Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008 | 9:38 p.m.
* The surprise break-up of Paris Hilton and Good Charlotte rocker Benji Madden after a 10-month romance made headlines around the world, but now 27-year-old Paris herself confesses she still loves him and the split might not be permanent after all.
She told "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest on his Los Angeles radio show: “Right now we’re just taking a break. We’re still really good friends. We’re very close. He’s an incredible person, and he’s my best friend. He’s been so great to me -- and I’m still in love with him.”
The couple met here in Las Vegas and went public with their romance at the Mirage after spending last Valentine’s Day together. Benji was seen back there after a visit to N9NE Steakhouse and the Playboy Club at the Palms this past weekend.
Paris wanted to set the record straight that she had not dumped the 29-year-old rocker and that the bust-up wasn’t because she was photographed with former beau Stavros Niarchos in a Miami nightclub.
“That was ridiculous,” Paris said. “I didn’t hook up with him. I hadn’t seen him in over a year, so one quick photo of me saying hello and smiling got blown way out of all proportion. Benji has been working nonstop in the studio with his brother on a new record, and I’ve been traveling nonstop. We’re both working so much it was getting difficult for us.”
The singer-actress-business entrepreneur blasted rumors about Benji’s supposed control-freak behavior. “I’ve never been treated so well in my life. He’s just very protective as any man would be who’s in love. Our split was mutual. I didn’t dump him. It’s a decision we made together as two adults.”
For now both are solo -- and separate. They won’t be together for New Year’s Eve as Paris has plans with sister Nicky to be in Sydney Harbor, Australia, for the first countdown in the world to welcome Jan. 1.
She added: ”I don’t want to date anyone. The thought of that grosses me out. I obviously still have feelings for Benji and will always love him. We will always be really close. We’ll see what happens.”
* Hard on the heels -- and guitar strings -- of a successful, red-hot reunion tour with Stone Temple Pilots, singer Scott Weiland released his highly anticipated second solo album "Happy in Galoshes" yesterday and celebrated last night with an album release party at Lavo restaurant and nightclub in the Palazzo that continued until the early hours this morning.
Our contributing celebrity photographer Erik Kabik said: “Scott was looking good and in great spirits. He was excited to be out at Lavo with his band. They arrived and went inside for dinner after spending some time with us for a quick photo shoot.”
Scott, also formerly with Velvet Revolver, recruited Doug Green and Nirvana producer Steve Albini as co-producers of "Happy" and even did some of the additional engineering work himself. The album features cameos from No Doubt members, with bassist Tony Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young all performing on the record.