To me, that’s Eric at his best, when he’s got one clear objective: revenge. When he’s that focused and determined, it’s so much fun to play that and hopefully watch as well. The fact that I’ve gotten to work with Kristin Bauer [van Straten] so much this season — I always miss her when we shoot seasons and we don’t get to work that much. It’s been great finishing this series side by side with Kristin. I really liked how we leave Eric at the end of this show. I’m very happy with it. Hopefully fans will be as well.

TIME celebrities

Michael J. Fox ‘Stunned’ to Hear About Robin Williams’ Parkinson’s Diagnosis

Robin Williams and Michael J. Fox during "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson's..." Benefiting the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research 2004 at The Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
Robin Williams, left, and Michael J. Fox during "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson's ..." benefiting the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City in 2004 KMazur—WireImage/Getty Images

Williams committed suicide Monday

Actor Michael J. Fox tweeted Thursday evening that he was “stunned” to learn that Robin Williams, who was found dead after committing suicide in his home Monday, had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Fox, who was himself diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991, sent the tweet after Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider, released a statement saying her husband was in the early stages of the disease.

“Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly,” the statement read. Williams was 63 when he died.

Fox tweeted on Monday after the initial announcement about Williams’ death:

Fox did not disclose his condition until seven years after his diagnosis. Since then, he has established the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and continued to act. Recently, he has had recurring roles on The Good Wife, Boston Legal and Rescue Me. He also starred in the short-lived The Michael J. Fox Show last year.

Parkinson’s affects nearly 10 million people, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. It is a movement disorder that attacks the nerve cells in the brains, resulting in trembling of the hands, arms, legs and face. The progressive disease gets worse over the course of time.

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