- Ciao, Romance
- The It Couple becomes a split couple: Matt Damon and Winona Ryder
After all the rumors and all the denials, Matt Damon and Winona Ryder—arguably Hollywood’s reigning It Couple—are no longer going steady. The break, confirmed Tuesday by sources close to the twosome, came just after they returned from a getaway in the Caribbean, after which Damon went to Rome to attend a film awards ceremony. New York City’s Daily News reported that Damon, 29, is going for a Cruz—his All the Pretty Horses costar Penélope Cruz. And Winona? A Ryder insider notes that the actress was close to Damon until only a few days ago, and says she enjoyed their holiday together.
As for Damon and Cruz, the two shared quality time April 1 at a small bowling party—yes, it’s possible to bond and bowl—also attended by Pretty Horses costar Henry Thomas, director Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie at Los Angeles’s Hollywood Lanes. Damon and Cruz frequently took cigarette breaks together. “They smoked right in front of the entrance,” says one observer. “They were engaged in an intense conversation.” Still, there were no VSAs—visible signs of affection—as the evening wore on.
The romance of Damon and Ryder began at a 1997 New Year’s Eve party with Gwyneth Paltrow, who once crashed at Ryder’s Manhattan apartment for a few weeks, and Paltrow’s then-boyfriend Ben Affleck (who cowrote Good Will Hunting with Damon) in attendance. Damon and Ryder maintained a low-profile relationship—by Hollywood standards, anyway. The pair were seldom seen on the town, and Damon would politely decline to discuss something so personal. “There’s no advantage to putting it into public consciousness,” he told GQ in 1999. “It’s not something I want to share”—an approach probably learned after he shared news of his breakup with former flame Minnie Driver on Oprah, earning him Driver’s public scorn.
Duchovny Loves X Wife
David Duchovny and his wife, Téa Leoni, had never worked together until they taped the April 30 episode of The X-Files. Given that Duchovny also directed the show, he must have been a little nervous, no? No is right, he says: “She’s so good, I didn’t pay any attention. I didn’t say one word to her the whole time.”
It might not have made an impression anyway. “Téa loves to change her hair whenever she does a part,” says Duchovny. “She told me she wanted to wear a red wig [for the episode], and I didn’t want her to.” So the director prevailed, right? No again: “She just went ahead and did it.” And he let her get away with it? “It looked great, so as usual, she was right.” And will they work together again? “I wouldn’t rule it out. But I think you have to be careful when [married couples] are deciding to work together, whether or not you want to mix those two things.”
Richards: Hold the Fries, Please
Among the annoying aspects of a New York City cab ride: recorded seat-belt safety announcements from celebrities, and, should you happen to be Rolling Stones guitar wizard Keith Richards, advertisements for the Hard Rock Cafe reading, “Proud to feature fried items. (Chicken, onions, Keith Richards.)” Sure, it’s only rock and roll, but Richards didn’t like it. So he took action—politely, through his lawyer. And now the Hard Rock is pulling the ads. Says the cafe’s Chris Tomasso: “We meant it in fun, and we were hoping that Keith would take it in good spirit.”
Awwk! Who’s a Pretty Parrot?
Hawaii has volcanoes. Miami’s got nightclubs. And the Caribbean resort of Parrot Cay has…nothing much. Thirteen hundred acres of it.
Which has made the resort—about an hour’s flight from Miami, on its own private island in the Turks and Caicos—the latest celebrity hot spot. Since it opened in ’98, Parrot Cay has attracted Aidan Quinn, Donatella Versace, model Amber Valletta, Raquel Welch and Bruce Willis (who locals say is building a home there). Paul McCartney spent a night there with girlfriend Heather Mills in January.
So what makes celebs shell out up to $2,540 a night for a two-bedroom beach house? (Simpler accommodations start at $620.) The resort, which holds up to 100 guests, has “a Robinson Crusoe kind of idea,” says a spokeswoman. “There are no restaurants, no shops, no houses, no stores.” And, perhaps more to the point, no paparazzi.
Winslet Nudges Thatcher
The Titanic siren replacing the Iron Lady? That’s how it is at London’s National Portrait Gallery, where a black-and-white photograph of Kate Winslet will take over the spot hitherto occupied by a likeness of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Maggie 74, is being kicked upstairs with the older folks—Paul McCartney, 57, Joan Collins, 66—to make room on the ground floor for Winslet, 24, Ralph Fiennes, 37, and other early-21st-century names. It’s an honor, gallery director Charles Saumarez Smith told The Daily Telegraph. “Once you’re upstairs, there is a sense that you have secured your niche in history.”
Martina, Front and Centre
Millennium Navratilova? Retired tennis pro Martina Navratilova, who last won a Wimbledon title in 1995, will return there this summer, playing doubles with Mariaan de Swardt. “I wanted to see what it would be like to play there in the new millennium,” says the 43-year-old, whose 19 Wimbledon wins (in both singles and doubles) are just one shy of Billie Jean King’s record. Navratilova has been on a hot streak of late. Last week her Aspen amateur hockey team won the Colorado state championship.
Engagement Men: Come to Yemen
The Republic of Yemen, a nation of 16 million perched at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, has exotic architecture, a unique and colorful culture and a history that stretches back more than 3,000 years. Of course, not much of that is emphasized in Rules of Engagement, the military-courtroom drama—filmed in Morocco and the United States and starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L.-Jackson—that topped American box office charts for two weeks and grossed more than $43 million for Paramount Studios. In the movie, a bloodthirsty mob lays siege to the U.S. embassy in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, forcing Jackson, as a Marine colonel, to order his men to fire. “It is without question the most anti-Arab film ever made,” claims Ahmed Atef, a spokesman for Yemen’s embassy in Washington, D.C. “Why Yemen? We’re a peaceful nation.” Yemen ambassador Abdul Wahab Alhajjri, who has seen the film twice, says, “Nothing close to what happened in the movie has ever happened in Yemen, yet I have friends who know better call me up and ask me if this had actually happened.”
So what’s a beleaguered Arab nation to do? The government’s first response was to call for a boycott of the film. When that failed to grab much attention in the American media, Alhajjri came up with a kinder, gentler solution: He is inviting the movie’s stars, as well as the director and producer, to visit his homeland and see for themselves.
Although Jones, Jackson and company have not received their official invitations yet, Paramount did release a statement previously that said, “The film is not an indictment of any government, culture or people.”
ON THE BLOCK
- MAGNOLIAS’S MANSE
- The colonial home where Julia Roberts married The Practice’s Dylan McDermott is on the market for $600,000. No, you didn’t miss that wedding announcement. Roberts still dates actor Benjamin Bratt. But the Runaway Bride did join McDermott in a celluloid ceremony filmed here for 1989’s Steel Magnolias. Cast members Dolly Parton, Sally Field and Shirley MacLaine also set foot in the five-bedroom home, which has two fireplaces, a verandah and a three-car garage. Built around 1840 in Natchitoches, La.—the hometown of Magnolias author Robert Harling, some 70 miles south of Shreveport—the house already had a special place in local history: It was once the general store.