Scoop! Britney confesses: I went ‘too far’

After a blitz of controversy over her hard-partying ways, Britney Spears has spoken out. In a new message on her Web site, she admits she’s gone “too far” lately, and promises fans she’ll turn over a new leaf.

“I look forward to a new year, new music and a new me,” the divorcing diva crows. (Yikes. Is the world ready for yet another new Britney?)

Without directly referring to the public criticism she’s received, Brit defends her behavior: “It’s been so long since I’ve been out on the town with my friends. It’s also been two years since I’ve celebrated my birthday. Every move I make at this point has been magnified more than I expected.”

But Brit goes on to acknowledge that “I probably did take my newfound freedom a little too far.”And, alluding to her infamous recent panty-free photo ops, she jokes, “Anyway, thank God for Victoria’s Secret’s new underwear line!” Hmm, sounds like a bid for an endorsement deal.

Rather ominously, Brit concludes her message, “I’m just getting started.” Let’s hope she’s referring to her career and not her whirlwind partying spree.

Scary shocked by split

The story of Eddie Murphy’s split from pregnant Melanie “Scary Spice” Brown just keeps getting nastier. Apparently the former Spice Girl only learned it was over after getting messages from friends that her so-called beau showed up at the “Dreamgirls” premiere with new squeeze Tracy Edmonds.

“At first she thought it was some kind of joke, but then she called one of her friends, who read the story down the phone to her,” a Mel pal told the U.K.’s Daily Mirror. “She’s been in pieces ever since. Not only has she been dumped, but the man she loves has run off with someone else and is making her out to be some sort of slapper. … Her whole world’s been torn apart. She really thought they were going to be together for a very long time.”

Particularly painful for Mel was Eddie’s public call for a paternity test. A friend told the U.K.’s Sun that the singer swears, “There’s no question that Eddie is the father of my baby. I haven’t been with anyone else since I met Eddie.”

Scary, honey, keep your chin up — you’re better off without a guy like this!

Mary J.: Grammy Darling

It’s been a good week for Mary J. Blige. She scored nine Billboard Music Awards on Monday; now she’s first in line for the music industry’s top honors. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul received eight Grammy nods, including record and song of the year for “Be Without You,” it was announced Thursday.

Second to Mary with six nominations were alt-rock veterans the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And controversy over their anti-Bush stance didn’t hurt the Dixie Chicks’ Grammy chances; the outspoken country trio received five nods, including album, record and song of the year.

Prince, John Mayer and will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas also earned five nominations, while Justin Timberlake’s tireless efforts to bring sexy back were rewarded with four. Beyoncé, T.I. and Gnarls Barkley also got four nods apiece.

Rock legend Bob Dylan and vocal diva Christina Aguilera were both shut out of the top categories, though the bard is up for Best Rock Song (“Someday Baby”) and Xtina for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance (“Ain’t No Other Man”).

Nominations were announced by artists including (who else?) Blige, Timberlake, Amy Lee of Evanescence, Ludacris, and Best New Artist nominees James Blunt, Chris Brown and Corinne Bailey Rae. (Singers Carrie Underwood and Imogen Heap round out the newbie category.)

The Grammys air Feb. 11, 2007, when we can find out what’s really important: what everyone is wearing.

Kitty Raymond is an entertainment writer who has a celebrity astrology blog at www.celebastroblogy.com.

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