Return to Transcripts main page


How Britney Went Bad; Transformation of Tom Cruise; Brad Pitt`s Amazing Story; Ben Affleck`s Big Comeback

Aired July 4, 2008 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: How did Tom Cruise go from Risky Business to risking his career? And how did Ben Affleck go from Oscar winner, to tabloid target, to acclaimed director and dad?
I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. A special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Stars: Then and Now," starts right now.


HAMMER (voice over): Tonight, on a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the remarkable stories of how Hollywood`s biggest stars have changed. Take Britney Spears. Please. From mouseketeer to train wreck, what a long, strange trip it`s been.

Tonight, the twists, the turns, the marriages, the kids. And don`t forget the head shaving.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates the transformation of Britney Spears.

Brad Pitt like you`ve never seen him before. Wait until you see what we found, one of Brad`s first TV interviews ever.


BRAD PITT, ACTOR: A lot of the attraction before I came out was the fame, the lifestyle.


HAMMER: It`s an amazing journey how Brad lost the air quotes and found a career, a family, and a spot on top of Hollywood`s A-list. From starry- eyed Brad to superstar dad.

Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates the transformation of Brad Pitt.

Hello. I`m A.J. Hammer, broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

You are watching a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT -- "Stars: Then and Now," a remarkable look at how the biggest stars in the world transformed themselves into who they are today. We`re talking the good, the bad, and yes, the very ugly, beginning tonight with Britney Spears, who has had more than her fair share of all the good, the bad and the very ugly.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, Britney`s story is truly amazing as she went from young star of "The Mickey Mouse Club," to pop superstar, to outright train wreck, then struggled to make everything right again.


HAMMER (voice over): She was young. She was bubbly. Britney Spears on the hit TV show "Star Search" when she was just 10 years old.

MIKE FLEEMAN, WEST COAST EDITOR, "PEOPLE.COM": Britney began as a child star. She was on "The Mickey Mouse Club."

HAMMER: Britney was just 11 when she started in "The Mickey Mouse Club" alongside other future stars Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. And just five years later, in 1999, Britney would begin her transformation into worldwide pop star.

With flowing hair and a winning smile, Britney was becoming the ultimate teen and pre-teen idol, opening up for then bigger acts like The Back Street Boys and `N Sync. Lance Bass was a member of `N Sync then, and tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that Britney was destined for stardom.

LANCE BASS, MEMBER OF `N SYNC: She really hit at the perfect time, and you know, you just -- all those kids that came off that "Mickey Mouse Club," you know, there was so much talent.

HAMMER: But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is asking, how did Britney go from pop star sitting on top of the world to train wreck TV, shaving her head, in and out of rehab, daily prey for the paparazzi?

JOE LEVY, "BLENDER" MAGAZINE: The genius of Britney, as opposed to a lot of teen stars, was she didn`t come out with a, "Gee, I`m just a little girl. I`m so lovely and I want to have a boyfriend" song and then do something racy. She came out with something mildly racy, "Hit Me Baby One More Time."

She came out in that Catholic school girl outfit. She had the shirt tied up in a knot and she had those pigtails, kind of a Lolita-esque vibe going on.

HAMMER: A schoolgirl with a sexy edge who soon graced the cover of "Rolling Stone," a true sign she had arrived.

LEVY: Britney Spears` first Rolling Stone cover, the Teletubby cover, as we call it back home at "Rolling Stone", is actually a cover that helped cement her stardom. It was an icon-making cover.

HAMMER: An icon in the making who told CNN in 1999, her breakout year, that it was another icon, Madonna, who she idolized.

BRITNEY SPEARS, POP STAR: I really idolize and respect Madonna. I think she`s brilliant, and I think she`s such a smart businesswoman, and I totally respect and admire that.

HAMMER: Admiration that would grow over the years, and not even Britney could imagine she and Madonna would shock the world with that now infamous kiss. But years before, it was at another MTV show that Britney would reveal to the world her then true love, Justin Timberlake.

FLEEMAN: He was the cute one from in `N Sync, and she was the little pop tart, and they were just the cutest little couple who could be. They came out publicly at an MTV awards show. And that was the same show that she did "Baby One More Time" in that very sexy flesh-colored outfit.

HAMMER: Britney increasingly loved to shock on stage. At the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, she danced seductively on stage with a white python. For Britney, it seemed to be all about the pleasure of pushing boundaries sexually on stage.

LAWRENCE: Her image was about sexuality from the very beginning. There was no mistaking what message she was trying to send to us.

HAMMER: And nowhere was that message stronger than that Madonna kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2003. Even her ex, Justin Timberlake, looked shocked.

FLEEMAN: The best way to talk about the Madonna-Britney kiss is the way that Madonna explained it to her daughter. Madonna was the mommy pop star, and she was kissing the baby pop star and transferring some of her power and energy to the baby pop star.

HAMMER: She certainly transferred something to Britney because after that, Britney transformed from a pop star who shocked on stage to a pop star who did shocking things in her personal life, beginning with a marriage on a whim at this chapel in Vegas.

FLEEMAN: She had that 55-hour marriage to Jason Alexander. That`s when all of a sudden it went from her being a famous pop star to the beginning of this very long train wreck.

HAMMER: And then, of course, Britney met Kevin Federline, a back-up dancer.

FLEEMAN: At the time that Kevin started dating Britney, Shar Jackson, the mother of his child, was pregnant, so Kevin immediately came under fire. And, of course, he didn`t really have much of a job and was sort of a deadbeat.

HAMMER: Six months after they met they would marry, beginning yet another transformation for Britney.

FLEEMAN: Not long after Britney hooked up with Kevin, you know, she started videotaping everything going on in their relationship, and they made this into a reality show "Chaotic," and it was unsettling.

SPEARS: This is a really good -- the sex is really good.

HAMMER: Leading to the next stage for Britney Spears, motherhood. She and K-Fed had their first son, Sean Preston, just a year after they got married, but motherhood did not necessarily mean mothering skills.

COOPER LAWRENCE, PSYCHOLOGY EXPERT: The first time we saw Britney`s mothering skills or lack thereof was when she had her child in her lap while she was driving.

HAMMER: Britney would again transform from worshipped pop star to a bull`s-eye target for comedians.

KIMMEL: Still, early in 2006, but already she has been eliminated from mother of the year competition.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW": What happened to the old days when celebrities would just dangle kids off balconies?

HAMMER: For Britney, the hits just kept coming, but the wrong kind of hits. Like her disastrous interview with NBC`s Matt Lauer in June 2006 trying to explain her increasingly erratic behavior.

LAWRENCE: She made a fool out of herself on Matt Lauer. She was crying and the gum chewing.

HAMMER: Britney and K-Fed would have a second son, Jaden James. But then, just two months later, she would file for divorce. And the now single Britney began acting even more wild.

FLEEMAN: Her behavior was very erratic. She was out partying all the time, and then she had that famous lost weekend where she went out and got herself tattooed and then shaved her head.

HAMMER (on camera): Britney Spears, what can I say? As the world now knows, Britney is now bald, giving herself a buzz cut, shaving her hair off, and the whole thing caught on camera.

(voice over): That, followed by a "now you see her, now you don`t" series of visits to rehab.

FLEEMAN: She first went to rehab in Antigua, and that was for only 24 hours. Then she checked into Malibu, and that didn`t hold. Then she checked back in after Kevin threatened a custody dispute with her. She did her 30 days, 28 days, and got out, but her behavior really didn`t improve.

HAMMER: In fact, Britney`s behavior grew more bizarre day by day. She attacked a paparazzo with an umbrella, later claiming it was for a movie role. Then months later, she seemed to court the paparazzi whenever she went out, even taking pictures with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to take a picture with Britney, too.

HAMMER: More would follow, like her disastrous so-called comeback appearance at the 2007 Video Music Awards.

FLEEMAN: She showed up late for rehearsal. She went out partying the week before. She went on stage and it was flat. It was terrible.

HAMMER: Just as terrible, a judge then taking her kids away from her during her custody battle with Federline because of her erratic behavior.

In the end, it sometimes seems hard to believe that the Britney of then would become the Britney of now, but everyone loves a good comeback story. And in the end, it would be up to Britney to help write that story.


HAMMER: Well, of course after Britney left a hospital psyche ward in January, she finally, finally began laying low and her father started managing her estate and her affairs. Britney also began fighting to regain custody of her kids.

She also guest-starred on the TV sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," and seemed to be working really hard at finally getting her life together. So hopefully 2008 will be remembered as the year Britney finally turned it around.

Well, coming up on this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the transformation of Tom Cruise.


FLEEMAN: All of a sudden, people were saying Tom Cruise might be a little crazy.


HAMMER: I wanted to know, how did Tom go from "Risky Business" to nearly risking his career? Tom`s startling transformation is coming up.

And what about this guy, Brad Pitt? Wait until you see this video we dug up, one of Brad`s very first big TV interviews. Look at that. How did Brad go from starry-eyed kid to one of the biggest stars in the world?

That is still ahead.

Also, Ben Affleck, he seems so happy with Jennifer Gardener. But you know, not so long ago, it was all about another Jennifer, and they were all over the tabloids. So how did Ben go from Oscar winner to tabloid target and back again?

That is coming up.

You are watching a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Stars: Then and Now."

We are coming right back.


HAMMER: Welcome back to this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Stars: Then and Now."

I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

Tonight, the transformation of Tom Cruise. Now, Tom`s latest movie "Lions for Lambs," well, it basically tanked at the box office. He severed ties with Paramount Studios after a lucrative 14-year deal with them. But the question I`m wondering, should we be counting Tom Cruise out just yet, or has he transformed himself into something even bigger than what we expected?

Here`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Brooke Anderson.


BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST (voice over): The year, 1983. A movie called "Risky Business," starring an up-and-coming actor named Tom Cruise.

FLEEMAN: This iconic moment in movie history where he slides across the wood floor in his underwear, and he`s lip-synching this Bob Seger song, I mean, everybody has seen that clip a million times. And this is the scene, really, that launched his Hollywood career.

ANDERSON: And who could forget when Tom played Maverick in the 1986 action drama "Top Gun?" It cemented Cruise as Hollywood`s cream of the crop.

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR, "TOP GUN": So you think I should quit?

ANDERSON: Quit? Tom Cruise certainly wasn`t quitting any time soon. And in fact, he set out early in his career to prove he wasn`t just a pretty boy on screen.

FLEEMAN: After "Top Gun," he made "Born on the Fourth of July" and he also made "Rain Man", and it showed everybody that he wasn`t just a pretty face, that he had the acting chops.

ANDERSON: Acting chops that landed him his first Oscar nomination for playing Ron Kovic, the Vietnam vet in "Born on the Fourth of July."

CRUISE, "BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY": Ever since I was a kid I`ve wanted this.

ANDERSON: And it wasn`t just Tom Cruise the actor they were infatuated with either. When Tom Cruise met his second wife, Nicole Kidman, on the set of their movie, "Days of Thunder," it was a true Hollywood romance.

FLEEMAN: And they became this mega couple in Hollywood.

ANDERSON: A mega Hollywood couple and Tom, the mega Hollywood actor, who expanded himself into being a producer, making more money than any other actor of his time. Beginning with his hit franchise "Mission Impossible," and on to "Jerry Maguire," he was a money-making machine.

LEA GOLDMAN, SENIOR EDITOR, "FORBES" MAGAZINE: That period that "Mission Impossible" came out, followed by "Jerry Maguire," was one of his most lucrative years. He banked $57 million, $58 million. After that, he was just in a different tier altogether.

ANDERSON: In a different tier indeed, who from early on in his career wanted work with top tier directors. Just listen to him at the People`s Choice Awards back in 1994, listing whom he hoped to work with.

CRUISE: I would like to work with Stanley Kubrick and Spielberg, and, you know, the list goes on.

ANDERSON: And Tom got his wish, working with Kubrick in "Eyes Wide Shut"...

CRUISE, "EYES WIDE SHUT": Where the rainbow ends.

ANDERSON: ... and Spielberg in "Minority Report."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, "MINORITY REPORT": I promise I`ll make it a memorable moment.

ANDERSON: But when he finally did, his personal life was suddenly taking an unexpected turn. And it began with the breakup of his marriage to Nicole shortly after they made "Eyes Wide Shut," which took almost three years to make. It was the breakup heard around the world.

FLEEMAN: They had a very famous and, we thought, lasting relationship. We always held Tom and Nicole up as sort of one of those examples of a Hollywood relationship that worked. As recently as a few days before they filed for divorce, they were seen in Las Vegas riding a roller-coaster. So, it was a big shock when they split.

ANDERSON: It was the first indication that Tom Cruise, the guy with the perfect career, the perfect Hollywood marriage, was transforming into someone who had his fans guessing about his personal life.

And fast forward to 2005. The transformations in Tom`s personal life took a U-turn of epic proportions when he suddenly stepped out with Katie Holmes. The relationship seemed to have come out of the blue.

FLEEMAN: She wasn`t a co-star in his movie. Nobody knew that they had any sort of social relationship. And very early on, it was a relationship that rose suspicions and lots of whispers about it.

ANDERSON: And even more whispers when Tom Cruise, known for being so in control of his career, even of his personal life for so long, was suddenly seemingly out of control, doing and saying shocking things, including jumping for joy in the name of love on Oprah Winfrey`s couch.

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": Have you ever felt this way before?


ANDERSON: And then, an even more stunning transformation when he got into a verbal fistfight with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show about psychiatry as a pseudoscience.

CRUISE: You don`t even -- you`re glib. You don`t even know what Ritalin is.

ANDERSON: It was the first time Tom Cruise, the biggest actor in Hollywood, was openly defending his religion, Scientology.

FLEEMAN: All of a sudden, people were saying Tom Cruise might be a little crazy.

ANDERSON: And all those out-of-character transformations that Tom Cruise was undergoing were catching up to him in his professional life. In August 2006, just months after "Mission Impossible 3" rolled into theaters, Cruise`s questionable antics cost him his career with Paramount Studios, home of his production company for 14 years.

The chairman of Viacom, parent company to Paramount Studios, Sumner Redstone, went on record saying exactly how he felt about Tom Cruise`s behavior.

FLEEMAN: Probably, the biggest blow in Tom Cruise`s professional life is when he essentially got fired from Paramount by Sumner Redstone who came out and said, look, you know, Tom`s public behavior is bad for business.

ANDERSON: Tom Cruise may have transformed into someone Paramount didn`t want to work with anymore, but Cruise seemed content. In early November of 2006, just three months after being dumped by Paramount, he announced his new transformation, movie mogul for United Artists. And just weeks later, he married Katie Holmes in a big, splashy wedding inside a castle in Italy. He even made amends with Brooke Shields and invited her to the wedding.

FLEEMAN: It was Tom who extended the olive branch. What`s the story?

ANDERSON: And while "Lions for Lambs" isn`t making headlines at the box office, Hollywood isn`t counting this newly transformed Tom Cruise out just yet.

GOLDMAN: He is still certainly one of the most influential, one of the most powerful actors in Hollywood. I don`t think it`s -- I think it`s to early to, you know, write the obituary for his career.

FLEEMAN: They counted him out when he married Katie Holmes and said that would never last. They counted him out when he was fired from Paramount. And some might be counting him out now that "Lions" has flopped. I wouldn`t count him out.


HAMMER: Well, and, of course, all eyes are on Tom Cruise`s next movie called "Valkyrie." A lot of people wondering just how well this is going to do. It`s the true story of a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. That is scheduled to come out in 2009.

Well, Angelina Jolie certainly has had one of the most dramatic transformations in Hollywood. Think about it -- she basically went from blood vial-wearing, knife-loving Hollywood wild child to mother of the year, if not Mother Teresa. But just how did she do it? Angelina tells us in her own words coming up next.

We will also have this...


PITT: A lot of attraction before I came out was the fame, the lifestyle.


HAMMER: Angie`s guy has had quite a transformation of his own. Hard to believe it, but that was a very starry-eyed Brad way back when. So how did he make the leap from that to one of the biggest stars in the world?

That is coming up.

And how did Ben Affleck go from Oscar winner to tabloid target and back again? That is just ahead in this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Stars: Then and Now."

We`re coming right back.

HAMMER: Welcome back to this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Stars: Then and Now."

I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

And I`ve got to tell you, Angelina Jolie`s transformation from wild child to mother and humanitarian really stands out in the pack. So, what was her secret? What was the thing that helped transform her into a woman who does good all around the world?

Jolie shared that secret with me, and even offered some great advice for the Britneys, the Lindsays and the Parises of young Hollywood.


ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS AND HUMANITARIAN: You surround yourself by good friends and listen to -- you know, hopefully you have good family. And if you can`t and if you are lost, then get a backpack on, and get out of town.

Go somewhere -- go somewhere where you can have some privacy and rediscover who you are and find your favorite books. And meet some people and just be a regular person and learn how to reconnect to who you are.


HAMMER: So there you have it, some sage advice from Angelina Jolie.

Angelina`s significant other has certainly undergone quite the transformation himself. Wait until you see this video we dug up, one of Brad Pitt`s very first big TV interviews. You will barely recognize him, I assure you.

How did Brad go from starry-eyed kid to one of the biggest stars in the world? That is still ahead.

We`re also going to have this...


FLEEMAN: Long before we had Brangelina we had Bennifer. And that was Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.


HAMMER: So how did Ben go from Oscar winner to tabloid target and back again? Coming up, wait until you see the shocking story of the transformation of Ben Affleck.

Also, Hayden the hero. You know, with one trip to Japan, Hayden changed her image from starlet to passionate activist. I`ve got to say, I give her a ton of credit for this.

That story is coming up.

You are watching a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Stars: Then and Now."


HAMMER: Welcome back to this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Stars: Then and Now."

I`m A.J. Hammer, broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

And tonight, the remarkable stories of how Hollywood`s biggest stars have changed over the years.

Let`s talk about Brad Pitt. Think about it, he went from a shy young guy from Missouri to mega star, father and global ambassador. How did he do it?

Well, right here and right now I`ve got Brad Pitt`s then and now.


HAMMER (voice over): It is the lost interview that only SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can bring you, one of Brad Pitt`s very first TV interviews when his career was just taking off. The year, 1988. The show? Our predecessor, "SHOWBIZ TODAY" on CNN.

PITT: A lot of the attraction before I came out was the fame, the lifestyle.

HAMMER: And Pitt found the fame he was looking for after leaving Springfield, Missouri, with big dreams.

PITT, "DALLAS": I`m Randy. Nice to meet you, sir.

HAMMER: It was a role on the hot TV series "Dallas" where he played actress Shalane McCall`s love interest, Randy, and a photo shoot they did together on the set arranged by Shalane`s then-manager Phil Lobel, that would send Brad off into super stardom orbit.

Lobel tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT what happened.

PHIL LOBEL, BRAD PITT`S FORMER MANAGER: I retooled the original plans for the photo shoot, which was going to be around Shalane. And we did a photo of Brad and Shalane sitting on the couch, getting ready to do their first scene together, and it was that very first photo that ended up in "People" magazine.

FLEEMAN: The famous photo, he was Randy from "Dallas." Who knew, you know?

HAMMER: Who knew is right. In fact, no one, including Brad himself, could imagine how big and famous he would one day become. Just listen to him describe his first day on that "Dallas" set.

PITT: I`ve got to admit, I was like this, ah, ah, ah. You know, I used to watch these people. I`m still a little star struck, to be honest. You know, I just watched -- that was six months ago. I was sitting home in Missouri watching these people on TV.

HAMMER: And now the world watches him and Angelina Jolie, obsessively. But just how did Brad Pitt get to where he is today? How did he go from "Dallas" to the desired drifter in the 1991 film "Thelma and Louise"...

PITT, "THELMA AND LOUISE": Ladies, Gentlemen, let`s see who wins the prize for keeping their cool.

HAMMER: ... to the award-winning actor and humanitarian he is today?

FLEEMAN: Very early in his career, Brad Pitt tried to prove to people that he wasn`t just a pretty boy.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that Pitt took on a variety of roles to prove he was not just a pretty boy.

PITT: I`ll be fine.

HAMMER: Including Paul, the rebellious journalist in Robert Redford`s 1992 film, "A River Runs Through It." And then there was in 1994 Golden Globe- nominated turn in "Legends of the Fall"...

PITT, "LEGENDS OF THE FALL": You say that again, and we`re not brothers.

HAMMER: ... where he played the son of an Army colonel who moves his family into the wilds of Montana. One year later, in 1995, Brad Pitt would receive an Oscar nomination for his dramatic turn in the movie "Twelve Monkeys"...

PITT: I wasn`t expecting that -- this, no. No.

HAMMER: ... a role he would win a Golden Globe for, marking the beginning of his transformation to superstar.

But Pitt remained humble about his super stardom even in 1997, two years after his Golden Globe win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You went from being an actor trying to get a job to a superstar.

PITT: Oh, I don`t know. I don`t know when that clicked. I don`t.

HAMMER: But something else was clicking for Pitt, and that was all those cameras clicking away. The media`s fascination with his personal life grew. His engagement to Gwyneth Paltrow, who he met on the set of their movie "Seven," made them a tabloid target.

In fact, in that same year, 1997, after "Playgirl" magazine published photos of him and Paltrow, Pitt sued, accusing the photographer of trespassing. Pitt would later joke that it wasn`t just his face the photographer was after.

PITT: Not just me. You know, members of my anatomy.

HAMMER: Pitt and Paltrow would become engaged, but that ended. And in the following year, 1998, he met "Friends" actress Jennifer Aniston.

Two years later, Pitt and Aniston got married in Malibu, their ceremony shielded from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. They became Hollywood`s most famous and most watched couple, the focus of stories filled with both fact and fiction.

PITT: We`ve been in it for long enough to not take it so seriously, and it`s usually always inaccurate. And now we can have more of a laugh from it when we do pay attention to it.

HAMMER: But sadly, the marriage did end. In January 2005, they announced their split, and the rumors of a relationship with Angelina Jolie, who he met on the set of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" reached a fever pitch.

PITT, "MR. AND MRS. SMITH": Do you think this story is going to have a happy ending?

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS, "MR. AND MRS. SMITH": Happy endings are just stories that haven`t finished yet.

HAMMER: At first they denied rumors they were a couple. Angelina adopted her daughter Zahara, an AIDS orphan from Ethiopia. And soon after, it was Brad who filed the papers to jointly adopt Zahara and Jolie`s son Maddox. Another transformation of Brad Pitt as father and humanitarian.

JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Angelina, as his love partner, paved the way for him to really step into that role of being the humanitarian. She showed him how to do this.

HAMMER: And together, Pitt and Jolie shined a light on so many countries in need -- in Haiti, when they announced they were expecting baby Shiloh; in Namibia, where they went to have baby Shiloh...

PITT: I would just like to thank the people of Namibia. They have been so gracious and made our stay here very special.

HAMMER: ... in Vietnam, where they adopted baby Pax, and once more when they set down roots in the New Orleans French Quarter. And Brad took to his new home in the hurricane-devastated New Orleans in more ways than one. He shot his next movie there, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

PITT: It`s a really good film.

HAMMER: And he has put his love of architecture to work for a good cause, building much needed new homes.

KURIANSKY: He has his own project with the Clinton Global Initiative in the Make It Right project to build affordable green homes.

HAMMER: And Pitt has put his money where his mouth is, pledging $5 million of his own money to help rebuild New Orleans.

FLEEMAN: He was never poor. He never struggled. But there was always this sort of charitable side to him. And I think it was when he hooked up with Angelina Jolie that he was able to tap into that and really fulfill himself in his charitable work and see the world as more than just making films and being a movie star.

HAMMER: But being a movie star, coupled with the media`s fascination with him and his family, has gotten to Pitt. In an interview with CNN`s Larry King, Pitt says the paparazzi are out of control when it comes to his children.

PITT: They call out my kids by name and shove cameras in their faces. And I really believe there should be laws against that. I mean, my kids believe that any time you go outside the house, there`s just a wall of photographers and people that take your pictures. That is their view of the world. And I worry about the effect it will have on them, but we`ll do our best.

HAMMER: But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, Pitt`s transformation includes something else, a keen sense to turn all that crazy media attention to something good whenever he can.

FLEEMAN: Brad has leveraged his personal life to do good. He realizes that people are going to report and show pictures of him and get into his personal life, so why not use his personal life to try to do some good?

HAMMER: And Brad, the father and humanitarian, tells Larry King he is happiest when his important work meshes with his family life.

PITT: We`re up here as soon as the sun comes up, and to go home and have dinner with your kids, I can`t explain the fulfillment of that, but it is everything.

HAMMER: And along with Angelina Jolie, the Brad Pitt we know today might not even recognize the Brad Pitt he once was back on that day in 1988.

PITT: I`m still a little star struck, to be honest.


HAMMER: Well, Brad is now becoming just as famous for his humanitarian work as he is for his blockbuster movies.

Moving on, another big Hollywood star has made a big change, and just like Brad, when he met a new woman, well, he became a new man. I`m talking about Ben Affleck.


FLEEMAN: Long before we had Brangelina, we had Bennifer. And that was Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.


HAMMER: Yes, I think getting together with Jen Garner after his time with Jennifer Lopez has been nothing but a good thing for Ben Affleck. He is such a great family man now. He`s a great dad, his career is on the rise once again.

Coming up, you have just got to see the startling transformation of Ben Affleck from an Oscar to J-Lo to J. Garner. We`ll get into that next.

Also, Hayden Panettiere, you know, she`s only 18 years old. I`ve got to tell you, she has done so much good already. And I really think Paris Hilton, who promised to change after her jail time, could really learn a thing or two from Hayden.

Paris, you`ve got to hear this. Please pay attention.

That is coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


HAMMER: And welcome back to this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Stars: Then and Now."

I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

Tonight, the remarkable stories about how Hollywood`s biggest stars have changed over the years. Another, Ben Affleck. He has had a long journey since his big Oscar win for "Good Will Hunting." But, you know, after that, Ben Affleck has hunted for ways to revive his career.

This was a career sidetracked really at one point because of his high profile, rocky romance with Jennifer Lopez. So, tonight, then and now, how Ben Affleck went from Oscar winner to tabloid target, to being back on top.


HAMMER (voice over): It`s an Oscar story for Hollywood`s history books. The year, 1998. A baby-faced Ben Affleck standing beside his childhood best friend Matt Damon, positively glowing backstage at the Oscars with their golden statuettes in hand. They had just won the Oscar for their labor of love, the movie "Good Will Hunting."

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: We never thought that anyone would buy it or it would actually go through the Hollywood sort of channels, much less, you know, end up winning Academy Awards, for God`s sake.

HAMMER: Ben Affleck, the star, was born.

FLEEMAN: Ben burst onto the scene with huge expectations.

HAMMER: Huge expectations indeed. After all, he was a local boy from Boston who made small, edgy indie films with a director named Kevin Smith, like Smith`s "Chasing Amy."

AFFLECK, "CHASING AMY": Just having a little girl trouble.

HAMMER: But after his Oscar win, Ben moved on to big budget films like "Armageddon"...

AFFLECK, "ARMAGEDDON": You know we`re all going to die, right? I`m the guy who gets to do it saving the world.

HAMMER: ... but with the fame, the offers, the money and a curse. "People" magazine`s West Coast editor Mike Fleeman.

FLEEMAN: Right after he does "Good Will Hunting," he makes "Armageddon," this huge Michael Bay explosion sci-fi extravaganza. And it wasn`t really what people expected from him. They thought maybe he could be something deeper, that he could be a true actor, a true artist, and not just a movie star.

HAMMER: But movie star was fitting Ben Affleck quite well. In fact, he seemed to be enjoying it, even falling in love with his co-star from "Shakespeare in Love," Gwyneth Paltrow, his first big Hollywood romance.

FLEEMAN: That was an Oscar-caliber movie, but he had a small part, and he was just sort of playing a version of himself. He did come out of that dating Gwyneth Paltrow, and that was the first of the sort of huge Hollywood romances that would come to eclipse his career.

HAMMER: You can say that again. After Ben and Gwen ended their relationship, Ben met someone else on a movie set, this time for a movie named "Gigli." The year was 2002, and the girl, a music diva named Jennifer Lopez. The two were joined at the hip and fast becoming the hot new couple making headlines around the world.

FLEEMAN: Long before we had Brangelina, we had Bennifer, and that was Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. And this was the hottest of the hot Hollywood romances, and it burned so hot that it seemed to almost consume Ben Affleck.

HAMMER: Consume him, it almost did. But before we get to that, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has got to ask, just how did Ben Affleck go from Oscar winning actor to headline in the tabloids, back to a well-respected actor and director? It`s a lesson for so many young stars in Hollywood who want that big Hollywood career.

KURIANSKY: Ben is an excellent lesson for young Hollywood because he had that meteoric rise, then he had that fall, slope down. Then he tried the celebrity "let`s hook up with the really cool, amazing woman" when he and Jennifer Lopez got together.

HAMMER: A hookup just right for the tabloids.

FLEEMAN: He made two mistakes. One, he made a lousy movie, "Gigli." At the same time, he is dating his co-star.

JENNIFER LOPEZ, ACTRESS, "GIGLI": What is it you`re so sad about?

AFFLECK, "GIGLI": I`ve got this beautiful, sexy, unattainable girl sleeping in a bed right next to me.

HAMMER: It was a romance that the press just couldn`t seem to get enough of. The interest in Bennifer was so high, in fact, that shortly after they were engaged, the two did an exclusive interview for NBC`s news magazine show "Dateline."

PAT O`BRIEN, HOST, "DATELINE": What`s the most extravagant thing you bought her?

AFFLECK: I would say engagement ring. That`s probably a thing that men spend the most money on, right?

HAMMER: Spend, he did. Ben bought Jen a six-carat pink diamond stunner. The media hype on Bennifer was in overdrive. And the couple didn`t really do much to calm the frenzy either. Ben even starred in Jen`s music video for her song "Jenny on the Block."

KURIANSKY: When you take a look at Ben Affleck in the video with J. Lo, it`s obvious that this is not a good career move for him nor a good personal move for him. He looks uncomfortable. Everybody else feels uncomfortable watching it.

FLEEMAN: He was buying her Rolls-Royces. They were hitting the party scene. It was crazy.

HAMMER: And even crazier times ahead when the duo postponed and then scrapped their media-hyped wedding altogether. The couple blames the media for their split.

FLEEMAN: Things got so crazy that the fact that they didn`t have a wedding became a big story.

HAMMER: Ben blamed the media when he went on "LARRY KING LIVE" in 2004.

AFFLECK: Relationships are difficult propositions under any circumstances. And there are a lot of difficulties in everyday life. Those are magnified when it`s that degree of scrutiny all the time.

HAMMER: And Ben learned something from his Bennifer years -- keeping his romance out of the spotlight and working hard on his career was the only way to go. It was on the set of "Daredevil" he met and fell in love with co-star Jennifer Garner.

And then you didn`t hear from them. Nothing, until June 2005 when they got married. Ben became a father to their baby Violet in December of that same year. His career came calling once again with a great little movie called "Hollywood Land."

FLEEMAN: "Hollywood Land" was a very good movie that very few people saw. But it was the turning point for Ben Affleck. It showed the world that he really is a good actor.

AFFLECK: Great! Cut! Great! Cut!

HAMMER: Something had changed, and it was no longer about the fame, the fortune. It was about the family. And even Ben can`t ignore the coincidence that being happy in his personal life has meant good things for his career. Just listen to him explain it to CNN`s Larry King.

AFFLECK: You know, if you get to a point in your life where you think, look, my personal life, I`m married and I`m really happy and I -- you know, that part of my life is really great, and, look, at the same time I`m in the best place I`ve ever been professionally. And is that a coincidence or did those things happen simultaneously?

KURIANSKY: That`s just proof of the pudding, that you can lead a private life and be successful without the false hoopla.

HAMMER: Dr. Judy, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT couldn`t have said it any better.


HAMMER: And as I mentioned, Ben is now happily married to Jennifer Garner. They`ve really seemed to do a great job splitting their careers with their family life as they raise their adorable daughter Violet. And I`ve got to say, I`m really impressed with Ben Affleck. He really turned things around in his life.

Paris Hilton, not so impressed with her. She should take notes from Hayden Panettiere.


HAYDEN PANETTIERE, ACTRESS: I try to hide as much as possible. I try to look completely normal. I try to -- you try not give them anything interesting to use.


HAMMER: The "Heroes" star is so great, so young, and doing so much. Can she help Paris change?

Yes, that won`t be easy. And that`s coming up next.



PARIS HILTON, ACTRESS: That`s something I was actually thinking a lot about in jail. I feel like, you know, being in the spotlight, I have a platform where I can raise awareness for so many great causes and just do so much with this, instead of, you know, superficial things like going out.


HAMMER: Ah, yes, the always fascinating Paris Hilton. Remember Paris promised that when she got out of jail, she would change her ways and even do some charity work.


Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s our special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Stars: Then and Now."

I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

Well, if Paris really wants to change right now, I think she should just take a look at one of the hottest stars on the planet, "Heroes" cheerleader, Hayden Panettiere.

You know, Hayden is really getting behind a great cause to stop the brutal slaughter of dolphins in Japan.


PANETTIERE: I mean, they were literally spy hopping, which is when they jump out of the water, they stick their head up out of the water and they can look around and see around them. A baby stuck his head out and kind of looked at us, and just thought that that baby is no longer with us. It`s very difficult.


HAMMER: Hayden has really made such a difference. She really got people talking about this. And when SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`S Brooke Anderson sat down with Hayden, she revealed her other secrets for staying out of trouble.


PANETTIERE: You try to find all the ways possible to keep your personal life personal. Because, you know, I`m here to act. I`m here to do what I love to do. I`m here to create a show for people to enjoy.

I`m not here to have my, you know, personal life everywhere. And if I wanted to do that, I`d be on a reality show called, you know, "Hayden" or something like that.

But, you know, you just try to -- you try to handle it. You know going into it that that`s part of the job, that`s part of the deal. And you just try to go about your life and live it to the best you can. You come up with little ways to avoid it sometimes.

Eighteen is the age that a lot of young people in Hollywood have kind of started going haywire, and then that`s what they`re expecting from me. And it`s almost if I don`t give it to them, then they`ll just create whatever they want. And they will make some story up.

But my trick is just -- I try to -- I try to hide as much as possible. I try to look completely normal. I try -- you try not to give them anything interesting to use.

Like, if I say something interesting then obviously they`re going to use it. If I just keep my head down and keep smiling, then I am going to bore them to tears, hopefully.


HAMMER: So, Paris, I know this is going to be tough for you, but try to be boring, please. It really could help you change for the better.

And that is it for this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Stars: Then and Now."

The latest from CNN Headline News is coming up next.