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By United Press International   |   Aug. 18, 2012 at 4:00 AM

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

JOEY KOVAR: "Real World: Hollywood" star and "Celebrity Rehab" participant Joey Kovar was found dead at a friend's home near Chicago Friday morning, his publicist said. He was 29.

TMZ said an unidentified female friend discovered Kovar unresponsive and with blood coming out of his nose and ears.

She called 911 and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The celebrity news Web site said Kovar's family believes drugs are to blame for his death, but no cause has been officially disclosed.

Kovar has been candid about his addictions to alcohol and drugs, particularly cocaine and ecstasy.


HOPE SOLO: U.S. Olympic soccer champ Hope Solo says in her memoir her "Dancing with the Stars" partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, once slapped her in the face during practice.

TVGuide.com quoted the bombshell allegation from the athlete's book, "Solo: A Memoir of Hope."

"He was often nasty, swearing at me and being harshly critical. He manhandled me in rehearsals from the start, pushing me, whacking my stomach, bending my arms roughly. One day, Maks was trying to put me in a certain position and hit my stomach so hard with his open palm that I had a red hand-print there for the rest of the day," Solo wrote.

Another time, Solo said, Chmerkovskiy slapped her across the face so hard her ear rang afterward.

"He was extremely apologetic. I didn't care," TVGuide.com said she wrote. "My ear was ringing as I walked out, shaking. I had just been hit, and I had been worried about how I would come off looking on television."

Chmerkovskiy said via Twitter Thursday: "Always hated hypocrites and liars ... but when someone is both AND an opportunist, I just feel bad for them. Can't win at someone's expense."

TVGuide.com said Chmerkovskiy's publicist and ABC declined to comment on Solo's allegations.


BILL MAHER: U.S. comedian Bill Maher told Politico he has no intention of apologizing for controversial remarks he makes on HBO's "Real Time" -- or elsewhere.

"You're not going to find me apologizing," Maher said. "I have been doing this for so long and, having gone through so many tribulations, including the firing, I'm inoculated. I've been through this. You cannot scare me anymore. I'm playing with the house money, and I'm not going to apologize."

Maher said he doesn't like the current climate in which comedians feel compelled to apologize for edgy material because it ends up on the Internet and people who didn't hear it first-hand criticize it.

"It's a very chilling atmosphere," Maher told Politico. "You see these comics in nightclubs -- it's the next thing to practicing in front of your mirror at home -- and that was always sacred."

But because comedy routines are frequently taped using cell-phone cameras and posted on YouTube, "I think they're scared," he said.

"I think it's very dangerous when people can't even in small comedy clubs be wrong, be bad, be over the line," said Maher. "That's what stand-up comedy is all about, pushing the edge. In the age of mass emailing and so forth, you can just push a button and it's easy to do that and it makes advertisers think that more people are riled up than they really are and that's very unfortunate."


GERARD DEPARDIEU: Actor Gerard Depardieu is accused of punching the driver of a car who hit him while he was riding his moped in Paris, the French edition of The Local said.

The news Web site said the other motorist filed a police report after the alleged altercation, but did not say whether the 63-year-old "Green Card" and "The Man in the Iron Mask" star had been cited for the incident.

A 2009 case in which Depardieu allegedly accosted another motorist was eventually settled out of court. Four years earlier, he was accused of punching a photographer in the face, The Local said.

The actor also made headlines a year ago when he was seen urinating into a bottle at his seat on a flight from Paris to Dublin. People with him defended his actions, saying it was an emergency, and he later publicly apologized for any inconvenience caused to the flight staff or his fellow passengers.

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