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Melania Trump, Karen Pence stop at Whataburger, treat press to french fries

First lady Melania Trump, along with second lady Karen Pence, traveled to Texas on Wednesday to visit with first responders and check on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. And if there’s anything politicians (or in this case, politicians’ spouses) love to do when they’re on a visit, it’s make a stop at a purveyor of local cuisine. Trump and Pence flew through Corpus Christi, which means Whataburger.

>> Read more trending news

According to social media reports (including tweets from reporters along for the trip, as well as a White House official), the first and second lady stopped by the venerable Texas burger chain and walked out with at least some of those famous fries. The rest of their order is unknown (so far), but the tweets about the pit stop are quite a journey.

Reporters in the press pool said the first and second lady treated them to fries.

Officials in Texas approved. The orange and the white, as ever, proved to be a unifying force.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Trump and Pence stopped at the Whataburger at 602 Padre Island Drive. 

Chelsea Handler evacuates, blames Trump for California wildfires

Television personality Chelsea Handler, among the thousands forced to evacuate due to the raging California wildfires, called out President Donald Trump in a controversial tweet about the blaze Wednesday. “It’s like Donald Trump is setting the world on fire. Literally and figuratively,” she wrote.

>> See the tweet here

The infernos have caused filming to halt temporarily and threaten the famed Getty Museum.

Handler’s antipathy for Trump often fuels her busy Twitter feed.

>> California wildfires force thousands to evacuate: Live updates

“We have got to get rid of Trump,” she posted on Nov. 22. “He is incapable of honesty or goodwill. He cares about no one. We must stay the course and not let up.”

>> Read more trending news

She also speaks out on national events with frequency.

>> On AJC.com: Strong winds ground firefighting aircraft

“Innocent people go to church on Sunday to honor their God, and while doing so, get shot in [sic] killed. What country? America. Why? Republicans,” she posted on Nov. 5, after a gunman opened fire in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Tennis great Serena Williams stopped for speeding in Florida

Tennis star Serena Williams received a speeding ticket Saturday morning in West Palm Beach, Florida Highway Patrol records show.

>> Read more trending news

Williams was cited for going 86 mph in a 65 mph zone on southbound Interstate 95 near 45th Street just after 7:15 a.m. Saturday.

Williams, a longtime Palm Beach Gardens resident was fined $281, according to a copy of the ticket posted online.

Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles, the second highest of any female tennis great.

>> Related: Serena Williams plays tennis for first time since giving birth, wedding

Her husband, Alexis Ohanian, also received a speeding ticket in October on Interstate 95 south of Indiantown Road and was fined $131, according to a copy of his ticket.

R&B star R. Kelly’s metro Atlanta mansions emptied while singer was touring

Georgia authorities are investigating a theft at rapper R. Kelly’s two metro Atlanta homes. Police have identified a suspect they said stole everything inside the two homes and sold it off.

>> Read more trending news

The Grammy Award-winning singer’s homes in Johns Creek were entirely cleaned out during the burglaries in November -- from couches to tables and even the singer’s diamond-encrusted hoodie.

Johns Creek Police Captain Chris Byers said when officers checked both of Kelly’s homes, they found everything missing.

"Many televisions. Furnishings. We're talking about couches, chairs, tables,” Byers said.

Neighbors said they saw suspicious trucks at the homes for about a week. Then last week, neighbor Mark Gibson said another truck showed up, and so did police. 

"They blocked the guy in,” Gibson said. “One of the guys got out with his gun drawn."

"Ultimately led them to an individual that they say hired them that works for Mr. Kelly's organization,” Byers said. “They were told he was moving his organization out of Atlanta back to Chicago and was selling off all of his belongings."

>> Related: Angelina Jolie talks Brad Pitt, says last film together may have mirrored relationship

Byers said Alfonso Walker was, in fact, selling each room of Kelly's homes to the highest bidder.

"They wouldn't sell an individual item for a certain price, but say a bedroom for $6,000,” Byers said.

Byers said Walker, 50, is now on the run.

"One of the indications he made was that he was owed some money and this was his way of getting it back,” Byers said.

Gibson said the whole situation is surprising.

"I didn't even know who was living there to be honest,” Gibson said. “We didn't know if there was anything inside there to steal.”

Police said Walker was planning to turn himself into police Tuesday, but that didn't happen.

>> Related: Twitter celebrates Time’s choice of ‘silence breakers’ as Person of the Year

He's facing a number of charges, including burglary and theft by deception.

Kelly’s representative did return requests for comments.

Angelina Jolie talks Brad Pitt, says last film together may have mirrored relationship

Fans were shocked when super couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt broke up, but it seems their final film together paralleled their own relationship issues.

>> Read more trending news

The actors starred in 2015’s “By The Sea,” a film about a couple attempting to repair their broken relationship, including communication and intimacy issues — problems the couple were reportedly dealing with in reality.

In a segment on The Hollywood Reporter’s podcast “Awards Chatter,” Jolie opened about hoping the film would help her and Pitt figure out their relationship issues, reported Us Weekly.

“We had met working together, and we worked together well. I wanted us to do some serious work together, I thought it would be a good way for us to communicate,” she revealed.

“In some ways it was, and in some ways we learned some things. But there was a heaviness probably during that situation that carried on, and it wasn’t because of the film.”

The couple formerly known as Brangelina met on the set of 2005’s spy thriller “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” They were together for over a decade and share six children — Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh and twins, Knox and Vivienne.

The experience of working through fictional relationship struggles while dealing with their own ultimately wasn’t enough to save their marriage.

“I’m glad we did that film because we did explore something together. Whatever it was, maybe it didn’t solve certain things, but we did communicate something that needed to be communicated to each other,” Jolie said.

>> Related: Angelina Jolie talks about ‘difficult’ divorce from Brad Pitt

The duo filed for divorce last year and publicly addressed their volatile split as Jolie moved their kids into an LA home while Pitt worked on his sobriety.

“It was something that we were dealing [with] … things happen for different reasons, and things — why did I write that exact piece? Why did we feel that way when we made it? I’m not sure,” she wondered. “A piece of art can be something that’s healing or something that’s difficult.”

Recently fired anchor Matt Lauer a "weak and broken" man, friends say

Disgraced anchor Matt Lauer may never bounce back from his firing, according to a new report in People.

“He is weak and broken and ashamed by his own admission,” one of Lauer’s former “Today” show  colleagues told People magazine.

>> Read more trending news

“He is my friend,” the source adds. “He is human, and he is flawed. But is he going to use his power to be a predator on women? Until I see solid evidence of that, I just can’t believe it. We don’t know the details.”

The news of Lauer’s inability to recover from the fiasco comes a few days after a report in Us Weekly. The report suggested that a “really terrible vibe” had swept over the “Today” show set in the wake his firing.

“Savannah [Guthrie] is devastated,” an insider told the magazine. “She and Matt were really close.”

On the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 29, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack sent an email to staffers saying Lauer had been fired following a complaint of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”

Lack continued, “We were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

In the wake of the news, Lauer released a statement in which he addressed the allegations against him.

>> Related: Creepy Matt Lauer interview with Sandra Bullock, I’ve ‘seen you naked’

“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have cause others by words and actions,” Lauer said in the statement. “The last two days have forced me to take a hard look at my own flaws.”

Apparently, many of Lauer’s co-workers were surprised by the news. 

“They knew Matt was flirty and playful and may have had relationships over the years, but what they knew of those relationships was that they were consensual, and they weren’t aware they went beyond that,” the source told Us.

The mood in Studio 1A became solemn after Lauer was fired. 

“Execs treated it as if Matt had died. It was very somber,” a separate source told Us. “The usual editorial meetings that have about 30 or so people were now 200 people, because execs were addressing the situation with everyone. They were transparent and opened the floor to questions.”

In 2016, the disgraced anchor appeared on “The Meredith Vieira Show” and she told the audience that she once found a “huge bag of sex toys” in Lauer’s closet.

“Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute,” Lauer responded. “We had a guest on the show who was a sex therapist…. I think you did the segment, actually.”

Vieira didn’t remember the segment but sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman recently revealed that he was telling the truth.

>> Related: Elton John mourning the death of his mom after years of estrangement

“We were in the makeup room and he sort of asked the makeup artist to leave,” Berman said in an interview with Inside Edition. “He asked me about sexual aids and devices. He confided in me about some of the struggles he was having in his married relationship.”

Berman said that Lauer was uncomfortable going into a sex shop himself so she gave him items from her own line of adult toys.

WATCH: Beyoncé presents Colin Kaepernick with Sports Illustrated's Muhammad Ali award

Surprise!

Former San Francisco 49ers star Colin Kaepernick, who sparked NFL players' recent protests during the national anthem against racial injustice, received Sports Illustrated's Muhammad Ali Legacy Award from a special surprise presenter – Beyoncé.

>> Instagram star gaining attention for resemblance to Beyoncé

"Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better, to change perception, to change the way we treat each other – especially people of color," she said Tuesday night at SI's Sportsperson of the Year ceremony.

>> Watch the moment here

"I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people because if it were not for my love of the people, I would not have protested," Kaepernick said after an introduction by "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah. "And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today. With our without the NFL's platform, I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people." 

>> Read more trending news 

The ceremony airs at 8 p.m. Friday on NBC Sports Network.

‘The Voice’ singer Melanie Martinez accused of rape, denies allegations

Melanie Martinez may have impressed judges when she appeared on season three of “The Voice” in 2012, but what she’s making headlines for in 2017 is less than positive.

In a lengthy and graphic statement posted on Twitter, Timothy Heller accused Martinez, 22, of performing sexual acts on her despite her protests.

>> Read more trending news

Heller told her followers that her “best friend” Martinez had repeatedly asked her to have sex when the pair shared a bed during sleepovers. According to Heller, she rejected the offers over the course of several nights making different excuses, including that she had a boyfriend, until one evening when Martinez kept asking to touch her and, she said, went on to rape her.

Heller wrote, “The bottom line that I need to always remind myself is that: I said no. For TWO NIGHTS STRAIGHT.”

“If you begin to doubt the abuse taking place in this story, I beg you to imagine her role in this being a man,” Heller wrote. “Girls can rape girls. Best friends can rape best friends. Friendship does not equal consent. Silence doesn’t equal consent. I wish it wasn’t so hard for me to convince myself of these things.”

Following the accusation, Martinez took to Twitter to issue a response, claiming that any and all contact between the women had been consensual.

“I am horrified and saddened by the statements and story told by Timothy Heller,” the singer said. “What she and I shared was a close friendship. We tried to help each other. We both had pain in dealing with our individual demons. She never said no to what we chose to do together. And although we parted ways, I am sending her love and light always.”

Actress Abigail Breslin was one of many who responded online to the statement, slamming Martinez for her “unacceptable response.”

“Not saying no doesn’t mean yes. But for the record, she did and has stressed that numerous times,” Breslin tweeted. “Shame on you for this disgusting reply that contributes to the victim blaming culture we live in.”

Martinez shot to stardom in 2012 during the third season of “The Voice,” when she turned three judges’ chairs with her cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” She became one of the top six contestants before her elimination in the live shows.

John Mayer hospitalized for emergency appendectomy

Musician John Mayer was hospitalized early Tuesday to undergo an emergency appendectomy, according to an announcement from his bandmates in Dead & Company.

>> Read more trending news

The band announced that Mayer’s hospitalization prompted them to postpone a planned concert Tuesday in New Orleans.

The group said tickets for Tuesday’s show will be honored when the performance is rescheduled, although a date for the show was not immediately set. Refunds will also be available at the point of purchase.

It was not immediately clear whether any other upcoming Dead & Company tour dates would be affected.

 People magazine reported that Mayer, 40, has been touring with the band, an offshoot of the Grateful Dead, this fall. He joined the group in 2015, alongside Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti and former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann.

His fellow band members took to social media to wish him a speedy recovery:

The band is scheduled to play the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on Dec. 7.

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