Showbiz Lowdown

Wednesday May 5th..

The US government is asking Kim Kardashian to forfeit an ancient Roman sculpture that was apparently illegally smuggled out of Italy.

Kardashian bought the limestone statue, known as “Fragment of Myron’s Samian Athena,” in 2016 from Axel Vervoordt Gallery in Belgium.

The antique artwork — which dates back to the 1st or 2nd century — was stopped when it arrived in Los Angeles in May 2016, after authorities were alerted that it might be protected cultural property.

It was part of a 5.5-ton shipment valued at $745,882, and said to contain 40 antiques, as well as Modern furniture and decorative objects.

Further examination of paperwork about the statue had some discrepancies, leading officials to become suspicious about where it had actually come from.

Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage then sent an archaeologist in 2018 to examine the work.

The expert concluded that it had been “looted, smuggled, and illegally exported from Italy,” leading the country to ask for it back.

The feds ordered Kardashian to relinquish the work in a civil forfeiture complaint filed in California on Friday. There’s no suggestion that she was aware of the statue’s origins.

A representative for Kardashian said that “Kim never purchased this piece and this is the first that she has learned of its existence. We believe it may have been purchased using her name without authorization and because it was never received, she was unaware of the transaction. We encourage an investigation and hope that it gets returned to the rightful owners.”

 

Bill and Melinda Gates have had a decades-long agreement that Bill could vacation for a long weekend at the beach every year with his venture capitalist ex-girlfriend.

The odd arrangement has been made public now that the couple is going their separate ways after 27 years together.

Bill and venture capitalist Ann Winblad dated in the 80s but broke up in 1987. That’s the same year Bill met future wife Melinda.

However, Bill and Ann maintained a friendship. In fact, Bill said in a 1997 interview that before he proposed Melinda, he called Ann and asked for her approval.

The former lovers, with Melinda’s blessing, kept their yearly vacation alive, with Bill spending a long weekend with Ann at her beach house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The pair spend their getaway every spring riding dune buggies, hang-gliding and taking walks on the beach.

Ann is married to San Francisco private investigator Edward Alex Kline, who is the younger brother of actor Kevin Kline.

 

Tristan Thompson is denying cheating allegations from an Instagram model, calling her a liar, and threatening to sue.

The NBA star, who’s back in with Khloe Kardashian, had his attorney fire off a cease and desist letter to Sydney Chase, who recently claimed she had sex with Tristan since he and Khloe reunited. She also claims to have salacious texts from him.

Tristan’s lawyer calls her allegations “malicious defamatory fabrications. Mr. Thompson had no relationship with you whatsoever and he never sent you any such texts.”

Sydney says she has not received a cease and desist letter, but she did say: ”Let this be a lesson to not let anyone no matter the money or fame they have, to shut you down or tarnish your name.”

Sources say Tristan and his team are suspicious of Chase’s motives because she’s reportedly been shopping a reality TV deal.

On top of that, she recently boasted on social media about an increase in her online engagement numbers to attract potential advertisers.

 

Joe Exotic’s ex-husband claimed that his marriage to Exotic and another man was a “fake” to help get a reality TV show… revealing that he’s now married to a woman.

John Finlay said that he was “young and dumb and didn’t know a nail from a hole in the wall” at 19 when he first met the flamboyant “Tiger King” star… on his first day at work at his big cat zoo in Oklahoma.

He now claims that now-infamous scenes of their 2014 three-way wedding with Travis Maldonado was just a publicity-generating scam to help Exotic get a reality show.

Finlay no longer talks to Exotic and he’s now married to a woman.