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Feb. 12, 2011 at 4:00 AM

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The latest news on today's hottest celebrities ...

ELIZABETH TAYLOR: Elizabeth Taylor's publicist says the actress is being treated at a Los Angeles hospital after exhibiting symptoms of congestive heart failure.

The 78-year-old star of "Giant," "National Velvet," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" was admitted this week to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after falling ill, Taylor's publicist, Sally Morrison, said in a statement issued to ABC News Friday.

"Her family and close friends are appreciative of the warm support and interest of her loyal fans but have asked that people respect her privacy and allow her medical team the time and space to focus on restoring her back to health," Morrison said in the statement.

ABC News did not report any other details about her treatment or condition.

The two-time Oscar winner who has been married eight times -- twice to actor Richard Burton -- has battled numerous health issues over the years and is rarely seen at public events.

In addition to sustaining injuries when she fell off a horse early in her career, ABC News noted she also sought treatment for alcohol and painkiller addictions, and underwent lung, hip, brain and heart surgeries.


OPRAH WINFREY: U.S. media mogul Oprah Winfrey says she decided to start her OWN network instead of retiring because she wants to continue sharing ideas and information.

Winfrey made the comments Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

Asked on the show why she started up the OWN network instead of taking a "victory lap" after "The Oprah Winfrey Show" wraps up its 25-year run this year, Winfrey replied, "Because I love the platform."

"As you know, there's nothing like it for sharing ideas, for sharing information," she said. "And I think that the landscape is not so good out there for a lot of television. So I wanted to be able to continue with the plan to be able to be a force for good in the world and be able to say meaningful things."

Winfrey sees her ability to put herself in her viewers' places as one of her strongest attributes.

"As much stuff as I've been able to acquire, materialistically, I'm not defined by it," she said. "And I still hold myself as the surrogate viewer. I, even better than my producers, and I say I have the best team, I, even better than them, I can put myself in the place of the viewer."


BILLY JOEL: U.S. rock 'n' roller Billy Joel is shrugging off remarks made by his old touring buddy, Elton John, who called him an alcoholic coasting on fear and laziness.

Joel, 61, and John, 63, toured extensively and performed concerts together for more than a decade.

"At the end of the day, he's coasting," John told Rolling Stone magazine last week. "I always say, 'Billy, can't you write another song?' It's either fear or laziness. It upsets me. Billy's a conundrum. We've had so many canceled tours because of illnesses and various other things, alcoholism."

The British star also compared Joel's efforts to stop drinking to his own battle with substance abuse.

"He's going to hate me for this, but every time he goes to rehab they've been light," John told the magazine.

"When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors. He goes to rehab where they have TVs. I love you, Billy, and this is tough love. Billy, you have your demons and you're not going to get rid of them at rehab light. You've got to be serious. People adore you, they love you and respect you. You should be able to do something better than what you're doing now."

Joel addressed John's remarks in a statement issued to E! News Friday. In it, he insisted:

"1. I do not hate Elton John.

2. I do not want to 'punch him in the face.'

3. If he wants to call me, my number is still the same.

4. Good luck with the movie."

The animated movie "Gnomeo and Juliet," which opens this weekend, features music John wrote and performed.


PETER JACKSON: Director Peter Jackson says he missed a New Zealand news conference introducing the cast of his upcoming film "The Hobbit" because he is on bed rest.

Jackson, who is to begin shooting the two-part prequel to "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy March 21, recently had surgery for a perforated ulcer.

"I'd love to be with you all this morning, but I'm currently under a medical form of house arrest, to prevent me from overdoing it until fully recovered from my recent operation," The Hollywood Reporter quoted Jackson as saying in a statement Friday.

"I'll be jumping back into it very soon, and to be honest the guys that you'll be talking to this morning make me laugh so hard, right now I'd be in danger of popping a few stitches."

The cast includes Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, William Kercher and James Nesbitt.

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