Serena Williams was knocked out of the first round of the Silicon Valley Classic, San Jose, this month by Johanna Konta in what is being called one of the biggest defeats of her career.
The match was over in 53 minutes, with Johanna emerging victorious in a stunning 6-1 6-0 victory, something Serena has since explained in a recent interview with Time Magazine.
Explaining the heavily-discussed match, Serena opened up about the extenuating circumstances that led to her ‘underperformance’.
The 36-year-old recalled how she found out that her sister’s killer had been released from prison just minutes before the match, reportedly seeing the news on Instagram.
Serena and Venus’ half-sister, Yetunde Price, was shot dead in a 2003 drive-by shooting in Los Angeles by Robert Maxfield, who was sentenced to 15 years in jail.
Minutes before taking to the court, Serena discovered that Maxfield had been released on parole three years early, due to good behaviour’ – something that she admitted distracted her from the match.
‘I couldn’t shake it out of my mind,’ Serena explained in her interview with Time. ‘It was hard because all I think about is her kids – what they meant to me and how much I love them.’
She continued: ‘No matter what, my sister is not coming back for good behaviour. It’s unfair that she’ll never have an opportunity to hug me.’
When asked if she has forgiven her sister’s killer, she replied: ‘I’m not there yet. I would like to practice what I preach, and teach Olympia that as well. I want to forgive. I have to get there. I’ll be there.’
Speaking to Hello! magazine back in 2015, Meghan explained how the watch, which she bought herself, had a special significance:
“I’ve always coveted the Cartier French Tank watch. When I found out Suits had been picked up for our third season—which, at the time, felt like such a milestone—I totally splurged and bought the two-tone version.”
The Duchess also revealed the watch was engraved with a unique message, which reads “To M.M. From M.M.”
“I plan to give it to my daughter one day”, Meghan told the magazine. “That’s what makes pieces special, the connection you have to them”.
It’s worth noting that Princess Diana had her own Cartier Tank watch, which could have inspired Meghan prior to her joining the royal family herself.
Forbes has just released its annual top earning actress list and surprisingly, the number one spot has gone to a star who didn’t even make the top ten last year.
Scarlett Johansson raked in a mind-blowing $40.5 million, largely thanks to her role as Black Widow in the Avengers series. She has quadrupled her 2017 earnings to take the number one position.
Other top earners who made the list include Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis and Gal Gadot. A number of last year’s top ten did not make this year’s, such as Emma Stone (she owed her number one spot last year mainly to her La La Land success), Emma Watson and Amy Adams.
The list takes into account not only the actresses’ movie payouts, but things like endorsement deals which can boost earnings significantly.
Take a look at the 2018 top earning actresses here:
10. Gal Gadot ($10 million)
9. Melissa McCarthy ($12 million)
8. Cate Blanchett ($12.5 million)
7. Julia Roberts ($13 million)
6. Mila Kunis ($16 million)
5. Reese Witherspoon ($16.5 million)
4. Jennifer Lawrence ($18 million)
3. Jennifer Aniston ($19.5 million)
2. Angelina Jolie ($28 million)
1. Scarlett Johansson ($40.5 million)
For one fleeting moment back in 2010, one film united the entire world in absolute rage: Inception. It wasn’t because it wasn’t a good film – it was a great film. It was more because the ending was one of the most frustrating cliffhangers in history, leaving people wondering if Leonardo DiCaprio ever got his happy ending or was actually a prisoner of his own imagination. Well, one cast member has finally weighed in and cleared things up for us.
During a Film 4 summer screening of Inception, Michael Caine popped his head in and dropped the mic when he clarified the film’s last nail-biting seconds. If you need a little refresher, at the end of the film Dominic Cobb (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) is finally able to return to his family after successfully completing his mission to incept an idea into businessman Robert Fischer’s mind. As he’s reunited with his family, Michael Caine watches on fondly and the camera pans to a table where Cobb’s spinning top totem – a trinket used to differentiate between the real and dream world – spins and spins and spins.
According to the rules of the universe, if the top falls over then he’s in the real world. If it just keeps on going however, he’s still in the dream world. As the top begins to teeter however, the film cuts to black and we never get to see if it actually fell over or not: meaning we never conclusively know if he’s the real world or trapped in his own mind. It was a real throw-your-drink-at-the-screen moment.
Inception a complicated script to follow at times and even Michael Caine needed clarification while filming, so he went straight to the source for help. He explained an encounter with director Christopher Nolan and said, ‘When I got the script of Inception, I was a bit puzzled by it, and I said to him, ‘I don’t understand where the dream is.’’
‘I said, ‘When is it the dream and when is it reality?’’ Michael continued. ‘He said, ‘Well, when you’re in the scene, it’s reality. So, get that — if I’m in it, it’s reality. If I’m not in it, it’s a dream.’
And well, Michael Caine is in the final reunion scene between Leo and the kids. Which means that Leo/Cobb makes it back to his family in the real world and that Inception actually had a happy ending.
VALIDATION. Closure has never been so sweet, even if it took us eight years to get an answer.
This week the 72-year-old caused a storm, after he paid a controversial tribute to the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, who it was announced had tragically died this week.
The Respect singer was the embodiment of 60s female empowerment. A mother at 12 and Queen of Soul by the time she was 24, she belted out powerful inspirational lyrics about feminism, while proudly telling it how it is. She was an icon – even going on to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
But when Donald Trump came to make his tribute to the late feminist icon, he seemed to focus on something else, crediting the late Queen of Soul for ‘working for him on numerous occasions’.
Yes, that’s right. Donald Trump thanked the legend that is Aretha Franklin for working for him – and no one’s happy about it.
‘I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well. She worked for me on numerous occasions. She was terrific – Aretha Franklin – on her passing,’ Trump reportedly opened a White House cabinet meeting.
He then continued: ‘She’s brought joy to millions of lives and her extraordinary legacy will thrive and inspire many generations to come. She was given a great gift from God – her voice, and she used it well. People loved Aretha. She was a special woman. So just want to pass on my warmest best wishes and sympathies to her family.’
‘In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart,’ Aretha’s family announced in a statement, released to CNN. ‘We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.’
The statement continued: ‘We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.’
Our thoughts are with Aretha Franklin’s loved ones.
The now Duchess of Sussex carried scented sweet peas, lily of the valley and jasmine in her bouquet, adding forget-me-nots and white roses in a nod to Princess Diana, and sprigs of myrtle to comply with royal tradition.
But who caught the stunning bouquet? Well, actually no one.
While most weddings involve the famous bouquet toss, determining who is going to be the next to walk down the aisle, royal weddings are a little different, with the bride actually keeping her flowers for a special reason.
Royal brides always leave a bouquet at the grave of an Unknown warrior in London’s Westminster Abbey – a tradition started by the Queen Mother, so even though the royal couple wed in Windsor, Meghan’s bouquet was driven to London where it was laid as a tribute.
It’s important to remember however that royal brides carry two bouquets – just in case one gets lost after personal experience from the Queen – so provided Meghan didn’t lose her original bouquet, she might have kept her spare flowers.
But it is Meghan’s dad that has caused the most drama, with it even reported this week that the royal family is considering an ‘aggressive strategy’ to stop his constant involvement with the press.
There was the ongoing drama of whether he would be walking her down the aisle, his staged photographs for the press, and of course the multiple TV appearances, even talking about Princess Diana in some controversial comments this month, announcing it would be his last ever interview.
Thomas even opened up this week about a heated phone call with Prince Harry, telling The Mail on Sunday how he ended up hanging up on the 33-year-old, telling the couple that they probably wanted him dead.
We all were hoping that someone might have a private word with the 74-year-old, but let’s just say that if they have, it doesn’t seem to have sunk in.
It was reported today in fact that he is launching a clothing line.
Yes, Thomas Markle is launching a menswear clothing line, according to his daughter and Meghan’s half-sister, Samantha Grant.
‘So excited about my father’s new clothing line for men! Will keep you posted,’ Samantha posted to her personal Twitter account, previously announcing that he should ‘start his own line of hoodies for older men’.
The palace has yet to respond to the announcement, but it’s unlikely that the royals will be too pleased.
Legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin has sadly passed away today in Detroit at 76 years old. Her publicist Gwendolyn Quinn revealed that after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, Aretha sadly passed away earlier this morning surrounded by family and friends. The singer was said to have been ‘sick for a long time’ and had been under the watch of hospice workers at her home in Detroit.
According to CNN, her family released a statement which read, ‘In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.’
They continued, ‘We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.’
A source told Entertainment Tonight previously that doctors were ‘managing the process’ and continued, ‘She has been having lucid moments and she is at peace with her journey. She is where she is supposed to be, at home and surrounded by only love.’
Franklin, who is renowned for hits like Respect and Think, was widely regarded as the Queen of Soul with an unforgettable voice. A prominent Civil Rights activist and feminist icon, her songs were quickly adopted by movements as anthems of social change and she eventually sang at the funeral of Martin Luther King. Jr. Over the past several decades, her songs have topped chart after chart and last performed at a charity gala in support of the Elton John Aids Foundation. After that, she announced that she would be retiring to spend time with her family.
The singer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2010 and prior to her death, an insider revealed to Entertainment Tonight that she ‘has been sick for a long time but didn’t want to share her pain with the world’. A spokesperson for Franklin also revealed that she prior to her passing, she had been visited by her nephew as well as longtime collaborator and friend Stevie Wonder who she was set to release an album with.
The singer enjoyed major success in her lifetime and came from a musical family, as her father Clarence Franklin, a Baptist preacher, was a gospel singer and pianist. While she had some early difficulties with her initial record label Columbia, she catapulted to fame in the late 1960s and was even awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush in 2005 for ‘capturing the hearts of millions of Americans’. Bush wasn’t the last president that she would impress however, as she would later go onto perform at President Obama’s inauguration and even made him cry during a performance of (You
Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman at the Kennedy Center.
A source told Entertainment Tonight, ‘She’s loved her life and in the last year talked so much about her incredible memories. She has earned the title as the Queen of Soul and that is how she wants to be remembered.’
Aretha was the embodiment of 60s female empowerment. A mother at 12 and Queen of Soul by the time she was 24, she belted out powerful inspirational lyrics about respect, while proudly telling it how it is.
Here are 12 of our favourite Aretha Franklin quotes…
1. ‘Falling out of love is like losing weight. It’s a lot easier putting it on than taking it off.’
2. ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Take care, TCB.’
3. I sing to the realists; people who accept it like it is.’
4. ‘Trying to grow up is hurting, you know you make mistakes. You try to learn from them, and when you don’t, it hurts even more.’
5. ‘Don’t say Aretha is making a comeback, because I’ve never been away!’
6. ‘We say, sisters are doin’ it for themselves. Standin’ on their own two feet and ringin’ on their own bells. We say, sisters are doin’ it for themselves.’
7. ‘I’m a big woman – I need big hair.’
8. ‘Now, occasionally I will still have that quarter pounder because I love fast food, but you have to keep it to a minimum.’
9. ’52 years of recording for other people. I thought at this point, it’s time for you to record for yourself. So that way there wouldn’t be so many spoons in the soup. There would just be one Aretha spoon in the soup.’
10. ‘Who hasn’t had a weight issue? If not the body, certainly the big head!’
11. ‘I’m a red-blooded girl… in love with love.’
12. ‘The man who gets me, is getting one hell of a woman.’
There have been many beautiful, amazing, wonderful Carpool Karaokes on The Late Late Show with James Corden. None of them come close to Ariana Grande’s IMO, though I am also horribly biased and literally have a countdown to the release of her newest album Sweetener on my phone. The God is a Woman singer stepped into James’ car and proved that her powerhouse vocals are just as pristine live as they are on her records and she also bust out her comedy chops, channeling her inner Celine Dion and demanding to be carried by the host into a Starbucks.
The singer had been teasing the segment for a little while and James even called it his ‘favourite ever’ instalment of the show, which are some pretty big words given they’ve had guests like Mariah Carey, Harry Styles and even Paul McCartney on. It’s easy to see why though below as the pair get on like a house on fire.
Usually, James Corden is able to hold his own during Carpool renditions of popular songs but even he was relegated to back up singer as Ariana riffed, belted and whistle-toned circles around him. They covered songs from her upcoming and old albums, which included God is a Woman, No Tears Left to Cry and Dangerous Woman.
After explaining that she learned how to do her signature runs by listening to ‘the divas’ (Celine Dion, Beyonce and Destiny’s Child), she reprised her own iconic Celine Dion impression. While she’s bust it out on SNL and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon before, she turned it into a full little sketch where she pretended she was Celine at a concert before launching into a note-for-note perfect cover of her song It’s All Coming Back.
She explained, ‘It took me a minute to find my own sound because I was singing [Celine Dion, Beyonce and Destiny’s Child’s] songs so much growing up.’
There were also a couple of comedy bits that would have made her funnyman fiance Pete Davidson proud, most memorably when she referenced an old rumour that she was carried everywhere. In response, she and James Corden made a little pit stop at Starbucks where the host carried the singer into the store as she ordered – you guessed it – a Grande-sized coffee before vanishing.
One major mystery has yet to be addressed though, as apparently right before starting filming Ariana injured her left hand (you can see the bandage throughout the video). There’s no doubt that it happened while she was with James however, as she tweeted out a picture of her injured hand and tagged him in it.
She wrote, ‘i LOVE my bandage it looks sick @JKCorden i’ll be ok one day’
Although she teased to a fan in another tweet that we would eventually see what happened and that it was ‘stupid’, sadly there’s still been no mention of what actually went down. We just don’t understand how it could have happened – did she slam her hand in the door? Did she slice her hand open with her fierce mani-pedi? Enquiring minds need to know.
In any case, we’re so happy to see she’s doing well and after seeing that bit – we’re making it a priority to snag tour tickets whenever they become available. Her new album Sweetener will be released on August 17, so buckle in and get ready for the ride tomorrow.
Steel yourself to feel incredibly old – Grease is 40 years old this year. It’s hard to believe that it’s really been that long since the boppy tale of Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko blessed the universe and the crew’s all been feeling pretty nostalgic. In fact, the director Randal Kleiser even went as far as to reminisce on Olivia Newton-John’s Grease audition and revealed that ‘she didn’t know if she wanted to do a movie’.
In a chat with ABC News, Randal revealed that Olivia was top of not only his, but also John Travolta and their producer Allan Carr’s list to play the doe-eyed cardigan-wearing Sandy Olsson. Prior to stepping into Sandy’s shoes (and her slinky black trousers), Olivia was living it up as a solo artist on her way up the chart list. However, it turns out that Olivia had her doubts about tackling the silver screen.
Randal explained, ‘She wanted to have a screen test because she didn’t know if she wanted to do a movie.’
In fact, Olivia’s spoken about her initial reservations before. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she explained, ‘I was very anxious about making another film, because my music career was going well. And I did not want to mess it up by doing another movie that wasn’t good.’
Luckily for us, things all worked out and the film we now know and obsess over came to be.
‘She did the screen test and she loved it,’ Randal continued, ‘and she loved working with John and I – and the rest is history.’
And it literally was, as Grease became a landmark piece of American cinema and Danny and Sandy became one of the best film couples ever. If you ask John though, it never would have been if they hadn’t been able to lock down his co-star in the lead role.
He told askjimmycarter.com, ‘There was only one person on the planet that could be Sandy, and that was Olivia Newton-John. And I was hell-bent to get her in this movie.’
As for what Miss Sandra Dee was like when the cameras weren’t rolling? Randal only had glowing things to say.
Randal explained, ‘Olivia is exactly the way she appears on screen. She’s loveable, beautiful, friendly. I can’t go on and on more about her.’
It warmed our hearts to see that a lot of the old Grease gang were actually reunited the other day at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Cast members like Didi Conn, who played Frenchie, and Barry Pearl, who played Doody, were in attendance and naturally, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John were about too. We gushed over the photos of Olivia and John grinning at one another and began mentally writing fanfiction about Olivia and Danny’s life decades after the film ended. (You can’t tell us they’re not still happily married and as badass as ever.)
All this news has made us think we need to get a headstart on our mandatory annual viewing of Grease. We’re cancelling all our plans to stay in, do a face mask and belting Summer Lovin’ as loud as we can tonight.