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Star Jones, NeNe Leakes feud escalates on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



‘From the moment they set eyes on one another — even before the first taping sessions last fall — you just knew the squabbling between Star Jones and NeNe Leakes was going to top anything we’ve ever had before on the show,” a staffer on “Celebrity Apprentice” said Wednesday.

Along with the two women’s public statements of dislike for one another — expressed in various media outlets — my behind-the-scene show sources say it got downright ugly.

“There were days when it took a number of people — the other celebrities and staff members alike — who had to jump in to keep Star and NeNe from literally tearing each other’s hair out!”

† Jones felt Leakes was what she called “ghetto trash,” my source said. On the other hand, the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” diva felt that Jones, former co-host of “The View,” was a “horrible bitch and a terrible snob. … NeNe told me on a couple of occasions that she found Star’s snooty attitude kind of funny, ‘given she’s descended from slaves just like me and just like every other black person in America.’ ”

† In a statement to bvbuzz.com, Jones accused Leakes of an “aggressive approach” that intimidated the other other African-American women on the show: LaToya Jackson and Dionne Warwick.

“I had hoped we could avoid falling into the typical ‘snake charmer in your face, loud, bombastic black woman’ stereotypical box that was expected,” Jones told the website.

† According to the show source, creator Donald Trump “loved the tension and the fighting. … He always does, because he knows it makes for good television.This season you’re going to see more than ever before.”

“Celebrity Apprentice” kicks off at 8 p.m. Sunday (WMAQ-Channel 5).

† Remember Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, that mouthy “villain” from the first season of “The Apprentice”? Well, she’s now the Rev. Omarosa, having recently been ordained as a Baptist minister and begun her duties as the assistant pastor of a church in L.A.

TOGETHER/APART: Sounds like that budding romance between Ryan Gosling and Olivia Wilde is moving along nicely. The couple has been spotted looking very cozy — everywhere from the Cincinnati Zoo (Gosling is filming “The Ides of March” in the Ohio city) to various out-of-the-way L.A. restaurants.

Wilde split with Italian Prince Tao Ruspoli in early February after an eight-year marriage. Gosling reportedly was the cause of the breakup.

† No confirmation on a third party being the cause, but spokesfolks for Melissa Gilbert and Bruce Boxleitner have confirmed the couple’s 16-year marriage is over — no little house on any prairie for them from now on.

A good Gilbert chum told me Wednesday that she traces the beginnings of marital woe to Gilbert’s long obsession with her former role as the president of the Screen Actors Guild. “She was more focused on SAG than on Bruce,” said the Gilbert spy.

REHAB BOUND: The next season of “Celebrity Rehab” should be both interesting — and extremely annoying. TMZ reports that Lindsay Lohan’s media-whore father, Michael Lohan, and those horrible White House crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi will continue to stretch out their ill-gotten 15 minutes of fame. They’ll be joined in Dr. Drew Pinsky’s treatment program by often-wacky actress Bai Ling, ex-New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden and “Baywatch” star Jeremy “Hobie” Jackson.

RAP & RUN: Che “Rhyme­fest” Smith has set his first rapping appearance since making the runoff for the 20th Ward aldermanic race, debuting “Winnin’,” the song he co-wrote and recorded with those great kids from the Happiness Club, who encourage positive values though original music. It all happens Sunday at the group’s annual benefit at the Park West.

SIGHT SEEN: Oscar nominee and art lover Michael Shannon slipped into the Museum of Contemporary Art Wednesday to check out the “Without You I’m Nothing” exhibition. … Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel was busying greeting his new constituents at Pippin’s Tavern on Rush — where the staff happily report Hizzoner-to-be was an excellent tipper. … Even though Chicago Cut is making its mark as a top new Windy City steakhouse, celeb chef Art Smith kept to his careful diet — part of his recent huge weight loss — and ordered the tuna tartare and steamed broccoli as he toasted his 51st birthday with partner Jesus Salguerio, while the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane dined separately at the Chicago Cut bar with his dad, Pat Sr.



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