THE OTHER STUFF . . .

Astronaut Christina Koch's Record-Breaking Space Mission Will Inspire You to Shoot for the Stars. NASA's Christina Koch just made history by breaking the record for longest single spaceflight by a female astronaut. Koch returned to Earth on Thursday. The Soyuz capsule carrying Koch, commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency left the International Space Station at 12:50 a.m. EST and landed in Kazakhstan at 3:12 p.m. local time. After touching down, Koch smiled and gave an ecstatic thumbs-up to the crowd. A support team then helped her out of the capsule and had her participate in a post-flight check-up. According to the Associated Press (via NBC News) Russian space officials said the crew was in good shape. Koch spent 328 days in space. She launched Mar. 14, 2019 alongside fellow astronauts Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin and was a part of Expeditions 59, 60 and 61. This marked her first flight into space. "Koch's extended mission will provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman as the agency plans to return humans to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars," NASA stated in a release on its website. The Expedition 61 crew also contributed to a hundred of experiments in the areas of biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development. Koch also worked on several other NASA objectives. "Supporting NASA's goals for future human landings on the Moon, Koch completed 5,248 orbits of the Earth and a journey of 139 million miles, roughly the equivalent of 291 trips to the Moon and back," NASA stated in a release. "She conducted six spacewalks during 11 months on orbit, including the first three all-woman spacewalks, spending 42 hours and 15 minutes outside the station. She witnessed the arrival of a dozen visiting spacecraft and the departure of another dozen." The record was previously held by NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who spent 289 days in space. Scott Kelly holds the record for longest single spaceflight overall. He spent 340 days in space. (Eonline)

Meghan and Harry want to keep the prying public at bay at their Canadian home, going to extreme measures to make it happen ... including cameras and tarps along the property. TMZ has obtained photos of some new security features the Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently installed to ward off any curious peeping Toms who might wanna try to get a glimpse into their private life at their North Saanich villa on Vancouver Island. The latest bells and whistles ... a giant tarp that's hanging in between trees, and at least one security camera along the beach, which we're told has a wandering lens. You might've also noticed the fence, the front gate cover and the Home Depot "No Trespassing" sign too. Those have been there since they've moved in over the past couple of months, but we're told the camera and tree tarp are the most recent measures taken for privacy/security. It's just another sign Meg and Har really don't want to be under the spotlight post-Megxit and will do just about anything to keep people away ... including pesky photogs. Remember, Meghan has already threatened to sue media outlets for using pics taken of her and Archie hiking the Canadian woods. She was out in public though, not on her own grounds. Looks like they want to avoid a repeat situation at home. Cabin fever, anyone? (Eonline)

Wolfgang Puck's Plant-Based Menu for the 2020 Oscars Will Make You Drool! Veganism is the hottest trend to hit Hollywood's awards season. The Golden Globes kicked things off in January by offering a 100 percent plant-based meal. Of course, in the weeks following, the Critics' Choice Awards followed suit by offering plant-based dishes. By the time it was the Screen Actors Guild Awards, a precedent was set, and Wolfgang Puck created a special vegan menu for the awards show. Thus, it wasn't surprising when the 2020 Oscars announced their menu for the Governors Ball would be 70 percent plant-based. Puck has been the longtime caterer for the Governors Ball. In fact, this will be the food expert 26th time overseeing the famous feast. While this plant-based trend may seem revolutionary to some, it's actually been a specialty of Puck's for quite some time. On Wednesday, the famed chef and his son Byron Puck made this very point during an appearance on Daily Pop. "Yes, there's a lot of plant! We always did, but we never said it," the Austrian-American chef relayed to co-hosts Carissa Culiner and Justin Sylvester. "Because, we always love vegetables. You know, I go to the farmer's market all the time... So, vegetables are my thing." Per the 70-year-old master chef, growing up on a farm made vegetables a major staple in his diet. "We had meat once a week," Puck exclaimed. Although the plant-based dishes will be front and center at the 92nd Academy Awards celebration, a few staples will remain on the menu. We're, of course, talking about the Pucks' iconic Smoked Salmon Oscars. Thankfully, Daily Pop viewers got a close up of this treat -- along with several others. In fact, Byron concocted an impressive spring roll out of apple slices. Although the elder Puck is all about presentation, he made it clear that taste is what is most important. "The look is always important. You know, that's why we put make-up on," Puck expressed. "But I think at the end, it has to taste delicious." (Eonline)

Kim Kardashian is now in a Nordstrom near you -- or at least her SKIMS representatives are, and by that we mean living, breathing mannequins ... sometimes known as models. The reality TV beauty mogul made a splash Wednesday in NYC, where she rolled out her SKIMS shapewear line in the Midtown Nordstrom store. Her hubby, Kanye West, came to support the launch as well. Kim came armed with a gaggle of models, flaunting a broad range of options and body types. No one can complain about a lack of diversity -- the human mannequins came in all shapes and sizes ...which is kinda the whole point of Kim's product. Looks like another Midas touch for the Kardashians ... we're told there was a line out the door for the Nordstrom launch ... with some folks waiting since as early as 2 AM. The first 50 in line got a meet-and-greet with Kim. Kim didn't just wave and dash, though. She actually stuck around for quite a while and even got behind the register for some purchases, proudly ringing up customers. Skim (hehe) through the gallery to check out the scene. Lots of model citizens here. (TMZ)

"Miss you so much" That's Vanessa Bryant posting about Kobe Bryant -- remembering him on social media as a "loving husband" and "The Best Daddy." Vanessa went to Instagram on Wednesday to post about her husband -- referring to Kobe as "my best friend" and saying she misses all of the funny, sweet little things he would do during their marriage. "Miss you saying, 'Bonjourno principessa/reina'" Vanessa wrote ... referencing Kobe's ability to speak Italian. "#mybestfriend #theBestdaddy Miss you so much. #handsome #sweet #funny #silly #lovinghusband ??Miss you saying, "Bonjourno principessa/reina." Vanessa also posted a clip from a recent "Extra" interview in which Kobe was asked to name his best friend -- and he responded, "My wife." Just a few days ago, Vanessa posted a painting of her daughter Gianna Bryant dressed up in Lakers gear -- and wrote, "Seeing my babygirl smile and happy again with a basketball ?? under her arm, wrapped in ????love just warmed my heart." "Thank you for this. @_vivalareina thank you!! My Gigi.?? #Mambacita." Kobe and Gianna passed away January 26. We're told the Bryant family is working on putting together a public memorial for them but nothing is set in stone yet. UPDATE: Vanessa just shared the scene from Gianna's jersey retirement ceremony at her private school. Vanessa says, "My Gigi. I love you! I miss you. You've taught us all that no act of kindness is ever too small. Mommy is still and will ALWAYS be so proud of you mamacita." Vanessa made a new post about Gianna -- saying, "My Gianna. God I miss you." "I've been so lucky to have woken up to see your gorgeous face and amazing smile for 13 years. Wish it would've been until my last breath." "Mommy loves you to the moon and back. Infinity plus 1. #2 #Mambacita #GigiBryant." (TMZ)

Daphne Oz is adding to her long resume: she's now WW's newest ambassador. The cookbook author, host and mom of four decided to join up with the lifestyle program, formally known as Weight Watchers, to make a "commitment" to her body in the months after giving birth to daughter Gigi, 51/2 months. "I'm definitely looking to get strong in my skin again, and feel fit, and feel healthy. And having a partner in that plan, having a partner in your wellness journey, and in my holistic health goals for myself, was really important to me," Oz, 33, tells PEOPLE. The MasterChef Junior host says that as someone who "loves to eat" and has her entire career in food, she had to learn how to make "meaningful eating choices." "I definitely experienced the only downside of living and working around food all the time, which is, it's really easy to overeat, and it's really easy to overindulge," she says. After trying other weight loss programs in the past, Oz says that WW stood out to her because it's not about restriction. "I've talked openly before about the fact that I grew up an overweight kid in a health nut family. And I tried some diets in the past, but my philosophy grew out of that, which is I just don't believe in restriction. I don't believe in plans that are about deprivation." Oz has been on the WW program (specifically the purple plan) for a few weeks now and found that it was well-matched to how she already eats; she just had to reduce a few of her portion sizes. One example was her avocado habit -- Oz "kind of put it on everything," because of the healthy fats, minerals and vitamins in the fruit, but realized that she shouldn't be as liberal with her servings, reducing it from half an avocado to a quarter. "It's nothing major when you think about it, but it really is about making those moments count," she says. As Oz follows the WW program, she doesn't have a specific goal. "There's no destination in my mind. The goal really is to feel good," she says. "It's to feel good in my skin. It's to feel good in my clothes. It's to feel strong. And that I wake up every day with tons of energy to take on all of the fun that I want to." And she wants to share her journey to feeling good with her followers on social media. "I do find that it really lifts me up and pushes me to continue on my own health journey that so many women have reached out and said that they either felt inspired, or are doing it with me, or feel validated that they start from wherever they start and get going from there," she says of social media. "I think something is better than nothing, and little steps yield big results and I do feel like making it manageable, and not showing this magical transformation, but instead showing this real-time, hard work in the gym, or making good food choices." (People)

Jessica Simpson is opening up about her past relationship with former costar Johnny Knoxville. In the singer's memoir, Open Book -- out now -- Simpson reveals she formed an intense bond with Knoxville while filming the 2005 film, Dukes of Hazzard. Although married to Nick Lachey at the time, she admits to having an "emotional affair" with the actor, though the pair never got physical. "I could share my deepest authentic thoughts with him, and he didn't roll his eyes at me. He actually liked that I was smart and embraced my vulnerabilities," Simpson, 39, writes. "He believed in me and made me feel I could do anything." The "I Wanna Love You Forever" singer expresses that she "felt a force drawing [us] together" and she "wondered why [she] was open to this." "Now I was afraid I couldn't trust myself," she writes. The only person in her life at that point who had made her feel that way was, Simpson admits, her father, Joe Simpson. "Certainly not my husband," she adds of Lachey, 46. While the two were never physically intimate, it was the emotional bond between Knoxville, 48, and Simpson that, she writes, felt like "betrayal." "First off, we were both married, so this wasn't going to get physical," she writes. "But to me, an emotional affair was worse than a physical one. It's funny, I know, because I had placed such an emphasis on sex by not having it before marriage. After I actually had sex, I understood that the emotional part was what mattered." She divulges, "Johnny and I had that, which seemed far more of a betrayal to my marriage than sex." Simpson and Lachey divorced in 2005 after seven years together and three years of marriage. During a recent appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, the star shared there was one thing she would have done differently regarding her divorce. "I wish I would've signed a prenup," she began. "The funny thing is that Nick wanted me to sign a prenup but I was so offended. I'm like, 'But we're going to be together for the rest of our lives. We're saying our vows to God and in front of all of our family and friends. This is never going to end,' and we didn't sign a prenup." When Dr. Oz asked the actress and fashion designer what her relationship with her ex is like now, she simply responded: "There is not one." During Lachey's Monday appearance on the Today show, he revealed that he has yet to read the book. "I'll be honest, I obviously haven't read the book, so I don't know what she said or what she revealed there, but I'm certainly happy for her and her life, I know she is happy for us," the 98 Degrees band member said. "There's definitely a mutual respect there, so that's, you know -- obviously it was a long time ago. We've all moved on," he added sitting alongside his wife Vanessa. (People)

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino says he's making sure his tax woes are behind him ... by leaving things to the professionals. The Sitch was at LAX Wednesday night with fellow 'Jersey Shore' star Deena -- who was all masked up to protect from the coronavirus -- when he got asked about his first tax season since getting out of prison. Mike says everything is going to be up-to-date this time around -- clearly, he's not going to risk landing behind bars again for tax evasion. Speaking of possibly ending up behind bars ... Mike and Deena also touched on the tumultuous times between their friend Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and his baby mama, Jen Harley. They both agree they have Ronnie's back no matter what and are rooting for him, and Mike adds ... "The comeback is greater than the setback." As we've reported ... Ronnie and Jen are mixed up in a nasty domestic violence case, but he didn't let it keep him down last weekend in Miami, where he was spotted leaving the club at 6 AM with 2 hot chicks. Guess that's part of the comeback. (TMZ)

Inside Jay-Z's complicated relationship with the NFL. We discuss why Jay-Z and Beyonce stayed seated during the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. Rob Shuter, host of the "Naughty But Nice" podcast stops by to talk about his time as Jessica Simpson's publicist during her most scandalous years, and Demi Lovato steps out with Machine Gun Kelly. Jay-Z gives an explanation for sitting during Super Bowl national anthem Jay-Z says he and wife Beyonce were not making a statement when they sat during the national anthem at the Super Bowl. He was just focused on his job as a producer. At a Columbia University Q&A as part of a lecture series Tuesday night, a moderator asked the rapper -- who co-produced the entertainment at this year's Super Bowl -- whether sitting when Demi Lovato sang the national anthem was "meant to convey a signal?" "It actually wasn't -- sorry," said the music mogul, 50. He said that if he'd wanted to make a political statement, "I'd tell you ... I'd say, 'Yes, that's what I've done.' I think people know that about me." But he explained, "What happened was, we got there, we were sitting, and now the show's about to start. My wife was with me and so she says to me, 'I know this feeling right here.' Like, she's super-nervous because she's performed at Super Bowls before. I haven't," he said to laughs from the audience. "So, we get there and we immediately jump into artist mode ... now I'm really just looking at the show. Did the mic start? Was it too low to start? ... I had to explain to them [that] as an artist, if you don't feel the music, you can't really reach that level." (PageSix)

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