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May 29, 2004. 01:00 AM
Celebrity copulation explosion

RITA ZEKAS

A bulging belly is the new Kelly bag.

The celeb baby-making boom hasn't been so hot since a pregnant Demi Moore posed naked on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991, the year Ashton Kutcher became a teenager.

Heavily pregnant Catherine Zeta-Jones threatened to give birth at last year's Oscars. Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett keep cranking out the kids.

Kate Hudson, Debra Messing, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Griffiths, Helen Hunt and Mrs. Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, recently became mothers.

Marcia Gay Harden and Geena Davis were enceinte with twins.

Courteney Cox is finally preggers; former fellow Friend Jennifer Aniston is feeling the added pressure.

Reese Witherspoon proves you can have kids and hit movies. Billy Crudup proves you can have a kid and be a love rat. He dumped Mary Louise Parker for Claire Danes when Parker was about to pop with baby son William Atticus.

According to Us mag, Mira Sorvino's Armani wedding dress will be "opened up" when she weds baseball player turned actor Chris Backus on July 2 because she is pregnant.

Although Céline Dion, Sarah McLachlan and Nelly Furtado joined the sisterhood of motherhood, according to a recent Statistics Canada report, Canada's birth rate fell to its "all time low" in 2002, with just 10.5 births recorded for every 1,000 people in the country. That rate is down by some 25 per cent in the last decade alone. In the U.S., the rate is 14.4 births per 1,000.

Pretty Baby Brooke Shields is writing a book on postpartum depression but Jenny McCarthy, former host of the MTV dating show Singled Out, is now the go-to girl for pregnancy. She is author of the hilarious Belly Laughs, No. 12 on tomorrow's New York Times bestseller list. Even Star Gazing's indomitable spinning instructor, Micheline, who breastfeeds her 8-week-old son while barking cycling orders, is passing it on to her friends.

McCarthy is two minutes early for the phone interview from Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband, director John Asher, father of their 2-year-old son Evan, the inspiration for the book.

"I'm kind of anal," she laughs.

No kidding. McCarthy tells you things you wanted to know but didn't know to ask, like involuntary pooping on the delivery table. "Under different circumstances, poop is one of my favourite subjects," she admits. "I guess people are hungry for humour and it really hit a nerve. I get the best feedback — even from many people without kids. I tell the truth and make people laugh.

"The reason why I wrote it is there are things you want to know they don't tell you in the `bible,' What To Expect When You're Expecting. They tell you the clinical things but not what your friends are talking about on the phone. Not the ugly truth: the poop and the Niagara in my pants (vaginal discharge), cellulite ass, pregnancy mask, water retention..." McCarthy retained so much water, she couldn't wear her wedding ring and was branded a "hussy."

"I had to hear those things from my mother."

Mom forgot to mention the mood swings. "Not all celebrities are temperamental whack jobs. I am not that kind of person. I've never thrown anything. But all of a sudden I'm Joan Crawford with a really bad bleach job."

Pregnancy sounds like menopause: crying for no reason, wandering mind, forgetfulness, hot flashes.

"Middle-aged women can relate to the book," she concurs. "They ask, `When it's time, please write about menopause.' I tell them I'll be right there."

While swanning around the Cannes Film Festival, Uma Thurman compared filmmaking to raising kids: "There's the laughter, the kisses and the moments you never forget. Then there's the laundry, the shopping, the puke on the floor and the diapers."

And the poundage. Kate Hudson has lost most of her baby fat in under five months through a low-carb diet and gruelling regimen of three-hour-a-day cycling, cross-training and pilates.

It took McCarthy two years to take off hers. "It's been a lot of hard work and Weight Watchers meetings," she sighs.

These sylphs, these size two to fours, packed on a whopping 60 lbs. during pregnancy when normal weight gain hovers around 35 to 40 lbs. Is this because celebs, who don't eat for a living, gain the max when, for once in their in-your-face lives, they get absolution?

"I had the best time eating whatever I wanted," McCarthy reminisces. "I'd enjoy that slab of ribs and side of baked potato. Now I eat fruit, fish, salad — all the boring stuff that mommy needs to eat to keep working."

Hudson breastfeeds son Ryder Russell while shooting the film Skeleton Key in New Orleans. McCarthy didn't breastfeed because of her implants, holdovers from her days as Playboy Playmate material.

She was studying nursing in university in Chicago but yearned to be an actress so she sent photos out to 65 agencies. The only one calling back told her she'd never make it — she was 25 pounds heavier at the time. But her weight was perfect for Playboy, across the street from the agency.

McCarthy pocketed the $15,000 she got for being Miss October, paid off her school loan and headed to Los Angeles.

"I wanted to be a comedic actress but in L.A., not many people move from Playboy to comedy. I figured I'll be so loud and obnoxious and make fun of myself that people will see I'm the girl I thought I could be."

On Singled Out, McCarthy sent up her blonde bimbo stereotype by mugging at the camera. A forerunner of Jessica Simpson, we suggest.

"Jessica Simpson is more manicured; I'm more nibbled fingernails," she contends. "I'm not afraid of getting dirty. I'll show you my stretch marks; she'll have the perfect crème. But everyone in Hollywood has cellulite, even skinny people."

McCarthy's NBC variety series tanked. Simpson's new ABC variety series has been scrubbed.

"The variety show didn't fit me at all," she explains. "Every network has given me a development deal and every show I pick is too edgy. This year I did a deal with UPN; UPN takes chances."

She is producing and starring in the fall UPN sitcom The Bad Girl's Guide.

"It's basically Friends meets Sex And The City," she says. "It's about cool, girl-bonding friendships and sticking up for each other. It's about a threesome of girls and my character is Annie, who is the leader like Carrie was (on Sex). She has the cojones."

As does McCarthy, who has been censored during her book tour.

"I've done 60 shows about my book and every show's producer pulls me aside and says, `We have to make sure you don't say the word vagina.' I can't just talk in clinical terms. I couldn't say `boob.' I had to say `breast' or I'd be off the air.

"When you go to Europe, Tic Tac commercials have women's breasts hanging out. Here you can show blood, murder and rape on CSI but you can't say `boobs.' I want to be on the cover of Newsweek with a big tape over my mouth."

If her new series doesn't work out, McCarthy can always tour in The Vagina Monologues.

Additional articles by Rita Zekas


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