CRUZ CONTROL: Spanish actress and Tom Cruise squeeze Penelope Cruz is suing the Australian magazine New Idea for defamation over an article it published about her relationship with the “Mission: Impossible” star, her lawyers told the Associated Press. The case will appear before the New South Wales Supreme Court on May 30, the attorneys said. “The proceedings state that the article contains a number of false and defamatory statements concerning Ms. Cruz,” her legal firm said in a statement that added, “Ms. Cruz seeks substantial damages.”
CROWES’ NEST: Newlyweds Russell Crowe and Danielle Spencer are shelling out nearly $8.5 million for a waterfront penthouse in Sydney, the city’s Morning Herald reported. That hefty sum — a record for any Sydney residence — is for an entire floor of a modern apartment complex on the tip of the historic Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf. Besides the new pad, the Oscar winner also maintains an 800-acre cattle farm in northwest Australia, where on Monday (his 39th birthday) a pony-tailed Crowe married Spencer, 32, in a ceremony outfitted by Italian fashion icon Giorgio Armani.
NEWSMAN’S DEATH: Hard-driving NBC News correspondent David Bloom, who would have turned 40 next month, died Sunday from an apparent blood clot while covering the war in Iraq for his network. Tributes to the former White House correspondent and then co-anchor of the weekend “Today” show — who surrendered the latter job so he could cover the war from the frontlines — ran for a good part of this week on NBC news programs. “He called everyone ‘buddy,’ he called everyone ‘friend,'” remembered Matt Lauer on “Today.” “His death has really knocked the wind out of all of us at NBC.”
‘IDOL’ DELAY: “From Justin to Kelly,” the “American Idol” movie with Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini, has been pushed back from late April to June 13. Speaking to the New York Post, a 20th Century Fox spokeswoman explained: “We decided to move the movie because we saw the film and it’s terrific — and we wanted to release it when all the audience is available, when kids are out of school.” A June release date for the movie would also come after a new TV winner is chosen in May and all the hubbub surrounding that announcement would conceivably die down.
BRITNEY BEAU: There’s reportedly a new man in Britney Spears’s life. Britain’s Daily Telegraph and the Scottish Daily Record & Sunday Mail both say the pop princess is now showering her affections on Phil Maloof, 36, a multi-millionaire businessman whose family holdings include the Sacramento Kings basketball team and Las Vegas’s Palms hotel and casino, according to his family’s Web site. He is also a former state senator in New Mexico. There has been no comment from the Spears or Maloof camps on the stories.