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By Courtney Hazlett

Britney Spears’ newest constant companion, Adnan Ghalib, might be “happily dating” Spears as Ghalib’s photo agency claims, but a source close to Ghalib’s wife said that the claims that the paparazzo has been separated from his wife for more than a year are untrue.

“He was with her up until a week before he and Britney started this thing,” said the source. “And, she thinks that they’ll work things out in the end.”

Despite what Ghalib and his agency would have you think, sources say that Ghalib and his wife actually communicate frequently, which only makes the situation even stranger. “It makes you think that she [Ghalib’s wife] must think they’ll get something out of it in the end.”

That “something” of course, would be money. By all accounts, Ghalib is getting a significant take from the sale of the agency’s pics (reference Ghalib’s visit to a Mercedes-Benz dealership this past weekend), but it is unclear what other financial benefits he might reap.

“This thing with Adnan is so frustrating, it’s clear he’s taking advantage of Britney,” said a friend of Spears. “And with Britney, she’ll keep this up because she hates being alone and she knows it’s pissing people off. She just doesn’t get any of it.”

No nepotism in Hollywood? Quincy Jones’ daughter and sometime “Office” star Rashida Jones speaks out about perceived nepotism in Hollywood in the January/February issue of Details. Jones said, “People don’t believe this, but Hollywood really is a meritocracy. There are too many jobs on the line for anyone to do any favors, and nobody has ever said, ‘Let’s give that girl a part because her father is famous.’”

Hmm. That’s still a tough sell. This issue of Details, on stands Jan. 15, benefits from recent news that Jones and “Office” co-star John Krasinski have rekindled their romance.

Weekend box office This weekend “The Bucket List” earned top box-office honors — and brought me back to an even record for ’08 — by taking in an estimated $19.5 million. Surprisingly close on the film’s heels was the Tracey Morgan and Ice Cube comedy “First Sunday,” which earned $19 million.

And because the success of “Juno” is so fascinating, it’s worth noting that the film made another $14 million this weekend. “Juno” has been referred to as this year’s “Little Miss Sunshine,” but a quick look at the numbers proves that “Sunshine” should be referred to as “last year’s ‘Juno’” if the comparison must be made. As of this weekend, the teen pregnancy flick has earned a little more than $71 million, whereas “Sunshine” topped out at $59.8 million domestically.