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Wendy Williams announces 3-week hiatus due to Graves’ disease

Wendy Williams is taking three weeks off from her talk show.

The former radio personality turned daytime TV show host was candid with her live audience Wednesday as she made the announcement. The 53-year-old has Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism, both of which she has spoken about in the past. 

>> Read more trending news 

“Wendy is a true champion and has never missed a day of work. But her health and well-being must be put before all else,” a show representative told People. “Wendy has been openly dealing with her Graves’ disease for many years, in addition to hyperthyroidism. Yesterday, Wendy’s doctor prescribed a necessary three weeks of rest to get her levels and medication in sync. The show will be in repeats during this unplanned hiatus. A live show was produced today so that Wendy could speak directly to her fans and explain her condition.”

“My doctor has prescribed -- are you ready? As of today, three weeks of vacation,” she said.

Williams then described the symptoms that come with Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism.

“Along with hyperthyroid and Graves’ disease, it promotes nervousness,” Williams said. “No, I’m not nervous. Anxiety, please. I’m over 30 years in this game.”

Related: Watch: Wendy Williams faints on live TV

The wife and mother to a teenage son did admit she has some symptoms, including a rapid heartbeat.

“Now, I can cop to irritability, but I’m just thinking it’s me micromanaging,” she said. 

Ever the workhorse, Williams said she would be back in less than three weeks.

“I’ll be back in two (weeks). I’m not an heiress. Who is going to pay my bills? Are you serious? I’m just saying, I come from working class,” she said.

Williams said she blamed her symptoms on the stresses of being a working wife and mother, encouraging women to put their health first.

“What I want to say to women, more than men, is stop putting everyone first because if we’re not good, they’re not good,” she said. 

Williams took three days off last week after she said she was “feeling flu-ish.” It was the first time she was out sick from the show since it started in 2009. In October, Williams fainted on-air while introducing a segment.

Related: Wendy Williams addresses fainting on live Halloween show

“That was not a stunt,” Williams said at the end of that episode. “I overheated in my costume, and I did pass out. But you know what? I’m a champ and I’m back.”

CNN reported that there will not be a fill-in host for the show. Repeat episodes will air during the hiatus.

Watch Williams’ message to viewers below.

Geraldo Rivera talks weapons age-limits with Trump

Television personality Geraldo Rivera says he has discussed the idea of raising the minimum age to purchase assault-type weapons with President Donald Trump, adding that Trump "took it under advisement."

Rivera, a Fox News contributor, says in an email Wednesday that he spoke with Trump during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend. He added that Trump "further suggested strongly that he was going to act to strengthen background checks."

Rivera says Trump was "deeply affected" by visits with survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead.

The gunman used an AR-15. Rivera says Trump was "shocked and distressed" by the wounds inflicted.

On Tuesday, the White House said the idea of raising the age limit to buy an AR-15 was on the table for discussion.

Talk show host Williams taking time off for health reasons

Daytime talk show host Wendy Williams says she's taking three weeks off on doctor's orders.

Williams says that her doctor told her to take the break to deal with her Graves' Disease and hyperthyroidism. Reruns will air in her absence.

Williams told her audience Wednesday that she's been feeling like there are birds flying around her head, like a cartoon, and discussed other symptoms. She urged women in her audience not to neglect their health and to get regular check-ups.

The talk show host is 53 and recently lost 50 pounds.

Madrid art fair yanks photo exhibit amid political spat

Madrid's International Contemporary Art Fair on Wednesday yanked a photo exhibition called "Political Prisoners in Contemporary Spain," prompting charges of censorship against the government-funded body which operates the event venue.

The spat came during efforts by pro-independence groups in the northeastern Catalonia region to break away from Spain. Some Catalan political leaders and activists have been preventively jailed because of their secession bid, and their supporters claim they are political prisoners — a charge which the national government in Madrid has vigorously denied, labelling them "politicians in prison."

The ARCO fair organizers said in a statement that IFEMA, which runs the fair venue, asked the exhibiting gallery to take down artist Santiago Sierra's photographs of unidentified prisoners because the controversy caused by the collection had diverted attention from the rest of the exhibits. It said the Helga de Alvear gallery complied with the request, leaving a broad stretch of blank wall.

The artist's studio said the move damaged the international prestige of Spain and of the annual fair. It said in a statement that the common denominator of the prisoners portrayed in the photos was that they had expressed their ideas without resorting to violence.

The collection of 24 black-and-white photographs featured head-and-shoulder portraits of prisoners with their faces pixelated. Captions explained who they were, such as Catalan and Basque nationalists, without naming them.

One group of photographs included people facing potential trial for their actions during the recent Catalan independence turmoil, and many Spaniards would likely be able to identify them despite the pixelation. They include Catalonia's former vice president, a former Catalan interior minister and two prominent Catalan separatist activists.

Carlos Urroz, the director of ARCO, said each gallery's space at the exhibition is a private area. Urroz said that Sierra, the artist, "is always very controversial and all his works have a very political slant."

Madrid City Council said it didn't support the decision to withdraw the exhibit, saying it defends freedom of expression and creativity "above all."

Chef Jose Andres writing book on Hurricane Maria relief work

Award-winning chef Jose Andres is working on a book about his efforts to help Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Ecco told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it has acquired "We Fed An Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time." The book is scheduled for Sept. 11 and is co-written by Richard Wolffe. A portion of proceeds will be given to the Chef Relief Network of Andres' nonprofit World Central Kitchen. Also on Wednesday, the James Beard Foundation cited his efforts in feeding millions of Puerto Ricans after the storm in naming him "Humanitarian of the Year." The foundation called him a "committed advocate of food and hunger issues."

"We Fed an Island" will be released through Anthony Bourdain's imprint at Ecco. In the book, Andres says he wanted to provide the "inside story" of the relief work by himself and World Central Kitchen last fall.

"We want to tell the inside story of what we saw on the ground," he writes, "the good and the bad— of the crisis, the response, and how a plate of food does more than just fill you up. It fills you with hope."

Correction: Britain-Brit Awards story

In a story Feb. 21 about the Brit Awards, The Associated Press erroneously reported the name of a Dua Lipa song. It is "New Rules," not "No Rules." The AP also misspelled the last name of musician Kendrick Lamar. It's not Lemar.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Dua Lipa, Stormzy win as Brit Awards join 'Time's Up' call

Hometown London stars Dua Lipa and Stormzy were both double winners at the U.K. music industry's Brit Awards, where many guests wore white roses to symbolize the fight against sexual harassment and assault

By JILL LAWLESS

Associated Press

Hometown London stars Dua Lipa and Stormzy were both double winners Wednesday at the U.K. music industry's Brit Awards, where many guests wore white roses to symbolize the fight against sexual harassment and assault.

Stormzy, who has helped propel the grime genre of rap into the commercial mainstream, was named best male British solo artist, and also won album of the year, for his debut "Gang Signs and Prayer."

Taking the stage, he thanked God, his mother, his family his team and south London, where he grew up.

Stormzy said the album was "the hardest thing, I've never worked on something like this in my life."

"I've never given my entire being, I didn't have anything left after... we made something I feel that is undeniable, that I can stand by today," he said.

Stormzy also energized a show that bordered on bland. In an electric closing performance, he put Britain's prime minister on the spot, singing "Theresa May, where's the money for Grenfell" in reference to last year's deadly London tower block blaze.

Lipa, whose self-titled debut was one of 2017's breakout albums, was named British female solo artist and British breakthrough artist.

Lipa dedicated her solo artist trophy to all the female musicians who "have allowed us to dream this big."

"Here's to more women on these stages, more women winning awards and more women taking over the world," said Lipa, who topped U.K. charts with her catchy breakup anthem "New Rules."

Following up on gestures at the Golden Globes, Grammys and British film awards, guests at Britain's biggest music awards show were given flowers or white rose pins to wear in solidarity with the Time's Up movement.

Calls for change have swept through the entertainment industry since women began coming forward to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein last year.

The white rose symbol made an appearance at the Grammys last month. At the Globes and British Academy Film Awards women wore black to oppose sexual misconduct and bullying.

Performers at the show at London's O2 Arena, hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall, included Justin Timberlake, Rita Ora, Sam Smith, Foo Fighters and Kendrick Lamar.

International winners included Foo Fighters in the group category, female solo artist Lorde and male solo artist Kendrick Lamar.

Soulful singer Rag'n'Bone Man took the trophy for best British single for "Human."

Ubiquitous singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran won the global success award, which goes to the year's best-selling British artist. His album "Divide" has sold more than 12 million copies around the world.

In what felt like a symbolic handover between generations, Sheeran's prize was introduced by a video message from Elton John. He was given his trophy by Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, who called Sheeran "a lovely young guy."

Ariana Grande had been due to perform, but was forced to pull out because of illness, organizers said. She had been due to make a surprise appearance in tribute to 22 people killed when a bomber blew himself up at a Grande concert in Manchester in May.

Manchester-born Liam Gallagher stepped in instead, performing the Oasis classic "Live Forever."

Once a slightly ramshackle and unpredictable event, the Brits has become a slick showcase for U.K. and international talent.

This year's show did feature some pointed moments. As well as Stormzy's Grenfell shoutout, former Blur frontman Damon Albarn alluded to Brexit as he accepted the best British group prize with cartoon band Gorillaz.

In an apparent reference to Britain's impending departure from the European Union, he urged Britons not to let the country become isolated,

"Considering our size we do incredible things in music, we've got a real spirit and a real soul, and don't let politics get in the way of all that (stuff), alright?" Albarn said.

Most winners at the Brits are chosen by a ballot of music-industry members, with several selected by public vote, including video of the year, decided by public ballot during the show. For years that prize was invariably won by One Direction; this year it went to a member of that band, Harry Styles.

Will and Jaden Smith create eco-friendly water company: Just

Jaden Smith's environmental consciousness was born when he was out surfing at about age 10. He saw plastic water bottles bobbing in the ocean beside him, and he was so upset by it that he told his parents.

Then he learned in school about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, those floating "islands" of garbage and plastic debris, and insisted that his family do something about it.

The result is Just, an eco-friendly bottled water company founded by Smith and his famous dad, Will Smith. The company makes its packaging from almost entirely renewable resources, including "plastic" derived from sugarcane.

"This was a company born out of a child's love for the ocean," Will Smith told The Associated Press during an interview with the father-son entertainment duo about their company's new offering: flavored water. They established the company in 2015, but the elder Smith said he wanted to wait until it gained momentum on its own merits before revealing the brand had celebrity backing.

"We did not want this to be a celebrity brand," he said. "We're just about to launch our second product and we felt like there were enough people who already have accepted the brand and it wouldn't look like celebrities trying to sell some water."

Jaden Smith's passion for the company's mission — reducing plastic and carbon dioxide emissions globally — is evident when he speaks about it, as well as in various videos he's released talking about climate change, sustainability and renewable resources. The 19-year-old said he's visiting schools to spread awareness about the problems caused by plastic and pollution and to inspire young people to help find solutions.

"School and education is where it all starts, because that's where it started for me," he said, adding that he tells students: "I just want you to know that I came up with this idea when I was your age, and that means you have the infinite ability to come up with any idea or any way that you want to change the world."

He said his goals for the company also include producing classroom furniture from used water bottles as a way of repurposing materials and diverting them from landfills.

Will Smith, speaking by phone from Atlanta, where he's beginning work on an Ang Lee film, said he's been inspired by his son's commitment — both to the cause and to himself as someone who can create change. The 49-year-old superstar said that's the most valuable thing he's learned from his children (including daughter Willow, 17, and son Trey, 25): "That you have to freely and unapologetically be true to you above all things."

"There's a certain expectation that has developed of me over the years, and in watching Jaden and all of my children, I'm learning to get free again to be me and do me without the absolute concern of every single moment trying to live up to an image of who I am," Smith said. "I found a really brand new freedom through watching my kids and how they tend, specifically Jaden, to not concern themselves with anything above honesty and truth and integrity to themselves first and foremost."

___

AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is at www.twitter.com/YouKnowSandy.

New book by Sen. Bernie Sanders coming in November

Sen. Bernie Sanders is planning his next move.

At least on paper.

The Vermont independent and 2016 presidential contender is working on a new book. The publisher tells The Associated Press in a Wednesday statement that "Where We Go From Here" will be released Nov. 13 by Thomas Dunne Books.

Sanders will focus on how to oppose to President Trump and how to "strengthen the progressive movement." Sanders' previous book, "Our Revolution," told of his 2016 campaign.

His surprisingly strong run against Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries made him a national figure and favorite among progressives. He is often mentioned as a possible candidate for 2020.

Thomas Dunne Books is an imprint of St. Martin's Press.

Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

A Florida beach has been named the nation's best in TripAdvisor's annual Travelers' Choice awards.

>> See the full rankings here

The travel website announced Tuesday that Clearwater Beach was the best in the U.S. in 2018, climbing from No. 4 in 2017. The beach also topped the national list in 2016. 

>> Read more trending news 

Meanwhile, Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, took the award for the best beach worldwide.

>> Click here or scroll down to see which other beaches made the lists

Wonder Woman and Luke Skywalker expected at the Oscars

Wonder Woman and Luke Skywalker will be at the Academy Awards — or at least the actors who play them onscreen.

Oscar producers announced Wednesday that Gal Gadot and Mark Hamill will appear on the show, along with fellow "Star Wars" actors Oscar Isaac and Kelly Marie Tran.

Producers say Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gina Rodriguez, Armie Hammer and Zendaya also have been booked as presenters.

Previously announced stars appearing on the March 4 telecast include "Black Panther" Chadwick Boseman, comedian Tiffany Haddish, "Spider Man" Tom Holland and Margot Robbie.

Jimmy Kimmel is hosting the show, which will be broadcast at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

___

For full coverage of awards season, visit: https://apnews.com/tag/AwardsSeason .

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