December 24, 2009 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: Parents jailed for balloon hoax

From Wire Reports
 
Associated Press photo

Richard Heene, center, and his wife Mayumi, right, were sentenced on Wednesday for their role in a balloon hoax.
(Full-size photo)

Fort Collins, Colo. – The parents who pulled the balloon boy hoax in hopes of landing a reality TV show were sentenced to jail Wednesday – 90 days for him, 20 days for her – and barred from profiting from their newfound celebrity status for the next four years.

Choking back tears, Richard Heene apologized in court for the frenzy he caused when he claimed his 6-year-old son Falcon had floated away in a giant helium balloon shaped like a flying saucer.

“I’m very, very sorry. And I want to apologize to all the rescue workers out there, and the people that got involved in the community,” said the 48-year-old Heene, a UFO-obsessed backyard scientist who turned to storm-chasing and reality TV after his Hollywood acting career bombed.

Richard Heene’s wife, Mayumi Heene, 45, looked sullen and did not speak during the sentencing. Afterward, the Heenes walked past a crowd of reporters without comment.

Robbins, Sarandon have split up

Los Angeles – One of Hollywood’s most enduring couples has separated.

Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, partners for 23 years and parents of two sons, split up over the summer, publicist Teal Cannady said in a statement Wednesday. She did not elaborate.

Sarandon, 63, and Robbins, 51, met while shooting the 1988 film “Bull Durham.” He played a hotshot pitcher, she was the passionate fan who simultaneously seduced him and prepared him for the big leagues.

Sarandon and Robbins never married. Instead, they have been compared to other longtime Hollywood pairs who remain committed despite never officially tying the knot, such as Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.

Sarandon stars in “The Lovely Bones,” opening worldwide next month. Robbins last appeared in 2008’s “City of Ember.”

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