People in the news Feb. 17 | NevadaAppeal.com

People in the news Feb. 17

Nicole Richie confirms engagement to Madden

NEW YORK (AP) – Nicole Richie is engaged to longtime boyfriend Joel Madden.

The 28-year-old Richie confirmed the engagement Monday during a taping of CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman.”

Letterman asked, “You’re not married yet, is that correct?” Richie replied, “We’re not married.”

Letterman then asked if she and Madden planned to get married. Richie said, “We actually recently are engaged, yes.”

The 30-year-old Madden fronts the band Good Charlotte.

The couple have a 2-year-old daughter, Harlow Winter Kate, and a 5-month-old son, Sparrow Midnight.

Richie has a new clothing line, Winter Kate, and shoe and accessories line, House of Harlow. She and Paris Hilton costarred on TV’s “The Simple Life.”

Publicist: Chynna Phillips in rehab for anxiety

NEW YORK (AP) – A representative for Chynna Phillips says the 42-year-old singer has entered an undisclosed treatment facility for anxiety.

A statement issued by her publicist, Lizzie Grubman, says Phillips checked herself into the facility “after much thoughtful deliberation.”

Grubman says Phillips is “looking forward to her recovery.” The statement asks that people respect Phillips’ privacy and the privacy of her family.

Phillips, of the pop group Wilson Phillips, is married to actor William Baldwin. The couple have three children.

She is the half-sister of former child actress Mackenzie Phillips, who claimed in a 2009 memoir that she had a decade-long sexual relationship with their father, pop star John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas.

Ebert cannot speak, but still communicates

NEW YORK (AP) – Film critic Roger Ebert lost his ability to speak nearly four years ago, when he underwent a tracheostomy, a procedure that opens an airway through an incision in the windpipe, after surgery for cancer in his jaw.

In an interview in the new issue of Esquire magazine, the 67-year-old film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times uses pen and paper and text-to-speech computer software to communicate. He’s developed a kind of rudimentary sign language, and he sometimes draws letters with his finger on the palm of his hand.

Ebert had surgery to remove his cancerous thyroid in 2002. He had surgery on his salivary glands in 2003 and on his jaw in 2006. Complications in 2006 led to more surgery and months of recuperation. He lost his ability to speak.

When asked about another operation to restore his voice, Ebert shakes his head.

Ebert has been a film critic for the Sun-Times since 1967. In 1975, he became the first journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for movie criticism.

His thumb, pointing up or down, was the main logo of the televised movie review shows he co-hosted, first with Gene Siskel of the rival Chicago Tribune and – after Siskel’s death in 1999 – with his Sun-Times colleague Richard Roeper.

The Esquire article describes a moment where Ebert begins to type on his computer. He presses a button and the speakers light up. “I’ve never said this before,” the voice says, “but we were born to be Siskel and Ebert.” The voice then says: “I just miss the guy so much.”

Besides his film reviews, Ebert writes a blog and has published numerous books.

Kevin Smith oversized? Ejected from flight

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Kevin Smith says he’s “way fat,” but that shouldn’t stop him from flying.

The director and actor says a pilot ejected him from a Southwest Airlines flight from Oakland to Burbank, Calif., saying he didn’t fit properly in a single seat.

Smith raised a stink about the incident on his Twitter page Sunday, saying “I’m way fat, but I’m not there just yet,” and “If you look like me, you may be ejected from Southwest Air.”

He posted a picture of himself sitting on the plane with his cheeks puffed out.

Southwest says its “Customer of Size” policy require travelers must be able to fit safely and comfortably in one seat or make other arrangements.

After a storm of angry online comments from Smith and his fans, the airline issued an apology first from its own Twitter account and later in a statement on its Web site titled “Not So Silent Bob,” a jovial jab at the Silent Bob character Smith plays in many of his films.

“We would like to echo our tweets and again offer our heartfelt apologies to you,” the statement said.

The airline said it also accommodated Smith on a later flight, gave him a $100 voucher and apologized by phone.

Both Smith and the airline acknowledged that he had bought two seats for his original flight from Oakland, where he had spoken at the Macworld Expo conference.

But he was flying standby in order to catch an earlier flight, and only one was available.

Smith insisted that he was still able to put both armrests down and buckle his seat belt, which is Southwest’s standard.

Smith is the director of the new Bruce Willis movie “Cop Out.”