Names in the news, May 22

Posted May 21, 2012, at 4:54 p.m.

Whitney Houston’s final recording, “Celebrate,” a duet with Jordin Sparks, is about to be released. The song from Houston’s last movie, a remake of the film “Sparkle,” debuted Monday on Ryan Seacrest’s website and will be available on iTunes June 5. Sparks performed a tribute to Houston on Sunday night at the Billboard Music Awards, singing “I Will Always Love You” as Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina wiped away tears. Houston’s death in February at age 48 came as the singer had been attempting a comeback and had finished filming “Sparkle.” She drowned in a bathtub in Beverly Hills, Calif. Authorities said her death was complicated by cocaine use and heart disease. “Sparkle” opens in theaters Aug. 17. … Hollywood star Will Smith slapped a male television reporter who he said tried to kiss him on the lips as he walked down the red carpet for the Moscow premiere of “Men in Black III.” The reporter from the Ukrainian television channel 1+1, Vitalii Sediuk, approached Smith on the carpet outside the movie theater on Friday night and tried to kiss him. “C’mon man, what the hell is your problem buddy?” Smith said as he pushed Serdiuk away and slapped him lightly across the cheek with the back of his left hand. “He’s lucky I didn’t sucker punch him,” Smith said to the crowd of journalists and fans. “Oh, I said that on camera. It’s all good.” The same reporter made headlines at the Venice Film Festival in September when he presented a bouquet of clearly unappreciated purple hydrangeas to Madonna and called her “my princess.” Madonna rebuffed Sediuk rather ungraciously in Venice, saying: “I absolutely loathe hydrangeas” and stashed the flowers under a table before beginning a press conference.

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