Welcome to the Smart Set. Every morning we bring you the gossip coverage, filtered. Today: Sean Penn and former co-star Maria Conchita Alonso accuse each other of being pigs and communists at LAX, Rep. David Wu is still hanging around Capitol Hill, and Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde are dating, but don't try snapping a photo of them.
Sean Penn and actress Maria Conchita Alonso (from The Running Man) had "an angry bust-up" at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday. It started when Alonso, who was picking up her mother who was arriving on a flight from Miami, "spotted Penn in an American Airlines lost luggage area" and approached him. Alonso, who was born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, wrote an open letter to Penn last year saying she was "appalled" by his support for Hugo Chavez. Alonso recalls to Page Six what happened next: “I was very calm. I said, ‘I would like to talk to you.' He said, ‘I have nothing to say to you ... You have been saying a lot of things about me in the press.’ I said, ‘How can you defend Chavez?’" Things apparently went downhill from there. Alonso admits saying "You are a communist Sean Penn." Penn supposedly responded, "You are a pig!" and Alonso yelled back, "And you are a communist [bleep]hole! Is it great to live the way you do as a communist?" According to Alonso, "Nearly 60 people were watching, shocked. My mother wanted to clap, but she couldn’t because she was in a wheelchair and she had a small dog in her lap." Penn, for his part, says that during the incident he "only knew that a hostile woman was nonsensically berating me. I didn’t realize it was that actress. I think I worked with her once. But she looks really different." We're not sure if he'd forget her that easily, considering they once shared a very steamy, very NSFW canoodling scene in Dennis Hopper's Colors back in 1988. [Page Six]
Former Oregon Rep. David Wu departed Congress in August after being accused of trying to nudge a friend's teenage daughter into what The Oregonian described as "an unwanted sexual encounter," the culmination of a weird and erratic career in Washington that also featured the congressman sending out photos of himself dressed in a tiger costume late at night to members of his staff. But apparently Wu's been reluctant to give up the Capitol Hill life. According to Roll Call, "Wu's been spotted several times in the past few weeks frequenting his favorite watering hole, the freshly reopened Tune Inn." He also reportedly attended the Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting, and "was spotted early last week walking off the House floor just after 7 p.m." Then he was spotted again late in the week "voluntarily sitting through a House Judiciary Committee markup on anti-piracy legislation," even though he's not a congressman anymore. Wu confirmed he goes to Capitol Hill about once a week, explaining: "I come here to see my friends." [Heard on the Hill]
Sources say that White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer has separated from wife Sarah Feinberg, a longtime Rahm Emanuel aide who left the White House over the summer to work in Facebook's "policy communication office" in Palo Alto. "White House insiders have noticed that Pfeiffer has not been wearing a wedding ring recently," and, "Politicos have been whispering about the power couple" ever since Feinberg moved to California, which is never good for business. A source says the couple, who have been married for six years, hasn't filed divorce papers yet, but described the separation as "incredibly amicable." [Page Six]
Olivia Wilde, noted Georgetown Day School alumnae and one-time 'Hottest Woman Alive' according to Maxim magazine, is apparently the "new lady" of SNL's Jason Sudeikis. He took her to the after-party following this week's Jimmy Fallon-hosted episode, and a source says they were "obviously very into each other," though weirdly, "photos of them were not permitted." Making up for this strangeness was Fallon, who "graciously bought shots for the show’s staff and interns." No word on whether the interns were also banned from photographing their Lemon Drop shots. [Gatecrasher]
The 29-year-old child-producing non-marriage between True West playwright Sam Shepard and actress Jessica Lange is over, and has been for two years, People reports. Lange's rep confirmed the two were no longer together, but according to the magazine "Shepard's rep could not be reached for comment," which is odd, because this is the biggest piece of Sam Shepard news since he played Ryan Gosling's dad in The Notebook. [People]
There's chatter that Adele may land the cover of the March issue of Vogue. According to Women's Wear Daily, "Designers have been asked by the title to make special cover outfits for the full-figured chart-topper for the all-important March issue," since the singer "is not a sample size, wearing a U.K. size 16, or U.S. 14." A Vogue spokesman declined to issue a comment. [WWD]