A source close to the couple claims that late-night comedienne Chelsea Handler and her conveniently well-connected boyfriend Ted Harbert have split up. Harbert is president and CEO of Comcast Entertainment, which owns E!, the network that airs Chelsea Lately.
Handler and Harbert became a couple back in 2006, after her reality-sketch series The Chelsea Handler Show (also with E!) wrapped, but before plans for her more successful talk show (Chelsea Lately) were set in motion. The close timing of the union and the new show inevitably led to accusations that Handler slept her way to the top (is an E! show the top?), though Handler has openly discussed the relationship and doesn't seem worried about those implications.
The thing we're most curious about now is if Handler will change her stance on the whole NBC late night wars. Last week she went against the comedy grain by showing solidarity with her old pal Jay and stopping by his show during wartime to help make fun of David Letterman. We can't help but wonder if the playing nice had anything to do with her literally being in bed with NBC, which Comcast purchased this fall.
Our source tells us that Handler was the one to do the breaking-up, so look for an inevitable narrative about Handler feeling she'd sufficiently taken advantage of Harbert and then kicking him to the curb to emerge. Last summer the couple, who lived together, denied breakup rumors, with Handler reaffirming their "live-in lover" status on her show.