Ben Affleck beams at 'Icon' Jennifer Lopez amid engagement buzz, plus more news

Ben Affleck cheers for Jennifer Lopez at the iHeartRadio Awards as engagement buzz grows louder

When Jennifer Lopez accepted the Icon Award at the iHeartRadio Awards in Los Angeles on March 22, her No. 1 fan was in the front row, cheering her on. Flanked by his 10-year-old son Samuel and Jen’s 14-year-old daughter Emme, Ben Affleck beamed at his girlfriend — and, perhaps, future fiancee — as she thanked everyone who’s “believed” in her over the years. She also expressed her gratitude for the support that allows her to do what she “loves most” for a living. “That’s a gift that you give me and I just want to say thank you for that,” she said, per Page Six. “You guys are the ones who give me the opportunity every day to live a life I couldn’t even imagine would come true when I was a little girl growing up in the Bronx. … You did that for me! You made that dream come true, and I’m shaking! I will always be grateful to each and every one of you for that.” In closing, Jen added: “Thank you for teaching me who I really am. Icon. I can overcome negativity, and so can you, every single moment. And let me tell you something else… I’m just getting started.” From the looks of things, so are Jen and Ben, as the couple’s rekindled romance continues to get more serious. On March 23, Entertainment Tonight reported the singer and actor, 49, devote time and energy to improving their relationship, with an eye to a shared future. “An engagement is on the table and it has been an ongoing conversation,” a source tells the outlet. “They actively talk about what didn’t work in the past and use those experiences to strengthen their relationship now, for the future and for the sake of themselves and their families.” They’ve also reportedly put an estimated $55 million in escrow on a sprawling estate in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles.

RELATED: The best photos of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez since they reunited

Rachel Zegler invited to present at Oscars after backlash over her lack of a ticket

Ask the social media masses and you shall receive! It seems “West Side Story” star Rachel Zegler won’t be stuck at home in her sweats for the 2022 Academy Awards, after all. In the wake of backlash over the 20-year-old failing to score an Oscar invite despite having starred in a best picture contender, Rachel is nowinvited to present an award at the ceremony, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Over the weekend, the actress reacted to a comment on social media about what she’ll be wearing to the Oscars. “I’m not invited so sweatpants and my boyfriend’s flannel,” she replied. Fans responded by criticizing the Academy for inviting the likes of athletes Tony Hawk and Shaun White to present awards while leaving Rachel off the list. Per THR, only nominees and presenters are invited individually and COVID-19 safety precautions mean there are fewer tickets to go around than in previous years. Still, studios are granted tickets to distribute themselves, and as fans pointed out, it seemed odd that an invite would not have been sent to the star of a best picture-nominated film. The actress is reportedly in London, where she’s filming Disney’s upcoming “Snow White” remake. According to THR, the production schedule for the movie may shift so she can be in Los Angeles for the Oscars on March 27.

Raven-Symone joins Disney staffers in protesting ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’

Like scores of Disney employees, Raven-Symoné and her “Raven’s Home” co-stars protested Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill on March 22 by walking out on the job. “In support of our LGBTQ+ family and all of those who will be damaged by the ‘don’t say gay bill’ we the cast of ‘Raven’s Home’ are walking out,” Raven captioned a video on Instagram that showed the cast, mid-walkout. “In today’s world it is imperative that we take stands, show support, and move forward not backwards,” she added. “Every family every person and every child deserves to be recognized no matter their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Education that reflects the truth and the world we live in is something we must fight for.” The protest was staged on the same day Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed to sign the bill into law “relatively soon.” The Parental Rights in Education bill asserts that, “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards,” according to USA Today. Disney, which produced “Raven’s Home,” has faced backlash for initially failing to take a stand against the bill.

Amanda Bynes vows to prioritize her well-being, post-conservatorship

Amanda Bynes is celebrating her freedom after a judge ruled her nearly nine-year long conservatorship was “no longer needed or required” on March 22. In a statement to People via her lawyer, the former Nickelodeon star thanked “fans for their love and well wishes” as well as her attorney and parents “for their support over the last nine years.” Now 35, Amanda has given up acting and has been focused on earning her degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. She’s also engaged and planning to move in with her fiancé, Paul Michael, after a period of living in sober house communities. “In the last several years, I have been working hard to improve my health so that I can live and work independently, and I will continue to prioritize my well-being in this next chapter,” she added in the statement. “I am excited about my upcoming endeavors — including my fragrance line — and look forward to sharing more when I can.” Amanda filed to terminate the conservatorship in February. Previously, her mom, Lynne, was handling her affairs in the wake of a number of incidents that were later attributed to mental health and substance abuse issues.

Justin Bieber drops $20M defamation suit against sexual assault accusers

Justin Bieber wants to move on from the defamation lawsuit he filed in 2020 against two Jane Does who accused him of sexually assaulting them in separate incidents. On March 22, Rolling Stone reported the singer requested to dismiss the $20 million suit late last week. In his suit, Justin slammed the accusers’ claims that he assaulted one woman in Austin in 2014 and the other in New York City in 2015 as “outrageous, fabricated lies,” according to Page Six. He also said he had evidence showing there was no truth to either person’s story — and that the two may have been colluding on their claims if they are, in fact, two separate people and not one person posing on twitter as two individuals. The Austin incident allegedly happened during South By Southwest at a Four Seasons hotel room. According to Justin, however, he never stayed at that hotel and was instead renting accommodations with Selena Gomez, who he was dating at the time. the other accuser alleged the singer attacked her in the Big Apple when he was there for the Met Gala. In his suit, Justin said the person was a “superfan” who regularly waited for him outside hotels. He also said she acknowledged on twitter that they hadn’t met up on the date she said he assaulted her. According to a TMZ source, Justin wants to ditch the suit because he feels like he’s “made his point” and wants “to move on.”

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