Celebrity Roundup: Feb 17, 2012

By Sam Lansky 02/17/12

Celine Dion pronounces on Whitney Houston's death, George Clooney talks booze and blow, and is Miley Cyrus on a downward spiral?

Dion: not afraid to speak her mind.
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The speculation surrounding Whitney Houston’s recent death has been furious, and fellow all-star vocalist Celine Dion wasn’t bashful about joining the fray: “It's just really unfortunate that drugs, bad people, bad influences took over her dreams, her motherhood," Dion said on Good Morning America. “That's why I'm scared of show business, of drugs and hanging out,” she continued. “That's why I don't go to parties!"

Hollywood star George Clooney says that he’s tried cocaine in the past, but it’s not really his thing: “I didn’t have an issue with it. I’m not a big druggie, not at all. Blow is completely a nonstarter.” His relationship with alcohol, however, is a little more fraught. “I drink at times too much… I do enjoy drinking, and there have been times in my life when it’s crossed the line from being fun to having to drink late at night for absolutely no reason.” Been there, George.

James Mee, the police officer who arrested Mel Gibson in 2006 for driving under the influence, has settled his long-running suit with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after, Mee claims, he faced anti-Semitic discrimination from his superiors. Celebrities really do make the best role models.

Star Magazine (via GossipCop) reports that Miley Cyrus’ salvia rips and stoner cake may not be the full extent of her partying; according to their source, her substance use has been escalating. “Miley has been partying and boozing a lot,” says their source, even citing fears that Cyrus might overdose. Another source, though, tells GossipCop that these claims are absurd, which we’re inclined to believe; a real drug addict would never be so careless with her public image.

Although perennially-frazzled Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kim Richards missed the taping of the show’s much-heralded reunion, a separate special interview with the former child star was taped and aired this week. “I’m an alcoholic,” Richards explained in the interview, later saying, “I drank to cover the guilt and shame.” Then again, if we had cameras documenting our every embarrassing foible, we probably would, too.

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Sam Lansky is the West Coast Editor at TIME. He has written for Rolling Stone, New York Magazine, The Atlantic, Grantland, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, OutBillboard and more. He is also the author of The Gilded Razor. You can find Sam on Linkedin and Twitter.