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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Tabloid Temptresses

Aired August 19, 2005 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


HEIDI COLLINS, GUEST HOST: Hi everybody, I'm Heidi Collins in for Paula Zahn tonight. Thanks for joining us.
And, get set for an eye opening look at three of Hollywood's hottest young stars.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS (voice-over): They're tabloid gold, bold, beautiful, bankable, but you won't believe how it all began for a small town girl, a preacher's daughter and an actress who sizzles on the screen.

Tonight, a PAULA ZAHN NOW special, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, how three tabloid temptresses made it to the top.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Collectively, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan are responsible for well over half a billion dollars in entertainment income, so how did these three talented young women turn themselves into such big money, making pop icons?

Well, we're going to find out tonight and we start with Paula Zahn's report on Jessica Simpson whose first movie, the remake of that '70s TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard" opened just two weeks ago. So far it's earned more than $57 million.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): She's the embodiment of pop star perfection with her own rendition of "These Boots are Made for Walkin'" but take note this is not your father's Nancy Sinatra.

PETER CASTRO, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: We always knew she was pretty and sexy before but this puts her on a whole other level of sexiness and gorgeousness.

ZAHN: But don't be fooled by the bodacious blonde singing sensation. It took more than her body and ballads to catapult her to pop star fame. Before you heard any of her sultry vocals you probably saw her on reality TV.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Sit, sit, oh you're already sitting.

ZAHN: Who knew that all she had to do was be herself. JOE SIMPSON: She speaks before she thinks.

JESSICA SIMPSON: If a duck is like a chicken, why is it pink?

JOE SIMPSON: She says what's on her mind because she has nothing to hide.

ZAHN: But after a few ditsy blonde TV moments, 25-year-old Jessica Simpson would become a phenomenon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's like bow legged and when she sits bow legged. What did you call it?

SIMPSON: I said bowl and it should have been bow.

LYNN SHAW, DRAMA TEACHER: I think she's just one of those people like a Lucille Ball or Goldie Hawn that does it so well that you just fall in love with it.

ZAHN: When she and her hubby stepped into the world of reality TV, Simpson became a household name. "Newlyweds" became MTV's most popular show. Jessica, once a struggling singer, became a pop icon.

JOE SIMPSON: Same voice, same girl but now they have been introduced to her heart.

ZAHN: She graces the covers of best-selling magazines.

JESSICA SIMPSON: I got the new buffalo chicken pizza from Pizza Hut.

ZAHN: Talks pizza and breath mints on TV commercials.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Oh.

ZAHN: Oh, and let's not forget her are they on or off relationship with former boy band hottie Nick Lachey.

JESSICA SIMPSON: What are you doing?

NICK LACHEY, JESSICA'S HUSBAND: I'm going to watch it in the theater room.

JESSICA SIMPSON: No, I wanted the theater room.

LACHEY: Well, then vamoose!

ZAHN: When Nick and Jessica opened up their home and private lives on national TV the couple became fodder for tabloids speculating on their marriage.

CASTRO: It was like this assault on their marriage and they started to believe this stuff like maybe we really are that unhappy and it had a devastating effect. They would fight about it.

ZAHN: Add to the Jessica package her famous pop rocker sis Ashlee and you've got the ultimate marketing machine. The sisters raked in about $50 million last year. Who's the mastermind behind the Simpson show biz empire, father Joe Simpson. Simpson, once a struggling Baptist preacher and a youth minister, has become a well- known figure in the music world.

JESSICA SIMPSON: My dad likes to take credit for that today.

ZAHN: The 47-year-old has guided his daughters' careers, transforming Jessica and Ashlee from unknowns into super stars.

BUSTER SOARIES, PROCLAIM RECORDS: He will know things that other managers and media moguls will not know because he has this unique connection to young people that started in his ministry in Texas at a Baptist church.

ZAHN: He was a pastor at this church in Richardson, Texas, a quiet suburb outside of Dallas when Jessica was growing up. The preacher's daughter was a popular student who swore off sex until marriage.

SHAW: She did not go out with the big drinkers. She did not go out with the partiers. She pretty much stayed within this group of kids and they all had made the same pledge of abstinence.

ZAHN: Jessica sang in the church choir. When her family realized how talented she was, Joe left the ministry to become Jessica's full time manager. Twelve-year-old Jessica tried out for the Mickey Mouse Club in 1992 but choked when she heard another contender, pop diva in training Christina Aguilera.

JOE SIMPSON: Jessica just happened to watch it and it scared her to death and she was next.

JESSICA SIMPSON: I froze in the audition. I forgot everything and I ended up not getting it.

ZAHN: Jessica wasn't ready for Hollywood but back home she took the starring role in her high school production of "A Chorus Line." When she was 14, Simpson landed a recording contract with Proclaim Records, a small gospel music label. Her record was never released though. Execs found Jessica too sexy for Christian music.

SOARIES: The two specific criticisms that I received her dress was too short and her gestures seemed to be too sensual.

JOE SIMPSON: Somehow double D's don't really fit in the overall picture of, you know, what works and quiet Christian music.

ZAHN: But Joe still tried to get Jessica's music to the masses. He borrowed $10,000 from his mother to mix Jessica's songs himself then sold her records to churches all over Texas.

One of those demos made its way to a Columbia talent scout and she sealed her first record deal in 1997. Jessica dropped out of high school and Joe moved the family to L.A. Simpson's debut album fared well but in the late '90s there was no shortage of pop princesses. JESSICA SIMPSON: I signed with Columbia and when I was 17 I hear that Britney signed with Jive, you know, the week before and that Christina signed with RCA the week after, so it's been like this ongoing thing for me to try to differentiate myself.

ZAHN: Jessica's follow-up album still couldn't set her apart from pop star rivals and 2001's "Irresistible" and later 2003's "In this Skin," fell flat.

JOE SIMPSON: We were a product of the belief that we should try to be first Mariah and then Britney and I was really asking for us to just be Jessica because her gifts are not those other girl's gifts.

ZAHN: By 2002, Jessica was barely a blip in the music world and the Simpson family was close to bankrupt owing millions to record execs.

When we return, Joe sells Jess on her bubble-headed charm.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Here's a tricky question. How did they make wine back in Jesus' days?

ZAHN: But, could the preacher turned Hollywood stage dad push his kids too hard?

JOE SIMPSON: That's what we're set to do is the Japan loop and the Europe loop.

CASTRO: He's very resourceful and some would say he's shameless.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Welcome back to our hour long special on those tabloid temptresses Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Simpson.

When Jessica Simpson was 21 she had some modest success in music under the guidance of her father but she was struggling to really break through. That was about to change thanks to a new man in her life.

Once again here's Paula.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): By the end of 2001, pop songs like "Irresistible" had branded 21-year-old Jessica Simpson just another Britney wannabe. Though her career seemed dim her love life lilt up. She was hot and heavy with 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey but the minister's daughter declared no hanky panky before marriage.

NICK LACHEY: I think we're both very happy and committed.

JESSICA SIMPSON: And it's definitely not a publicity stunt that's for sure. ZAHN: Nick wouldn't have to wait long. After a quick courtship the two married in October, 2002. Simpson's protective dad wasn't happy his little girl was getting hitched.

JOE SIMPSON: It had nothing to do with Nick. It probably had more to do with baby you're 22, you know. In a couple years you're going to go, "Oh, my gosh I get it."

ZAHN: Jessica's dad eventually rallied behind the couple but even with all the marital bliss, Jessica's career was sliding downhill. Then, MTV approached Joe with an idea that would turn everything around. Why not chronicle the new marriage on TV?

JESSICA SIMPSON: Trying to kill me?

ZAHN: Joe convinced Jess it was the right move.

CASTRO: It was Joe Simpson who realized that he had a daughter with a floundering record career and he had to act fast, perhaps out of desperation, perhaps out of intuition. It made her a household name essentially overnight.

ZAHN: With the phenomenal success of her TV show, Sony re- released Jessica's album "In the Skin." The same record that bombed just one year before soared to multi platinum. The Simpsons had achieved their dream but Joe wasn't finished. He had another talented daughter at home.

JESSICA SIMPSON: When I went to MTV on Ashlee I said, look, if we put out this record without someone knowing who Ashlee is they're going to kill me because they're going to say, oh well, you know, she's Jessica's sister so she's really not talented, dah, dah, dah, dah.

ZAHN: But she would prove she was more than Jessica's kid sister.

Twenty-year-old Ashlee Simpson was no stranger to the spotlight before she won reality TV. She began dance lessons at the age of four and at eleven became the youngest person ever to be admitted to the School of American Ballet. She was a back-up dancer for her older sister Jess.

ASHLEE SIMPSON: I care about you.

ZAHN: And later landed a recurring TV role on "7th Heaven." But the young actress later had music on her mind. She hired dad as her manager and in 2003 caught the attention of Geffen Record exec Jordan Schur.

CASTRO: Ashlee had a strong vision for what she wanted to be and who she wanted to be and Joe was very supportive of that.

ZAHN: Ashlee's first album, 2004's "Autobiography" debuted at a startling number one. But like her sister it would be reality television, MTV's "The Ashlee Simpson Show" that would make her a star.

And, as quick as the change of her hair color, Ashlee was transformed from Jessica's little sis to pop rock sensation. Joe Simpson had struck gold twice but one of his golden girls would soon be tarnished. In 2004, a media storm erupted when Ashlee got caught lip sinking on "Saturday Night Live."

CASTRO: This was Milli Vanilli (INAUDIBLE) and it just reminded a lot of people of that fiasco and they came down hard on her.

ZAHN: And came down on her dad. Joe has been criticized for exposing his daughters to public scrutiny at such a young age.

CASTRO: Some people look at that and say, you know, the guy has no scruples. He's completely unethical to do that with his kids. Other people say good on you, brilliant move.

ZAHN: But Joe admits the S&L slip up was painful for Ashlee.

JOE SIMPSON: It's a struggle for her. You know she has said to me a number of times, "Daddy, you know, why did this happen to me? Daddy, do people not like me anymore?"

ZAHN: Criticism aside, there's no question that Joe has helped make the Simpson family a small empire in the music industry and now possibly in the film industry. With the help of their dad, both daughters have ventured into movies. Joe is the executive producer of Ashlee's not yet released film "Undiscovered."

ASHLEE SIMPSON: Working with my dad is honestly like amazing. I know a lot of people like question it like oh but it's your dad but my dad has like such a good opinion and I really, really trust him.

ZAHN: And Jessica is making her screen debut in the summer's much hype "The Dukes of Hazzard."

Does on screen success translate to success and harmony at home? The tabloids have said Nick and Jessica are all but over. Did Nick really cheat on Jess? And did Jessica fool around with co-start Johnny Knoxville on the set of "Dukes"?

The couple insists despite the rumor everything is OK at home and in July's "GQ" magazine, Jessica said, "I really adore Johnny Knoxville. I think he's great. If people want to make that romantic they can. But I'm married and my husband is my romance."

So what's the deal with America's favorite couple?

CASTRO: The real deal is that they're still married. The other real deal is that they do fight and the other third layer of that real deal is that they have had significant problems as a married couple.

ZAHN: It remains to be seen whether the newlyweds will stay together but those who know the Simpson family say when it comes to his daughters there's nothing Joe can't fix. SOARIES: This whole divorce cloud that surrounds Jessica and it's now becoming tainted by charged of infidelity is something that Joe will manage.

ZAHN: After all it's what the minister turned music mogul has done throughout their lives, transforming his daughters from the margins of teen pop to mega stars to a finely tuned marketing machine.

JOE SIMPSON: We made a pledge to our children if you dream the dream, I'll help you get there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: As an update on Ashlee Simpson, according to Billboard she's in talks with "Saturday Night Live" about a return appearance this fall, one year after that lip sink disaster you saw there.

Well, it's one down, two to go, in our night of paparazzi princesses. Next, the one time Mousketeer who grew up to kiss Madonna.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRITNEY SPEARS, ENTERTAINER: No, I've never kissed a woman before (INAUDIBLE) no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: The ever changing, ever scandalous Britney Spears, will motherhood finally settle her down?

And later, sometimes she's a redhead. Sometimes she's a blond. But is Lindsay Lohan too thin?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Tonight, we're looking at three of America's hottest pop stars. Coming up Britney Spears heads to the wedding chapel, then oops, she does it again. We'll catch up with Mrs. Kevin Federline.

And then Lindsay Lohan are her days as a party girl catching up with her?

But first it's time for an update of the hour's top stories. For that we turn to Erica Hill of Headline News.

(NEWSBREAK)

COLLINS: Next in our night of pop star princesses, the wholesome girl next door from the Mickey Mouse Club grows up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA SHAW, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I think parents started getting a little concerned like, wait a second, this isn't the sweet little pop star we thought she was. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: When it comes to Britney Spears' sensational journey into adulthood who wasn't surprised?

And later, the youngest member of our tabloid trio despite all the headlines there's a lot you don't know about Lindsay Lohan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Welcome back to our Friday night special with tabloid temptresses, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

Next up, Britney, in about a month or so she will no longer be known only as a pop diva. She'll be a mom too, quite a picture isn't it? And only seven years after rocketing to music stardom as a teenage sex pot.

Here's Kyra Phillips.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the ripe old age of 23, she's the undisputed precociously seductive princess of pop.

CASTRO: Britney Speaks became a superstar because she hit on a brilliant formula and that was "I will be the modern day Lolita. I will have a nation of screaming pre-teen girls wanting to be me and I will have a nation of horny old men wanting to sleep with me."

PHILLIPS: With that toxic blueprint, Britney Spears has planted herself in the pantheon of pop. She's Madonna's mini-me and the world can't get enough. Four number one albums, 12 top ten singles, $50 million in record sales with an net worth estimated at $100 million. She's a headline breaking, scandal making, lip locking machine.

We met Britney Spears a little more than five years ago and from the start her twist on the Catholic school girl was wrought with controversy. She danced with a snake, had sex with Justin Timberlake and, as the years passed, only the jaded tabloid reader would be bored. But in the fall of 2003, in the wake of her fourth album's release, Britney buzz took a turn.

JESSICA SHAW, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Well, before "In the Zone" the problem was we were seeing a lot of Britney but it was a lot of Britney in bad light. It was a lot of Britney acting out. She was flipping off the press in Mexico. She was drinking. She was smoking. She was out all night clubbing.

PHILLIPS: Then in January, 2004, the biggest news of the new year out of the zone. She's walked down the aisle and, oops, needs an annulment.

SUCHIN PAK, CORRESPONDENT, MTV NEWS: The Britney wedding for a while I think we all forgot that we went to war. PHILLIPS: But the pop tart's 55 hour Vegas marriage was just the beginning of the buzz ahead. On September 18th another official announcement, yes folks she did it again.

CAGLE: She shocked the world again.

HACKETT: Her family didn't know. Her mother didn't know. Her sister was very upset at one point, because she thought she was the only one who hadn't been told.

PHILLIPS: And in April, just seven months after tying the knot with dancer Kevin Federline, the newlyweds let everyone in on yet another little secret.

CASTRO: Britney Spears is pregnant. There is a baby Federline on the way, and she's ecstatic. This is her ultimate goal.

PHILLIPS: She was born Britney Jean Spears on December 2nd, 1981, in the tiny southern zip code of 70444.

ALIX STRAUSS, BIOGRAPHER: Britney was born in Kentwood, Louisiana, which has a population of something like 2,400. It's very all-American. It's blue collar. It's everybody knows everybody. It's back to "The Andy Griffith Show."

PHILLIPS: Britney's father worked construction. Her mother, Lynne, taught school. Money came and went, but one thing always remained.

DARLENE HUGHES, BRITNEY'S FORMER TEACHER: Britney's voice bloomed. She was so strong, and her voice was mature and developed, and people would just stop and look with their jaw dropped.

PHILLIPS: From gymnastics to drama club. From off-Broadway to "Star Search." By the time she was 12, the House of Mouse had asked Britney to join its club.

SPEARS: Our final story is the shocker of the week...

STRAUSS: You had Keri Russell. You had Christina Aguilera. You had J.C. and Justin from 'N Sync.

SHAW: It was a very talented little gene pool going on with those Mickey Mouse ears.

PHILLIPS: And, boy, did they click.

T.J. FANTINI, FORMER DISNEY MOUSEKETEER: I was there for the first kiss. What happened was is that we all decided to go over to my house, and we were hanging -- it was actually the night of the O.J. Simpson chase. And then we decided to play truth or dare. And one of the dares was for Justin to kiss Britney. And lo and behold, there was their first kiss.

PHILLIPS: But in 1995, two years into the show's run, the Mouseketeers found out they were no longer. STRAUSS: My guess is that she was devastated. I mean, who wouldn't be? She was going back to Kentwood, Louisiana, for what? I mean, what do you go back there to?

PHILLIPS: Staying true to her roots, pop's future princess quietly resumed her life as an everyday student, and in the halls of Parklane Academy, a boy quickly caught her eye. His name was Reg Jones. A standout athlete from a prominent local family, the 18-year- old quickly became Britney's first boyfriend.

REG JONES, FORMER BOYFRIEND: I was in love. I mean, and it wasn't because she was Britney Spears. It was because she was Britney. Three years, a lot of good memories.

PHILLIPS: But the home-town romance hardly suppressed Britney's itch for the spotlight. And in the spring of 1997, the 15-year-old recorded a demo.

STRAUSS: And it was like this makeshift demo that they made at the house with a tape recorder, and they sent it to Jive Records. Jive Records really liked what they heard. They brought her in. She sang two songs for them, and they were just bowled over.

PHILLIPS: Overnight, Britney landed a contract. And before the ink was dry, she said good-bye to Reg and Kentwood, Louisiana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Coming up, the making of an outrageous superstar.

SHAW: She actually came up with the idea to do the whole, kind of, bad Catholic school girl thing.

COLLINS: Our look at Britney Spears continues with the scandals, the weddings, the kiss, and now motherhood.

And later, guess who's driving a love bug? It's our third tabloid temptress of the night: Lindsay Lohan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: It's hard not to dance on this show. It's tabloid temptresses here tonight. We're profiling three pop icons. We started with Jessica Simpson. Lindsay Lohan is still ahead.

Now, back to Britney Spears. She was only 15, living in rural Louisiana when she recorded a demo that led to her first recording contract. After that, stardom was only months away. Once again, he's Kyra Phillips.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: The record label wanted the video to be this kind of space-age, Power Rangers kind of thing. And Britney was like, no way. We are not doing this. She actually came up with the idea to do the whole kind of bad Catholic school girl thing. PHILLIPS: In October 1998, the world got its first look at a brand-new pop star, part Pollyanna, part Lolita. Britney's debut unleashed a phenomenon.

The single spawned Britney mania. And on January 12th, 1999, her first album debuted at number one. Within a month, it sold two million copies and became a global smash.

Soon Britney joined red-hot boy banders 'N Sync on their sold-out tour. It was here that she would reunite with her Mouseketeer crush, Justin Timberlake. And in the coming months, rumors of a relationship only added to the growing torrent of media coverage, a downpour which grew in intensity when she posed provocatively for "Rolling Stone" in April 1999.

SHAW: I think parents started getting a little concerned like, wait a second; this isn't the sweet little pop star we thought she was.

PHILLIPS: Twelve months and 10 million copies later, album number two.

CASTRO: People expected a sophomore slump, and that did not happen with her. If anything, the snowball got bigger.

PHILLIPS: And the controversies intensified. In May 2000, Britney's sophomore disk rocketed to number one. Adding to the craze, Britney and Justin were now living together, and preaching abstinence.

CASTRO: I think there was a point where she had, you know, not been a virgin anymore and she was still professing that. And it got to the point where it almost became a joke, like, who are you trying to kid?

PHILLIPS: Their red-hot romance would last three years, but by 2002, Britney and her boy toy were officially out of sync.

And as Justin cried himself a river, Britney announced a six- month hiatus.

SHAW: That's sort of when Britney's acting out began. The next thing you know, she's off boozing at clubs all night in Miami.

PHILLIPS: On August 28th, 2003, Britney Spears returned, once again stealing the show at the MTV Video Music Awards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had you ever kissed a woman before?

SPEARS: No, I've never kissed a woman before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you again?

SPEARS: Would I again? Oh, no, I would not do it. Maybe with Madonna.

PHILLIPS: Album number four, "In the Zone," landed in the stores on November 18th. One toxic tune later, the 13 tracks had sold 2.5 million copies, making it the lowest-selling album of her career.

SHAW: She was topless in "Rolling Stone." She was bottomless on "Esquire," and it sold magazines, but people were also thinking, you know what, like, put on some underwear, honey.

PHILLIPS: Instead, she put on a wedding ring. On January 3rd, 2004, Britney Jean Spears became Mrs. Jason Alexander. Fifty-five hours later, what goes on in Vegas...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we just received a decree of annulment. There is no marriage now.

PHILLIPS: ... stays in Vegas.

CASTRO: I think one reason that she went through this wedding debacle is because it was some desperate way for her to reconnect to her roots. He was from Louisiana, and you know, let's do something crazy.

PHILLIPS: Speaking of doing something crazy, just nine months after wedding number one, Britney Spears was doing it again, this time with 26-year-old Kevin Federline, a Los Angeles dancer who just happened to have two children with a not-so ex-girlfriend.

In typical Britney fashion, their top secret ring swap was mirrored in her latest video, and Mrs. Federline, who released her greatest hits last November, is now working on an even bigger production. After months of rumors, Britney dropped the baby bomb on her official Web site. Some say it's just the beginning.

CASTRO: She's going to be a baby machine. And she's going to have a brood, and you know, they're going to get around Christmas trees during Christmas with Kevin's kids from his other marriage, and it's going to be one -- it's going to be a very Brady Bunch situation.

CAGLE: She is head over heels in love. She says she kissed a lot of frogs, and she finally found her prince, and she has found her happily ever after.

PHILLIPS: From teen titan to taboo temptress. The music, the marketing, the mania continues. And no doubt, for better or worse, so will Britney.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: That was Kyra Phillips. Coming up, the third member of tonight's tabloid trifecta.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEAH ROZEN, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Lindsay Lohan clearly has the it factor. I mean, clearly, when she's on screen, you are watching her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Well, she's been working on that it factor for quite a while. Did you know she's been modeling since she was 3 years old?

Coming up, will her personal life overshadow her career?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Tonight, we're bringing you the real stories behind three of America's hottest young pop stars. Coming up, a box office star whose family had been called dysfunctional. How is Lindsay Lohan coping with her parents' divorce, growing up camera and boyfriends?

Before we get to her, though, it's time for another check of the top stories with Erica Hill of HEADLINE NEWS.

HILL: Thanks, Heidi. A U.S. commander says U.S. and Iraqi forces are making headway against roadside bombs, thanks to better intelligence and advanced equipment. Meantime, in Baghdad, some Shiite factions protested against the idea of a federated state with autonomy for Iraq's regions. Shiite, Sunni and Kurd negotiators are racing to finish a proposed constitution by Monday's deadline.

Antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan is in Los Angeles tonight, where her 74-year-old mother is being treated for a stroke. She arrived there earlier today. Back in Texas, meantime, her supporters continue their vigil. Cindy Sheehan's son Casey was killed in Iraq last year.

Newly declassified documents from the State Department show the U.S. tried to get Osama bin Laden expelled from Afghanistan in 1998. At one point in the secret negotiations, a Taliban official actually suggested bin Laden's assassination could be arranged. In the end, though, the Taliban wouldn't believe bin Laden was behind the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, and the talks broke down.

And in downtown San Francisco, an explosion in an underground vault containing transformers. At least one woman critically burned. The blast, captured on a cell phone camera, blew a manhole cover 25 feet in the air, setting one store's owning on fire. Talk about a scary morning down in San Francisco, Heidi.

And that's the latest from HEADLINE NEWS. Have a great weekend.

COLLINS: Thank you, Erica. You, too.

Coming up, one of Hollywood's hottest young stars. Can Lindsay Lohan stand up to all the pressure?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL FREEMAN, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: She lost a lot of weight in a very short amount of time. And this was all around the time that she was working very hard on movies and partying very hard in clubs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: How does our third tabloid temptress answer her critics? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Lindsay Lohan is just 19, but she's a show business veteran, having grown up in front of the cameras and on the pages of the tabloids. Recently she skipped the London premiere of her movie "Herbie Fully Loaded" to go back home to be with her mom, who's divorcing Lindsay's dad and she plans to deal with that emotional subject in her next C.D. Family turmoil has been a constant for her almost from birth. Once again, here' Kyra Phillips.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS (voice-over): Lindsay Morgan Lohan's life began on July 2, 1986. Though she was born in New York City, she was raised in the upper-middle-class Long Island town of Cold Spring Harbor.

BRUCE SMIRTI, MICHAEL LOHAN'S LAWYER: It's a very tony area. It's a swell place. Everything is very low-key. It's just a great area to grow up.

PHILLIPS: Her father Michael was a Wall Street commodity broker, whose family had a lucrative pasta business. Lindsay's flare for the dramatic most likely came from her mom. Forty-four-year-old Dina was a Radio City Rockette.

DINA LOHAN, MOTHER: I grew up as a dancer. Then went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts for acting and I was more the Broadway dancer person.

PHILLIPS: Lindsay showed her desire to entertain early on.

D. LOHAN: I taught dance all over Long Island and New York and so I would drag her to all the dance classes. It was really funny, because all my friends would watch her looking in the mirror, like almost mirror imaging what was happening.

PHILLIPS: In the late '80s, the talented toddler was signed with the prestigious Ford Modeling Agency. She modeled for Calvin Klein.

FLEEMAN: She was reputedly the first redhead that Ford had ever hired and she was only 3 years old. So, before she could barely even speak entire sentences, she was in show biz.

PHILLIPS: Lindsay appeared in several commercials for companies like Duncan Hines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't take our word for it.

PHILLIPS: But it would be her first onscreen movie appearance that would make Lindsay a star. She was cast in the dual role of twins, Hallie Parker and Annie James, in the Disney remake of "The Parent Trap." The 1998 movie would test Lindsay's chops as an actress.

PHILLIPS: Despite numerous offers to star in other films, Lindsay's family wanted her to be a child first and actor second. She went home to Long Island and attended her dad's alma mater, Cold Spring Harbor High.

L. LOHAN: My family was -- especially my mother -- was very stern about the fact that I -- they wanted me in school and to experience going through high school and have an education. And You know, grow up with friends and go through all of that and you know, have normal experiences. And I've always had that.

PHILLIPS: Though she was trying to live a normal teen-age life, she still had a passion for acting. After high school, she was eager to return to the silver screen.

D. LOHAN: She was like, "let's go, let's get on a plane." And she just wanted to do this. So, Disney actually came to us, looking for us.

PHILLIPS: In 2003, Lohan won audiences over when she starred opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in the remake of the Disney classic, "Freaky Friday." She followed that up with "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" in early 2004.

LOHAN: I like your boots.

ROZEN: Lindsay Lohan clearly has the "it" factor. I mean, when she is on screen, you are watching her. You're not watching the other kids on the screen, you're watching her.

PHILLIPS: With three Disney movies under her belt, 17-year-old Lindsay Lohan had make her mark as one of Hollywood's youngest stars, but by her 18th birthday, Lindsay would transform from freckle-face teen to sexy standout actress.

It would be her role in 2004's "Mean Girls" that would catapult Lohan to serious stardom. In her first film foray away from Disney, Lindsay landed a new audience.

LEAH ROZEN, FILM CRITIC: "Mean Girls" was a very smart comedy that I think worked both for the teenagers at whom it was intended and also for adults. And Lindsay Lohan was terrific. I mean, she carried that movie.

PHILLIPS: Lindsay also struck a cord off-screen. She released her first full-length album "Speak" in late 2004. With songs like "Rumors," Lindsay's record peaked at number four on the Billboard 200.

And Lindsay's romantic life had the media buzzing. Lindsay was hot and heavy with the 24-year-old "That '70s Show" actor Wilmer Valderrama and the paparazzi didn't miss a beat.

A high-profile romance, a smash movie and a hit album, Lohan was becoming a media darling. But by her 18th birthday, the press was more intrigued with her figure than her career.

Provocative photos in magazines like "Rolling Stone" and revealing red carpet arrivals had the tabloids speculating about breast augmentation, a claim Lohan denied. And if Lohan wasn't getting enough tabloid attention, her father's endless brushes with the law put his daughter back on the gossip pages.

Michael Lohan had been convicted of seven criminal charges in 2004, including an arrest for attacking his brother-in-law with a shoe at a family party. Attorney Bruce Smirti represented Lohan for a domestic dispute in 2002 and though the two have become friends, he says he doesn't understand Lohan's recent actions.

BRUCE SMIRTI, MICHAEL LOHAN'S LAWYER: Knowing Michael the way I do, I think he has an anger problem. He's impulsive. He doesn't think he before he acts.

PHILLIPS: CNN contacted Michael Lohan for an interview, but according to his lawyer, a gag order prevented him from speaking about his family. Despite her family problems in 2004, Lindsay kept a strong front defending her father.

L. LOHAN: You know, my dad is a grown man and he's gone a little overboard with some of the things he says, but I love him and he's my father.

PHILLIPS: But as her dad's troubles continued, Lindsay became less understanding.

MICHAEL FLEEMAN, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: She used to be very forgiving of him, but as he started making more and more shrill allegations, Lindsay now basically doesn't want to have anything to do with her father.

PHILLIPS: Dina filed for divorce in early 2005, a proceeding that would get uglier by the day.

FLEEMAN: They had tried to make it work, then there was sort of a detente, now they're just at each other's throats. The mother and the father are at war.

PHILLIPS: In 2005, Lohan was in trouble again. In February, he was arrest for DWI after crashing his car into a poll. Citing his recent criminal history and the court's previous leniency, Lohan was sentenced to up to four years in jail.

Family drama aside, Lindsay could not escape from the media spotlight. Barely dating a few month, the gossip pages were hot with the story of her breakup with Valderrama and after her highly- publicized breakup, the rumor mill began to portray Lindsay as a Hollywood party girl.

FLEEMAN: One week in April, we saw her at a different club every night of the week. When she's filming a movie, she's out very late. She is club-hoping all of the time.

PHILLIPS: While filming her latest move, "Herbie Fully Loaded," Lohan spent five days in the hospital. The gossip pages implied too much partying. FLEEMAN: How many times can her publicist say, "yes, she's got a cold" or "yes, she's working out" or "yes, she's just a little bit tired?"

PHILLIPS: Despite the rumors, Lindsay says her sick leave from "Herbie" was due to pure exhaustion.

L. LOHAN: They can say it's drugs or anything they want, because that's what I was hearing -- or meningitis or whatever. You know, it's -- when you get tired -- I'm 18 and I'm still growing and my body can't handle all of it like going out and then working and doing all that stuff.

PHILLIPS: And the tabloids still hadn't finished with Lohan. By early 2005, Lohan had transformed from busty redhead to waifish (SIC) blond. The press chastised the new svelter Lindsay. Did she have an eating disorder?

FLEEMAN: She lost a lot of weight in a very short amount of time and this was all around the time that she was working very hard on movies and partying very hard in clubs. I think there's a real concern there among audiences that her lifestyle may be getting close to being out of control.

PHILLIPS: According to camp Lohan, rumors of an eating disorder are a big fat lie.

D. LOHAN: She's a little girl. We're not big boned and she lost 15, 20 pounds in the hospital and when she came out she liked how she looked and when you're that age, you know, you have to find your own space.

L. LOHAN: Everyone has their own reason for why they want to be thin or how they get that way. I'm healthy and I'm not an idiot and I have people around he that would say "hey, stop it," that I can trust and that I will actually listen to.

PHILLIPS: Too thin or too busty, party girl or wornout actress? With the media circus that surrounds Lohan and her family, will her personal life continue to overshadow her career? can she transcend the gossip?

FLEEMAN: Lindsay herself says that that her dysfunctional family has actually weirdly helped her career and she knows that these problems off camera just add to the heat of her career.

PHILLIPS: Despite the sometimes harsh press, Lindsay Lohan has never been more popular and the child star turned teen actress takes the glare of the spotlight like a pro.

L. LOHAN: There's a lot of misconceptions and there will be and I understand that, but don't believe what you read. I just make sure that the people I'm with, they know the truth and I know the truth and as long as I'm happy, then that's all that matters.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COLLINS: That was Kyra Phillips reporting.

Well, that is it for us tonight. Coming up next though, on "LARRY KING LIVE," overcoming addiction. Addicts talk about the interventions that saved their lives. I'm Heidi Collins, Paula Zahn is back on Monday. Have a good weekend, everybody. Good night.

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