Bethenny Frankel's disaster relief group sends supplies to Texans amid power crisis, more news

Bethenny Frankel sends supplies to Texans facing power outages

Bethenny Frankel and her BStrong disaster relief foundation are hard at work sending much needed supplies to Texas as millions of residents face ongoing power outages, water issues and multiple winter storms. “Given the current humanitarian crisis in Texas, #BStrong is loading trucks of aid to distribute to those ravaged by power outages, sub zero temperatures, lack of and contaminated water, death, and homelessness,” Bethenny shared on Instagram on Thursday, Feb. 18, alongside photos of “tireless warriors” loading up the supplies in a warehouse. The Daily Mail reports the aid group, working in tandem with the Global Empowerment Mission, are routing more than 1 million bottles of hand sanitizer, plus “BStrong Family Boxes” including food, hygiene supplies, PPE gear and more for thousands of people to Texas. As Bethenny told followers on social media, their efforts to help Texans navigate days without power or clean water in freezing cold weather are part of an $80 million project to assist with “crisis relief and PPE” needs around the world. “We operate without bureaucratic red tape, no drama & no waiting. 💯% goes directly to the effort, as always,” she added.

Keep reading to see why Dolly Parton has politely declined to have a statue of herself erected in her home state …

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Dolly Parton declined to have statue erected in her honor … for the same reason fans want to honor her

Dolly Parton has formally requested that Tennessee legislators nix a bill to erect a statue of the singer-songwriter at the state Capitol — and as scores of Twitter users pointed out this week, she did so for the most Dolly reason ever. “I am honored and humbled by their intention but I have asked the leaders of the state legislature to remove the bill from any and all consideration,” she tweeted on Thursday, Feb. 18, after thanking the legislature for their interest in supporting the bill. “Given all that’s going on in the world,” she continued, “I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.” Tennessee Rep. John Mark Dwindle introduced the bill in January, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He said it would be paid for by gifts, grants and donations and would allow the state to honor the 75-year-old music legend, “for all that she has contributed to” Tennessee, including her extensive philanthropy. Dolly’s Twitter statement ended with more humble selflessness. “I hope, though, that somewhere down the road several years from now or perhaps after I’m gone if you still feel I deserve it, then I’m certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean,” she wrote. “In the meantime, I’ll continue to try to do good work to make this great state proud.” Dolly’s “thanks but no thanks” on the statue comes after she told the AP in an interview that she has yet to get the COVID-19 vaccine that her $1 million donation helped fund because she’s waiting, “until some more people get theirs” and she doesn’t “want it to look like I’m jumping the line.”

RELATED: Dolly Parton’s life in pictures

Tayshia Adams weighs in on Chris Harrison’s decision to step away from ‘The Bachelor’

Former “Bachelorette” Tayshia Adams is all for host Chris Harrison’s plan to “[step] aside” from his duties on “The Bachelor” “for a period of time” after he was hit with backlash for comments he made about a contestant’s history of attending a plantation-themed ball and dressing up like a Native American. During an appearance on “Click Bait with Bachelor Nation,” Tayshia called Chris’ decision “a really good thing.” “He said, ‘By excusing historical racism I defended it,’ which is the absolute truth, and the fact that he called that out and owned up to that and he acknowledges that, means a lot to me,” Tayshia explained, per People. “Also the fact that he said, ‘This is not just a moment but a commitment to much greater understanding that I will actively make each day’ also meant a lot to me. Because it isn’t just a moment, just like how Black Lives Matter isn’t just a trending topic on Instagram — it’s a thing that’s taking place every single day that we should actively try to partake in …” Chris initially raised eyebrows when he told former “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay he thought “Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell deserved “compassion” in the wake of news about her old, controversial social media posts. “His words affected a lot of people, you know, myself included,” Tayshia said. “I think that by him taking ownership, and just not just saying issue an apology and then just going back to work the next day like nothing happened speaks volumes on his behalf.”

RELATED: Biggest scandals of ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘Bachelorette’

Kanye West knows marriage to Kim Kardashian ‘is over,’ but ‘still loves her very much’: Report

There’s apparently “very little hope of reconciliation” for Kim Kardashian West and her estranged husband, Kanye West, as they continue living separate lives ahead of what appears to be an inevitable divorce. That’s according to a People source who tells the outlet, “Kanye is not doing well,” given the state of his relationship with Kim. “He is anxious and very sad,” the insider says. “He knows that the marriage is over, and there’s nothing that can be done right now. He also knows what he is losing in Kim.” Kim, who’s been spotted more than once without her wedding ring in recent months, is said to have stalled on filing for divorce out of concern for the four children she and Kanye share. People’s source says that while Kim has been the kids’ primary caregiver, she has no intention of keeping their dad out of their lives and “has made it clear Kanye can talk to them anytime he wants.” Ultimately, the insider believes Kim, “just knows she can’t be married to him anymore,” and though he “still loves her very much,” he also “understands” her position.

Jason Sudeikis linked to former costar, model Keeley Hazell

Olivia Wilde’s romance with Harry Styles is no secret at this point, but has her ex, Jason Sudeikis, moved on with someone new? Not according to ET, which threw cold water on recent reports Jason is “casually seeing” his “Horrible Bosses 2” costar, British model, Keeley Hazell, on Thursday, Feb. 18. According to People, Jason knows Keeley “from many years ago,” and the two are now involved, though he’s “not looking for anything serious.” But an insider tells ET Jason and Keeley have been platonic friends for a long time, including while Jason and Olivia were splitting up. The ET source adds that Jason’s “not ready to move into any relationships right now.” Jason and Olivia reportedly called it quits at the beginning of last year after seven years together. They share a son, Otis, 6, and daughter Daisy, 4.

Malia Obama lands gig on new Donald Glover series: Report

Malia Obama has been “recruited” for the writer’s room of a new, Donald Glover-produced Amazon series called “Hive,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s eldest daughter, 22, has experience working in film and TV, having interned on HBO’s “Girls,” CBS’s “Extant” and, more controversially, for the The Weinstein Company prior to Harvey Weinstein’s downfall in 2017. It’s unclear what her role on the writing staff will involve, but the Harvard student’s rumored new project focuses on “a Beyonce-like figure” and was created by award-winning writer, producer and Juilliard alum, Janine Nabors, whose resume also features producing stints for “Watchmen.” The series is said to be part of a new, “multiple-year, eight-figure” Amazon deal for Donald. According to The Root, the deal won’t impact the actor’s work on “Atlanta,” which is expected to continue airing on FX once it returns.

FKA twigs opens up about how abusers ‘gaslight’ their victims

Singer FKA twigs gave her first TV interview about the alleged abuse she suffered while dating Shia LaBeouf in a sit-down with Gayle King for “CBS This Morning” on Thursday, Feb. 18. The conversation ranged from incidents she’s previously detailed in interviews with the New York Times and Elle and in a lawsuit filed against the actor in December, to some new discussion about how she says she was manipulated by Shia. “Abusers use gaslighting, which is where like, somebody minimizes your experience,” twigs explained. “You know, it’s like altering your narrative or not listening to you, and, and denying your experience, and eventually, it did become physical. There were certain instances where he would push me and then he would say, ‘You fell.’ And I would get really confused. And, and I think, I would think, ‘Maybe I did.'” She then opened up about an assault she says took place on a weekend away with Shia that ended with him throwing her into the side of a car and trying to choke her. She couldn’t fight the tears as she recalled returning home to find that, “the whole one side of my body is black and blue.” She continued: “I remember thinking, you know, I’m a dancer. And, and I really love my body, and I take such good care of it and I was looking at my body and I just thought, ‘Where did it all go wrong?'” After twigs first shared her story with the Times, Shia told the paper in a statement, “many of these allegations are not true.” He then said: “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. I’ve been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I’m ashamed of that history, and I’m sorry to those I hurt.” To twigs, that semi-apology, “… just reminds me of some of the gaslighting that I experienced when I was with him, and sort of taking some of the blame but not all of it, and then denying it,” she told Gayle.

Luke Combs apologizes for using Confederate flag imagery

Days before a video showing Morgan Wallen screaming a racial slur leaked online, the singer’s country music peer, Luke Combs, released “The Great Divide,” a track that’s been described by critics as a “call for unity,” with bluegrass artist Billy Strings. Social media users, however, soon began posting clips and photos from Luke’s 2015 appearance in a Ryan Upchurch video in which he plays a guitar with a Confederate flag on it against a backdrop of more Confederate flag imagery. He apologized for his use of the flag this week in a Country Radio Seminar talk with Maren Morris and journalist Ann Powers, saying that he’s matured since he recorded the video and is trying to continue learning as his career progresses. “There is no excuse for those images. I’m not trying to say this is why they were there and it’s OK that they’re there because it’s not OK,” he said, according to Billboard. “I think as a younger man, that was an image I associated to mean something else, and as I’ve grown in my time as an artist and as the world has changed drastically in the last five to seven years, you know, I’m now aware of how painful that image can be to someone else. … I would never want to be associated with something that brings so much hurt to someone else.” Maren, who was one of the first country stars to speak out about Morgan Wallen’s offensive video earlier this month, admitted she, too, initially failed to understand the scope of how damaging Confederate flag imagery can be. She also vowed to quit playing festivals where the flags are flying. “If you were a Black person, would you ever feel like going to a show with those flying in the parking lot? No,” she said. “I feel like the most powerful thing as artists in our position right now is to make those demands of large organizations, festivals, promoters, whatnot. That’s one of the things we can do, is say, ‘No, I’m not doing this. Get rid of them.'”

Rachael Ray shares an update on her fire ravaged home as rebuilding continues

Six months after their home was destroyed in a fire last August and they set out to rebuild it, Rachael Ray and her husband, John Cusimano, are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The couple shared an update on the Thursday, Feb. 18, edition of “The Rachael Ray Show,” showing viewers a shot of the still-under-construction bedroom. “This is the wall where I heard the fire climbing through the wall. At least you can see some bones,” Rachael said. The celebrity chef and her husband have been living in a guest house on the property in Lake Luzerne, New York, while they wait for the main house to be move-in ready. And as they told viewers this week, they have no plans to return to the main house “until it’s done, done,” which will likely be late 2021, Rachael told ET earlier this week. Joking about their earlier attempt to stay in the ravaged building, Rachael laughed and said, “It was not fun.”

Alyssa Milano makes wellness check calls to Texans, takes aim at Ted Cruz

Alyssa Milano’s getting big love from Texans on Twitter this week for her work making wellness check calls to residents of the state who’ve spent days shivering in the dark without access to running water amid Texas power grid failures. “Thank you for spreading the word about what’s actually happening here,” wrote one Texan in the comments of Alyssa’s posts, which have featured Google Sheets full of resources for people in need and those who want to help, as well as updates as power begins to return to hundreds of thousands of storm-stricken families and businesses. Alyssa also zoned in on Ted Cruz, whose name was trending with the hashtag “#TedFled,” thanks to the Cancun vacation he opted to take while his state suffered from mass power outages and a dearth of clean water. “While the Texas Governor Greg Abbott is on Fox News spreading misinformation about renewable energy,” Alyssa tweeted, referencing the governor’s incorrect claim windmills were responsible for the power outages, “… and Ted Cruz is in Cancun, 31 Texans have died & millions are suffering.” She added, “we all need to roll up our sleeves & help the good people of Texas.” The actress also shared that she was working on wellness check calls via Beto O’Rourke’s team, helping connect people statewide with warming centers, food and clean water. “We need more leaders who lead from a place of love,” she posted. Unlike other states, Texas maintains its own power grid to avoid federal regulation, leaving it isolated in times of crisis. Meanwhile, Texas officials reportedly knew a bad winter storm could put the grid in danger, the Texas Tribune reported, but when power companies were given the option to prepare for bad weather, they chose not to make “costly upgrades.”

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