The daily gossip: February 19, 2020

Scott Meslow
Justin Bieber.
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images


Justin Bieber still thinks he could beat Tom Cruise in a fight

It's been more than a year since Justin Bieber took to Twitter, somewhat inexplicably, to challenge Tom Cruise to a "fight in the octagon." That challenge still remains unanswered by Cruise — but as Bieber himself could tell you, never say never. In an appearance on Carpool Karaoke, host James Corden raised the subject of the proposed Bieber vs. Cruise throw-down, and Bieber said he's still game. Bieber even proved his fitness for the fight by besting Corden in an arm-wrestling match — which is a little like jogging a lap to prepare for an ultra-marathon, but still. [Yahoo! Entertainment]


Queen Elizabeth is reportedly shutting down Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's "Sussex Royal" brand

The exact details of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's plan for a "post-royal" life remain in question — but one possible thoroughfare has reportedly been closed to them. An insider claims that Queen Elizabeth squashed the couple's plan to build out a global brand under the title "Sussex Royal," which they planned to use as a unifying brand name for everything from a website and a charity to products like clothing, books, and stationary. The Queen has reportedly decided it is "no longer tenable" for the non-royals to use the word "royal" in their projects — so imagine how mad she's going to be when she finds out about Burger King and Dairy Queen. [The Daily Mail]


Ben Affleck explains why he lied about his back tattoo

Back in 2016, Ben Affleck was snapped by a paparazzo on the beach sporting some new ink: A massive, colorful tattoo of a phoenix covering his entire back. At the time, Affleck claimed it was a fake tattoo for an upcoming role — but four years later, he's coming clean. "Of course it's real," said Affleck, adding that he "got a kick out of messing with" the press by lying about it — because if you're going to be roasted by gossip bloggers for your big ol' phoenix tattoo, it's hard to resist the urge to burn them right back. [The New York Times]


Nickelodeon is making a SpongeBob Squarepants prequel

Over the past 20 years, SpongeBob Squarepants has turned out to be one of Nickelodeon's most durable TV shows. And any studio with a similarly-sized hit could tell you the next logical step: Franchise it into oblivion! So we guess it's not surprising that Nickelodeon is officially preparing to launch Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years. Details on the prequel series are otherwise scarce, but it's probably safe to assume the show will explore SpongeBob's years as a younger (and smaller?) sponge — a premise that will surely hold plenty of water. [The Hollywood Reporter]


8-year-old Blue Ivy Carter has one million listeners on Spotify

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was just 5 years old when he composed his first musical piece — but even he might have to doff his cap to Blue Ivy Carter, the daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z. At just 8 years old, Blue Ivy amassed one million listeners on Spotify for her performance on a single song on an album called the The Lion King: The Gift, which was inspired by the live-action Lion King remake costarring Beyoncé. And if you're contemplating whether Blue Ivy really deserves all that credit for a brief guest spot on an album curated by her mom, what can we say? It's the circle of life, and it moves us all. [Business Insider]