Tom and Nicole try image control

Los Angeles � Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman joined forces to file a lawsuit against cosmetics chain Sephora USA, which they allege used their images without their consent.

The Superior Court lawsuit claims ads in 2001 for Sephora's "Celebrity Scents" created the misleading impression that the couple "used, preferred, endorsed or sponsored Sephora's products."

The lawsuit seeks $15 million in damages.

Cruise and Kidman, who were divorced last summer, were pictured in an ad for the "L'eau down on celebrity sweethearts," used to promote Valentine's Day gifts.

"Tom & Nicole � The red carpet glamour of Hollywood's royal couple never fails to leave us with eyes wide open," the ad stated, then listed products Sephora sells that supposedly match the stars' personalities.

Maniac joins plant opposition

Albany, N.Y. � Natalie Merchant is using her voice to oppose a coal-burning cement plant proposed in the Hudson Valley, near her home.

The 38-year-old former lead singer of 10,000 Maniacs signed a petition against the St. Lawrence Cement Co. plant during a news conference this week.

Opponents argue the $300 million plant would be a blight on the picturesque landscape, emit too much pollution and clog rural roads.

"The negative environmental impact to the region is probably my first (concern), the air quality is of great concern, but also the river traffic," said Merchant, a 15-year resident of northern Dutchess County who enjoys canoeing on the river.

Heston stumps for Alabama GOP

Mobile, Ala. � Charlton Heston plans to visit three cities in Alabama to raise money for the state's Republican Party.

Heston's visit today comes six weeks after the 78-year-old actor announced he had been diagnosed with symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease.

Michael Davis, director of the Alabama Republican Party's Victory 2002 Campaign, said Heston's Alabama tour would begin with a breakfast at a Mobile hotel. At noon, he will be honored at a rally in Oxford, followed by a second rally later that day in Huntsville.

Kravitz bids adieu to antiques

New Orleans � Fans of Lenny Kravitz can buy some of his eclectic home furnishing items, including a full suit of armor, at an auction this weekend.

The 38-year-old rock star is selling more than 1,700 pieces of antique furniture and bric-a-brac � nearly everything he had in his French Quarter home � said Michael DeGeorge, consignment agent for New Orleans Auction Galleries.

The auction will include chandeliers, candlesticks, chairs, sofas and mirrors.

"I think he kept, like, three items," DeGeorge said.


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