PEOPLE

Cruise files for divorce; wants things amicable

Barely two days after announcements of their separation, Tom Cruise fired the first legal shot Wednesday in Los Angeles. Yep, he crooned the ol’ standby, “irreconcilable differences,” in the Superior Court petition filing for divorce from soon-to-be-former wife Nicole Kidman. “It is Tom Cruise’s desire that the dissolution of the marriage be handled amicably,” attorney Dennis Wasser said. “His major concern is the welfare of the parties’ children.” Cruise and Kidman have said they will share custody of their adopted children Conor, 6, and Isabella, 8. The petition said the couple separated in December.

Cruise follows in the footsteps of Dennis Quaid, who filed the divorce petition from Meg Ryan. Does this mean Russell Crowe is somewhere lurking in the picture? Salon.com probes the memory banks of U.K. Sun showbiz editor Dominic Mohan, who noted the absence of Kidman from the “Mission: Impossible 2” premiere last year. Cruise’s moviegoing companion ended up being Crowe himself.

SOMETHING TO CROWE ABOUT: Meanwhile, fans of 30 Odd Foot of Grunts with frontman Russell Crowe are doing some critical analysis of the band’s lyrics. Inspired by MSNBC’s Jeannette Walls’ suggestion, they’re reading between the lines of “Wendy”: “Wendy’s got a little boy/Someone to keep in mind for the future/She’s got no husband who cares. Now don’t you put her down/She tried to do it right/Sometimes things don’t come out/Quite, quite, quite the way we plan them.” Meg Ryan, who had an affair with Crowe, has a son, Jack.

Meanwhile, Jodie Foster, whom tabloids linked to Crowe, reportedly inspired Grunt song “Other Ways of Speaking.” Back in September, the New York Daily News quoted Crowe as saying that “Other Ways” is about “meeting somebody that you think that you could easily fall in love with but they, ah, they in fact play for a different team.” At the time, Foster’s representative told the tabloid, “I don’t know anything about the song. Playing for a different team’ could mean a lot of things.”

NO DENYING DNA: Confession is said to be good for the soul, and Boris Becker can’t stop spit-polishing his. After blaming his marriage’s break-up on ex-wife Barbara’s monthly fantasy-sharing parties, kind of like Tupperware gatherings but with erotica instead of airtight plastic, the retired tennis star now admits he did father a Russian model’s child.

“I acknowledge the fatherhood. I take responsibility and will provide for little Anna,” the three-time Wimbledon champion said Wednesday in a statement issued by his spokesman in Munich. “Whatever I can contribute so that Anna will have a future as a happy girl, I will do.” This admission might not be as manful as it sounds; the statement follows the results of a paternity test confirming the claim by the mother, 33-year-old Angela Ermakova, that he supplied the genetic material. Legal proceedings in the paternity case began Monday.

FRISCO VICE: What’s harder to believe, that Don Johnson has been falsely accused of porcine behavior, or that more than two dozen women recognized him in a restaurant and approached him in one night? The he-said, she-said brouhaha started at a San Francisco sushi bar Jan. 20. A woman, whom authorities have not identified, told police that Johnson grabbed her as she was going to the restroom at Mas Sake. He asked her if she knew who he was, then made a complimentary remark about her chest, to which she responded, “You’re a disgusting pig.” Then she hurried back to her table and scraped her knee and elbow along the way in her eagerness to retreat.

Ronald Litz, Johnson’s attorney, denied his client acted inappropriately and said the propositions likely came from the woman. “What I know about the evening is that probably 25 women came up to Don, and that happens wherever he goes,” Litz said. “He can’t accommodate everybody.” In 1997, Johnson faced charges of sexual harassment from two female employees who sued the actor for allegedly sexually harassing them while they worked on “Nash Bridges.” The women filed suit just three weeks after Johnson sued them for defamation, accusing them of trying to extort $1.5 million in exchange for an agreement not to sue for sexual harassment. The suits were dropped after a confidential out-of-court settlement was reached.

POLITICAL TRAINING: Arnold Schwarzenegger has been huffing and puffing to the Los Angeles Times about his gubernatorial opportunities if the lights go out in California, so right on cue, the sex scandals are coming out. In an upcoming article, “Arnold the Barbarian,” Premiere magazine alleges all sorts of improprieties, such as one journalist claiming to have seen the actor “making out” with his “Total Recall” co-star, Rachel Ticotin. A former employee says he had a hands-on experience with Linda Hamilton while her then-boyfriend, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” director James Cameron, looked the other way. Then, there are the two witnesses who say they watched horrified as the actor stopped a female “T2” crew member, “put his hands inside her blouse” and sent her crying to a nearby trailer.

Carnality may not be his worst sin. The magazine also says that the actor would reportedly command to his dresser, “Sit, you ugly dog,” at which the man would have to drop to his knees.

Today’s People Column was compiled by Vera H-C Chan from staff and wire reports. Comments? Write to us c/o the Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099. Or call 925-943-8262, fax 925-943-8362, or e-mail spin@cctimes.com.

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