The smoke clears

The truth about Robert Downey Jr.'s arrest emerges. Plus: Hugh Grant gets a slice; Madonna keeps us guessing; and 'N Sync gets sued.

Topics: Celebrity, Nick Hornby,

Now that the initial shock and sadness of Robert Downey Jr.’s Thanksgiving weekend arrest has begun to wear off and “Ally McBeal” has welcomed him back, it’s time to address a few questions about the unfortunate drug bust.

1) Why’d he do it? While the rest of us blame the addiction — or, if you’re hard-hearted, the addict himself — Downey’s uncle, Jim Downey, blames Hollywood. “If you’re as sensitive and fragile as Robert is, [the Hollywood pressure cooker is] a setup for disaster,” Uncle Jim told USA Today, adding that one really oughtn’t to blame Downey’s dad, indie director Robert Downey Sr., who handed little Robert his first joint when he was 6 years old. “It was the times,” Jim Downey insists. “No one, including Bobby, blames him.”

2) Who does Bobby blame? The coppers, apparently. According to the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs, Calif., Downey told the arresting officers who discovered 4.5 grams of cocaine and methamphetamine stuffed into a Kleenex box in his hotel room, “Don’t do this to me. You’re going to ruin my life.”

3) Who dropped the dime on him? Some papers have speculated it was Downey’s dealer, who dialed up 911 to rat him out. Others suggest it was a fellow “Ally McBeal” cast member, concerned about his health. (One NP reader even wrote in to tell me he suspected it was Downey himself, although the fact that the caller got a key fact wrong — there was no gun in the room, as the caller contended, when police arrived — blows a big hole in that intriguing theory.)

A Palm Springs woman named Laura Burnett, who says she spent Thursday and Friday with Downey in his hotel room, opines that the caller “was just somebody who knew [Downey] was there and wanted to make a big ordeal about it.”

But police say locating the dime-dropper is a non-issue. (As is locating Burnett, who has eluded them despite the fact that she went on “Access Hollywood” to tell her story. They did, however, find what is believed to be her Wonder Woman costume hanging in Downey’s closet.) “If we don’t locate the woman or the 911 caller, it doesn’t really go to the heart of the matter,” Palm Springs Police Sgt. Patrick Williams told the Desert Sun. “We don’t need them to file a case.”

4) A Wonder Woman costume?

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The dynasty continues …

“When Debbie Reynolds first showed up, she said, ‘I’m old and I’m fat and I don’t care.’ Then she got a look at Joan Collins and, believe me, she cared.”

– Costume designer Nolan Miller on rivalry on the set of the upcoming flick “These Old Broads,” which stars Elizabeth Taylor and Shirley MacLaine in addition to Reynolds and Collins, in W magazine.

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Juicy bits

Bond, Catherine Zeta Bond? According to the U.K. Mirror, the new Mrs. Michael Douglas may play the first female 00 agent alongside Pierce Brosnan in the upcoming Bond flick, “Beyond the Ice.” She apparently found time, somewhere between birthing baby Dylan and planning her opulent wedding, to screen test for the role. Good to know, in case diamonds are not forever, she’s got the old acting career to fall back on.

Hope Hugh Grant likes pie. Chris and Paul Weitz, the geniuses behind that instant classic “American Pie,” are set to direct the film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s most recent novel, “About a Boy” — and according to Variety, Grant is a leading candidate for the lead role.

Whom to believe? The U.K. Sun’s Dominic Mohan, through whom Madonna often airs her news, claims Madonna and Guy Ritchie are planning to tie the knot Dec. 22 at Dornoch Cathedral in northeast Scotland — and says the $1.4 million reception will be held at nearby Skibo Castle. But the Scottish Daily Record claims to have it from a source close to Madonna that Skibo is definitely out — and that Madonna’s people have booked several other venues to “keep everyone guessing until the last minute.” The smart money’s on Mohan, who adds that Madonna will wear a Stella McCartney gown and that Guy “has been fitted for a kilt.” Some people wear tuxes …

Here they come, walking down the street. Heaven help us, three members of the original Monkees — Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork — have announced plans to reunite and tour. The band’s spokesman says that, if the “Monkee Mania Returns 2001 tour,” which will trek through 15 cities, is successful, it could culminate in a run on Broadway. Hmm … what do you suppose happened to Mike Nesmith — and his hat?

‘N Sync’s ‘n trouble. Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures, the folks who brought you such Saturday morning classics as “Land of the Lost” and “H.R. Pufnstuf,” are suing the members of ‘N Sync for copyright infringement. According to Krofft, the boy band owes them a cut of souvenirs depicting the 25-foot puppets of the band members the company created for the group’s “No Strings Attached” tour.

Couldn’t Krofft just have sicced Witchiepoo on them?

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Miss something? Read yesterday’s Nothing Personal.

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