Kelly Carter
September 25, 2000 12:00 PM

Despite rumors to the contrary, count Benjamin Bratt and Julia Roberts as a happy celebrity couple. The pair, who have been dating for nearly three years, were spotted hugging and kissing as they waited for a table at Danal, a restaurant in New York City. Bratt is now sporting a full beard and ponytail to play the title role in Piñero, a film about the life of the late Puerto Rican playwright and poet Miguel Piñero.

Halle Berry sparkled even more than usual at an elegant reception given by and Somen’s Wear Daily at the L’Hermitage hotel in Beverly Hills. Berry and three of her peers, Sex and the City‘s Kristin Davis, Law & Order‘s Angie Harmon and Once and Again‘s Sela Ward, were given four-carat Roberto Coin diamond line bracelets that cost $5,000 each. None of the women knew about the gift until they arrived. “When is the next party?” asked a very appreciative Harmon, who was spotted two days later wearing her bracelet at an HBO bash and said she hadn’t taken it off since receiving it.

Have you ever thrown a party and worried that no one would show up? Well, the opposite happened when Sarah Michelle Gellar passed on the Sept. 9 party she cohosted with Glamour editor-in-chief Bonnie Fuller at La Bohéme in West Hollywood. The soiree went on without the vampire slayer, as Kim Cat-trail, David Schwimmer, Bill Maher and others enjoyed themselves. “She had the stomach flu,” explained her publicist Marisa McGrath. “Luckily she didn’t have anything for the Emmys. She was back at work on Monday, so she was hanging in there.”

It’s nice to hear music while celebrating over a candlelit dinner. But John Travolta looked a little startled when, while spending his ninth wedding anniversary nestled in a corner with wife Kelly Preston at Hollywood’s Café des Artistes, the disc jockey added “Stayin’ Alive” to the evening’s mix.

Chris Noth fans: You may not have seen the last of Sex and the City’s cad, Mr. Big. I hear he will return sometime during the final five episodes of the HBO hit. Vince Vaughn and Carrie Fisher appear in this week’s show, which Fisher had such a good time filming that she ended up in bed with Sarah Jessica Parker and Vaughn as they joked around between takes. Noth also stars on Broadway in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, opening Sept. 17.

Fast takes: The night before the MTV Video Music Awards (where presenters and performers received two-way Motorola radios, not pagers, as I said two weeks ago), Eminem and Dr. Dre made an 8:30 p.m. reservation for 20 at Manhattan’s Palm West restaurant. Not only did they show up 90 minutes late, they had 15 extra people in tow. The restaurant didn’t mind-the group ate up a storm….

A sweaty, tennis-racket-wielding Rob Lowe walked through the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel having just played—and beaten—Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels. Lowe hosts the SNL season opener Oct. 7.

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