That come-to-bed gaze and those luscious curves, the decadent lifestyle, a taste for dangerous boyfriends, and even more dangerously-low-cut dresses – there's a decent case to be made for the theory that Jennifer Lopez is picking up where the late Liz Taylor left off.
Until this summer, J-Lo had been written off as one half of yet another cosy-but-dull Hollywood happy ending – and there are more of them than you think – with her seven-year marriage to singer Marc Anthony, their baby twins and a career that, if it wasn't exactly on fire, still had her valued at an estimated $250m.
After a string of dramatic divorces and romances, America's most celebrated Latin woman, and the possessor of pop's most celebrated posterior, had finally settled down. No longer.
Maybe Jennifer felt as if she was slipping off the map. This is a singer and actress who had self-dramatised every twist and turn of her private life, a hard-working entertainer who was never off duty. She had married and dated the men who danced with her onstage (husband of nine months, Cris Judd) and who mentored her music (Diddy; that didn't end well, either). Her partners often appeared in her pop videos – remember the height of "Bennifer" in 2002, when she and then-fiancé Ben Affleck cavorted on a yacht? When they split up, she sang about that too ("Going nowhere/but I kept the ring"). Then she fell for singer Marc Anthony, explaining, "he's Puerto Rican, I'm Puerto Rican". Whether he really was a controlling man who resented her career, as she has implied, or whether she simply got bored of the grind of marriage, by June this year Lopez was attending red-carpet events with her mother, but without a wedding ring. On 15 July the couple announced they'd reached the "amicable conclusion" to divorce. In non-celebrity real life, that might have been that; each party could get on with stewing in guilt and anger and lonely nights stalking each other on Facebook. But in the world of Jennifer Lopez, what followed since has been a masterclass in managing a public break-up. Draw closer, wannabe divas:
1. Cut a deal. Shortly before the split, she and Marc Anthony signed a colossal 21-year deal with American department store Kohl's for branded "lifestyle" goods, ie towels and bedsheets. The arrangement, which will still go ahead, could make her a reported $10m a year. She's also about to sign up for a lucrative second series as judge on American Idol, which will also provide a useful transfusion of publicity.
2. Give a killer interview. J-Lo's appearance on this month's cover of Vanity Fair was her masterstroke. Given before the divorce announcement, it is a heart-to-heart that hints at private unhappiness, but insists, "I remain an eternal optimist about love", while striking a pose for Mario Testino in various glamorous, but symbolically innocent, snowy-white outfits. A strong start for Team Jennifer.
3. Show off your body. Husband off the scene, Jennifer is now free to reveal her greatest achievement: her perma-abs. Expect to see a lot of perfectly toned skin from the queen of plunging necklines. It might not sound like much, except for the fact she's 42 and the mother of twins.
4. Reinvigorate your career. One dodgy chick-flick is already under way (What to Expect When You're Expecting), and she's also starring in Taylor Hackford's thriller Parker opposite Jason Statham. After a six-year break from music, she's scored a number one single and, next year, a greatest hits album is due.
5. Make another bad romantic decision (and then put him in a pop video). Jennifer's already back in touch with Diddy, (What does she see in him? "He's from New York, I'm from New York.") which should keep the tabloids busy. After that fizzles out, she'll cast the next Mr Lo, have another preposterous wedding – and repeat from No. 1. Like the lady said, she's an eternal optimist.
A refreshing outbreak of BBC nausea
It was just another dreary Newsnight. I wasn't even watching. Something about the eurozone. Stephanie Flanders was the stand-in presenter. Then she said it, in an irritable tone of voice: "It has been mildly nauseating the last few days the way the Chancellor has crowed here about how we're a safe haven..." Calling George Osborne "mildly nauseating" is an understatement in my book, but Stephanie Flanders is a BBC correspondent. Like vicars, policemen and your GP, she's supposed to maintain a veneer of professional objectivity, otherwise public life will descend into anarchy or, worse, something resembling America. She clearly finds it an effort – this is the same presenter who asked David Cameron whether his party objected to her status as an unmarried mother. Anybody who wishes for further proof of Stephanie's leanings could discover that she dated both Ed Milliband and Ed Balls in the past. Not that the BBC has a Labour bias. Who doesn't know about Nick Robinson's connections to the Tories? The BBC's impartial image is easy to puncture, once you pay attention, but I'd never want them to abandon it, because it's more civilised this way, notwithstanding a few slip-ups. Even if Stephanie is just saying what the rest of us are thinking.
Fred Perry cashes in on Winehouse 'link'
The questionable commercial "advantages" of being associated with Amy Winehouse continue to make business sense for some. Stylish tennis wear company Fred Perry has announced that "with the blessing of Amy's family" it will go ahead with an "Amy Winehouse for Fred Perry" collection, for autumn/winter and next spring too. (Remember Amy with a tennis racquet in her hand? Me neither.) Some of the royalties from the deal will go to a charitable foundation set up by her family, while Fred Perry will "make a seasonal donation" from its share of the profits. Sporting of them.