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Jude Law: A Man with a Past?

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Never mind Prince Harry, leading his team to an 8-4 victory on the polo field. Or actress Cate Blanchett, hoisting her 3-year-old son, Dashiell, on her hip. At the Cartier International Polo event on July 24 in Windsor outside London, stargazers only had eyes for 23-year-old actress Sienna Miller. Just seven days earlier, Miller had been publicly humiliated when her fiancé, actor Jude Law, issued an open apology for cheating on her with his children’s nanny. But at the polo event, Miller—looking exceptionally thin in a black minidress and without her $35,000 engagement ring from Law—put her best high-heeled foot forward. Smiling for photographers and chatting with other partygoers, including British actor Damian Lewis, she saved an especially warm greeting for Orlando Bloom, with whom she shared a hug and a much-noticed kiss. “I’m okay,” she told fellow guests between cigarettes and frequent checks of her cell phone. “It was a long, long week.”

It was looking that way for Law too. On the London set of his upcoming drama Breaking and Entering, he has appeared notably glum. “He’s going through a tough time,” says a source close to the actor and father of Rafferty, 8; Iris, 4; and Rudy, 2, with ex-wife Sadie Frost, 40. “It’s very hard when you have to live out your life and your mistakes in public.”

It’s only gotten harder since last Sunday, when former nanny Daisy Wright spilled new secrets about her alleged liaisons with Law last spring (see box page 58). Along with those headlines, Law, 32, was facing renewed scrutiny of his romantic history as well, much of which has played out in British tabloid scandals over the years. One such tale involves Erica Coburn, a mortgage broker who was working as an exotic dancer at a Chicago nightclub in 2001, where she says she met Law while he was in town filming The Road to Perdition. “I was totally smitten by him. He’s very, very charming,” Coburn told PEOPLE. She says the pair met up “more than twice a week” and that on their first rendezvous, “he washed my feet for me. It was very romantic.” She says the couple carried on an affair for a few months until he abruptly broke it off. In 2003 Coburn—who acknowledges she cannot provide hard proof of an affair—sold her story to Britain’s Mail on Sunday. Says Law’s rep Simon Halls: “We did not even dignify that with a response.”

More recently, the Oscar-nominated actor was named last February by singer Pearl Lowe, 34, in an article in Britain’s News of the World tabloid. She said she and her longtime musician boyfriend, Danny Goffey, had been involved in partner-swapping with Law and Frost during a 2001 vacation. Law has vehemently denied accounts of the swapping, and Halls declared “No comment” when asked about the account this week by PEOPLE.

The star did, however, issue a public statement in 2003 calling reports that he had dallied with his Cold Mountain costar Nicole Kidman “malicious, mean-spirited and untrue…there is absolutely no third party involved in our marriage.” (Kidman also denied an affair and successfully sued two British tabloids for suggesting it.) But later that year, after six years of marriage, Frost petitioned for divorce, stating in court documents that Law’s behavior “increased the effect of postnatal depression leading me to have to take treatment three times.”

Law was still married to Frost when he and Miller began dating (they met shortly before shooting Alfie together in 2003) and his divorce was not yet final when they became engaged last December. Since Law’s immediate public response to the nanny’s initial interview in Britain’s Sunday Mirror on July 17, in which he said he was “deeply ashamed and upset that I’ve hurt Sienna,” Miller and Law have kept mum on the status of their relationship. And yet there are clues that it is, if not officially kaput, then dangerously close.

Although the embattled couple have met at least once since the news broke, Miller has taken up residence in the Notting Hill flat she lived in before moving in with Law. And despite her even keel at the polo event, says a source, “she looked quite fragile—not just physically.” She set tongues wagging after she was seen cozying up with Bloom, 28, at the Cartier tent. “It looked to me that Orlando, seeing she has been through a [lot], was throwing his arms around her to say, ‘Don’t worry” says the source. Bloom’s rep Robin Baum denies a relationship: “They are old friends. That’s it.” Another observer, who spotted Miller later at a tent set up by London nightclub Chinawhite, notes of the actress, “She was not her usual bright spark. Even the best of actresses can’t hide something like that.” Still, the next night Miller was spotted dining at London restaurant J. Sheekey with Sean Penn and his wife, Robin Wright Penn—the latter of whom is, oddly, Law’s costar in Breaking and Entering. Says a source close to the actress: “She is going to be fine.”

Don’t count out Law, either. If his public persona as a devoted family man had taken hits in the past, the current scandal has turned off plenty of fans. But like Hugh Grant before him, all may be forgiven in short order. “There’s no better position in Hollywood right now than being an actor with some renown,” says a top showbiz marketing executive. After all, he adds, “women are not going to see someone’s movies because he’s a family man; they’re going to see them because he’s a sexy man.” Says another industry insider: “This may be the best thing that has happened to him.”

Michelle Tauber and Chris Strauss. Simon Perry, Caris Davis, Laura Hahn, Sara Hammel, Selina Julien and Pete Norman in London and Julie Jordan and Brenda Rodriguez in Los Angeles