A major scenery change in

Anne Heche

's love life (which has included stretches with

Steve Martin


Richard Burgi

): The 37-year-old

Men in Trees

star, who dissolved her sometimes controversial, sometimes (


) annoying, sometimes just silly but very public headline-making, gawker-producing, three-year relationship with

Ellen DeGeneres

to marry cameraman

Coleman Laffoon

- whom she first met when he was on the crew of a documentary about Ellen (


) - has left Laffoon after five years of marriage.

Now, Heche is sitting in a tree with her Trees costar, James Tupper, who plays her lover (they are red-hot in love, gaga, crazy for each other) on the ABC show, Entertainment Tonight reports.

(This gal seems always first to find and groom a new nest and nestmate before moving on.)

Heche's rep confirms that the couple, who have a 4-year-old son, Homer, "have separated," but spoke not of Tupper.

Meanwhile, Tupp's rep confirms that the actor is currently single, having separated from his wife, novelist and playwright Kate, in November.

Brandy to blame?

R&B star


may have been at fault in a fatal four-car accident Dec. 30 on an L.A. freeway, TMZ.com reports.

Seems the former Moesha actress either failed to notice that cars in front of her had considerably reduced their speed or she had problems with her own car, but the 2007 Land Rover collided with the back of a 2005 Toyota Corolla driven by a 38-year-old woman named Awatef Aboudihaj.

There was a domino: Aboudihaj hit an '89 Toyota Tercel driven by Donald Lite, 82, then slid sideways, hitting and bouncing off the freeway's center divider. A car driven by Mallory Ham, 50, broadsided Aboudihaj's vehicle. Aboudihaj, who sustained multiple pelvic fractures, died in the hospital a day later.

Brandy was not arrested. Her rep released a statement yesterday saying the singer "wishes to publicly express her condolences to the family of the deceased."

In an interview with TMZ.com, a witness to the accident said Brandy kept "talking about how it was all her fault . . . she didn't stop, kept saying how she hit the lady."

Cops are investigating the crash.

Mills sisters fight back

Nothing like family to watch your back.

Fiona Mills

, younger sis of embattled divorcee-to-be

Heather Mills McCartney

, has issued a blistering critique of

Paul McCartney

and an angry retort to the savaging that Brit papers have given the Beatle's estranged wife.

In a posting on Heather's Web site (www.heathermills mccartney.com), Fiona says news reports about Heather have been "hurtful, spiteful, nasty, . . . and, above all, untrue." Sis says she's speaking up because the situation has become dangerous.

Heather is "receiving death threats," Fiona writes. "Not because she is getting a divorce, but because some of the British tabloids decided from day one that they wish to destroy her."

What galls her, she writes, is that Paul has not offered his wife and their 3-year-old daughter, Beatrice, a security detail (all the McCartneys seem to get one).

Both Heather and Paul have denied reports they have agreed upon a $63.2 mil divorce settlement.

There's yet to be a statement or annoyingly poppy tune with a catchy hook from Paul.

Let's rehab together, dude!

Star mag says

Kevin Federline

is pushing his ex-wife, party-heartier- extraordinaire

Britney Spears

, to check into a rehab - so much so, an anonymous source says, that he's even threatened to take away the couple's kids.

Gossipers being what they (we?) are (pickled brains and all) have indulged in such droll speculations as: "Will Britney Spears join Lindsay Lohan in Rehab?" to quote a headline from www.thinkfashion. com. (Cowabunga! Will the hellcats like party way hearty on coffee and sugar and scope out the cute alcoholic boys?)

There has been no comment from K-Fed.

Is it the CIA?

Chuck Barris

(born in '29 in Philly), the man whose twisted, genius-filled noodle came up with

The Gong Sho

w - and who had enough twisted genius brain slop left over to write in his memoirs that he was a CIA hitman with 100 kills under his belt, has never, ever


watched his show's distant heir,

American Idol


Appearing in an episode of Inside Edition that was to air last night, Barris said Idol stinks because it's run by The Corporate Man: "On my shows, nobody was looking for a career. I mean, if you were looking for a career, you were really nuts."

"When we were doing shows, we were doing them for fun," Barris said. "And I think today's shows are much more serious."

Iron City classical

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has a new music director, and it's the conductor who made a hit with the orchestra at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center last spring -

Manfred Honeck

. The orchestra announced yesterday that he'll begin his three-year commitment starting September 2008, spending eight to 10 weeks per season plus tours, including a visit to Vienna in 2010. Though Honeck is little known in America, he's music director designate of the Stuttgart State Opera and has had ongoing relationships with the Swedish Radio Symphony and Czech Philharmonic.

Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@ phillynews.com.

Inquirer staff writer David Patrick Stearns and wire services contributed to this column.

A septum misconstrued

A double-pronged Jennifer Aniston media attack that might rock the very foundations of your being. The lovely actress has:

1. Fallen victim to Hollywood's hegemonic demand that all women look like bland plastic dolls, and has partaken in an orgy of cosmetic surgeries.

2. Engaged in lesbian activity.

In "Jen Gets a Nose Job," Us Weekly reports that "in the early morning hours of January 20," the Brad Pitt-less Jen visited the very same surgeon who gave Ashlee Simpson and Cameron Diaz brand "new noses."

(The old ones? Sent to Goodwill.)

The Friends star, whose shocking hairdo-change drove millions of women a decade ago to radically alter their coifs and thus, their very souls, had a procedure "to correct a deviated septum," her rep says. Big deal? C'mon, I'm a deviant (nasally, too): A crooked septum's a pain because it can lead to sinus infections.

Meanwhile, USA Today says a day before her nose day, Jen taped an episode of Dirt, in which she plays a lesbian American woman who has a special moment - replete with an actual, on-the-TV, girl-on-girl kiss with the show's star and Jen's Friends friend, Courteney Cox. I do hope the Republic can muddle through.