SYDNEY – Ellen DeGeneres was applauded by a rapturous Aussie audience like a cherished part of the family as she introduced her Australian-born wife, Portia de Rossi, on a Sydney Harbour-side stage Saturday to begin prerecording Down Under segments for her popular U.S. TV show.

The Emmy Award-winning talk-show host arrived in Sydney with her mom, Betty DeGeneres, and de Rossi on Friday after a 14-hour flight from Los Angeles for a six-day filming trip in Australia.

“I’m moving here, it’s so beautiful,” DeGeneres told 3,000 admirers, who were clearly delighted to be in the sun-bathed Royal Botanic Gardens near the Sydney Opera House for the two-hour recording, despite the 86-degree early afternoon heat.

Guests included Oscar-winning actor and Sydney local Russell Crowe.

He presented the 55-year-old host with two kangaroo-hide cattle whips that he said DeGeneres might need to catch “some brumbies” — an Australian term for wild horses — when she visits Australia’s southeast. The pair took turns at whip cracking.

Asked by one emotional fan whether she and her wife would adopt her, DeGeneres replied, tongue-in-cheek: “We were just saying we should adopt someone. It’s so easy for us.”

The show was packed with games involving audience members, including an Australia-themed trivia event in which fans had to take a harbor plunge for a wrong answer.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is in its 10th season.

DeGeneres was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor last year.

Lohan won’t face charges in New York 

NEW YORK – New York City prosecutors will not charge Lindsay Lohan in an alleged fight at a Manhattan nightclub in November, an attorney for the actress said Friday.

Attorney Marc Heller said the Lohan faces no formal charges after prosecutors were unable to gather sufficient evidence to prove the case.

“She’s totally clear and exonerated,” Heller said. “She has nothing but smooth sailing ahead.”

Lohan was arrested Nov. 29 on a charge of misdemeanor assault after an encounter with a woman at the club Avenue in the Meatpacking District.

The district attorney’s decision was welcome news for the “Liz and Dick” star, who accepted a plea deal Monday in a misdemeanor car-crash case in California.

The troubled 26-year-old actress will spend five days in a locked-down rehabilitation facility.

A tardy Rihanna thanks student contest winners

BARRINGTON, Ill. – Pop star Rihanna dropped in on high school students in a northwestern Chicago suburb.

Barrington High School earned Friday’s visit as a reward for winning the singer’s “Shine Bright Like a Diamond” video contest.

The five-minute, student-produced video highlighted the school’s volunteer and community service programs.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the singer told students she admired their passion and volunteerism.

Rihanna showed up more than five hours late, but some in the crowd said she was worth the wait.

She also posed for photos before heading off to her Friday night concert at Chicago’s United Center.

Barrington freshman Nisha Ali said, “The fact that she came here and thanked us was a huge deal.”