Benedict Cumberbatch Has Reprehensible Ancestry

Today in celebrity gossip: Benedict Cumberbatch's family has skeletons in its closet, Winona Ryder does NOT approve of Johnny Depp's engagement, and Miley Cyrus has very good and relatable advice for Justin Bieber.

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Today in celebrity gossip: Benedict Cumberbatch's family has skeletons in its closet, Winona Ryder does NOT approve of Johnny Depp's engagement, and Miley Cyrus has very good and relatable advice for Justin Bieber.

We all know that The Daily Mail is merely a modern day reminder that old school British yellow journalism thrives on in website form, but every now and again it reports on something genuinely fascinating? Take this detailed and just plum interesting look into actor Benedict Cumberbatch's family tree. Specifically the Cleland Plantation in Barbados, a former slave-operated sugar plantation once owned by the Cumberbatch family and a crown jewel of the empire that made them one of the most affluent families of their time. According to historian Joshua Newton, the plantation operated from about 1690 until slavery was abolished in the 19th century and daily life was about as nightmarish as you'd expect: "For most of the period, the rates of death among slaves outnumbered birth rates. These people were literally worked to death." For his part, the actor Cumberbatch seems aware of and not particularly proud of his ancestors' business operations. In fact, his roles as a relatively kindly slave owner in 12 Years a Slave and in the biopic of abolitionist William Wilberforce Amazing Grace, "attest to his sense of shame." But according to Newton it wasn't just the systematic torture and human bondage that made the Cumberbatch clan so reprehensible: "They also tended to be rough, uncouth and vulgar." Obviously Cumberbatch has broken many if not all of those family traditions, but still. Tell it to the ghosts! (Metaphorical or otherwise.) [Daily Mail]

Here's one for the nostalgists, or perhaps just enthusiasts of relationship angst: Occasional actress Winona Ryder does NOT approve of her ex-boyfriend Johnny Depp's new engagement to Amber Heard. Though Ryder and Depp famously dated in the early '90s (circa Edward Scissorhands and also circa Winona Ryder's hilarious wig in Edward Scissorhands), their amicable post-breakup life soured when Ryder came to actively disapprove of Depp having cheated on the mother of his children. Or, as a source told Radar, Ryder has "pulled a 180 on her opinion of Johnny and his cronies because she thinks it’s a sad cliché that he’d dump his long-term baby mama for a woman in her twenties." The cronies there refers to "Johnny’s middle-aged friends, even Tim Burton" who are "cheering this relationship on like it’s appropriate." The overall angle of this story has to do with why Winona Ryder refuses to reunite with Johnny Depp on screen, the possibility of which was, let's be honest, a major bit of wishful thinking on Ryder's part. She's great and talented and her post-shoplifting pariah status remains infuriating, but still: Literally nobody was calling for a Winona Ryder-Johnny Depp reunion except for maybe Winona Ryder. Also, Radar's piece closes with perhaps the saddest statement on Ryder's life yet. Per the source: "She loves living alone. That’s her big thing and the reason most of her relationships fall apart after the first year.” Man. [Radar]

Well, it happened: Howard Stern turned 60! And his lavish, star-studded party at the Hammerstein Ballroom certainly proved to be Stern-worthy. The guests included New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Adam Levine, Jimmy Kimmel, Robert Downey Jr., Steven Tyler, Larry King, Harvey Weinstein, Rosie O'Donnell, Joan Rivers, Tracy Morgan, Barbara Walters, Sarah Silverman, David Letterman, Katie Couric, Ben Stiller and Chelsea Handler. And, of course Patricia "Tan Mom" Krentcil in addition to the usual menagerie of addicts and street people Stern consorts with on his daily Sirius XM show. Lena Dunham also made an appearance in which she lightly roasted Stern for having made fun of her physical appearance in the past, saying that Stern looked like "a cartoon of a Jewish female horse." And you will probably want to click on over to Page Six to see photos of actor Ryan Phillippe giving Robin Quivers a striptease. Probably. I can't tell you what to do, nobody can. [Page Six]

It's always fun when a currently golden former child star can accurately comment on the life of a currently disintegrating former child star! In this case Miley Cyrus discussed Justin Bieber on The Tonight Show and had some very good advice for him:

You've got a lot of money. Pay people to make sure you don't get in trouble and party at your house... Buy a house, and add a club to it.

Honestly, that is advice we ALL can take. Cyrus' statement coincides nicely with this new photo [NSFW] that TMZ just posted of Justin Bieber and Lambo cohort Khalil Sharieff mouth-attacking a stripper's breasts. Anyway, Cyrus went on to rightly pat herself on the back for not being a trainwreck nightmare: "I get the most flak of anybody. I'm not doing anything illegal... Everything I do is legal in California." Which, honestly, as far as former child stars go, is like mastermind-level genius. That's why Cyrus is currently winning the publicity wars: She really does seem to know what's up. [Us Weekly]

Speaking of Miley Cyrus, Us Weekly has discovered a piece of hearsay from which they've derived more theories than the Zapruder Film. Apparently Miley Cyrus did NOT warmly greet Robin Thicke at Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party, which of course means they are feuding. It all stems from their "steamy" VMA performance and either Thicke is "angry" with Cyrus for "going too far" in her routine or alternatively "Robin is jealous Miley's career took off after that." Meanwhile, Cyrus is allegedly mad at Thicke "for not defending her after the show." And again, this whole saga is due to their actions (or lack of actions) at a Grammys pre-party: "They were just a few tables apart and never spoke." Feud of the century, basically! [Us Weekly]

There's obviously no upbeat way to discuss Philip Seymour Hoffman's passing. It was far too soon, not to mention a harrowing, maddening reminder of just how awful drugs and addiction are. But this is a celebrity-themed piece so you may be interested to know how certain celebrities have reacted on Twitter? BuzzFeed has a more comprehensive list, but here are some notable reactions:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.