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By United Press International   |   April 24, 2012 at 4:00 AM

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

JENNIFER HUDSON: Jennifer Hudson was the first witness called Monday at the Chicago trial of her former brother-in-law, who is accused of killing three members of her family.

William Balfour, who was married to Jennifer's sister Julia, is charged in the 2008 shooting deaths of the sisters' mother and brother and Julia's 7-year-old son.

ABC News said Jennifer Hudson, an Oscar-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning singer, tearfully testified about Julia's stormy relationship with Balfour when she took the stand at the opening of his trial.

"None of us wanted her to marry William," Jennifer said. "We did not like how he treated her."

WLS-TV, Chicago, said Jennifer spoke for about 50 minutes, recalling how close she was to her family and how devastated she felt as she identified the bodies of her loved ones at the morgue.

Julia painted a portrait of Balfour as a jealous and unfaithful husband who "sold drugs" for a living and repeatedly threatened to kill her and her family, WLS-TV said.

"If you leave me, you will be the last to die," Julia said Balfour told her. "I'm going to kill your family first."

However, Balfour's lawyers said Julia never reported the alleged threats to police.

Balfour's legal team also said Hudson's late brother Jason, one of the victims, was a drug dealer, who had been shot at least two times in the past, suggesting other people might have had reason to harm him.

Balfour is charged with three counts of first-degree murder. His trial is expected to last a month.


SINEAD O'CONNOR: Irish singer Sinead O'Connor announced on her Web site Monday she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and canceled her concert tour to deal with it.

Her announcement comes after months of erratic behavior, including the admission of drug use and a quickie wedding to therapist Barry Herridge in Las Vegas in December, followed shortly after by the announcement of a planned divorce, and then a reconciliation.

"With enormous regret I must announce that I have to cancel all touring for the year as am very unwell due to bipolar disorder," a message on O'Connor's Web site said. "As you all know I had a very serious breakdown between December and March and I had been advised by my doctor not to go on tour but didn't want to 'fail' or let anyone down as the tour was already booked to coincide with [my] album release. So very stupidly I ignored his advice to my great detriment, attempting to be stronger than I actually am. I apologize sincerely for any difficulties this may cause."

The 45-year-old recording artist said she hopes to appear as scheduled at the Curtis Mayfield tribute at New York's Lincoln Center in July.


JENNIFER ANISTON: Jennifer Aniston's publicist Monday denied a media report that said the Hollywood actress plans to wed beau Justin Theroux in Crete this July.

The film star's representative told UsMagazine.com the wedding report is a "total fabrication" and said Aniston "was not in Greece" scouting locations for a possible ceremony.

"How is it that one of the most photographed people in the world supposedly goes to Greece to check out a hotel she never heard of and is not spotted or photographed?" the representative told the celebrity news Web site.

Aniston and Theroux have been dating for nearly a year.

The actress' ex-husband, Brad Pitt, recently got engaged to Angelina Jolie, his longtime partner, with whom he has six children.


LINDSAY LOHAN: A producer working on "Liz and Dick" has confirmed Hollywood starlet Lindsay Lohan will play screen icon Elizabeth Taylor in a Lifetime television movie.

Producer Larry Thompson told E! News Lohan's "perfect" for the part and the network had no qualms about hiring her, despite her recent legal and substance-abuse issues.

"We have wanted Lindsay from Day 1," Thompson said, in an announcement confirming what Lohan had announced in an interview with the "Today" show that aired Feb. 29.

"She had a lot in her life that was going on. We needed to give her time to take care of her business, and while we negotiated the deal for her we prayed for her -- and wonderfully she has behaved. She's cleared herself and we're ready to start this movie," the producer said. "We truly feel that Lindsay Lohan is perfect for Elizabeth Taylor for our movie … . I think Lindsay -- who is very gifted -- deserved another chance. We never, of three pages of 'what ifs' in the negotiation, there never was 'What if she can't act?' We know she can act."

"I have always admired and had enormous respect for Elizabeth Taylor," Lohan said in a statement quoted by the Los Angeles Times. "She was not only an incredible actress but an amazing woman as well. I am very honored to have been asked to play this role."

Production on the movie is slated to begin June 4. It is to air in October, E! News said.

Lohan's film credits include "Mean Girls," "Freaky Friday" and "The Parent Trap."

Taylor died last year at age 79. She won two Academy Awards and was married eight times, including twice to Richard Burton. Her film credits include "National Velvet," "Father of the Bride," "A Place in the Sun," "Giant," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Suddenly, Last Summer," "BUtterfield 8," "Cleopatra" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

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