Beauty and the beast

Julia Roberts' beau reveals his inner grizzly amid ugly Bruce Willis rumors; Mark Wahlberg's lady addresses some anatomy myths; Schwarzenegger accidentally terminates his pooch. Plus: Lewinsky's in, Downey's out.

By Amy Reiter

Published December 11, 2000 5:28PM (EST)

I don't know if Benjamin Bratt has heard the rumors about his girlfriend Julia Roberts' growing friendship with Bruce Willis (her publicist insists they're just "good friends"), but I sure ain't asking him about it. In fact, gossip mongers should take note: Bratt says inquiries of any kind about his relationship with Roberts tend to bring out the animal in him.

"I find those questions offensive," the actor says in the upcoming issue of TV Guide. "Everything I say gets misconstrued. We are actors fully entrenched in this business. I look at my loving, personal relationship as something separate. I want to protect it. I'm like a grizzly bear when it comes to that."

But before he goes into hibernation, he'd like to make one thing perfectly clear. "There's so much more to me than the man who shares his life with Julia Roberts."

Who would that be? Bruce Willis?

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More celebrity animal magnetism

Bratt's not the only male half of a celebrity couple who's getting in touch with his inner animal these days.

Last week, Russell Crowe told "Access Hollywood" he'd begun to feel like a "hunted animal" himself.

"Every building you come out of, there is a parasite there exercising his constitutional right to make money out of being a parasite, trying to take your photo," Crowe carped. "Frankly, folks, I go to work, I do my job. I really concentrate, and if you go to the cinema, pay your money and have a good time, that's the end of it as far as I'm concerned."

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Speaking of the end of it ...

"I never seem to get a break from this kind of stuff. It's been over two years since that movie was released and the hangover, so to speak, won't go away. Mark is a 'regular' guy, what can I say? That was a movie, nothing more."

-- Jordana Brewster on the lingering, post-"Boogie Nights" interest in her boyfriend Mark Wahlberg's dog bone.

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Mourning Arnie's better arf

Arnold Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, has been howling about his dead dog.

"One day, I went into my car and the dog had fallen asleep under the wheel. I started the engine, drove back and felt a bump, looked behind and saw my dog dead," Schwarzenegger recently said of the day he terminated the pup. "The beautiful Labrador was given to me by a friend on my 40th birthday.

"Now I wish there was a place I could go to and get my pets cloned," he says, inspired by his film "The 6th Day." "I'd be down there all the time."

Stay tuned for his next flick, "102 Labradors"?

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Life's ruff!

"I've never stopped trying to find work, but there's a constant battle between doing stuff I have to do, to pay for the things I need to pay for -- my house, my dogs. You know dog food is very expensive -- and doing things I like to do, which maybe don't pay as much. For me, that's why cable movies exist."

-- Kyle MacLachlan (remember him from "Twin Peaks"?), explaining that he's taking crappy projects to keep his cur in kibble.

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Juicy bits

Proof that it's a dog-eat-dog world out there: Hank Azaria is reportedly in talks to replace Robert Downey Jr. opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones in the upcoming flick "America's Sweethearts," now that there's a possibility that Downey could head back to the clink. "We don't want to hurt [Downey] in any way," the film's director, Joe Roth, recently told People magazine, "but we have to figure out what we'll do for our movie."

Proof that we've all gone to the dogs: Posters of Claudia Schiffer in her undies are disappearing from display cases in Frankfurt, Germany, faster than the supermodel's string of fiancis. Reuters reports that half the display cases in the city featuring the racy lingerie ads for Swedish retailer Hennes & Mauritz have been broken into. It's not the first time H&M has run into trouble with its edgy ad campaigns. Posters featuring Anna Nicole Smith that ran in Norway had to be moved away from the highway because they were causing too many traffic jams.

Proof that every dog has its day: The New York Post is hailing Monica Lewinsky as "the new 'It Girl' in town." Not only are her upholstered handbags flying off the shelves at Henri Bendel, but she herself has been deluged with party invitations and the attentions of celebrities including "Sex and the City" star Kim Cattrall and "The Sopranos'" Edie Falco. She has even enjoyed a New York conversation with Lou Reed. But her publicist says she's just a normal girl on the town: "She has a lot of friends in New York. She goes to bingo night at Tortilla Flats in the West Village, and Pastis -- the sister restaurant to Balthazar -- is her neighborhood hangout. It's like her 'Cheers.'" Except it's not the only place everybody knows her name.

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Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

Amy Reiter

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