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Lovato dodges legal fight

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



Given Disney star Demi Lovato has to focus on solving her personal issues and get her career back on track, it’s not surprising her business and legal team has struck a deal with Alex Welch — the backup dancer she allegedly punched on a flight during their tour with the Jonas Brothers.

Welch was suing, claiming the injuries Lovato caused required plastic surgery. But that’s all settled now, with the dancer reportedly being paid a hefty six figures and agreeing to discuss only the case in terms amenable to Lovato’s camp.

A source knowledgeable about the case said Tuesday, “The last thing Demi needs is for this to go to trial. ... There are too many embarrassing and damaging details that could come out.”

† Lovato is said to be nearing the end of her treatment at the Timberline Knolls rehab facility in southwest suburban Lemont, where she is said to be working on eating disorder, anger management and addiction issues.

STARRING: OPRAH! Though Oprah Winfrey’s BFF Gayle King said at the Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday that Oprah “doesn’t sing, she doesn’t dance, she’s not an actor,” King and anyone else who ever saw Winfrey’s Oscar-nominated performance in “The Color Purple” knows the TV phenom certainly can act.

When her daily syndicated talk show ends in September, Winfrey will have time to pursue roles of all kinds — including a project that got its start right here in Chicago.

She will star in and executive produce the big-screen film of “Ruined,” based on Lynn Nottage’s play (launched at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre in 2008) about a brothel in war-torn Congo. This comes on the heels of the earlier announcement of Oprah joining Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep in a comedy directed by Michael Patrick King of “Sex and the City.” Word has it, other major Hollywood types are sending scripts to Oprah, with hopes she’ll say yes to them too.

† In an emotional moment in Barbara Walters’ hourlong interview with Winfrey (8 tonight, WLS-Channel 7) the TV queen again addresses an ongoing rumor about her relationship with King.

“I’m not a lesbian. I’m not even kind of a lesbian,” Winfrey tells Wal­ters. “And the reason why [the rumor] irritates me is because it means that somebody must think I’m lying. That’s No. 1. No. 2 ... why would you want to hide it? That is not the way I run my life.”

FUNNY PEOPLE: Glad to hear former Chicago improv guy Seth Meyers, a great “Saturday Night Live” mainstay and head writer, has been tapped to host the annual White House Correspondents Dinner April 30. … Meanwhile, Chicagoan and ex-“SNL” cast member Nora Dunn will showcase solo material from her new “Mythical Proportions” show at 8 p.m. Thursdays during January at the iO Theater on North Clark.

POL PATTER: Hundreds of Chicago heavy hitters — including a slew of longtime Mayor Daley supporters — jam-packed the top floor of Quartino restaurant Tuesday, adding some serious cash to Rahm Emanuel’s mayoral bid. At the event co-chaired by Terry Newman, Judd Malkin, Marcia Serlin and Steve Lombardo, Emanuel quipped, “Judd told me to talk loud and talk fast.” He succeeded — I clocked him at under three minutes. While he focused on his desire to make Chicago’s “streets safe, strengthening our schools and straightening out the city’s finances,” Emanuel did add some levity to his political pitch.

Explaining that he hits a different L stop every morning, Emanuel joked that the No. 1 question he’s asked is, “How’s your house?”

Among those spied in the crowd were Neil Bluhm, Billy Marovitz, Sondra & Sid Epstein, Marty & Jack Higgins, Peggy Lombardo, Sue Leonis, Grant DePorter, Phil Stefani, Rev. John Costello, Pat Arbor, Richard Zisook, Margie Korshak, Marvin, Herman, Dick Mell, Pat Levar, Brendan Reilly, Jimmy DeLeo, Margaret Laurino, Burt Natarus and Ted Mazola.

TASTY TREAT: Congrats to Mount Prospect’s Tar­ina Wimmer, whose recipe for double-chocolate drizzled hazelnut cookies was a winner in a “Good Morning America” holiday recipe contest. The talented baker will get to cook with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse on “GMA” Friday morning.

SEEN ON THE SCENE: Bears Chester Taylor and D.J. Moore partied hearty at Pasha on West Randolph. ... Gov. Quinn was spied chowing down on chicken nachos at Hub 51. ... I hereby restore the correct first name to Jake Melnick’s popular eatery on Superior Street — unfortunately, uh, hi-“jacked” in Wednesday’s tidbit about Matt Damon.

Bill Zwecker reports on “Good Day Chicago” and “Fox Chicago News at 9” on WFLD-Channel 32.



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