Meghan Markle's life before Prince Harry examined in new book

Meghan Markle is less than 50 days away from becoming a member of Britain’s royal family but a new book is shedding light on her life before meeting Prince Harry.

The book, “Meghan: A Hollywood Princess,” claims Markle’s divorce from her first husband, producer Trevor Engelson, was so abrupt that Markle sent her ring back through the mail.

“Trevor went from cherishing Meghan to, as one friend observed, ‘feeling like he was a piece of something stuck to the bottom of her shoe,’” royal biographer Andrew Morton writes in the new book.

Morton portrays Markle in the book as a social climber.

“A networker to her fingertips, she seemed to be recalibrating her life, forging new friendships with those who could develop her career,” he writes.

Markle, 36, is a California native who ended her seven-season run as an actress on the TV show “Suits” when her engagement to Harry, 33, was announced last November.

“Because I’m from the states, we don’t grow up with the same understanding of the royal family,” Markle said last November in her first engagement interview with Harry. “And so, while I now understand very clearly that there’s a global interest there, I didn’t know very much about him.”

A person Morton identifies as a childhood friend of Markle’s is quoted in the book saying the former actress was in fact “always fascinated by the royal family.”

The friend is also quoted as saying Markle “wants to be Princess Diana 2.0,” referring to Harry’s late mother, who was a noted humanitarian.

Markle, who graduated from Northwestern University, is also a humanitarian who worked with the United Nations on women’s issues and was an ambassador for World Vision prior to meeting Harry.

Morton interviewed Markle’s teenage friends who claim Markle was crying as they watched the funeral for Diana in 1997.

“According to family and friends, she was intrigued by Diana not just for her style but for her independent humanitarian mission, seeing her as a role model,” Morton writes.

As Markle prepares for her May 19 wedding to Harry, she has thrown herself into humanitarian work.

Markle, who now lives in London, has been warmly welcomed by residents of the U.K. as she has traveled the country alongside Harry. She has also worked closely with Harry and Prince William and Princess Kate on The Royal Foundation, the royals’ charitable arm of which Markle will become a patron.

Markle has also, by all accounts, been warmly welcomed by the royal family.

Harry and Markle did not join Queen Elizabeth, William, Kate and other family members on Sunday for Easter services at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor’s Castle, where the couple will wed.

“Meghan: A Hollywood Princess” will be released in the U.S. on April 17.

Andrew Morton will discuss his new book about Markle live on “Good Morning America” on Monday, April 16. Tune in from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., EST.

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ABC News: Entertainment

'Roseanne' reboot picks up where show left off, adds Trump

When the reboot of “Roseanne” premieres on ABC on Tuesday, it picks up where the show left off in 1997 — with one notable difference.

For the reboot, Roseanne will be at odds with her sister Jackie, played by Laurie Metcalf, over President Donald Trump.

Roseanne Barr says she thought it was important to show how the Conner family deals with the same issues that many American families currently face.

“It shows people’s different opinions and how they resolve them,” Barr said at the New York premiere of the show on Monday night.

She added: “I saw it happening in all the families I know, so I thought, ‘Well this is, you know, it’s good, hopefully it will get people talking to each other.'”

Much like his on-screen persona, John Goodman, who reprises his role as Dan Conner, wanted to stay out of the fray.

“All politics is local, and ultimately it’s all meant to crush the family,” Goodman said.

But he says he thinks it’s important to cover the political dynamic on the show.

“It’s how we deal with it. It’s just how we deal with everything within the group, and we disagree or not it’s really not that big a deal,” Goodman said.

Barr, who counts herself as a Trump supporter, was not able to fully express why she backs the president so intensely.

“You know, well he is the president and that’s it. He is the president, and we are in a war, so I think we should all pull together and, uh, try to get over our great divide,” Barr said.

When asked if she watched Sunday’s “60 Minutes” interview with Stormy Daniels, who has alleged she had an affair with Trump in 2006, she was dismissive.

“No. I don’t care about that,” Barr said.

Then Goodman chimed in.

“I didn’t see her on that,” he said as he grinned, inferring he’d seen her as an adult film actress.

When Barr got the joke, she burst out laughing as the pair walked away.

“Roseanne” airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern.

——

Online:

http://abc.go.com/shows/roseanne

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ABC News: Entertainment

Omarosa dishes on Trump and gets his attention

Omarosa Manigault Newman once predicted that “every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.” The question now for the former White House aide and “Apprentice” contestant is whether that applies to her, too.

Starring in another reality TV show after resigning from the West Wing, Manigault Newman unleashed one criticism after another of her longtime friend Donald Trump and former White House colleagues, testing the widely held view that few people are ever really exiled from Trump’s orbit.

Manigault Newman said she was “haunted” every day by Trump’s tweets and “attacked” by colleagues when she tried to intervene. She said he tweets in his underwear in the early morning. She compared leaving the White House to being freed from a plantation, a reference to her one-time status as the only black member of the White House senior staff.

If that wasn’t enough, she said the country will not be OK under Trump, and teased that she may tell everything in a book.

The ill feelings may well be mutual.

Trump, who called Manigault Newman a “good person” after she left the White House, referred to her as “the worst” in a speech at a press dinner where the president traditionally jabs at friends and foes alike.

The White House dismisses Manigault Newman as someone Trump has now fired four times: thrice from “The Apprentice” and once from the White House last December.

Armstrong Williams, a longtime friend of Manigault Newman, said the fact that Trump name-checked her in the Gridiron dinner speech this month “means she’s on his mind.” He doesn’t think she had fallen out of favor because of her nationally broadcast criticisms.

“Here’s the key: The president has not tweeted about anything that Omarosa has done since she left. That’s significant,” said Williams, a conservative commentator. “He’s tweeted about (Steve) Bannon and everybody else, but he has not tweeted or pushed back in any way against Omarosa.”

Bannon is the former White House chief strategist whom Trump publicly broke with after a book about Trump’s first year in office quoted Bannon criticizing some of Trump’s adult children. Trump then accused Bannon of “losing his mind.”

Others fired by Trump, including his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and his first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, remain in contact with the president.

During her stint on CBS’ “Celebrity Big Brother,” where Manigault Newman and other celebrities lived under constant surveillance in a shared house until voted out, she steered clear of Trump’s third rail, his family. But she let loose on the president and Vice President Mike Pence.

In one whispered conversation, she said working for Trump was “like a call to duty,” but “I was haunted by the tweets every single day, like ‘What is he going to tweet next?'” When she tried to intervene, Manigault Newman said through tears, “all of the people around him attacked me.”

When asked if people should be worried, Manigault Newman nodded her head and said, “It is going to not be OK. It’s not.”

She criticized Pence in a later episode, saying he’d be more extreme than Trump. “So everybody that’s wishing for impeachment might want to reconsider their lives. We would be begging for days of Trump back if Pence became president,” she said. “He’s extreme. I’m Christian. I love Jesus. But he thinks Jesus tells him to say things. I’m like, ‘Jesus ain’t saying that.'”

The conversations eventually came around to Trump’s tweets. Manigault Newman was asked who monitors them.

“He’s up in his underwear or something at 4 in the morning. Who’s going to monitor that?” she said. “Remember, the bad tweets happen between 4 and 6 in the morning. Ain’t nobody up there but Melania” — Trump’s wife. Manigault Newman then commented on the large diamond the first lady wears on her left ring finger and said Trump “can do whatever he wants. She ain’t saying nothing.”

It was unclear whether her criticisms were genuine or whether she was trying to curry favor with her castmates to avoid eviction. (She didn’t win.)

Manigualt Newman, who declined to comment for this story, passed up a chance to repeat her criticisms during a recent appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” after the reality TV show ended.

When asked if everything will be OK under Trump, she told Colbert, “You’ll have to wait and see.”

She did tell Colbert that she plans to focus on her ministry. Last April, she married John Allen Newman, senior pastor at a Baptist church in Jacksonville, Florida, during a ceremony at Trump’s hotel near the White House. The website of Mount Calvary Baptist Church says she was licensed to preach in 2011 and later ordained and served as assistant pastor.

“My calling to the ministry is more important than anything else that I’ve done and I don’t want to neglect it,” Manigault Newman told Colbert.

Whether that means she’s done bashing Trump remains to be seen.

In her first interview after leaving the White House, she told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that “when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear.”

———

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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ABC News: Entertainment

Omarosa dishes on Trump and gets his attention

Omarosa Manigault Newman once predicted that “every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.” The question now for the former White House aide and “Apprentice” contestant is whether that applies to her, too.

Starring in another reality TV show after resigning from the West Wing, Manigault Newman unleashed one criticism after another of her longtime friend Donald Trump and former White House colleagues, testing the widely held view that few people are ever really exiled from Trump’s orbit.

Manigault Newman said she was “haunted” every day by Trump’s tweets and “attacked” by colleagues when she tried to intervene. She said he tweets in his underwear in the early morning. She compared leaving the White House to being freed from a plantation, a reference to her one-time status as the only black member of the White House senior staff.

If that wasn’t enough, she said the country will not be OK under Trump, and teased that she may tell everything in a book.

The ill feelings may well be mutual.

Trump, who called Manigault Newman a “good person” after she left the White House, referred to her as “the worst” in a speech at a press dinner where the president traditionally jabs at friends and foes alike.

The White House dismisses Manigault Newman as someone Trump has now fired four times: thrice from “The Apprentice” and once from the White House last December.

Armstrong Williams, a longtime friend of Manigault Newman, said the fact that Trump name-checked her in the Gridiron dinner speech this month “means she’s on his mind.” He doesn’t think she had fallen out of favor because of her nationally broadcast criticisms.

“Here’s the key: The president has not tweeted about anything that Omarosa has done since she left. That’s significant,” said Williams, a conservative commentator. “He’s tweeted about (Steve) Bannon and everybody else, but he has not tweeted or pushed back in any way against Omarosa.”

Bannon is the former White House chief strategist whom Trump publicly broke with after a book about Trump’s first year in office quoted Bannon criticizing some of Trump’s adult children. Trump then accused Bannon of “losing his mind.”

Others fired by Trump, including his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and his first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, remain in contact with the president.

During her stint on CBS’ “Celebrity Big Brother,” where Manigault Newman and other celebrities lived under constant surveillance in a shared house until voted out, she steered clear of Trump’s third rail, his family. But she let loose on the president and Vice President Mike Pence.

In one whispered conversation, she said working for Trump was “like a call to duty,” but “I was haunted by the tweets every single day, like ‘What is he going to tweet next?'” When she tried to intervene, Manigault Newman said through tears, “all of the people around him attacked me.”

When asked if people should be worried, Manigault Newman nodded her head and said, “It is going to not be OK. It’s not.”

She criticized Pence in a later episode, saying he’d be more extreme than Trump. “So everybody that’s wishing for impeachment might want to reconsider their lives. We would be begging for days of Trump back if Pence became president,” she said. “He’s extreme. I’m Christian. I love Jesus. But he thinks Jesus tells him to say things. I’m like, ‘Jesus ain’t saying that.'”

The conversations eventually came around to Trump’s tweets. Manigault Newman was asked who monitors them.

“He’s up in his underwear or something at 4 in the morning. Who’s going to monitor that?” she said. “Remember, the bad tweets happen between 4 and 6 in the morning. Ain’t nobody up there but Melania” — Trump’s wife. Manigault Newman then commented on the large diamond the first lady wears on her left ring finger and said Trump “can do whatever he wants. She ain’t saying nothing.”

It was unclear whether her criticisms were genuine or whether she was trying to curry favor with her castmates to avoid eviction. (She didn’t win.)

Manigualt Newman, who declined to comment for this story, passed up a chance to repeat her criticisms during a recent appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” after the reality TV show ended.

When asked if everything will be OK under Trump, she told Colbert, “You’ll have to wait and see.”

She did tell Colbert that she plans to focus on her ministry. Last April, she married John Allen Newman, senior pastor at a Baptist church in Jacksonville, Florida, during a ceremony at Trump’s hotel near the White House. The website of Mount Calvary Baptist Church says she was licensed to preach in 2011 and later ordained and served as assistant pastor.

“My calling to the ministry is more important than anything else that I’ve done and I don’t want to neglect it,” Manigault Newman told Colbert.

Whether that means she’s done bashing Trump remains to be seen.

In her first interview after leaving the White House, she told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that “when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear.”

———

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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ABC News: Entertainment

For live 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' NBC turns to a Legend

Most Easter Sundays, you can find John Legend at home, helping cook a big dinner for family and friends. Except this Easter. He’ll be a little busy — being Jesus Christ in front of millions.

Legend leads a cast that includes Sara Bareilles and Alice Cooper in a live NBC version of the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

It will be the latest addition to the prime-time lineup of live TV musical remakes that kicked off five years ago with “The Sound of Music” and includes “Peter Pan,” ”Grease,” ”The Wiz” and “Hairspray.” While the shows often air at Christmas, this time it made sense for an Easter broadcast of the 47-year-old musical.

“It’s an iconic show. It’s meant a lot to a lot of people for a long time,” Legend said. “You want people who are fans of it already to be excited by our rendition. But then also we want to attract new people to the show, too.”

The musical explores the caustic intersection of politics and showbiz, using a pulsating guitar- and organ-driven score that includes “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” ”Everything’s Alright” and “Superstar.”

Live TV musicals have become progressively more complex, with the use of cars and multiple locations, sometimes outdoors. But “Jesus Christ Superstar” will be more stripped down, an attempt to capture a concert vibe. It will be staged inside an armory in Brooklyn with about 12 cameras.

The actors will be augmented by a 32-piece band — including a mobile, all-woman string quartet — and 1,500 people will be in the audience, surrounding the action and interacting sometimes with the performers. The stage will be just 2 feet above a mosh pit.

“I’m so excited that we have a live audience to work with and to feel the energy of in the room because I think, as someone who’s a concert performer and now in the theater, that’s the missing link so much of the time,” said Bareilles, who plays Mary Magdalene.

Director David Leveaux is promising this version of the musical to be “very unpackaged, not neat, quite raw.” The rest of the cast includes Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas, Cooper as King Herod and Norm Lewis as Caiaphas.

Costume designer Paul Tazewell, who dressed the “Hamilton” cast, has picked flowing tunics and modern, sexy silhouettes. Choreographer Camille A. Brown will mix traditional social dances with hip-hop, New Orleans-style second-line dancing and The Charleston.

Leveaux, who in a 2013 Broadway revival of “Romeo and Juliet” put Orlando Bloom on a motorcycle with a set that spit fire, will use real flames and pyrotechnics for “Superstar.” He’ll also employ some low-tech tricks, like a white scarf that can have multiple uses.

“This is live. So you create ingredients that can combust because it’s live,” said Marc Platt, an executive producer. “In this instance, we have a live audience and an interactive concert, and live musicians — never done before. So we’re not daunted by it. We welcome what’s live and what’s risky about it because that’s what’s exciting.”

Legend, who has won a Grammy, Tony and Oscar, knows he is just an Emmy away from winning the coveted EGOT, but he isn’t planning that his portrayal of Jesus will add to his trophy haul. He made his acting debut in 2016’s “La La Land.”

“I have no presumptions about the idea that I’ll be considered an award-winning actor in my second role as an actor,” he said, laughing. “But I’m aware of the gap in my EGOT.”

The annual live broadcasts have gradually dipped in viewership, with the lowest being “A Christmas Story Live” last Christmas that attracted 4.5 million viewers — but they’ve become popular fodder for hate-tweeting.

“It’s part of it. You just kind of do the best you can,” said executive producer Neil Meron, who helped start the live TV trend with “The Sound of Music” broadcast in 2013. “They’ll rip it apart, they’ll praise it.”

Leveaux has even coined a new term for the potential online hating this time, one that combines Twitter with crucifixion. He calls it death by “twitterfixon.”

———

Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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ABC News: Entertainment

Designer of deadly waterslide charged along with park owner

A water park company co-owner accused of rushing the world’s tallest waterslide into service and a designer accused of shoddy planning were charged Tuesday in the decapitation of a 10-year-old boy on the ride in 2016.

With the latest charges, three men connected with Texas-based Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts and its park in Kansas City, Kansas, have been indicted by a Kansas grand jury, along with the park and the construction company that built the ride. Caleb Schwab died on the 17-story ride when the raft he was riding went airborne and hit an overhead loop.

The Kansas attorney general’s office said Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeffrey Henry, 62, and designer John Schooley were charged with reckless second-degree murder, along with Henry & Sons Construction Co., which is described as the private construction company of Schlitterbahn. Second-degree murder carries a sentence of 9 years to 41 years in prison.

They also were charged with 17 other felonies, including aggravated battery and aggravated endangerment of a child counts tied to injuries other riders sustained on the giant slide, called Verruckt, which is German for “insane.” The indictment accuses Henry of making a “spur of the moment” decision to build the ride, and that he and Schooley lacked technical or engineering expertise in amusement park rides.

Henry was ordered held in a Texas jail without bond Tuesday, pending extradition to Kansas. The attorney general’s office said Schooley is not in custody. Schooley didn’t have a listed phone number and no one answered the phone at Henry & Sons Construction Co. Eric B Terry, who represented the company in an earlier unrelated case, didn’t immediately return a phone or email message.

The same grand jury last week indicted the Kansas City park and Tyler Austin Miles, its former operations manager, on 20 felony charges. The charges include a single count of involuntary manslaughter in Schwab’s death. Miles has been released on $ 50,000 bond, according to one of his attorneys, Tricia Bath.

The company has promised to aggressively fight the criminal charges. After Miles and the park were charged, it said it would respond to the allegations in the 47-page indictment “point by point.”

After Henry’s arrest in Texas, Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in an emailed statement: “We as a company and as a family will fight these allegations and have confidence that once the facts are presented it will be clear that what happened on the ride was an unforeseeable accident.”

According to the indictments, Henry decided in 2012 to build the world’s tallest water slide to impress the producers of a Travel Channel show. Henry’s desire to “rush the project” and a lack of expertise caused the company to “skip fundamental steps in the design process.”

The indictment said, “not a single engineer was directly involved in Verruckt’s dynamic engineering or slide path design.” The indictment said that in 2014, when there were news reports emerging about airborne rafts, a company spokesperson “discredited” them and Henry and his designer began “secretly testing at night to avoid scrutiny.”

The indictment listed 13 injuries during the 182 days the ride was in operation, including two concussions. In one of those cases, a 15-year-old girl went temporarily blind while riding.

Caleb, the son of Kansas Republican state Rep. Scott Schwab, was decapitated after the raft on which he was riding went airborne on a day when admission was free for state legislators and their families.

The family reached settlements of nearly $ 20 million with Schlitterbahn and various companies associated with the design and construction of the waterslide. The two women who rode on the same raft with Caleb suffered serious injuries and settled claims with Schlitterbahn for an undisclosed amount.

“Clearly the issues with Schlitterbahn go far beyond Caleb’s incident, and we know the attorney general will take appropriate steps in the interest of public safety,” the family said in a statement released Monday through their attorneys.

The indictment said Schooley was responsible for doing “the math” that went into the slide’s design and signed an operations manual claiming the ride met all American Society for Testing and Materials standards. But the indictment lists a dozen instances in which the design violated those standards and says investigators could find no evidence that so-called dynamic engineering calculations were made to determine the physics a passenger would experience. The indictment said Schooley lacked the technical expertise to properly design a complex amusement ride such as Verruckt.

The indictment said Schooley admitted, “If we actually knew how to do this, and it could be done that easily, it wouldn’t be that spectacular.”

Prosapio said Schlitterbahn does not expect any changes to the Kansas City park’s season, which is set to open May 25 and runs through Labor Day. The Verruckt slide has been closed since Caleb died.

Mike Taylor, a spokesman for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, says it does not believe it has the legal authority to shut down a business, other than for an epidemic or contagious disease outbreak.

The company also operates water parks in Galveston, Corpus Christi, South Padre Island and New Braunfels, Texas, according to its website.

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Associated Press writers David Warren and Terry Wallace in Dallas also contributed to this report.

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Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

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ABC News: Entertainment