Johnny Depp dying, Caitlyn Jenner's baby, and the sexiest man alive, in this week's dubious tabloids

Russell Crowe is an apt metaphor for this week’s tabloids.

He's been a Gladiator and a brutal cop and a Robin Hood, but as the 'National Enquirer' and 'Globe' now show, the once muscular actor has let himself go.

"Russell is totally out of shape right now and stuck in a real rut," an unnamed insider allegedly told the 'Enquirer,' alongside photos of the New Zealander actor with a paunch the size of a County Fair prize-winning pumpkin.

This week's tabloids have equally let themselves go, appearing totally out of shape and stuck in a rut. It's as if facts don't interest them any more than gym workouts interest Russell Crowe – if they ever did.

"Jeffrey Epstein Exhumed!" screams the cover of the 'Enquirer' in its latest fantasy about the late billionaire pedophile. No, he wasn't. He's still buried next to his parents at the Star of David Cemetery of the Palm Beaches in Florida.

"New York coroner proves MURDER," raves the 'Enquirer.' No, he didn't. Epstein family-hired pathologist Michael Baden's belief that a rare broken hyoid bone in his neck proves that the convicted sex offender was murdered has been widely rejected by numerous expert pathologists who note that such a fracture is far from rare, occurring in up to 40 per cent of suicides by hanging.

The 'Enquirer' reports that former Olympic athlete-turned-Kardashian family foil Caitlyn Jenner "Stuns Family: I'm Going To Be A Mom!" Jenner, aged 70, supposedly wants to have a child with girlfriend Sophia Hutchins, 47 years her junior. Makes perfect sense. No word yet on how they plan to conceive: Caitlyn has admitted undergoing hormone therapy, which would normally halt all sperm production. Evidently Enquiring minds don't want to know.

The British Royal soap opera gets the tabloid indifference to facts with the 'Globe' story about Prince Harry & wife Meghan: "Royal rebel & wife banned from Britain for 6 months!"

The Palace announced that the Royal couple are taking a six-week break to travel to America over Thanksgiving to visit Meghan's mother who lives in Los Angeles, but the 'Globe' has interpreted that to mean that the duo have been exiled from the kingdom for six full months "on Her Majesty's orders!" Is the 'Globe ever wrong? Wait, don't answer that.

Harry & Meghan have purportedly been airing private grievances in public – a Royal taboo – and the 'Globe' reports that the Queen has banished the couple "to get them out of her hair – and the media's glare." Does the 'Globe' seriously think there's no media interest in the Royals in America? This would be the media that photographed Prince Andrew walking with Jeffrey Epstein in New York, the same media that found photos of a naked Prince Harry partying in Las Vegas, the same media that dug up childhood and baby photos of Meghan Markle? Sure, they'll be out of the media glare in Los Angeles. There are no paparazzi in Hollywood, are there?

"Johnny Depp: Only Weeks to Live!" rants an unhinged 'Globe' story. "Dead Before Christmas!" Well, that should save him spending a fortune on Xmas presents. But it's not a doctor's grim pronouncement that has the 'Globe' predicting such a dire demise for the actor. It's allegedly a fear of "the movie pirate's pals." Because Depp is allegedly still boozing – shock, horror. Surely that can't be a surprise to any real friend of Depp, as one expects his closest friends might well be coDeppendent.

And why does the 'Globe' only give Depp weeks to live? Why not months? Actress Lena Dunham is given 17 years to live by this week's 'Globe,' which reports that "pals are fearful" she will "be dead by 50!" Maybe Dunham has better friends than Depp? That's what happens when you go public with your diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and walk past photographers using the aid of a cane. There are four main types of the syndrome that affects connective tissue, only one of which has a major effect on life expectancy; the three others have little effect on longevity. And there's no indication that Dunham has the most severe version of the syndrome, so her death by the age of 50 may prove to be something of an exaggeration. We'll report back to you in 17 years.

Let's not forget Nick Nolte, who the 'Enquirer' gave "six months to live" back in September 2015 – still going strong.

Along with Lena Dunham's legs, Jennifer Aniston's legs also come under scrutiny in the 'Globe,' with the earth-shattering revelation: "Jen's Knees Go Under the Knife!" No, they didn't.

Aniston is photographed in a short skirt exposing knees that, while perfect in almost every way, are admittedly not as smooth as a newborn baby's butt, which is clearly offensive to any right-minded tabloid journalist.

Naturally, an unnamed "insider" – no relation to anyone on the 'Globe,' one can be certain – says that the actress is "ready to go under the knife to fix 'em!"

Because how could anyone bear to live another minute with the knees of a 25-year-old, when surgery can give you the knees of a prepubescent teenager?

To be fair, the 'Globe adds: "Jen's rep insists the star is not concerned about how her knees look." Really, it's hard to know who to believe.

It's that special time of year again when the celebrity magazines couple with the world's leading research universities, developing algorithms to test and monitor readers' heart-rates, perspiration, breathing and genital arousal – or at least, that's how I imagine it's done – to declare their annual "Sexiest Man Alive!"

This year 'People' magazine awards the dubious honor to multi-talented, suave and sophisticated singer-actor John Legend.
Yes, he's good-looking, supremely gifted and always elegant – but is he sexy? Does he exude sexual mystique?

I don't see it, though my wife tells me that "his talent is sexy." And so is his bank balance, I imagine.

Runners-up include Brad Pitt, Jason Momoa, Chris Hemsworth, and decidedly less obvious choices including Tom Hanks, The Jonas Brothers, David Harbour, and even balding Prince Harry as "Sexiest New Dad."

'Us' magazine, not to be outdone – and yet being thoroughly outdone in the process – carries its own feature on "The Real Sexiest Men Alive!"

It's blatant counter-programing against 'People' mag, but 'Us' uses nothing more sophisticated that a reader's poll to vote on their sexiest candidates. The winners: Jason Momoa, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Brad Pitt, Chris Hemsworth, Michael B Jordan, and Chip Gaines.

I'm sure they'd all say it's not about winning the title, they're honored just to be nominated.

'Us' mag also brings us the story of "The Shaman & The Princess," which sounds like it should be a Grimm fairytale, but is actualy a profile of Norway's Princess Martha Louise and her spiritual guide-boyfriend Shaman Durek.

The Shaman (born plain old Derek Verrett in Sacramento, CA) claims to be a "bridge between the spiritual and the physical planes," though I suspect the planes he likes best may be private jets as he splits his time between London and Los Angeles. He has a new book out: 'Spirit Hacking' about "the keys to reclaim your personal power," though there's no word on whether spirit hacking includes tips on infecting someone's chakras with a spiritual virus or protecting your spiritual aura from malware.

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Olivia Wilde wore it best, that 'Crown Vic' star Thomas Jane's "cat's name is Cat," that 'Mean Girls' star Lacey Chabert carries her Disneyland annual pass, her late grandmother's watch, and bronzer in her Kate Spade purse, and that the stars are just like us: they ride bicycles, try on clothes, shop at the market and trim their Christmas trees – though that seems premature when we're still two weeks away from Thanksgiving.

As always, one of the week's strangest stories also happens to be true: The 'Globe' reports that the one-ton boulder known as Wizard Rock, stolen from Prescott National Forest in Arizona in late October, was inexplicably returned by its thieves after a few days on the lam.

Stealing such a hefty rock would have required heavy equipment, as would the bouder's return – an exercise in futility which also serves as a fitting metaphor for this week's tabloids.

Onwards and downwards . . .