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By Emma Peele

Elton John
Beat still, my aching heart

Holy cow! The wear and tear of being a rock star has finally caught up to Sir Elton John. The middle-age pop singer has had a pacemaker inserted to correct what he calls "a minor imbalance" in his heart. John, 52, was released from London's Wellington Hospital on Saturday after the operation. Before crawling into his limo and being driven away, he told the pesky paparazzi gathered outside: "I feel very well."

"I'm a bit stiff, a bit sore, but everything went really well," he added. "It came as a bit of a shock, but the operation was a simple procedure, the only thing I really regret is canceling my shows."

His doctors have ordered him to kick back for a month or so, but he vowed that every canceled show would be rescheduled.

The singer told the Associated Press that he thought he was merely suffering from sunstroke Friday after hitting a few balls on the tennis court at his digs in Nice, France. But his condition grew worse while he was flying to Ireland to performed at the July 4 wedding of "Posh Spice" Victoria Adams.

"Literally, I was on the plane to David and Victoria's wedding, but I was ill and had to have some tests. I was given the all-clear and went back to France," he said. But he felt so weak that he flew to London for tests, and he was admitted to the hospital Friday and had the pacemaker put in the same day. John said in a statement that the only long-term effect of his heart woes "is that I have to carry a card explaining why I set off the alarms when I walk through airport security."

melissa joan hart
Melissa Joan Hart
Adults can be so cruel

Oh, God. The hellions at Cosmopolitan mag have come out with a sister publication called Cosmo Girl! Just what the young women of America need: Another publication dedicated to the Helen Gurley Brown outdated philosophy of telling them what to wear, how to look and how to catch a man -- their No. 1 mission in life, of course!

Covergirl is Melissa Joan Hart of "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. " A nugget of wisdom from Melissa: "I could never be a supermodel, I know that! I'll never look like Rebecca Romijn or be in the Victoria's Secret catalog.'' The 23-year-old actress has a tattoo on the back of her neck, loves to drive race cars, wears a WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelet, got her first period while filming "Clarissa Explains It All'' and bemoans her body's late start in developing.

"In junior high, I was like Josie Grossie," she says, referring to Drew Barrymore's character in "Never Been Kissed." One dance instructor even classified her chest size as a NEGATIVE ZERO. Bastard. "I finally got breasts when I was 16 ... and they were big! I used to fantasize about going back and saying, 'Measure them now!'"

courtney love
Courtney Love
Full exposure

Time to check in with Courtney Love. What, pray tell, has the goddess of grunge been up to?

Not only was she dating Edward Norton, she HAS broken up with the fine actor. "I love him very much. ... He taught me not to be afraid and how to be a leader. ... He taught me how ridiculous some of my punk-rock poser mannerisms were,'' she tells Jane magazine.

She has a new beau, but her lips are sealed about his I.D. All that's known is that he's an actor.

Although she's mostly a connoisseur of the male animal, a buxom lass CAN turn her head. "I don't really go there that often. I'm heterosexual, for the most part." Yeah, yeah, yeah, but when she DOES turn to her kinder sex, "I like really trashy porno girls. Like porno 44DD, and they have to be really aggressive."

Bossy as she can be, the pop star says she likes being the submissive one in a relationship ... that would include threesomes. "My problem is that everyone fantasies that I'm gonna spank them or something,'' Love says. "Wrong. If I'm going (to be part of a menage a trois), I'm the baby.''

She's willing to bare all in her birthday suit ... for the right price. The surgically refined star says Playboy has asked her, "but they're not gonna give me $2 million." Good to know.

Madonna isn't pleased with Marko Milosevic
The son also gets a rise

The question of whether there are any more at home like Yugoslav prez and war criminal Slobodan Milosevic has been answered. Meet Marko, Slobo's scion, who is making quite a name for himself. But whereas his daddy has pissed off the U.N. and Western allies, the younger Marko has drawn the wrath of one Madonna Ciccone.

See, Marko likes to hang out in clubs and terrorize the locals and believes no law can touch him. So he brazenly named "the largest discotheque in the Balkans" after Madonna ... and the Material Mom is NOT flattered.

"I hope he has a good lawyer," sniffed Madonna spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg. She's egging on her client to "go after" the 25-year-old Serbian playboy with legal pit bulls -- if not to stop him from using her name then just for the pleasure of kicking his heinie because he spells it "Madona."

Marko, who never finished college, is accused of being a draft dodger, a smuggler and a big bully who in 1996 had 15 police officers beat up the writer of an article he didn't like ... the kind of guy, in other words, who deserves to have his backside kicked. Suing Marko might be tough, tho -- he's well shielded by his dear old Dad, who himself is wanted for crimes against humanity, i.e., the slaughter of thousands of ethnic Albanians in the Kosovo War.

Now she cries murder?!

A mystery is solved. The woman who found former Rolling Stone Brian Jones stiff in the pool of his Sussex home 30 years ago now says the rocker was murdered! Anna Wohlin identifies the killer as one Frank Thorogood, a builder, who had been working on Jones' house and was feuding with him over money. Cops had ruled Jones' death an accident.

"I still despise myself for not telling the truth there and then," Wohlin writes in the just-published book "The Murder of Brian Jones." Wohlin also describes Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and most of the Rolling Stoners as cold and insensitive. When a newspaper offered to pay her to tell all days after the death, Wohlin says, a "Stones aide" took her to a London house where an unidentified man asked her how much she wanted "to keep silent." In 1994, a friend of Thorogood said he confessed to the killing on his deathbed.

Odds and ends

Johnny Depp's attraction for portraying weirdos has led him to -- piano riff, please -- Liberace! He was loved dearly by elderly ladies with fantasies that he would make a great son. They flocked to his extravagant shows in droves, dazzled by his carefully coiffed 'dos and lavish capes. Depp has read a script, his agent says, and a revised version is in the works. Depp needs a hit badly. His last weirdo role, as gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, reeked and flopped.

Ally Walker, who stars in the TV thriller "Profiler," reveals in US mag that she's quitting the show after this year "because the darkness of it got to me." In the show, a team of FBI investigators hunt criminals with the help of Dr. Samantha Walker's ability to visualize their crimes.

That Posh Spice/David Beckham July 4 nups outside Dublin put them back $800,000, says People. The magazine says the dough covered an 18-piece band, rented geese, patrol dogs and 125 security guards, plus $192,000 in wedding bands. The bride -- whose Vera Wang gown cinched her waist to 18 inches -- and groom sat on gilded, red velvet thrones with their infant son between them.

Smart gal, that Cindy Crawford. Knowing that paparazzi will stalk her fam for pix of her newborn, the supermodel and hubby Rande Gerber speedily released the first pictures of the boy through The Associated Press and shared every contraction of Presley Walker Gerber's birth with People magazine. Crawford gave birth at home with the help of a midwife and a nurse.

Days after Presley's birth, Crawford's ex-husband, Richard Gere, announced that he and his current distraction, Carey Lowell, are with child. Coincidence? The baby's due early next year.

Our No. 2 favorite quote by actress Calista Flockhart about the fuss over her bony bod: "If I had boobs, none of this would have happened." Our fave, tho, was said on the David Letterman show: "I would like to take this opportunity just to tell the press to kiss my skinny white a--."

The delish Andie MacDowell and her husband of 13 years, Paul Qualley, a former model, have split.

Model Linda Evangelista and French soccer goalie Fabien Barthez are having dessert before the entree as they honeymoon on St. Maarten. Nups are set for July 24. The Paris mag, Voici, says their cart-before-the-horse act has something to do with the start of soccer season.

'Roseanne' was a Stanley Kubrick favorite
'Roseanne' was a Stanley Kubrick favorite
Stanley Kubrick ("Eyes Wide Shut") high-tailed it out of the United States for England in 1968 for the most understandable of reasons ... he DETESTED L.A. So says his bud, writer Michael Herr, in Vanity Fair. Herr says the late director never lost his love for the United States and devoured American TV shows like "The Simpsons" and "Seinfeld," plus football games and Johnny Carson. "He loved 'Roseanne,'" Herr said, "because it was funny and he believed the most authentic view of the country you could get without actually living there." Herr also says Tom Cruise wasn't Kubrick's first choice for "Eyes Wide Shut," but "thought it would be perfect for Steve Martin."

The buzz: Will Smith. Jennifer Lopez. In a re-remake of "A Star Is Born." Discuss ...

And that's what's passing for pop culture these days!



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