According to the Chicago Sun-Times, several sources close to Don Cornelius admit they now realize his recent comments about being deeply depressed due to constant pain and financial worries stemming from his bitter 2009 divorce were signs he was quickly going downhill. “Thinking back, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but Don was a kind of taciturn guy, so him being so down lately didn’t set off any alarms for me,” said a veteran “Soul Train” executive. Another source claimed that Cornelius had long psychological and emotional issues. A third source mentioned Cornelius felt badly snubbed by a number of music executives at a recent Hollywood party. Said the source: “It really hurt him badly.”

On Saturday night, some of Valerie Simpson’s dearest friends, including Cicely Tyson, Roberta Flack, George Faison, Kathleen Battle and Lynn Whitfield, joined the Motown legend at her Upper West Side supper club, Sugar Bar, for a screening of “An Evening With Valerie Simpson.” The PBS special, a tribute to her late husband, Nickolas Ashford, airs on Feb. 12. The fun evening also included a toast to Ashford and a Soul Train line in honor of Don Cornelius.

My friends on “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” which opens Feb. 10, say there’s more to the cast than meets the eye. Fans may not know this, but Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is apparently an amazing ukulele player, and a soulful singer at that. Also, co-star Luis Guzman, America’s favorite bad guy, actually has a heart of gold. The former New York social worker and doting dad not only has four adopted children, but continues to give back to kids in his New York neighborhood. And, last but not least, Vanessa Hudgens needs to learn to keep her clothes on. Seems the little beauty had a wardrobe malfunction on the beaches of Hawaii when the strings on her bikini snapped. Lucky for her, no one caught it on camera this time.

Tongues are wagging that on-again, off-again lovebirds Ray J and Whitney Houston, wearing a fierce chinchilla vest, shopped together at Sunset Plaza in Tinseltown after having dinner. Houston chatted with the paparazzi about possibly joining “The X Factor” cast and told them she liked the idea. The coosome twosome then strolled to his Rolls-Royce. Ever the gentleman, Ray J made sure that Houston was buckled up securely in the car.

On Feb. 7, Alicia Boler-Davis was appointed U.S. vice president of customer experience, making her responsible for leading General Motors’ efforts to make the customer experience a key driver for repeat purchases of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac products and services. Boler-Davis, whose appointment is effective immediately, will report to GM North America President Mark Reuss.

Boler-Davis started her GM career in 1994 and has served in various engineering leadership positions, including vehicle line director/vehicle chief engineer, small car and plant manager for both Lansing Consolidated Operation and Arlington Assembly.