Scoop: Simon’s engagement a surprise to many

By Courtney Hazlett
|  Friday, Mar 12, 2010  |  Updated 2:14 AM PDT
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Simon Cowell's Engagement a Surprise to Many

FOX, Getty Images

American Idol host Simon Cowell and his girlfriend Mezhgan Hussainy are engaged. The couple met on the set of Idol when Hussainy was a make-up artist for the show.

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Simon Cowell went from bachelor to betrothed before most people knew he was even dating his fiancee, Mezhgan Hussainy. Just how did this happen? According to recording artist Sinitta, one of Cowell’s friends, Hussainy patiently waited for the “American Idol” judge to come around.

“I met (Hussainy) quite a few years ago when she was first his makeup artist on ‘American Idol,’ ” Sinitta told Life & Style. “He was with Terri Seymour then. Mezhgan has been quietly waiting. And he’s suddenly woken up and realized she’s the person he wants to spend the rest of his life with. She’s fun, very easy to be with. I’m not surprised they got together.”

Hussainy, who  has been doing makeup for “Idol” since 2003, has an interesting past. Her family fled Afghanistan soon after the Soviets invaded in 1979. They lived in Pakistan, then immigrated to the U.S. in 1983 and settled in Los Angeles.

According to Life & Style, Hussainy was forced into an arranged marriage with the wealthy Ahmad Shah Zahiri in 1988, but they divorced in the late ’90s.

Cowell’s friend and “America’s Got Talent” judge Piers Morgan gives the relationship his approval. “She’s very grounded and has clearly made him very happy,” Morgan said. “Simon was always going to fall for a makeup artist — that way he has someone permanently around to make him look perfect,” he said.

The British press reports that “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest has a different take on the engagement: “I have known him for so long, and I’m waiting for this to be a big practical joke,” Seacrest said. “I honestly don’t think there will be a wedding.”

Svengali of the D-list
Ever wonder how shows such as “Celebrity Rehab,” “Sex Rehab” and “Sober House” find their crops of damaged, slightly has-been celebrities?

Many of them are clients of David Weintraub, a talent agent who has carved a niche out of shepherding the likes of one-time porn star Mary Carey toward a revitalized career.

The Daily Beast ran an intriguing profile, “The D-list’s Svengali,” that makes it clear that producers of these shows are running the so-called recovery scenarios in ways that best suit a dramatic show arc.

“(‘Sober House’) took Mary Carey, they put her in a room and they said to her, ‘Your story’s sh--, Mary. Your story sucks on this show. We just paid you a lot of money, and your story sucks. Here’s what you need to do to make our show better,” Weintraub said.

He said Carey was told to call a “Dr. Fisher, he’s gonna remove your breast implants on the last week of the show, and you’ll recover in the Sober House, and we’ll show this complete transformation of you leaving porn behind by removing your boobs. And we have you set up, you’re gonna manage a Starbucks.’ ”

The complete interview is online at The Daily Beast.

 

‘Alice’ will still be wonderful
The race at the box office this weekend is essentially for second place — there’s no chance that one of the weekend’s new releases will unseat “Alice in Wonderland” from its No. 1 spot, even if Robert Pattinson and Matt Damon are involved in the competition.

Pattinson is in “Remember Me,” opposite Emilie de Ravin, and the film’s PG-13 rating will help draw many a “Twilight” fan.

But it’s unlikely to beat out Damon in “Green Zone,” which opens in more than 3,000 theaters. Since the film is a product of Paul Greengrass, the director of the last two “Bourne” films, expect it to make big bucks despite leaving No. 1 to “Alice in Wonderland.”

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter @courtneyatmsnbc

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