Janet Jackson dogged by Puffy?

Did P. Diddy want to put his paws to work? Hugh Grant: Rushdie liked extra sex game. Plus: Will Tony Soprano and his shrink do it?

By Amy Reiter
Published April 16, 2001 4:19PM (EDT)

Janet Jackson does not want you to get the wrong idea. She isn't now, nor has she ever been, interested in the artist formerly known as Sean "Puffy" Combs.

True, her new album, "All for You," does contain the following heartfelt Janet-written message in the liner notes: "Puffy, I love you. I miss you. You will always be in my heart."

But the singer insists it's her recently deceased pet pooch, Puffy, to whom she was referring.

And besides, Jackson tells the Toronto Sun, P. Diddy just doesn't do it for her.

"He has invited me to his place in the Hamptons a couple of times, but I've never gone because he's invited me for the 'weekend,'" she says. "I wasn't interested in such an intimate working relationship, let's put it that way."

Hmm ... Maybe she's not such a nasty girl after all.

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Dad looks like a lady

"I love my dad, but I'm definitely critical of him sometimes when his pants are too tight."

-- Liv Tyler on her tight-panted rocker pops, Steven Tyler.

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Kiss up and tell

Is it me, or is Hugh Grant pushing this "I'm a bad boy" routine just a little too far?

Now it turns out the randy rapscallion even roped Salman Rushdie into his act.

Grant tells Heat magazine he relieved the boredom of filming party scenes in "Bridget Jones's Diary" -- "there's so much hanging around," he sighs -- by getting Rushdie, who has a cameo role as himself in the film, to play his "favorite game": "Pick an Extra."

"You have to choose the one extra you would most like to have sex with -- and he loved it," Grant gleefully exclaims. "He went away for about an hour and then he came back and gave me his choice. And he kept coming back throughout the day saying 'can I change?' I've never known anyone to take a game more seriously."

Well, the poor man was in hiding for a very long time ...

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Wish him well

"I had a series of dreams in which the inhabitants were calling me Sananda. It sounded very, very familiar to me."

-- Singer Terence Trent D'Arby on why he's changed his name to Sananda Maitreya, in the U.K. Sun. (Could this have anything to do with his role in the upcoming Muhammad Ali biopic?)

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Juicy bits

Here we go again. Answering what is turning out to be Bryant Gumbel's standard morning-after question for all female "Survivor" bootees, Amber Brkich said she'd be consider doffing her duds for Playboy if the price was right. "I'd think about it," Brkich said. Maybe she and her also-booted buddy Jerri can appear together ... covered (but not too) in perfectly cooked rice.

All you "Sopranos" fans hoping that all that sexual tension simmering between Tony Soprano and Dr. Melfi will someday ignite and engulf them in a passionate affair can just fuhgeddaboudit. Lorraine Bracco, who plays Melfi, says she and series creator David Chase would never let that happen. It's a question of medical ethics. "[We share] "a bigger understanding of what the therapy is all about," Bracco recently told the Associated Press, "and we want to be honest with that. Besides, I have the experience of going to a shrink and the therapy helping me. To pooh-pooh that would be wrong." Now ... how does that make you feel?

Sad news for smilers: Harvey Ball, the graphic designer who put two black dots and an upturned curve together to bring the world the Smiley Face, has died at age 79. Though he never copyrighted his symbol and received only $45 when he created it for an insurance company in 1963 (it hit the big-time in the '70s), Ball "died with no apologies and no regrets," his son, Charles Ball, told the Worcester, Mass., Telegram & Gazette. "He'd get letters from all over the world thanking him for Smiley. How do you put a price on that?" :)

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Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

Amy Reiter

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