Lil Wayne has been freed from jail after serving eight months in a gun case, emerging with a hot new album, well-wishes from a former president and a deepened appreciation for his fans.
New York City's Department of Correction website said Thursday the Grammy Award-winning rap star had been released from the Rikers Island jail complex.
His managers have said he planned to head for his home in Miami, where they're planning a welcome-home party Sunday.
"I was never scared, worried nor bothered by the situation" behind bars, Lil Wayne said Tuesday through Weezythanxyou.com, a website he set up to give fans a glimpse of his life in jail.
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Lil Wayne, who had the best-selling album of 2008 and won a best rap album Grammy with "Tha Carter III," kept his career in high gear while locked up for having a loaded gun on his tour bus in 2007.
His latest album, "I Am Not a Human Being" — released while he was in solitary confinement in September — hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart last month. He also was featured on a string of hits by other artists, including Drake and Eminem, that came out while he was incarcerated — and he recorded a verse for the Drake/Jay-Z collaboration "Light Up" over the phone for a "Rikers Remix" that made the rounds online.
Rhys Ifans good at being bad
Welsh actor Rhys Ifans can't stop smiling about being the bad guy.
He has scooped the role as the villain in the reboot of the "Spider Man" franchise; he's earning acclaim for his lead performance as a notorious drug dealer in the new British film "Mr. Nice"; and he's shooting for an epic new TV movie called "Neverland," where he gets to play Peter Pan's nemesis, Captain Hook.
"I'm constantly suppressing a very wide smile," Ifans told the Associated Press.
The 43-year-old actor is not allowed to talk about his role as the baddie in the web-slinging comic book adventure, but said he's "very, very excited about it."
Ifans may be best known for playing Hugh Grant's oddball roommate in 1999's "Notting Hill." Recent credits include "Pirate Radio" and "Greenberg" opposite Ben Stiller.
Ifans will be starring opposite American-born and British-raised Andrew Garfield, who is taking over as Peter Parker.
"It is quite cool, this one, to have Spider-Man and his villain both from the U.K.," Ifans said.
Macy the baby sitter
William H. Macy says Joan Cusack and Jeremy Piven have come a long way from when he baby-sat them while they were growing up outside Chicago.
Cusack co-stars with Macy in the upcoming Showtime series "Shameless." Macy replaced Piven on Broadway when Piven dropped out of the David Mamet play "Speed-the-Plow" in 2008.
Macy got involved with Chicago theater after moving to the Windy City following college. He says he met actor Byrne Piven, Jeremy's father, when the elder Piven did a play for the St. Nicholas Theater Company, which Macy co-founded with Mamet.
Macy says that when "Jeremy was just a little kid," his dad became his mentor and often offered him odd jobs for things like baby-sitting and carpentry, "because I needed the work."
Kevin Spacey has received a royal honor from Prince Charles for his role in reviving London's Old Vic Theatre.
The Academy Award-winning actor was named an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE, for services to drama.
Spacey said he was "hugely delighted" to receive the medal in a ceremony Wednesday at Charles' London residence, Clarence House.
Spacey has led the Old Vic since 2003, and has been praised for restoring the fortunes of the 200-year-old venue.
He also has won acting Oscars for "The Usual Suspects" and "American Beauty."
Another year older
Today's birthdays: Actress Elke Sommer , 70... singer Art Garfunkel, 69... actor-playwright Sam Shepard , 67... singer Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits, 63... actress Tilda Swinton , 50... actress-singer Andrea McArdle , 47... actress Tatum O'Neal , 47... guitarist-keyboardist Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, 39... guitarist Kevin Jonas of The Jonas Brothers, 23.