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Monday, 30 September 2013

Knox back on trial for Meredith Kercher murder in Italy

Amanda Knox

FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - The retrial of American Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher opened in Florence on Monday but neither of the accused were in court for the first hearing.
Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in 2009 of killing 21-year-old British student Meredith Kercher in what was described as a drug-fuelled sexual assault.
After winning an appeal in 2011 quashing the guilty verdict, both were freed from prison. But a new appeals process has begun after Italy's supreme court overturned the acquittals in March, citing "contradictions and inconsistencies".
Sollecito's father Francesco said on Monday he was confident his son's innocence would be confirmed.
"Deeper examination can only demonstrate what we already know, that is that Raffaele Sollecito has nothing to do with what that poor girl had to suffer," he told reporters.
Knox, 26, has always denied murdering Kercher, when both were university exchange students in Perugia. She told U.S. television this month that "common sense" told her not to return to Italy for the retrial.
"I was imprisoned as an innocent person and I just can't re-live that," she told NBC television.
Knox is not obliged to attend and can be represented by her lawyers, who said she was following the case closely from home in Seattle.
If found guilty, she could appeal again to Italy's supreme court. If that failed, Italy could request her extradition.
Sollecito, 29, who has also always protested his innocence, plans to attend some of the hearings, his father said.
Kercher was found with more than 40 wounds, including a deep gash in the throat, in the apartment she shared with Knox in Perugia, a picturesque town in central Italy's Umbria region that attracts students from around the world.
Lawyers for Kercher's family have welcomed the retrial, criticizing the previous ruling as "superficial".
Knox has said in recent interviews she wants to visit Kercher's grave, but the Leeds University student's family said in a statement at the weekend that the grave was Meredith's "safe place" and that they hoped "that is respected by all".
Francesco Maresca, a lawyer for the Kercher family, said the supreme court's decision to throw out the acquittals reinforced signs of Knox and Sollecito's guilt.
"We have always maintained that they are guilty and that they were present at the crime scene," he said.
Referred to by the nickname "Foxy Knoxy" in many tabloid headlines, Knox was initially portrayed as a sex-obsessed she-devil by prosecutors but a lobbying campaign by her family helped modify perceptions.
In a memoir published this year, she painted herself as a naive young woman and a victim of Italy's snail-paced justice system, which drew heavy criticism for its handling of the case.
In explaining its decision to overturn the acquittal of Knox and Sollecito, the supreme court said the appeals court that freed them had not taken all the evidence into consideration.
It said the one person still in jail for the murder, Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede, who is serving a 16-year sentence, was unlikely to have committed the crime alone.
Prosecutors said Kercher was held down and stabbed after she resisted attempts by Knox, Sollecito and Guede to involve her in an orgy. The supreme court said the theory of a sex game that spiraled out of control should be re-examined.
The prosecution's case was weakened in the last trial by forensic experts who undermined the credibility of DNA evidence provided by police and sharply criticized their initial response procedures at the scene of the killing.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Miss Philippines wins Miss World in Indonesia

Newly crowned Miss World Megan Young of the Philippines, smiles after winning the Miss World contest, in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Megan Young of the Philippines smiles after being named Miss World 2013, during the grand final of the pageant, in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Newly crowned Miss World, Megan Young of Philippines, center, with second runner-up Miss France Marine Lorpheline, left, and third runner-up Miss Ghana Carranza Naa Okailey Shooter, smile after they winning the Miss World contest in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Newly crowned Miss World, Megan Young of the Philippines, center, reacts after winning the Miss World contest, in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Miss Philippine Megan Young, right, reacts after winning the Miss World pageant final in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Miss Philippines Megan Young is crowned Miss World 2013 in Nusa Dua

Miss World 2013 Megan Young of the Philippines sings with other contestants during Miss World 2013 in Nusa Dua

New Miss World, Megan Young (C) from the Philippines is congratulated by outgoing Miss World Yu Wenxia (L) after winning the crown, at the Miss World 2013 finals in Nusa Dua, in Indonesia's resort island of Bali on September 28, 2013

Miss World 2013 Megan Young of the Philippines smiles after being crowed, in Nusa Dua

Miss World

Miss Ireland, Aoife Walsh, poses with Balinese dancers in Bali, Indonesia on September 12, 2013

Miss World 2012, Wenxia Yu (centre) of China, waves with 2013 contestants in Nusa Dua, Bali, on September 8, 2013

The top 10 Miss World contestants in the fashion show pose in Nusa Dua, Bali, on September 24, 2013

Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 photo, contestants line up on the stage during the 3rd Annual Award of World Muslimah, a competition billed as the Islamic alternative to Miss World pageant, in Jakarta, Indonesia. Beauty queens and backstage drama may seem inevitable, but at this year's Miss World competition, something more serious than hair-pulling and name-calling has come from host country Indonesia: Muslim hardliners have threatened to hijack the competition despite major concessions from the government and organizers. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

BALI, Indonesia (AP) — Miss Philippines, Megan Young, was crowned Miss World on Saturday amid tight security on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, where the contest's final round was moved following protests by Muslim hardliner groups.
"I promise to be the best Miss World ever," Young, 23, said after winning the 63rd annual event, as a large number of Filipino fans who traveled with her celebrated by jumping and waving the country's flag.
Despite threats from the Islamic Defenders Front to disrupt the contest, police said no rallies were staged Saturday. The group has demonstrated for weeks, calling for the government to cancel the pageant because members say it shows too much skin and goes against Islamic teachings.
The 127 contestants vying for the crown were introduced Saturday wearing evening gowns shimmering in sequins, many of them with plunging necklines and slits up the leg. Four candidates dropped out earlier, mainly due to illnesses, said Syafril Nasution, one of the local organizers.
Young, who took the crown from Wenxia Yu of China, the 2012 winner, was born in the United States. When she was 10 she moved to the Philippines, where she has appeared in films and as a television host.
Miss France, Marine Lorphelin, 20, took second place, while Miss Ghana, Carranzar Naa Okailey Shooter, 22, came in third.
Miss World organizers had earlier agreed to cut bikinis from the swimsuit competition, replacing them with more conservative sarongs. But pressure continued to mount, and more mainstream groups joined in and called for the show to be banned.
Indonesia's government announced three weeks ago that the final would be moved from the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta, and instead held on the Hindu-dominated resort island of Bali, where earlier rounds were taking place.
The British, Australian and U.S. embassies issued warnings to citizens planning trips to Bali during the competition, saying there could be large-scale protests or even attacks.
Col. R. Umar Faroq, the Director of Vital Security for Bali provincial police, said thousands of security forces had been deployed to secure the final.
But Faroq said that security was tightened along the north coast of East Java to Bali in anticipation of possible protesters from other islands.
"The success in securing the Miss World final will be a benchmark for the police in securing the incoming APEC Summit," Faroq said, referring to the upcoming Asia-Pacific Cooperation summit on Bali to be attended by world leaders, including President Barack Obama, and thousands of delegates.
Miss World is the latest controversy in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, where most follow a moderate form of the religion. However, a small extremist fringe has become louder and more violent in recent years, attacking Christians and other religious minorities, along with anyone else deemed immoral.
Last year, the Islamic Defenders Front forced Lady Gaga to cancel a sold-out show after branding her a "devil worshipper."
In 2002, Bali was the site of suicide bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. Since then, the government has aggressively pursued militant groups, which in recent years have committed much smaller-scale attacks mainly focused on security personnel.

From Hannah Montana to Wild Child: Miley Reveals the Roots of Her Rebellion

Courtesy: Rolling Stone

Miley Cyrus on Why She Loves Weed, Went Wild at the VMAs and Much More

We can finally pinpoint exactly when Miley Cyrus ditched her Disney-friendly alter ego and started down the path to tatted-up twerk enthusiast:
The demise of Hannah Montana began on Detroit's 8 Mile Road in 2010.
The pop superstar, who turns 21 on November 23, lays it all out in a Rolling Stone cover story, announcing she really began feeling her "vibe" a full three years ago, while filming the movie "LOL" in the Motor City.
"Detroit's where I felt like I really grew up," she notes. "It was only for a summer, but that's where I started going to clubs, where I got my first tattoo. Well, not my first tattoo, but my first without my mom's consent."
Cyrus doesn't expound on which of her numerous tattoos her mother did condone, but apparently this one was bad enough to hide: "I lied to the guy and told him I was 18. I got a heart on my finger and wore a Band-Aid for two months so my mom wouldn't find out." (Her latest tattoos will be easy to hide: She just got the words "Rolling $tone" inked on the soles of her feet.)
That was just the beginning of Miley's stunning transformation. Fast-forward to last summer, during a trip to Philadelphia with then-fiancé Liam Hemsworth: "Have you ever been to South Street in Philly? That's where I got my first chain. Sixteen bucks — not real," she tells RS. "I was away from people for a minute, and I just started feeling my own vibe. I bought a pair of Doc Martens. I shaved my head. Driving a f---ing Ford Explorer around. Just blending in."

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Given some of the other revelations in Cyrus's interview, It doesn't come as a big surprise that the star would eventually take a crooked path. She explains that as a child, one of her "jobs" was to go onstage after her country-superstar father, Billy Ray Cyrus, finished a concert, and collect all the bras tossed by adoring female fans. "I'd get a really big one and be like, 'Dad! I found your biggest fan!'" she related. (By the way, she scored a whopping $10 for this particular chore.)
The fun didn't end there. Cyrus was sent to a private evangelical school, where she promptly got kicked out — and Miley being Miley, it was for creative reason. (Her myriad transgressions ranged from stealing her teacher's motorized scooter to explaining to her classmates how to french kiss.) From there, she rebelled in yet another way out of the average-kid realm: She auditioned for "Hannah Montana" against her dad's wishes. From that point, of course, it was all history.
These days, the pop star has a good relationship with her parents, lives down the street from them, and sees them both weekly. Her connection with Billy Ray, which has been famously strained at times, is much better — perhaps due to some shared recreational interests. "I never knew my dad smoked weed," she noted to RS.
She also has an unlikely mentor in the form of another controversial artist who isn't afraid to raise public ire: Kanye West. "Kanye is the s**t," is her opinion of the rapper. "I kind of have a good relationship with him now. It's good to have someone you can call and be like, 'Yo, do you think I should wear this?' 'Do you think I should go in the studio with this guy?' 'Do you think this is cool?' That's what homies are supposed to do."
One thing that does ring universal in Miley's decidedly arcane world: Like 21-year-olds the world around, she engages enthusiastically in social media, on all the usual platforms (and, in fact, just announced Monday that she plans to start a Tumblr).
And then, there's another comfortingly normal thing: Her mother's love, no matter how crazy her daughter behaves. Tish Cyrus, who dreamed of being a performer herself, often travels with the pop star.
Oh yeah, and still makes her cringe at times: "When we were getting ready for the VMAs, I was about to put on my teddy-bear costume and she's like, 'Sweet girl, do you need to potty before you put your costume on?'" the all-grown-up Cyrus gripes.
"I'm like, 'Mom! Kanye is standing right here!'"

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Katy Perry After Russell Brand Divorce:

Katy Perry After Russell Brand Divorce: "Should I Continue Living?"

Katy Perry's life is completely different compared to just two years ago. While promoting her upcoming third studio album Prism, the 28-year-old pop star gave a sneak peek into her life with boyfriend John Mayer -- and why he's such a smarty pants, shedding some light on just how her life has changed since her divorce from comedianRussell Brand.
"He literally is a genius, as is evident from his songwriting," the "Roar" singer told Billboard in its latest issue about Mayer. "I always tell him, 'Darling, you know I'm going to have to give your mind to science after you've passed, because we're going to have to understand how all these sparks work.'"
One of the reasons Perry finds the 35-year-old "Say" singer so smart? He's a puzzle master! "We'll be in bed, and he'll be doing the crossword puzzle. Every night, he tries to finish it in under 10 minutes. When he puts his mind to something, he really gets it done very well. I always ask for his help."
The "Firework" star is focused on her new album -- set to hit stores Oct. 22 -- and is on a different path from just two years ago. In the Billboard interview, Perry also dishes on when veteran journalist Barbara Walters threw "shade" at her during Walters' Most Fascinating People of 2011 special. At the time, Perry knew her 14-month marriage to husband Brand was close to being over, and now admits she wish she never sat down for the chat. 
"I shouldn't have done the interview: I was playing Madison Square Garden that same night, and I knew that the end of my marriage was coming," she recalled. "I'd prepped everyone that I was running late, but Barbara showed up at the original time anyway. When I got there, I apologized immediately, but then she said to me, 'You know, I've only ever waited for one other person this long, and you know who that person was? Judy Garland. You know how she turned out, right?'"
Perry added: "I was like, 'Oh, snap! Yes, bitch!' I think it's the coolest thing that Barbara Waltersshaded me. I just couldn't tell her as we were sitting down for a mega-interview, 'Hey, my marriage is falling apart. Give me a break.'"
Brand, 38, would later file for divorce on Dec. 30, 2011, just two weeks after the special aired. The difficult situation Perry experienced at the time would soon lead to fighting off suicidal thoughts, which she then wrote about in her upcoming "By the Grace of God" track. "That song is evident of how tough it really was at a certain point. I asked myself, 'Do I want to endure? Should I continue living?'" she said. "All the songs are real-life moments. I can only write autobiographically. I put all the evidence in the music. I tell my fans if they want to know the real truth about stuff, just listen to the songs."

How Victoria's Secret Models Get Chosen for the Catwalk

It’s pretty clear that the Victoria’s Secret models who hit the catwalk for the label’s annual fashion show, set for Dec. 10, this year, are at the top of their class. But now we also know that the women, dubbed "Angels," have to really sweat it out to get their wings. That's because the casting process is "quite terrifying for them," creative director Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou told Vogue UK on Monday. "The final decision is made by [a team], sitting at this long table in a room with really harsh lighting and they have to walk towards us and away from us. They all have to do it — even the contracted girls — and it's incredibly nerve-wracking for them." She added that making the cut is “about being show-ready" and that “it's really like being an Olympian — they have to be in peak condition. It's not about being thin or anything like that — it's about being ready to perform and be the best you can be in that moment.” Here's what the Angels slated for this year's show have said about how they get there.—Beth Greenfield, Shine Staff

Lindsay Ellingson
Earlier this month, the 28-year-old toldFashionista she likes to go against the grain: "I think it’s sexier and more feminine to be more full. So I add like almond butter, peanut butter, protein shakes to my diet, just to feel a little sexier and curvier." Although the model said she "steps up" her workouts in preparation for the show, she added: "I try not to stress about it because that’s never good."
Lindsay Ellingson

Candice Swanepoel
Swanepoel talked to the Daily Beast about how she got ready for the catwalk in 2012. “I just carry on with my workout that I do year-round and just amp it up a little bit,” she said. “I eat a lot of protein because my metabolism is really fast, and if I work out too much I get smaller, so it’s a good balance of working out and resting in between. My first splurge meal is going to be something light because I have to eat a lot of steak and mashed potatoes to keep my weight, so I’m excited to have a nice ceviche or something.”
Candice Swanepoel

Miranda Kerr
The Victoria’s Secret Angels lineup for the big show, released earlier this month, notably excluded Kerr. But a spokesperson told Yahoo Shine Tuesday she could not confirm whether or not Kerr would walk in the show. “The final cast list will be revealed in November right before the show and as always is subject to model availability," she said. The Australian Angel was a favorite last year and recently toldHarpers Bazaar, "I love food and enjoy eating fresh organic produce. I drink warm water and lemon every morning and I also drink lots of good quality purified and preferably alkaline water throughout the day."
Miranda Kerr

Adriana Lima
VS Angel Lima famously noted, in 2011, that she cuts all solid food out of her diet nine days before the big show, sticking just to liquids — including protein shakes made with egg whites and up to a gallon of water a day. In 2012, trainer Michael Olajide Jr. told People magazine about Lima's preshow workout routine, which allowed her to walk the runway just eight weeks after giving birth. “We were doing four to six hours every day, seven days a week,” he said, noting that her exercises included pedaling on a stationary bike, a shadowboxing routine, rigorous jump roping, and punching with boxing gloves.
Adriana Lima

Lily Aldridge
Regarding her preparations for the 2012 runway show, Aldridge told the Daily Beast, “I am a mommy and I have a 4-month-old, so having a healthy diet is important. Nothing crazy. I definitely dieted, though. I ate a lot of organic salmon and vegetables. I couldn’t have worked harder — maybe I’m not as tiny as I used to be, but I’m womanly now and I’m proud of that.”
Lily Aldridge

Doutzen Kroes
Fellow Angel Doutzen Kroes tweeted a preshow image of herself in 2012 and shared the ingredients of her diet smoothies: flaxseed, coconut, calcium powder and acai berries. But she recently told Telegraph U.K. that she doesn’t fit into sample sizes. "I'm 28 and I've had a baby,” she said. “I have a woman's body, and once in a while you run into the fact that things are not fitting the way they should be. But I joke about it and say, 'What 13-year-old girl was wearing this?' If [companies] think I'm too fat, I'd rather not do the job — because I'm super-healthy and fit and I'm so happy the way I am."
Doutzen Kroes

Alessandra Ambrosio
Ambrosio was secretly pregnant during the 2011 runway show but remained in top shape. “I cut all the sugars and sweets 10 days before and I got my trainer…and we were doing lots of glutes and arms and back exercises," she toldUs Weekly. In 2012 (not long having her second baby), she talked to the Daily Beast about her show prep. “I’ve been working out for the last four months and trying to do some exfoliation so my skin looks good. Maybe I’ll have a sundae ice cream [after the show].”
Alessandra Ambrosio

Karlie Kloss
Kloss, who was at the center of a too-skinnycontroversy after Japanese magazine Numero digitally softened her protruding rib cage in a photo, recently dished to Bon Appétit about what she eats, including "really yummy, clean, boring protein shakes with chocolate protein powder, almond milk, and banana or blackberries." She added, “I carry a picnic in my purse at all times, with things like hot chocolate packets and oatmeal packets — things you can just add hot water to on the go." As for runway-show prep, she told In Style UK, “One of my favourite things to do before the VS show and the regular show season is to treat myself to an oxygen facial at BlissSpa.”
Karlie Kloss

Behati Prinsloo
The Namibian beauty also likes to snack. "I go to Whole Foods and stock up on healthy food so it’s always around. My go-to snack right now is kale chips," Prinsloo told Vogue UK recently. As for exercise, she sticks to Pilates or yoga, plus outdoorsy activities like hiking, surfing, swimming or paddleboarding. “Becoming an Angel was a huge one for me because I just never thought I would be able to do that next to some of the world's most beautiful women,” she said. “I always felt like too much of a tomboy.”
Behati Prinsloo

Taylor Swift Scores Mystery Role in 'The Giver'

Taylor Swift Joins Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep in ‘The Giver’

Taylor Swift at the premiere of 'Romeo and Juliet' on Tuesday in Hollywood (Photo: SplashNews)

Taylor Swift once sang for a YA movie. Now she's going to appear in one.
The country cutie is the latest addition to the cast of "The Giver," a dystopian science fiction film based on the 1993 novel by Lois Lowry and winner of the 1994 Newbury Medal.
The Weinstein Company confirmed to Yahoo Movies that Swift has a supporting part in an eclectic cast that includes Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgård, Odeya Rush, and Cameron Monaghan. However, details of Swift's role are being kept under wraps for now.

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For the record: Taylor Swift is not dating Brenton Thwaites 
The Grammy winner, who performed the hit single "Safe and Sound" on the soundtrack to "The Hunger Games," foreshadowed her involvement with "The Giver" when she was seen out and about with her now-leading man, Brenton Thwaites, at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month.
"The Giver" takes place in a future world in which society has been reinvented as the 'Community,' a tightly controlled order that has eliminated pain and strife — and embraced emotional shallowness — by converting to a practice known as the 'Sameness.' Our hero, Jonas, will soon be participating in the Ceremony of Twelve, where he will be assigned the job he will perform for the rest of his life — which ends up being the Receiver of Memory, a keeper of history that opens him to a long-lost world of war, hunger and suffering ... but also one of love, choices, and desires.
It looks like one major change in the book-to-screen adaptation is the Ceremony of Twelve might end up being the Ceremony of Eighteen or So, as up-and-coming star Thwaites, who was born in 1989, is decidedly older than the 12-year-old Jonas of the book. 
What's also curious is that Holmes has been cast as Thwaites' mother, even though she's only 11 years older than him off-screen. Then again, Sean Connery is only 12 years Harrison Ford's senior, and that worked just fine for "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," so it's probably nothing a little graying of Holmes's hair won't fix.
Other key roles include The Giver himself (Bridges), who passes his Receiver of Memory position on to Jonas, and the Chief Elder (Streep), an antagonistic authority figure who assigns the tasks to the young 'uns. It looks to be all about the scenery-chewing for Meryl Streep lately, as she'll soon be seen as an insufferable matriarch in this fall's "August: Osage County" and is currently filming her role as the Witch in "Into the Woods."
As for Swift, "The Giver" makes for her most high-profile acting gig yet, with her only other big-screen credits to date being the ensemble romantic comedy "Valentine's Day" (2010) and providing the voice of Audrey in "The Lorax" (2012). She has also previously guest-starred on "New Girl" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
Production on "The Giver" will commence on October 7 in South Africa under the direction of Phillip Noyce ("Salt," "Dead Calm"). The film is set to hit theaters on August 15, 2014.

Quickie Engagements:Kaley Cuoco her boyfriend, tennis star Ryan Sweeting

.  That was fast! Kaley Cuoco, star of "The Big Bang Theory" is engaged to her boyfriend, tennis star Ryan Sweeting, after dating for not very long, according to a story published Thursday in Us Weekly

"It's only been three months but she knows Ryan is the one," a source gushed to Us. "When you know, you know." 

Cuoco and Sweeting may seem like exceptions in a world where people are becoming indifferent about marriage — according to a report published by the Pew Research Center, barely half of U.S. adults are married — yet a growing number of celebs (Actress Nikki Reed and former "American Idol" contestant Paul McDonald, two months; Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson, 5-and-a-half-months; Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger, six months) are carrying the torch for "quickie engagements."

And although the notion seems like a disaster in the making, it's a phenomenon happening in "real life" too. Earlier this month, a Texas man proposed to his girlfriend of seven days. She said yes. 

Why are newbie couples rushing to the altar? 

Look to biology. People no longer need a spouse to have children, financial stability, or sex, so romance has become the go-to reason to put a ring on it — and in the beginning of a relationshipthere’s plenty to go around. Couples in love experience a physiological rush of oxytocin (the bonding hormone), dopamine (a feel-good transmitter), and skyrocketing libidos from the novelty of the relationship. As a result, they tend to overlook each other’s flaws, making engagement seem appealing. There’s also a security factor at play: “A quick engagement eliminates all the unknowns in dating,” says Laurie Puhn, couples mediator and author of Fight Less, Love More. “Putting a label on the relationship is like a security blanket. For example, if your fiancé breaks his promise to call, you may tell yourself, ‘It’s not because he doesn’t care, it’s because he’s busy.’”

The urgency of the Internet has also played a part by creating a marriage-obsessed culture wherein getting hitched has become a competitive sport. Need proof? Browse YouTube for “public proposals” and you'll find no shortage of choreographed flash mobs set to a certain Bruno Mars song, fake plane crashes, or celebrity endorsements. It’s possible that couples are feeling pressure to one up each other by prematurely solidifying their status.  

And finally, the fear of divorce is less of a concern among Gen Yers, often products of broken homes who weren’t raised with the notion that marriage lasts forever. “There tends to be a subconscious feeling that if the marriage doesn’t work out, it’s not as taboo as it was among baby boomers,” says Puhn. “The fear of making a bad choice in love isn’t what it used to be.” 

What's the engagement sweet spot? It's unclear, says Puhn, because every relationship is different. “However, since modern couples have more to negotiate than their parents —gender roles, unbalanced finances, parenting philosophies — it’s important to be on the same page," she says. That said, it's not wise to dawdle in the engagement phase for too long. Maintain a "faux marriage" long enough and a couple's commitment could be tested.

If you’re considering marriage to someone you’ve been with for only a few months, ask yourself these questions: Does my partner listen to me? Do I end every argument feeling understood? Do we share the same values and goals? Evaluating your partner's repetitive behavior (during holidays, emergencies, job promotions, tragedies), and how you problem-solve as a couple — can provide clues as to whether your new love could be "the one."  

Will Oprah Winfrey Ever Get Married? Her 'Final Answer'!

Oprah Winfrey speaks with Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson on September 17, 2013 -- Access Hollywood
Oprah Winfrey speaks with Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson on September 27, 2013 -- Access Hollywood

Oprah Winfrey has fielded her fair share of questions over the years when it comes to her personal life. One of the more popular questions -- will she andStedman Graham ever get married?
As Access Hollywood's Oprah Winfrey exclusive week continues, Shaun Robinson sat down with the TV icon to find out -- once and for all - if a walk down the aisle will ever be in Lady O's future.
"Will you leave this earth as a never-married woman?" Shaun asked Oprah.
"Yes," she quickly replied. "Yeah, I think that's my final answer."
While it's a topic on many people's minds, as it turns out, it's also something Oprah herself had been pondering.
"I think that it's interesting that you would ask it because I thought about it again at Tina Turner's wedding," Oprah revealed, referring to the singer's July nuptials.
"Because Tina was like, 'Oprah, you need to do this. You need to do it,'" she continued. "And I was just thinking, 'Well, OK, would things really be different?' And no, I don't think so."
But what does Stedman - whom Oprah has been with for nearly 30 years - think about the idea of marriage with his longtime love?
"If you ever interviewed him, he would tell you that had we married, we would not be together today," Oprah said candidly of Stedman. "Because he's a traditional man and this is a very untraditional relationship. And I think it's acceptable as a relationship, but if I had the title 'wife,' I think there would be other expectations for what a wife is and what a wife does.

Robert Pattinson Is Dating Dylan Penn, "Affectionate" on Night Out in Hollywood

Robert Pattinson Is Dating Dylan Penn, "Affectionate" on Night Out in Hollywood
Robert Pattinson Is Dating Dylan Penn, "Affectionate" on Night Out in Hollywood

Robert Pattinson Dating Dylan Penn

Does Robert Pattinson have a thing for famous progeny? After hooking up with Riley Keough -- Elvis Presley's granddaughter -- over the summer, Kristen Stewart's ex-boyfriend has rebounded with another stunning young woman with A-list roots: Dylan Penn, the daughter of Sean Penn and ex-wife Robin Wright. Us Weekly can confirm the rumors that Pattinson, 27, has been seeing the pretty blonde model, 22, for about two months.
Penn even recently visited the British star on the set of one of his films, one source told Us. The pair were seen together as recently as Wednesday, Sept. 25, where they stayed extra close at Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood. The Twilight Saga hunk and Penn were "canoodling" as they hung out with a group of friends, an observer tells Us, adding, "He was affectionate with her and they seemed comfortable."
Dylan is the eldest child of Oscar-winner Sean, 53, and Wright, 47. The actors divorced in 2010 after 14 years together, and also share son Hopper, 20.
Pattinson and longtime costar Stewart, 23, called off their tortured romance back in May, but reunited for several intense tete-a-tetes over the summer. "She's still heartbroken," a pal said in August of Stewart, who has yet to step out with a new man. "She can't seem to get over him."

Brandi Glanville: Seeing LeAnn Rimes With My Kids Is the "Worst Pain"

Brandi Glanville: Seeing LeAnn Rimes With My Kids Is the "Worst Pain"
Brandi Glanville: Seeing LeAnn Rimes With My Kids Is the "Worst Pain"

Getting over her divorce from Eddie Cibrian -- and the headline-grabbing LeAnn Rimes affair that led up to it -- was nothing compared to the pain Brandi Glanville has had to deal with in the months and years following, she tellsBethenny Frankel on a new episode ofBethenny, airing Friday, Sept. 27.
Seeing (via social media) her sons Mason, 9, and Jake, 5, interact with their stepmother, Glanville's longtime foe Rimes, is much worse, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star revealed. "It's the worst pain you could ever imagine," the Drinking and Tweeting author toldFrankel. "You think your heart is broken after you get a divorce? Wait until there is a girl tweeting pictures of, 'Oh, look at my family.' You have no idea."

"I feel like she almost does it to antagonize me, but at this point I've accepted it," she continued to NYC Housewives alum Frankel, herself engaged in a nasty divorce battle with Jason Hoppy at the moment. "It took me awhile, but Xanax was my friend when that started happening. I was like, 'You can have the man, but those are my babies.'"

Glanville and Cibrian, both 40, pulled the plug on their seven-year union in 2009 after Us Weeklybroke the news that the actor and his Northern Lights costar Rimes (who was also married at the time) were having an illicit affair.
In the ensuing fallout, Glanville and Rimes, 31, engaged in numerous Twitter wars and have hurled nasty names and comments at each other. But despite all of the negativity, however, Glanville told Frankel that there is still a silver lining of sorts.

"You know, I think he's actually become a much better father through divorce," she said. "Because when we were together, he wasn't home a lot, he didn't spend a ton of time with the kids, and now he's really present. That's the one positive I take away from it because the rest freaking sucks."

Bring on the Daisy Dukes: Jessica Simpson Returns to Weight Watchers

Jessica Simpson is ready to get back in her Daisy Dukes!  Jessica Simpson in August. (Splash News)
The reality TV star and fashionista, who welcomed her second child in June, is officially working with Weight Watchers again to shed her baby weight. Andy Amill, who is the company's VP of Media Sales, told MediaBistro in a new interview that the famous blonde has been welcomed back into the fold.
"We were thrilled to welcome Jessica back on the Weight Watchers program in August," a company spokesperson confirms to omg!. "With a toddler on the run and an infant to look after, we know she needs a plan that’s simple and fits into her life along with the support that’s so important to moms with young children."
The 33-year-old first inked a deal with the weight loss company — for a reported $4 million — in May 2012 after having her first child, daughter Maxwell, with fiancé Eric Johnson. And while she lost more than 40 pounds by September of that year, showing off her bod and sharing her diet secrets on "Katie," she — oops! — became pregnant again and had to hit the brakes on her big bucks deal as a diet company spokesperson.
In December, Simpson appeared in a new Weight Watchers ad for the company in which she announced her second pregnancy. At the time, the company said she would stay on as a brand ambassador, but her dieting and point counting was put on hold until after she gave birth and her doctor gave her the green light.

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Simpson at a wedding two weeks before giving birth to Ace. (FameFlynet)
Now Simpson is ready to slim down again, though she's had to ease back into her post-baby exercise routine because she underwent a Caesarean section when she gave birth to Ace Knute on June 30.
The whole thing hasn't been easy, thanks it part to critics. In an interview with Us Weekly following her son's arrival, Simpson lashed out about comments that had been made about her pregnancy figure by those she described as "weight bullies."
"I will never understand why people give pregnant women such a hard time," she told the magazine. "We are creating a human life: I think we get every excuse in the world to eat a doughnut!"
As for her own body, "I am definitely one of those pregnant women who just gains a lot of weight," she continued. "I have really big boobs, I have my curves and I just gain weight. I can't help it. … It's okay to gain weight, and it will always come off."
We're sure it will. And we expect she'll tell us all about it as this reignited partnership with Weight Watchers kicks into high gear.

Jennifer Lopez Lives Vicariously Through Teen as She Helps Her Style Her Quince

Houston teen Alyssa Linares received the experience of a lifetime when she won Verizon's My Fabulous Quince essay contest. Her prize? A one-on-one personal styling session with music-and-fashion icon Jennifer Lopez.
The "American Idol" judge guided Alyssa through every step for achieving the perfect look for her big quince, from hair and makeup to shoes and dress.
Jennifer admitted she enjoyed playing stylist for the day. "This is so up my alley. This is what I like to do during my time off … I like to dress people up. I'm always the Barbie doll, right?"
And the time with Alyssa was a chance for J.Lo to make up for a milestone she missed out on. "I never had a quinceañera, so I'm living vicariously through her!" Alyssa was more than happy to share the experience with her, calling J.Lo "her role model."